As an all-star athlete, activist, author and influencer, Megan Rapinoe is a woman propelled by purpose. Unafraid to use her voice, Rapinoe has learned how to harness her platform to highlight injustice around pay equity in professional sports, as well as a host of causes she's passionate about: confronting inequality as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, addressing the Black Lives Matter movement on the football pitch, and voicing her opposition to an American political landscape fueled by anger and resentment.
One Life, Rapinoe's newly-released memoir, takes us through her journey toward football stardom, as well as her path toward athlete-activist. Growing up in a conservative California town, Rapinoe discovered her love of football (soccer for us American folks!) at a young age and quite literally ran with it through endless weekends of elite camps, an invitation to play on the Junior National Team as a high schooler, a leading spot on her college team in Portland, Oregon, and finally to the US Women's National Team and Olympic team. Her hard-fought journey to athletic greatness didn't come without roadblocks, however. Her older brother's struggle with opioid addiction is highlighted, as is Rapinoe's discovery of her sexuality, and a number of potentially career-ending injuries.
Through it all, Rapinoe was able to maintain a fiercely close relationship with her family. Their support of her coming out during college, and her subsequent, more public coming out to the world as a queer professional athlete, added fuel to her activist fire. Rapinoe acknowledges her own privilege through it all, stating that she understands her platform and message are more digestible due to her small, white, female and approachable presence.
One Life can certainly be categorized as another memoir about a professional athlete's journey to greatness, but it's clear that Rapinoe has a greater motive in sharing her story: to encourage her readers, whether or not they are fans of the game, to use their privilege to stand up and fight for the rights of those who experience the effects of injustice. Rapinoe and her teammates have slogged for years to achieve equal pay with professional male football players, and their mission has yet to be accomplished. And I think that's Rapinoe's point: the journey toward equality and equity is not fast and easy, and learning to accept being disliked through it all is an acquired skill. We need to strap ourselves in for the long haul.
I'm signing off for the rest of 2020, and want to wish you all a happy, restful and safe holiday season! Thank you for reading along with us this year, and I'm looking forward to a new year filled with happiness, health and great books!