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Must Read: Sue Bird’s Spectacular Essay About How Much Donald Trump Hates Her Girlfriend Megan Rapinoe

But really, it's about how much she loves Megan Rapinoe.

Megan Rapinoe celebrates a goal with open arms.

WNBA player Sue Bird published an essay today titled “So the President F*cking Hates My Girlfriend.” Bird’s girlfriend is women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe and yes, Trump has made it quite clear how he feels about her. And to be sure, having the man in the Oval Office attack your girlfriend on Twitter has to be a weird experience.

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Bird writes that she thought she was done with writing. But, well, circumstances demand change. After an article about breaking her nose last year, she writes,

I remember telling my editor here something like, “It would take the President of the United States going on a hate-filled Twitter spree trolling my girlfriend while she was putting American soccer, women’s sports, equal pay, gay pride and TRUE LOVE on her back, all at once, scoring two majestic goals to lead Team USA to a thrilling victory over France and a place in the World Cup SEMIFINALS, for me to ever even think about writing again.” But I’m a woman of my word. So here I am.

For many of us who weren’t necessarily big soccer fans before, the recent tension between her and Trump has turned us into die-hards. We may be late to the Rapinoe fandom, but we’re here now and we care deeply.

This is a woman who, after her last win, told reporters, “You can’t win a championship without gays on your team. It’s never been done before, ever. That’s science, right there.” Going into the Fourth of July, she is our new American hero.

So yes, Bird does write about Trump. She writes about how it’s “kind of funny” but also “legitimately scary” to have not just Trump tweeting about you or your partner, but his rabid base as well.

“Because now suddenly you’ve got all these MAGA peeps getting hostile in your mentions,” she writes. “And you’ve got all these crazy blogs writing terrible things about this person you care so much about. And now they’re doing takedowns of Megan on Fox News, and who knows whatever else. It’s like an out-of-body experience, really — that’s how I’d describe it. That’s how it was for me.”

But for the most part, the essay isn’t really about “the Rude Man on Twitter.” It’s about Rapinoe. Not just the side of Rapinoe that said she’s “not going to the f**king White House” or the side that’s been kneeling during the national anthem in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick since 2016. Obviously, those aren’t aspects of Rapinoe that can be separated from her as a whole.

“The Megan you’re seeing now? It’s the stronger version of the one who knelt in the first place,” she writes. “All the threats, all the criticism, all the fallout — coming out on the other side of that is what makes her seem so unfazed by the assholes of the world now.”

Still, Bird took the opportunity to gush about Rapinoe the Girlfriend and she ran with it.

The Toast (RIP) used to have a column called “If X Were Your Y,” imagining what life would be like if celebrities were your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner. Bird’s love letter to Rapinoe reminds me a lot of that.

She apologizes to “everyone who was on the plane with me last week, and had to watch me fistpump like a bozo after each of Megan’s goals.”

“It won’t happen again except let me be clear it might,” she says.

She talks about the beauty of being in a relationship with someone more carefree than you may be.

She breaks down the total impossible magic that is penalty kicks–her girlfriend’s specialty.

Like, I guess they’re kind of like free throws? Only if there was someone trying to BLOCK your free throw, and you had to use your foot (??), and oh yeah if you missed it you’d never forgive yourself and have it haunt you for the rest of your LIFE?? So what I’m saying is it’s not like a free throw at all.

I don’t want Megan to turn out to be an alien from another planet, but I’m just going to say the truth of how I feel right now: If you’re good at penalty kicks, you’re a f*cking alien from another planet.

I could keep trying to pick my favorite part of the essay but honestly, you have to just go and read the whole thing. It’s so beautiful. But just in case you’re not going to take the time to click through and read it all, I insist that you see how she concludes the piece, in which she describes how she felt watching Rapinoe’s masterful performance in last Friday’s game against France. It was how we all felt watching.

I’m closer to 40 than 30. I’ve only been legally permitted to get married in the last handful of years. I’m a worrier, an overthinker, and — if it’s your type of thing — a 3x WNBA champion.

But on Friday? It was like for this one, perfect, fleeting, uncomplicated day….. I was everyone.

I was happy.

I was crazy.

I was PROUD.

I was pretending to know about soccer.

I was a little overwhelmed.

I was pretty damn American.

And I was in love with Megan Rapinoe.

Rapinoe didn’t play in today’s match against England (a hamstring injury kept her benched, though the US team still won!), and it would be great to live in a country where we weren’t waiting for the president to tweet something mocking her for that, or to push a theory that seems to be going around amongst his fans that this was punishment for her kneeling protests (which, again, she’s been doing for multiple years). It would be great to have a president that didn’t spawn a fandom in opposition to his pettiness. It would be great to have a president who would be proud to invite a winning women’s team to the White House, and for that team to proudly accept.

We don’t have those things. But at least we have Megan Rapinoe.

(image: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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