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  • Writer's pictureAmy Bass

Sisters in Sweat

When Abby Wambach decided a few years ago that it was time to leave the building, she did it with a one-minute Gatorade spot that wasn’t really about her or her incomparable career – 255 caps, 184 goals, 73 assists, 2 Olympic golds, 1 World Cup. It was about those who followed; the legacy of girls and women who play.

“Forget me,” she demanded of her fans as she emptied her locker of its most precious things – a picture drawn by a young fan, a photo of her reaction after her stunning 2011 World Cup goal, an article about her fight with FIFA over turf fields.

"Forget my number, forget my name, forget I ever existed. Forget the medals won, the records broken, and the sacrifices made. I want to leave a legacy where the ball keeps rolling forward. Where the next generation accomplishes things so great I am no longer remembered. So, forget me. Because the day I'm forgotten, is the day we will succeed."

No commercial, I thought when I first saw Abby’s epic mic drop, will ever top that.

Hold our drink, answered Gatorade. Have you met our friend Serena Williams?

“Sisters in Sweat” features a softly lit Serena holding her infant daughter while an instrumental of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire” plays in the background. “I won’t mind if you play tennis badly,” Serena begins. “In this game of life, please keep playing no matter what.”

Over images of young girls competing, sweating, winning, and losing, Serena quietly works through the virtues of girls who play. “You’ll discover the power and grace of your body,” says the athlete who once admitted she wears long sleeves when she goes out in public to avoid being recognized by her biceps or her body, which a New York Times story once called “mold-breaking.”

This is how we should be talking about the bodies of girls and women. In terms of strength and ability, regardless of skin color or jersey color, whether they want to play professionally or just kick a ball around.

“Keep playing, my girl, keep playing,” Serena whispers to her sleeping daughter.

Keep playing.

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