Honey's Huddle Odds Are, Hope Should Have Stayed Solo Heather Dowling

Hope Solo has had serious success on the soccer field, but it’s her recent marriage that has her in the headlines this week.

The American goalkeeper has been blocking shots for the United States women’s national soccer team since 2000. She is a two-time Olympic gold medalist. In 2009, she was named Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Goal Keeper of the Year. In 2011, she was awarded the FIFA Women’s World Cup Golden Glove award, the Bronze Ball prize and the All-Star Team award.

In her college days at University of Washington, Solo was moved to the goalkeeper position and became the team’s all-time leader in shutouts, saves, and goals-against average. She was a four-time All-Pac-10  selection and a three-time NSCAA All-American.

After the 2012 London Olympics, she published her autobiography Solo: A Memoir of Hope. The autobiography debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times hardcover non-fiction best seller list, the highest ever for a soccer book.

By the way, Solo is beautiful and charismatic.  In 2011, she posed nude (but artistically) for The Body Issue of ESPN The Magazine, and later that year competed on “Dancing With the Stars”. She made it to the final round before being eliminated.

What an inspiration, right? You would imagine that this gal could have any fella she wanted, right? Perhaps a fellow athlete and star: fit, fabulous and talented.

Well, she is now a married woman– and he was a professional athlete – but I don’t see “happily ever after” in her future.

This past Tuesday, Solo married former NFL tight end, Jerramy Stevens.  The wedding — coming after just two months of dating — was confirmed by Sportsradio 950AM and 102.9FM host Dave Mahler and attended by her teammate, U.S. National goalie Jillian Loyden. The couple’s nuptials took place just hours after Stevens was released from police custody pending an investigation into a suspected assault against Solo during a drunken bash at their home in the wee hours of the morning one day earlier.

Surprised? No one should be…at least, not about Stevens being accused of assault. This guy has a serious rap sheet dating back to 1998 that includes assault, rape charges, DUIs and reckless driving with a crash landing into a nursing home. After his last drug related arrest in October 2010, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sent the player packing. He is not in the NFL anymore.

The charges filed for this domestic scuffle with Solo last week were dropped. The judge determined there was not enough evidence to hold Stevens.

Mrs. Solo-Stevens, what gives? Are you a junkie for “bad boys”? Are you trying to get even with your parents for some childhood grudge? Are you pregnant?

Maybe it speaks to an epidemic that extends beyond the person of Hope Solo – women who don’t know their own worth.

Think of how many lovely, wonderful and talented women you know who have settled into a relationship – or into bed – with a man who clearly “doesn’t deserve her.” I can look in my own life to see so many examples, and if you watch any television this “theme” screams out at you.

What’s the source of this female condition: Is it the constant feminine objectification in the media that diminishes self-image? Is the plague of “daddy issues” as a result of broken families to blame? Is it the core cave-woman instinct to attach to the most testosterone-loaded man in the room at play here?

I can’t even pretend to come up with “the answer” to explain this epidemic. (Yes, I’m calling it an epidemic. Epidemic as defined by Webster’s, “affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time.”)

I don’t stand in judgment. When I was dating, I made my share of bad choices: the routinely jobless boy, the pot-smoking apathetic, the DUI-suspended license guy, the “oh- we-aren’t-divorced-yet” liar, the ex-girlfriend-chest-tattoo free-loader. Ah, memories.

I was lucky to come out of the tunnel to the other side in one piece with a wonderful man in my life. But my heart hurts and leaves me worried for my fellow members of the fairer sex.

It seems that the feminist movement may not have delivered what our fore-mothers intended, equality at the level of value and worth alongside men. To me, value is not just what shows up on a paycheck, or being considered for a job or position of power. It’s about being respected, being heard, being appreciated for all the gifts and talents you bring to the table – or the game. So many of the women I know don’t seem to expect that – or fight for it – for themselves.

My prediction: This marriage will last 6 months, tops. I hope for Hope’s sake, that I am right.

Images courtesy of Reuters & Top News Today

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