Last week, an article emerged in the New York Times that didn’t exactly lavish Abby Wambach in the most flattering of hues. Notably, Wambach said her teammates were often scared of consequences on big stages, deferring instead to Wambach’s ability to “make things happen.” She said she was training for the Women’s World Cup on her own, in Portland, playing pickup games and running streets.
Her words clattered on the ground almost as soon as they were delivered. Harsh, aloof, unfeeling. Wambach’s always been the picture of a competitor, a trait that undoubtedly made her one of the best to ever play in her prime. But it also served to separate her from a wider reality around her. When the Roman general Pompey returned from one of his military triumphs to a lavish parade, fattened by the excess loot and praise he’d earned, he had a slave standing next to him on the moving dais, whispering, “Look Behind. Remember that you are a man” in his ear.
Wambach, it seems, has not employed the same attendant.