Little Known Fact: Soccer Cures AIDS


So the Health section of today’s Post features a huge photo of an under-16 girls soccer team. I did not need to read the byline to figure out who wrote the accompanying article.

Hot off the discovery that teenage girls like to shop more than teenage boys, LSS’s next project is to document this soccer team’s trip to South Africa. The girls plan to teach the locals the joys of the sport. Somehow this is supposed to prevent people from contracting the HIV. I don’t really get it.

I am all for charity. Even charity which is obviously designed to broaden the soccer team’s horizons instead of actually, you know, really helping anyone. I mean, it would be nice if they wanted to help the poorer parts of DC and Maryland. I’ve been tipped off that they have their own HIV and poverty problems. But, South Africa instead. Fine. Godspeed.

This trip will be good for the Americans and hopefully it will be good for the South Africans. The latter are getting at least a $10,000 donation out of it. My beef with this, and this is should be obvious to anyone who’s been reading this site for an extended period of time, is that Laura Sessions Stepp is a terrible writer.

What happens when they [the soccer team] sit around a fire and talk about self-image and sexuality with girls more open to those conversations than they are? Or when they have to forgo such everyday luxuries as Life cereal, artichokes and dark chocolate for yams, rice and beans?

First and foremost, wasn’t your whole entire thing with Unhooked? That American girls are now way more open about discussing their sexuality? Don’t you remember writing that? Tell me you at least remember your book tour? You made being a 16-year-old girl look like one big uninterrupted blowjob. You learned the terms "tebagging" and, ugh, "eating a roast beef sandwich" from 16-year-old girls. Now they're the shy ones!? Your inconsistencies are as frustrating as your prose, Ms. Stepp.

And how in God’s green Earth did you come up with “Life cereal, artichokes and dark chocolate”? What a weird and distracting sentence. (Editor's Note: Life cereal is really fucking good but why is it more expensive per ounce than other cereals? What fancy ingredient jacks up the price?)

The piece then devolves into a summary of all the wacky sitcom-style culture clashes that the author expects. No cell phones or iPods? Crazy! Baboons? Whoa! How will these girls ever manage!? Oh, that’s right. They’ll mange through the power of soccer.

"I hope we can leave behind the knowledge of how empowering soccer can be," said Joanna Meyer-Glitzenstein, 16, a tough center/midfielder, and one of several girls interviewed in their homes before leaving.

This is especially hilarious because, as the article notes, girls in South Africa don’t even play soccer. That’s a boy sport over there. It’s not like the South African girls don’t know what soccer is. And empowering? My experience with soccer was anything but empowering. It was a constant reminder of my athletic inferiority and general lack of grace.

So, a bunch of wealthy (certainly on a global scale, but probably on a national scale too) girls are going to South Africa to teach poorer girls how to play soccer. The irony of Americans teaching soccer to Africans is duly noted. Somewhere in all of this, everyone learns about HIV. I still don’t get that part, but, whatever. It’s win-win. The only losers are the readers of The Washington Post. We’re going to have deal with LSS waxing poetic on this for the next two weeks. Let's be honest, none of us could really give two shits. That hasn't stopped her before and it won't stop her now. Fantastic.

UPDATE: I didn't notice this at first, but this series is being called "World's United." Let's just say that I'm very wary of that apostrophe. There is no way LSS and/or whatever editor titled this meant "World is United." They mean two worlds. Plural. No apostrophe. It's the fucking title of this two week project and they can't even get that right.

UPDATE #2: OK. Only one link says "World's." The rest say "Worlds." It's one error too many, but Lord knows I've made enough mistakes around these parts to let it slide.


  1. I suppose this soccer match will help people with AIDS symbolically, rather than literally. See it like the upcoming (or just passed?) AIDS Walk 2007. Does walking cure AIDS? Anyhoo...lucky little bitches, I'd got to South Africa (or anywhere far an exotic) to "help cure AIDS" too. Boo.

    I’m in total agreement on Strepp. WTF was that? Her writing was so lame, I literally cringed and dry-heaved a few times by simply reading the excerpts in your blog. I can’t imagine reading the whole article. I’m sure it was painful. Strepp really sucks and in no way should be writing for the Post.

  2. I fucking hate her .... why doesnt someone censor her? I'd rather read crazy socialist newsletters

  3. Was it LSS who wrote the article last summer about the "woes" of unpaid summer interns in DC?

    It seems like it would be right up her alley.

  4. hey rusty i hope you see this...it has nothing to do with the most recent post but is worth asking. do you have the feed service or subscription set-up on blogger? i want to add this blog to my google reader but it says that there are no feeds available.

  5. You know what would be fun... if LSS would stop shadowing the lives of rich teenage white girls and spent time with the young women of Anacostia. No HIV problem there!

    Laquisha, who be this cracker lady writing down ev'thing we be sayin?

  6. im suprised she didnt write about how they call it "football" uh futball? futbol? instead of soccer.

  7. I challenge anyone who believes that this trip was a bad idea to challenge the coach, Ian Oliver to a debate about it in person. So, why helping kids in SA and not DC? Well.. maybe because the main two partners for this project are NOT based in DC but South Africa. Secondly, perhaps we should question people who made contributions for not using their money to help HIV/AIDS in DC.. Oh but wait, how many of these contributors actaully live in DC?..
    Finnaly, according to the team website the team volunteer for a campaign aimed at helping decontaminate the Chesepeake Bay, volunteer an afternoon working for a church program that feed homeless people in DC, they also conducted soccer clinic to kids with disabilities. Come on now... Why discredit this team of girls.. when they have gone beyond their only job which is to show up at practices and games... Hey! we are all entitled to our opinion,, but I think discrediting the Blast on this one is flat out WRONG!

  8. As someone who just got back from 6 months in South Africa, I found the article inaccurate and condescending, as well as horribly written. "Life cereal, artichokes, and dark chocolate" (wtf?) in fact all exist in PLENTY in South Africa, as do cell phones, Ipods, and hair straighteners. Even people living in townships have cell phones. While certainly the poverty in South African townships is dire and this will undoubtedly be an experience completely different than that which wealthy kids living in the DC suburbs are accoustomed to, this article undermines the charitable intent of those planning the trip with its assumption that SA is so primitive.