Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.
Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.
Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.
… Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken; (Luke 21:26)
And he told them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man (Lk. 21:29-35, ESV).
Sexual norms will be out the window, and the world will become increasingly confused about morality and God’s design for sex and gender (Romans 1:18-32).
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.
Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Mark 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird Are LGBT+ Trophy Goals. ‘Do as Thou Wilst.’ “They have set the standards to which future athletes will be held.”
EMMA CARMICHAEL SAM TAYLOR-JOHNSON February 9, 2021 7:45 AM
Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe both had Hall of Fame–worthy careers before they met. But to reach new, boundary-obliterating levels of achievement on and off the field, they needed each other. And, as they tell Emma Carmichael, their work is just getting started.
This story is part of GQ’s Modern Lovers issue.
Megan Rapinoe did not plan to propose to Sue Bird by the pool on a lazy afternoon in Antigua last fall, but Megan Rapinoe is not a big planner. She tends to do things in the moment, when they feel right. One of the defining plays of her decade-long international soccer career—her last-second, game-tying cross to Abby Wambach in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinals—was famously pure instinct. “I don’t even think I looked up,” before smacking the ball with her left foot, she told ESPN: “I took a touch and thought, ‘She better frickin’ be in there.’ ” In 2019, she made an offhand comment in an interview leading up to the World Cup (“I’m not going to the fucking White House”); when it was published that summer, President Trump wrote on Twitter, “Megan should WIN first before she TALKS!” She made the winning part look easy: In the following game, she scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over France. It was the most watched women’s quarterfinal of all time.
On Rapinoe: Pants, $990, by Givenchy. Boots, $150, by Dr. Martens. On Bird: Vintage pants by Helmut Lang from David Casavant Archive.
While there was not a proposal plan for Antigua, where the couple of four years had gone with friends to celebrate Bird’s 40th birthday and fourth WNBA title, there was a growing sense that it might be the right time. Ruth Bader Ginsburg had just passed away, shifting the balance of the Supreme Court to the right. Bird and Rapinoe had been wondering—like anyone whose basic civil rights are essentially wet paint—if they needed to get married while they still could. Less pressingly, Bird’s nieces began asking the couple when they would tie the knot. “Whenever Megan asks,” Bird would reply.
It was midday, and they’d been drinking, so most of the group was sleeping off their buzzes in the sun. Rapinoe was lying on the ledge of the infinity pool, just where it dropped off into the horizon, and Bird was in the water next to her. “There was a look in her eye,” Bird remembers. Rapinoe got on one knee. Bird caught on: “I could just sense it. I knew what was happening.”
We’re speaking over Zoom in December, and there’s a sweet pause as the couple—titans of their respective games, internationally celebrated activists, preeminent LGBTQ+ icons of the 21st century, the most beloved power couple in sports—gaze at each other, basking in the memory and the delight of sharing it. And then Bird snaps out of the reverie, turning back to the screen as she remembers a crucial detail: “She had this bucket hat on,” she says, still disbelieving.
Bird quietly asked her to take off the bucket hat. Rapinoe obliged. The photo that was eventually posted to their Instagrams—liked by a combined 750,000 people, covered by celebrity-news outlets, and shared by no less than Joe Biden in a viral tweet—does not feature the white terrycloth bucket hat that Rapinoe tossed aside before popping the question, using one of the eight gold rings adorning her own hands. But it is nice to know that somewhere out of frame lies a little token of negotiation, a lesson the couple exemplify: that it is always worth it to ask for the things you want.
There is no precedent for the pastel-haired international soccer star who courted the ponytailed all-American point guard and went on to live happily ever after. For now, the “cross-sport lesbian power couple” template begins and ends with Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird. And they are not just stars in their sports—they have set the standards to which future athletes will be held. Between them they have more championships and gold medals than most couples have steak knives: At 35, Rapinoe is one of the most decorated American soccer players of all time, with two World Cup titles and an Olympic gold medal to her name. Bird, 40, is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, having won multiple championships at every stage of her career—from her two championships during her fabled UConn days to her quartet of rings with the Seattle Storm and four Olympic golds with the national team.
They have set the agenda off the field too: Both have been active in the Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name movements as well as the ongoing fights for equal pay and treatment that have revolutionized their sports. In January, after months of campaigning that started at the WNBA’s pandemic site in Florida, Bird celebrated Rev. Raphael Warnock’s victory over Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler in one of Georgia’s crucial runoff Senate races. They are pushing things forward, as none other than Billie Jean King tells me. “We were always afraid of the unknown,” she says. King lost all of her sponsorships in 24 hours when she was involuntarily outed in 1981. Things are different now. “This is why having Megan and Sue out in front like this, being comfortable in their own skin, is so huge. It allows other people to be more comfortable.”
“What they’ve been able to do as a couple, individually, I don’t think they could have done that alone,” Diana Taurasi, the WNBA legend—and Bird’s close friend dating back to UConn—says. “When two people are on the same page, and they love each other, and they’re working towards something better, you can do a lot of good things.”
Bird and Rapinoe first met in the run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics. It wasn’t exactly romantic: Every four years, Olympians are asked to get dressed up and take patriotically hot photos for media circulation. They crossed paths as Rapinoe was heading out of one shoot and Bird was preparing for another, wearing her uniform—and full makeup.
Rapinoe had a fleeting chance to make an impression. Instead, she made a cringey joke: “Are you getting ready for a game?” There may have been two-handed “this guy” pointing, Bird says.
“It didn’t go like I planned at all,” Rapinoe says, shaking her head. “I walked away like, ‘You’re an idiot.’ ”
Rapinoe’s summer in Rio did not go as planned, either. The U.S. Women’s National Team failed to medal for the first time in team history. She was engaged at the time, but things were rocky with her then fiancée. After Bird’s team won the gold medal, Rapinoe attended the victory party, where Taurasi noticed something.
“It was on a ship, a big ballroom; there were a lot of people, and Sue would just gravitate right back to [Megan’s] table,” Taurasi says. “I’ve seen Sue in a lot of bars, and I can tell when she’s on the prowl. I was just like, ‘Yep, there it is.’ ”
Bird and Rapinoe made plans to get together after the Olympics in Seattle, where they lived and played for their respective pro teams but had never crossed paths. They had dinner with friends and then, in early September, both in Chicago for road games, met for drinks. Each sensed a spark.
Bird and Taurasi joke that you can always tell when a teammate is newly interested in someone, because it’s easy to notice when professionally regimented people miss a pregame nap or choose to travel on a day off. Right after she and Rapinoe parted ways in Chicago, Bird says, she was up most of the night, giddily chatting with Rapinoe, and then finally crashing—“only to wake up as soon as possible to get back on the phone. We were breaking all the athlete rules of schedule. If I got four hours of sleep, I would consider myself lucky.”
Rapinoe broke things off with her fiancée, and when she felt ready, she and Bird went on their first date. (In her 2020 memoir, One Life, Rapinoe writes that there was no “physical overlap” with Bird while she was with her ex but acknowledges an “emotional one.”) After dinner, they walked back to Bird’s apartment, where Bird put on the Maroon 5 Pandora station. Rapinoe asked her to change it and then made the first move. “The second my butt touched the couch, [she was] all over it,” Bird says, laughing.
They’d known from that first texting session that they were falling for each other. Dating confirmed it. “I was like, ‘Okay, don’t be a cliché lesbian, where you love this person when you first meet them,’ ” Rapinoe says with a laugh. “But it just was immediately like, ‘Oh, this is home.’ ”
Ashlyn Harris, Rapinoe’s best friend and USWNT teammate, affectionately compares her to one of those “tall noodle-looking things’’ outside a car dealership, “living life loose.” Bird, she says, “is always the same. She’s never too high. She’s never too low. She’s an alien.” In conversation, Bird, who has done game commentary over the years, is a patient storyteller; Rapinoe is her devoted and excitable hype-woman. They are each other’s foil, “like yin and yang,” Harris’s wife and teammate, Ali Krieger, says. “They fit perfectly together “I was in a pretty precarious situation, soccer-wise.… From a career standpoint, I owe so much to Sue.”
For Rapinoe, the relationship entered her life precisely when she needed stability. It wasn’t just that she had ended her engagement; she was also at a professional crossroads, struggling to balance her career with her outspoken nature and a newfound commitment to racial justice.
A few days after that early meeting in Chicago, Rapinoe decided to kneel for the national anthem before a game with her club team, in solidarity with then 49er Colin Kaepernick. She was the first white professional athlete to join Kaepernick’s historic, and thus far NFL career–ending, protest against police brutality and racial injustice. “Being a gay American,” she said afterward, “I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties.” After she kneeled again, this time with the USWNT, the United States Soccer Federation, the governing body for soccer in the U.S., admonished Rapinoe in an official statement. Soon she was removed from the starting rotation. Off the field, she received hate mail and members of her family questioned her actions. By February, after being left off the roster for yet another tournament, she could feel the position she’d worked so hard to secure slipping away.
“I was in a pretty precarious situation, soccer-wise,” Rapinoe says. “I think everyone was like, ‘Okay, if you fade out, that’s sort of fine.’ ”
She didn’t play in a national-team game from mid-September to April, the longest stretch of her life (not counting injuries). During that time, she folded herself into her new relationship with Bird, whom she credits with building her up—emotionally, but also physically, as she began to follow Bird’s strict diet and training regimen.
“I really did transform. From a career standpoint, I owe so much to her,” Rapinoe says. It was what her game needed: “In order for me to really get back, I had to be way better than I was before, because [U.S. Soccer officials] were just kind of happy to let this bitch go.”
Bird was an anchor, Rapinoe says. “I’m going through this crazy situation with my coach, my career’s on the line, I’m feeling wild things and saying wild things at times. I’ve never felt insecure in my career in that way. [The relationship] felt safe in this very unsafe world that I was living in.”
By spring 2017, having made it through a singularly heady first six months of dating, they had resumed their routines. Rapinoe had fought her way back onto the USWNT roster, and Bird was gearing up for another season with the Storm. Bird, who’d been out to her friends and family for many years, came out publicly as a lesbian that July, announcing her relationship with Rapinoe. Out to the world and finally on solid ground together, they returned to their usual business of kicking ass. In 2018, Bird won her third WNBA title. Rapinoe won her second World Cup a year later.
Scheduling issues can doom any overbooked celebrity couple, particularly if they’re star athletes who play different sports all around the globe. For Bird and Rapinoe, the pandemic offered a small silver lining: Like the NBA, the WNBA had decided to play its season on a “bubble” campus in Florida. Bird relocated there in early July; Rapinoe joined her soon after. “We were ships in the night for most of the end of 2019,” Bird says. In 2020, they spent only a few days apart.
The Wubble, as the site came to be known, often felt like a parallel universe where the pandemic was on hold. For nearly three months, they shared what was essentially a hotel room, operating on different schedules. Rapinoe would work out before the Florida heat became unbearable, while Bird would sleep as late as she could so she was rested for games. “It was either that or not be around you for three months,” Rapinoe says, gazing at Bird. “And that was not happening.”
“The bubble made organizing very easy. And I think the reason it worked is because we’re women, and this is what women do. We collaborate, right? It took the entire league to execute.”
During the day, Rapinoe spent time recording the audiobook for her memoir, working on other personal projects, and hanging out at the pool (and nearby bar). She and Bird saw old friends and made new ones: support staff for other teams; the ESPN reporter Holly Rowe; Marta Xargay, a Spanish professional basketball player who dates Storm star Breanna Stewart. Xargay and Rapinoe would grab drinks together before riding a shuttle to the arena for games.
“I went to a few of the games real drunk,” Rapinoe says. “Definitely the last game. Me and Marta, we were like, ‘This shit’s going to be a sweep!’ ”
This is not to say that the Wubble was MTV Spring Break: Pandemic Beach. Players arrived on campus not long after protests against the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other innocent Black Americans had spread across the nation. The league—whose teams have been openly protesting police violence since July 2016, when some WNBA players were fined for wearing “Black Lives Matter” shirts during warm-ups—dedicated the season to Taylor’s memory.
At the same time, Loeffler, co-owner of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and a Georgia senator, had written a letter to league commissioner Cathy Engelbert, in which she said she “adamantly oppose[d] the Black Lives Matter political movement” and asked the WNBA to “remove politics from sports.” Bird says the letter felt like “a gut punch.… When you’re in a room talking to Black players who say to you, ‘When I take my jersey off and go home, I could be Breonna Taylor’—it just hits in a different way.”
The WNBA’s Players Association organized behind the scenes. Bird and other players on the union’s executive council vetted Warnock’s record, then designed and ordered “VOTE WARNOCK” T-shirts—Bird’s idea. Images of league stars wearing the T-shirts began to go viral, and after a few days Warnock had passed Loeffler in the polls. (They never mentioned Loeffler’s name in interviews, to avoid giving her extra press.) Mobilizing was helped by the fact that everyone was more or less within reach: “The bubble made organizing very easy,” Bird says. “And I think the reason it worked is because we’re women, and this is what women do. We collaborate, right? It took the entire league to execute.”
She also says it was a lesson in showing up for her Black colleagues. Compared with Kaepernick and other Black athletes, Rapinoe says, “I have benefited from kneeling. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.” About 70 percent of WNBA players, meanwhile, are Black, and both Bird and Rapinoe have spoken about the relative privilege that comes with being white activists. When players were considering backing Warnock, Bird says, “people were exhausted. I was able to take some of the burden off of my executive-committee counterparts who were Black.”
Bird and the Storm swept the Las Vegas Aces in the finals. Her relationship with Rapinoe moved forward too. In the Wubble, they had learned something a lot of couples discovered during the pandemic, if under slightly different circumstances and with occasionally higher stakes: that they didn’t mind each other’s company, even in the same room, even for hours a day. A little more than a week after they left the Wubble, they were engaged.
I grew up playing soccer and basketball in the ’90s, a couple of decades removed from Title IX and during a relative boom time for women’s sports. Women’s soccer debuted at the Olympics in 1996, and the WNBA’s inaugural season came a year later. I remember exactly where I was, and how limitless the world felt, when Brandi Chastain scored the 1999 World Cup–winning penalty kick and ripped off her jersey in celebration. I watched every UConn basketball championship Bird, Taurasi, and their fellow Huskies won in the early aughts, and Rapinoe’s national teams were benchmarks of my 20s. It was nice to see, but it was also just sports, a series of meaningful moments for a cub reporter and former athlete.
And then a few years ago, I met a woman and fell in love, and slowly acknowledged a part of my identity I hadn’t allowed myself to face for a long time. I did not have a single “aha” moment; I didn’t post anything to Instagram on #NationalComingOutDay. It was more like a series of puzzle pieces gradually clicking into place, a settling into myself. And as I started to come out to people close to me, I looked around and realized I had some familiar company. Since the legalization of gay marriage in 2015, WNBA stars have publicly come out simply by getting married to their partners. Rapinoe’s teammates Harris and Krieger threw a classically decadent Miami wedding that was featured in Vogue. At some point, Xargay nonchalantly started to post photos of her girlfriend, Stewart, on Instagram; in late 2020, New York Liberty guard Layshia Clarendon—who uses multiple personal pronouns—said that she identified as nonbinary and trans. After winning the World Cup in 2019, star U.S. defender Kelley O’Hara, who wasn’t previously out, walked off the pitch, casually kissed her girlfriend in the stands, and never mentioned it again. Many other pros in both sports are out; many more are surely not out but happily living their lives.
I followed along from the sidelines, sharing posts and couples’ portraits with LGBTQ+ friends, texting harmless gossip about who might be dating. It felt like watching my life—my new queer life—get mainstreamed and affirmed in real time, and all by the same people who had helped shape my adolescence.
“This summer…we were on TV a lot. Oh, what do you know? Viewership was up.”
Bird and Rapinoe have been on the front lines of that shift, helping to build a world where, in Rapinoe’s words, the “boundlessness” and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people becomes as normal as another U.S. women’s World Cup title, remarkable only for its casualness. It’s work, but it’s work they’re happy to do. “Not everyone wants to be saying ‘I’m gay’ and doing the interviews,” Rapinoe says. “That’s not everybody’s lane.”
“This is exactly what my generation was fighting for,” says Billie Jean King. “Everything they get to do, if we did, we would’ve been toast.”
Rapinoe came out to her family at age 19 (her twin sister, Rachael, is also gay) and then publicly in 2012 as she geared up for the London Olympics—becoming the first active member of the USWNT to do so.
Bird’s path was a bit more circuitous. She was drafted first overall in 2002, when the WNBA was less comfortable embracing its LGBTQ+ fan base and fewer lesbian athletes were out in general. She was young and white, with girl-next-door good looks, marketed as the face of the franchise. She attended the ESPYs that year with Backstreet Boy Nick Carter, a wholesome publicity stunt set up by the agent they shared.
“You can tell when someone’s hiding something, and I feel like that’s how the WNBA was with our marketing,” Bird says now. “I don’t really blame them, because it was the year that it was and the time that it was in our society. The irony is the early [league] taglines were ‘This is who I am.’ And yet I don’t think for anybody it was actually who we were.”
Bird realized she was gay while at UConn and first came out to someone—Taurasi—in the mid-2000s. She came out publicly in 2017 and says that even though the only people who seemed surprised were “a lot of dudes on Twitter,” she found relief in finally asserting her identity in such a clear, straightforward way. “When you do come out publicly and it’s just known, [people] know exactly who you are on the first hello,” she says. “There’s something very liberating about that. You can just be.”
Those closest to her have noticed this release as well. “The minute she got with Megan, it was like, ‘Where’s the [pride] flag? I’m going to wave this thing up and down New York City!’ ” Taurasi says, laughing.
That newfound comfort was also visible in Bird’s personal style. After Antigua, she and Rapinoe moved back to Seattle, where they set about combining their expansive closets. Rapinoe still gives Bird a hard time about a “MADE! WELL! BLOUSE!” she came across in the process.
“In an attempt to be feminine, I was in all these clothes that would be considered ‘feminine’ clothing, but it didn’t work for me,” Bird says. These days she’s more likely to wear gold jewelry and Dior Jordans than anything with spaghetti straps. Helped along by Rapinoe, who calls Bird “my ultimate guinea pig” when it comes to trying out looks, she has become a tomboy-chic fashion icon.
Learning to actively choose and curate her style, Bird says, “blew the doors open for me.” It was a life-changing revelation: Her style could help accentuate her identity instead of suppress it. “Now I choose comfort and what feels right over what I think I’m ‘supposed’ to wear, and this whole other confidence comes out.”
Rapinoe has long played with gender conventions, pairing menswear-inspired clothing with more femme makeup and jewelry. Her style is fearless and in line with her public image, outspoken from the tips of her lilac pixie haircut to her beloved Celine loafers. All of that exuberance, she explains, is strategic.
“I feel really proud that we’ve infiltrated GQ and LeagueFits, Upscale[Hype], whatever it may be,” Rapinoe says. “While they seem kind of superficial because it’s just social media, it actually has an impact in the market. It affects how cool people think you are. And if people think you’re cool, then they think that what you’re doing, your sport, is more legitimate. And then that affects how sponsors see you. So that’s part of it too, for women, because we don’t get paid what the men get.”
Both Bird and Rapinoe have had to spend a significant chunk of their careers making the case that they should be compensated fairly for their work. For a while Bird, like most WNBA players, earned the bulk of her income playing overseas—spending her off-seasons in Russia to make the kind of money she deserved, potentially up to 10 times her WNBA salary. She became more active in the WNBPA during negotiations for the historic 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement, which won players higher salaries, improved travel conditions, and paid maternity leave, among other things. (In 2019, Bird documented her own egg-freezing journey in a video series; the procedure is now covered under the new CBA, which will help transform the arc of WNBA players’ careers, in terms of when and how they can choose to plan pregnancies.)
“I’m fucking sick of convincing people I’m great at my job. Fucking clearly I’m great at my job!”
Rapinoe and four of her USWNT teammates, meanwhile, filed a wage-discrimination complaint in 2016 against the U.S. Soccer Federation. She lays out the maddening figures in her book: On average, Rapinoe writes, “a top-tier women’s national team player would earn 38 percent of the compensation of her equivalent of the men’s teams.” The 2016 complaint paved the way for a 2019 gender-discrimination lawsuit filed by 28 members of the team. In December of last year, players and the USSF agreed to a settlement on working conditions; the team continues to fight its equal-pay claims.
These are different battles, but Bird and Rapinoe share the project of convincing people in positions of authority that what they do has value. Evidence comes easy: “This summer, there weren’t a lot of sports, so we were on TV a lot,” Bird says. “Oh, what do you know? Viewership was up.”
But viewership can increase only if corporate higher-ups give it the chance to, Rapinoe says. “There was such a lack of belief in the potential for women’s sports to even be popular,” she says. Her celebrity is a testament to that potential, but the work is unending.
“I’m fucking sick of convincing people that I’m great at my job,” Rapinoe says. “Fucking clearly I’m great at my job! We did everything on the field. We pretty much did everything off the field. We’re good role models, you know? We are profitable. For them to consistently dig their heels in on an issue [where] it’s very clear where the world is going is a colossal waste of time.”
Every person I interviewed for this story is an LGBTQ+ professional (or formerly pro) woman athlete. All seemed to over-explain their work—Bird taking pains to describe why she and her fellow WNBA stars had to play in Russia, Harris and Krieger making sure I understood they’d spent many years playing with Rapinoe, even King laying out how she and the Original 9 of women’s tennis fought for better prize money in the ’70s. The tendency probably comes along with being a conscientious, media-trained athlete and public-facing woman, but I also wondered if the instinct was learned: from having to make the case for yourself constantly, from being forced to convince the skeptical that what you do has merit
“I hope all the kids that come behind me are way richer than I am.”
Gradually, these athletes’ work is making a difference. King remembers begging newspaper editors to send interns to cover her tournaments in the ’70s. The 2019 World Cup final was the most watched in tournament history, and in 2020 average WNBA viewership grew by 68 percent. In January, every major outlet covered the players’ Warnock campaign. The more that the work is made visible, the less it will be taken for granted.
When she first joined the league, Bird says, “I never challenged. I never pushed the limits in that way. Younger generations are now doing that. That is a part of our legacies, to get to this point where the younger generations are expecting these things. I can only imagine the next 20 years—[they’re] going to get even more pushy.”
She pauses. “Or maybe in 20 years they won’t have to be pushy, because it’s a given.”
When we chat again, in early January, Rapinoe is feeling properly rested for the first time in forever. She’s been glad for the long stretch off. If the Tokyo Olympics happen this summer, they could be her last with the national team, and while she’s aiming to play in the 2023 World Cup, she is starting to think about life after sports. “I want to play as long as possible,” Rapinoe says. “When you’re in it, it can be like Groundhog Day. But once you’re done, you’re done. I don’t want to cut it short.”
Bird is also contemplating the end of her run. “It’s not necessarily the competitive part that I’m going to miss,” she says the next day when Rapinoe has stepped away for a workout. “It’s the purpose part.” She remembers reading that NBA star Dwyane Wade planned to enter into therapy when he retired and says she’ll consider doing the same. “They say athletes die two deaths: when they retire and then when they actually die. That’s a huge void.” For the past five years or so, she’s begun preparing, purposely digging into the business side of basketball—she’s gotten more involved with the players’ union, done color commentary for ESPN, and even worked in the front office of the Denver Nuggets. (She’s now interested in team investment and ownership, particularly with the women-owned Storm and the possible resurrection of the NBA’s SuperSonics.)
Both will make sharing women’s stories a part of their future. Rapinoe hosted a roundtable special on HBO last summer. Bird is working on ways to elevate women’s voices—“so,” she says, “they don’t have to fucking go out there and explain it all the time.” Rapinoe is also interested in mentoring. “I would love to help female athletes with their brands,” she says, “to have them understand that there is a business around you, whether you’re profiting off it or not.” She grins. “I hope that all the kids that come behind me are way richer than I am.”
When it is safe to do so, they’ll plan and host their dream wedding, somewhere warm. Maybe, when they’re retired and married, they’ll think about having kids. (“Right now we couldn’t even have a goldfish,” Bird says.)
“We would love to have the type of life where we can just, on a whim, go on a vacation or do some of the things that sports inhibited us from doing,” Bird says, “whether it’s…” She pauses, trying to imagine that kind of freedom. “I don’t know. Who knows? Maybe it’s like, ‘Oh, it’s your mom’s birthday. Let’s go see your mom on her birthday.’ ”
“I’m excited,” Rapinoe says. “Because there’s like”—she mimes separate boxes with her hands—“Megan, and Sue. And then there’s Megan and Sue. And I think that there’s so much to be done in all of those three buckets.”
It can be hard to appreciate progress as it’s happening, but the life King and other athletes of her generation couldn’t imagine for themselves is the one Bird and Rapinoe are living now. They’ve already set a bold new standard for athletes by unapologetically asking for (and getting) what they want and deserve at the bargaining table. But they’ll leave an equally powerful mark by merely existing together—by being gay and joyfully in love in public.
That freedom, Rapinoe says, is their legacy. “I hope people see it doesn’t have to be this slog where you’re just a selfless servant. You can have fun, you can be successful. You can do it your own way.”
Seven (7) References to ‘BE WATCHING or WATCHFUL.’
Matthew 24:42; Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
Matthew 25:13; Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
Mark 13:35; Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning.
Luke 21:36; Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man
Luke 12:37-39; Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
1 Thessalonians 5:2-4; For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (Be Watching).
John 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
John 14:29 And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.
Luke 21:31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
Mark 13:29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Luke 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
‘Increasing Like Labor Pains.’ ‘Fearful Sights.’ ‘Perilous Times.’ ‘Men’s hearts failing with fear.’ Great Convergence of Signs.’ REDEMPTION IMMINENT.
In His Service,
Night Watchman Ministries
Make Your Decision for Christ NOW!!!!!!! Time is Up!!!!!!!
Jesus Christ’s Offer of Salvation:
The ABCs of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the Lamb)
A. Admit/Acknowledge/Accept that you are sinner. Ask God’s forgiveness and repent of your sins.
. . . “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).
. . . “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10).
. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8).
B. Believe Jesus is Lord. Believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be; that He was both fully God and fully man and that we are saved through His death, burial, and resurrection. Put your trust in Him as your only hope of salvation. Become a son or daughter of God by receiving Christ.
. . . “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:15-17). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).
C. Call upon His name, Confess with your heart and with your lips that Jesus is your Lord and Savior.
. . . “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10).
. . . “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (John 1:8-10).
. . . “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 2:2).
. . . “In this was manifested the love of god toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:9, 14-15).
. . . “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10).
. . . “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
. . . “Jesus saith unto them, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).
. . . “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 1:16).
. . . “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts: 4:12).
. . . “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth for there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:4-6).
. . . “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
. . . “But as many as received him, to them gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12).
True Church / Bride of Christ Spared from God’s Wrath:
Romans 5:8-10. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
Romans 12:19. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
1 Thessalonians 1:10. And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Romans 8:35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Categories: LGBT Agenda