President Obama honors winning U.S. sports teams all the time, but his event in the White House this morning celebrating the U.S. National Women’s Soccer Team featured remarks that were arguably more important than most.
Note, for example, the broader context in which the president characterized Abby Wambach’s “not-so-quiet dominance.”
“Abby said that she wanted her final World Cup to be like a fairytale. And I’m not sure she could have written a better ending: a world champion at last, draped in the Stars and Stripes, showing us all how far we’ve come – on and off the field – by sharing a celebratory kiss with her wife.”
This was soon followed by a celebration, of sorts, of feminism itself.
“This team taught all America’s children that ‘playing like a girl’ means you’re a badass. (Laughter and applause.) Perhaps I shouldn’t have used that phrase. (Laughter.) Playing like a girl means being the best. It means drawing the largest TV audience for a soccer match –- men or women’s –- in American history. It means wearing our nation’s crest on your jersey, taking yourself and your country to the top of the world. That’s what American women do. That’s what American girls do. That’s why we celebrate this team.”
There was even a little room for some campaign politics in Obama’s remarks. Commenting on Carli Lloyd, the president said:
“Carli’s performance was so good that by the time the game was over, someone had changed her title on Wikipedia from ‘Midfielder’ to ‘President of the United States.’ (Laughter.) Which, by the way, the job is about to open up. (Laughter.) … I guarantee you Carli knows more about being President than some of the folks who are running. (Laughter.) But that’s a whole other – (applause) – that’s a whole other topic of conversation.”
In case it’s not obvious, this was not part of Obama’s prepared remarks. It was just a little something he wanted to get off his chest.