Sue Bird shares her retirement advice for girlfriend Megan Rapinoe.

Sue Bird shares her retirement advice for girlfriend Megan Rapinoe.

Megan Rapinoe already had. Her big delivery From the US Women’s National Team last month, this time it’s OL Reign’s turn. The team opened up additional seats at their home stadium, Lumen Field in Seattle, and has the potential to set a new NWSL record attendance for a single match (San Diego currently holds the record with 32,000 sellouts). There will be pre- and post-game shows celebrating Rapinoe’s history with the club.

The city also participates, with local boats flying the “Forever Rapinoe” flag and buildings around town (including Lumen Field) lighting up “Pinoy Rose” on Friday night.

Next to Rapinoe on Friday night will be fiancee Sue Bird, who not only knows about retiring from a long professional career, but also knows it after a long career in Seattle. In Bird’s case, last year marked 21 years with the WNBA’s Seattle Hurricanes, and Rapinoe is looking forward to this new chapter in their lives together.

Some projects await them, of course, starting with their production company, A Touch More Hire a new head of development by Camille Bernier Green. Rapinoe expressed her desire to stay involved in the development of women’s sports.

But first, there’s the matter of Friday night’s game against the Washington Spirit, which has huge playoff implications for the State’s hopes of securing the sixth and final playoff spot or three points atop the table. The match will be broadcast on CBS and Paramount+ starting at 8 p.m.

The bird spoke to him The athletics Earlier this week, we talked about Rapinoe’s work on the field these last few weeks, how she tries to balance mentoring as a fan, and much more.

What is it like to be on the sidelines of a pro sports retirement experience?

As with anything, when you see your partner going through anything that brings up emotions, you both want to be supportive and empathetic. But I have a deep knowledge that comes from my own experience, so you know, I’m trying to sprinkle in tidbits here and there. No one wants to be bossy like, “Okay, when No He did…”

I’m very careful about that, but I also shout when it feels right. “Listen, this is normal” or “what you’re feeling is normal” or “yes, it’s going to be a lot, but it’s okay.” I’m letting her have her own experience, because they’re not the same.

What was Megan’s final USWNT game like for you in Chicago?

What I see with Megan’s practice is that once she gets there, no matter what the moment is, she’s in the moment – which has been amazing throughout her career, just being in the moment. Whether he has to play or meet a tough press conference, always in real time. I think she had to plan for the moment so it was special to see her kind outside of her body, right? Time is waiting for you, and now you have to plan when you get there, and that is different from the suddenness that usually happens.

For me, being on the field in Chicago, it was great to see her through this period, because I saw everything that led up to it. It was great, I feel like it was a bit of a breather for everyone to finally be there. It’s really fast! Being on the field before the game, that happens quickly. Like the second we got out there, took the picture with the jersey, they were like, “Okay! You’re out, you gotta play the game!”

I’m always joking, to everyone who cares Retired my shirt, there was no time limit. So it felt too fast for me (He laughs). More than anything, it was fun just being a part of it (in Chicago). The Last Seven Years – As athletes, you’re a prisoner of schedule, aren’t you? Megan missed a lot of my last season, basically all of the second half. And that alone, the schedule gods were unlucky that year. For me, being retired, I can physically be in everything, so I feel a lot of gratitude in that.

The crowd loved Kiss in Chicago. That press box is pretty over the moon at Soldier Field and you can still hear it. Maybe it’s a little weird to think about because it’s just your life, but do you ever think about how much has changed in such small moments?

I heard the crowd. I heard the volume get a little louder, I mean I thought we were on camera.

In many ways, it’s like evolution. Our relationship was about the evolution of people as individuals, the evolution of society, how they view same-sex couples, the LGBTQ+ community. And I think that’s what happened at that moment, like a nice little cherry on top – for something that’s been around for a long time, hidden or hidden or not covered. And we represent that, and that time represents normality.

Rapinoe and Bird kiss on September 24, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo: Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

We’ve spent time collecting some stories about Megan, but do you have something you think is underappreciated in her career?

It’s the first thing that comes to mind, and it’s documented, but I think it’s just underappreciated, like when she knelt for Meghan (during the national anthem) until she played it again. Because that guy… now, we look back, and by the way, very rarely does history reach a moment like it did. On top of that the turnaround time was very quick. It usually takes 10, 15, sometimes 50 years for this to happen. So I think it’s easy to forget that this is the real person who took her job. There were all kinds of gray areas on why; She was being told one thing but she knew it was another, and she knew what that would do to a person.

The story has been told, but I can clearly see it. In fact, it was irrational, her confidence was irrational. Her determination was unreasonable. There was never any shaking. You know, every now and then I’m like, “Oh my God, that hurts.” But otherwise, eyes were on the prize, and that really speaks to Meghan’s athletic class. Can you call it irrational because that’s fine with you? But at that moment it was necessary to go to the other side. It was amazing to see that first hand from a football perspective and a social justice element.

What are you waiting for in Seattle?

I feel like I’m in for a treat. I’m having a hard time trying to support it. It’s more about Megan, and my hope for her is that she really digs it. Without saying too much, I think it’s a nice balance for her to receive that kind of attention because, like I said, it’s premeditated and not spontaneous. . So he can feel comfortable. But what I’ve learned in the last year is you have to dive into it, lean into it.

Well, I’m just saying I’ll talk to her: it goes by so fast. When it’s over, you’ll wish you had more. So you may or may not be embarrassed to go all in. It’s happening because of what you’ve done in the past, it’s just a celebration of that. So put it all in, because no matter what, the minute you wake up the next day, you can’t get that back. So incredibly, but also tragically, because it happens so quickly.

And then, as athletes do, they split up, play a game, and once the whistle blows, they go back to celebrating. Just find that balance. I think she will be fine. Chicago was good practice.

The end of the NWSL regular season is definitely a lot, and I can understand because there’s a lot riding on it, not just wanting the win for personal reasons. And then trying to manage his emotional side as well.

There’s my advice, and it’s a sad one—in fact, I’ve never said it out loud. I lost all three finals: my last home regular season game, my last regular season game, and then we got some wins in the playoffs, which was great, but I lost my last game, and the same f— team! And I’m sitting here completely happy and content with my job. I have no regrets. The last three times I could have, I went out with L. It doesn’t change anything.

That’s exactly what I’m trying to say to Megan, don’t put too much pressure on it. The history books have already been written. They’re asking you what you want your legacy to be because you only have one, right? They are not asking people who don’t have it. You’ve already done it, and does this one game, change that, or define you in a different way?

My attempt there is just to take the pressure off. Of course, we all want to come out winners. But it doesn’t really say anything. So get out there and play.

After the NWSL season is over, what are you waiting for if you two – as you put it – are no longer prisoners on your schedule?

I’m afraid that might still happen. We have two minor things. We’re going to (Jess) Fishlock’s wedding (to Ciara King). That’s on the calendar. We like to plan vacations just to get away. The World Cup means we lost our summer, so some warm weather would be nice.

We’re explaining that, because you never know the season and the playoffs. So we’ll save all of that until November 11th, and whatever happens in those next two weeks happens and we go from there. We’ve talked about where we want to go for Christmas, Thanksgiving, that kind of thing, but that’s pretty much it.

We are very excited to start this phase. I’ve been looking forward to her getting here, so we’ll both be in the same chapter of life. We’ve always wanted a home here in Seattle, and this New York City apartment really represents that new level.

Speaking of NYC, how much shoe storage is there in that new apartment?We have to be reeeeeaaaaal strategic. It will be a low life, and we are not low.

(Top photo: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports)