Megan Rapinoe: “This group is so resilient, is so tough, has such a sense of humor, is just so badass.”(Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
NEW YORK — Needless to say, Megan Rapinoe was the center of attention at the Women’s World Cup celebration Wednesday.
In fact, Rapinoe, the World Cup MVP, stole the show, as she was chosen to speak last, but certainly not the least.
“This group is so resilient, is so tough, has such a sense of humor, is just so badass,” Rapinoe said. “Just shoutout to the teammates… We’re chillin’. We’ve got tea sippin’. We’ve got celebrations. We have pink hair and purple hair. We have tattoos and dreadlocks. We’ve got white girls and black girls, and everything in between. Straight girls and gay girls. Hey!”
For the second time in four years, New York City feted the U.S. women with a ticker-tape parade down the Canyon of Heroes, although some people said it was the Canyon of Heroines.
De Blasio rode with Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz and Carli Lloyd on a float with a globe that had the words “World Champions” around its equator.
Long Island’s Crystal Dunn and some other players rode with Gov. Andrew Cuomo on a float carrying a model of the New York skyline.
Each player and head coach Jill Ellis received symbolic keys to the city from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio That included Long Island natives Dunn (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) and Allie Long (Northport, N.Y.). Dunn seemed to revel in the moment, probably the best dancer on the team during the celebrations.
And if you think if Rapinoe and some of her teammates were going change their minds and visit the White House, well think again.
“I’m sorry. I’m busy,” she said.
Prior to the tournament, Rapinoe said that there was no way she would go to the White House if the team won the World Cup. That turned into a squabble with President Trump.
Rapinoe danced and swigged Champagne from aboard a float headed to City Hall.
Several times during the celebrations, the crowded chanted, “USA! Equal Pay!”
Even though U.S. Soccer Federation president Carlos Cordeiro mispronounced her name, Rapinoe felt he and the USSF would eventually come around.
“I think he’s on the right side,” she said. “I think he’s going to make things right.”
During his eight-minute speech at City Hall, Cordeiro said that female athletes “deserve fair and equitable pay.”
“We hear you, we believe in you, and we’re committed to doing right by you.”
Rapinoe also talked about improving the world, in general.
“We have to be better,” she said. “We have to love more, hate less. We’ve got to listen more and talk less,” she said. “It’s our responsibility to make this world a better place. I think this team does an incredible job of taking that on our shoulders.
“Be more. Be better. Be bigger than you’ve ever been before.”
Then it was time to leave to depart for the team’s next stop — Los Angeles, as they were to be honored at the ESPYs later Wednesday night.