I’m sure you probably clicked on this as either a way to support me and genuinely read my thoughts, or maybe you clicked it wondering why that’s the title of a blog or you shook your head and said, “oh no, here goes Jeff with a political post.” But this blog will in no way really be political, though I will say Megan Rapinoe and her stances on racial inequality and my undying support for her and others who are part of that cause are inspiring and brave.
Megan Rapinoe is also a bad ass soccer player and woman. She is the leader of one of the most dominating women’s soccer teams we’ve ever seen at the world level. She’s a goal scoring terror, a captain and a leader. She will go down as one of the greats and she dominates a sport that has made fans out of all of us. Surely a lot of the stuff I mentioned is what makes someone a hero and inspiring.
But, Megan Rapinoe is one of my heroes due to what she’s done for a member of her family and never giving up on him. We all have a family member who we may not agree with, maybe things they do bother us or they just have an addiction that makes them a shell of what they once were. Many of us keep them at arms length and provide a word of support or check in on them once in awhile or think of them. We never really go above and beyond for them and slowly we forget and they continue to fall into despair.
Megan Rapinoes brother Brian was her hero, she grew up 5 years his junior and he was who she looked up to. He played soccer, she wore his number and even got the same haircut. As they got older, Brian fell into drug addiction and has spent most of his adult life in prison. Subsequently, Brian became a prison white supremacist, a life he now vehemently denies. If you know anything about the California prison system, it’s a life for most young white men. It’s a killed or be killed institution and you hang with your own. During that time he fell further into addiction and the Brotherhood and away from his family and his beloved sister. As he sat in solitary confinement in the notorious Pelican Bay State Prison, a maximum security institution, he thought about his family and sister, but there wasn’t much he could do. He eventually began conversing with black inmates and changed his supremacist ways, he had his tattoos removed and tried to become a new person. The problem was he couldn’t stay out of trouble. Megan went the other way, she evolved into a soccer great and became a member of the US National Team. In 2015, he watched her in the World Cup from prison. Eventually though he saw the light of day through his sisters success, and her never really giving up on him and throughout the support she provided for him. He is now in a drug rehab facility as he approaches 19 months sobriety and newfound freedom. He credits her and her life as a motivation. “Look at her life and what she’s done and look at what you’ve done with yours.” Brian Rapinoe is now enrolled in college and hopes to make a difference in others lives as a juvenile counselor. “My brother is special,” Megan says. “He has so much to offer. It would be such a shame if he left this world with nothing but prison sentences behind him. To be able to have him out, and to play for him, and to have him healthy, with this different perspective that he has now: This is like the best thing ever.”
Many of us just do enough to support someone locked up or addicted, don’t give up on them. I myself have 2 best friends who are doing 7-10 years in prison and just being a positive person that cares about them, I believe does all the difference. Be a part of their life and do something to make them happy. Or just go out and reconnect with a family member that may have fell into a life of despair. You never know what it can do for them, if you can save just one person it’s worth it. People in jail or addicted to drugs are the forgotten, we allow them to do what they want, because it really doesn’t generally affect us and we go on with our lives. Do your part and do more than just think about them. Show them success, its the greatest motivator and can be the light they need to turn on.
Megan Rapinoe is a winner, a captain, a leader, a women’s rights and racial injustice warrior and a hero to many including me. She’s on top of the world, and soon her brother can join her. She inspires all of us to stick up for our views and saved her own kin, without her, Brian Rapinoe likely becomes just another prison statistic.
So shout of to you Megan Rapinoe, a World Cup champion and one of my heroes.
As always you can find me on Twitter @jeffnadu