Monday, October 31, 2011

Sarah Says: Christie Rampone rocks my socks

By: Sarah Smith
I feel like I might be overdoing the women’s soccer angle on all my stories, but the more I think about it, the less I care. Women’s soccer gets almost no attention compared to men’s professional sports, so I don’t feel guilty for focusing on these strong, amazing women for one more month.
The woman I want to focus on in particular is Christie Rampone. Christie Rampone is the baddest female athlete alive. She is the current captain of the U.S. women’s national team and her club team, magicJack, and a literal soccer mom.
For one thing, Rampone is 36 years old. In women’s soccer, 36 is as good as 70. By 36, most women are hanging up their cleats and saying, “Oh well, that was a good career. Time to go home,” but not Christie Rampone. Rampone is still one of the fastest ladies on the team, and she is constantly referred to as “the fittest woman here” by her teammates.
Not only that, but Rampone has two children. While male athletes father children all the time, women athletes are completely different. By having children, I mean Rampone carried two babies for two separate nine-month periods and then gave birth. So this means two nine-month breaks for Rampone, right? Ha ha, no. While carrying her first daughter, Rylie, Rampone stayed on a less intense training program up until the seven-month mark. After Rylie was born, Rampone was back in training in a matter of two weeks.
The story of Reece, the second Rampone daughter, is a bit more complicated. In 2008, the fledging season for Women’s Professional Soccer, Rampone was playing with a team called Sky Blue FC. They were terrible. They were last in the league and it looked like they were going to be out of the playoffs before they even started. Then, to make things even better for Sky Blue, their coach was suspended and his successor quit. It looked like the end of the season. Rampone, on top of her captain’s job and responsibilities as a player, was given the duties of looking after and coaching the team. In a logical succession of events, Sky Blue went from last to first and to win the league under the coaching of Rampone. During the celebration a bottle of champagne was popped and, as per tradition, the captain was offered the first drink. Her response?
“No, sorry guys, I can’t. I’m three months pregnant.”
That’s right. Christie Rampone coached/captained one of the most successful comebacks in soccer history while toting a baby around in her belly.
This was not Rampone’s first medical happening that had an effect on her career. In college, she tore her anterior cructiate ligament. An ACL tear can end an athlete, and even if it doesn’t, many people lose the chance to play at a higher level due to missed playing time while injured. Obviously not Christie Rampone.
The only sad part of the story of Christie Rampone is that after all these comebacks and general amazingness, she might not have a job in a couple of years. The WPS draws in so little viewership and attendance and has such small sponsors compared to what a professional team needs that, if something doesn’t change, the league will soon dissolve and hundreds of women will be left without jobs. Viewership and attendance are on the rise, so hopefully this will not be a problem. Knowing Christie Rampone, if it does, she’ll start a league in her backyard and house all the players in her basement while becoming a successful businesswoman in order to support them all.

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