There are so many great moments in sports that is hard to say which ones are most inspirational and memorable. Some of these moments happen after a spectacular career, season or game. For Abby Wambach, her final request as she retires from the game of soccer that she forever changed, is for the world and her fans to "Forget Me." In a recent video release by sponsor Gatorade, Wambach's message is crystal clear, "I want to leave a legacy where the ball keeps rolling forward; where the next generation accomplishes things so great, that I am no longer remembered." If you have not screened this video or read about it, you have to right here, right now.
To say that I am forever changed by the words of this athlete, so humble and so driven, is an understatement. But, what's even more incredibly impactful is how her message and her legacy on the sport of soccer and quite frankly, sports in general, is positively moving others; fellow athletes and fans alike. President Obama lead the pack of well wishers when he tweeted, "Congrats on a great career, Abby Wambach. For the goals you’ve scored & the kids you’ve inspired, you’re the GOAT!" (Greatest of All Time for those of us who are not familiar with the acronym). Kobe Bryant, who retires at the end of this year's NBA season tweeted, "Thank you, Abby. #oneofakind." "I can't help but be entranced by her athleticism, commitment for success, and courage for the way she plays the game," states special education teacher and reader of BYB. "
"Abby was so in tune with herself as an athlete," states two of her teammates Christie Lampone and Megan Rapinoe who wrote a tribute article, Farewell to the G.O.A.T., to their fearless leader for Derek Jeter's The Player's Tribune last month. "Even at the worst times, she was always thinking about the game, thinking about the team, thinking about how to make us the best we could be. With Abby, there was never a poor me philosophy. She just didn’t do negativity." Sounds like another great who played short stop for us for 20 years, doesn't it?
We talk a lot about what we are missing in our current Yankee team; and this missing ingredient is not just missing from the ball team in the Bronx, it's missing from the entire sport of baseball. Reading about Abby from a variety of perspectives and sources tells me that what the Yankees and quite frankly MLB needs is an Abby Wambach- that humble, but very focused icon who can the lead the game back to what it used to be: a competition that represents pure athleticism, grit, selflessness and allegiance to the team and the fans of the game. Success is not about how much money you make or power you gain or what agent represents you. Success is about the relationships you make and how you impact others. When Wambach says 'Forget Me', she is telling future players to run faster, push harder, play better. And when your message is that deep and that real, it's not about the individual, it's about the team, the sport and the possibilities.
So my message to baseball and the Yankees is simply this: Be More Like Abby. By adopting Wambach's formula of thinking more of the sport instead of the individual, baseball can change and become less complicated, less me-oriented and honestly, more fun!
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
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