Even though Abby Wambach is “retired,” this past year has been characterized by commotion.
She’s battled addiction, remarried and embraced her new role as step-parent.
Abby recently sat down with Adam to talk about all the change.
Adam: How are things?
Abby: Things are great. It’s been a really interesting transition from playing … It’s a lot lonelier than I could have anticipated (without constantly traveling with a team) and I’m still very busy … I’ve been told what to do, to achieve success and I’ve been really good at following directions. Now when given opportunities to make my own choices and be my own person and decide on the kind of life that I want to have, I’ve found that’s really hard.
Adam: You’re a step-parent now. How’s that been?
Abby: Evidently I was born to be in a parenting role. My wife (Glennon Doyle Melton) calls me the momiest mom that ever momed … Glennon and myself and their dad, we’re just traveling them around all over Florida getting them to their games … I’ve been such a part of shaping young girls’ dreams for so long that now I get to do it on a very personal, specific level with these kids has been so fun, and it’s hard and it’s scary, it’s scary to know or not know if you’re doing it right.
Adam: You are the symbol of tough and what makes your story about drug and alcohol abuse is that you can be tough, but also succumb to this…
Abby: The good news and bad news about any kind of addiction is it doesn’t discriminate. You can be the most bad mother on the field and this disease will take ahold of your life and turn it upside down in a lot of ways like it did to me … Mine ended in getting a DUI and often that is a rarity. It doesn’t end with just the DUI, it ends in death or killing somebody else or killing yourself whatever drug or addiction we’re talking about usually doesn’t end that well … I truly am lucky to be able to tell my story. And I hope my story can help somebody out there who is struggling and let this be a lesson to people … Life is so hard and I can speak for myself, I want didn’t want to operate on life’s terms, I wanted to operate on my terms so now that I look back on the early parts of my retirement I realize I wasn’t processing it well, I wasn’t equipped to handle what was going on in my personal life … struggle happens and the worst things in your life and the worst things in life can turn into the best things that ever happen to you.
Adam: We all have highlight reels in our head of things we’re really happy we did in life. I know some are on the field for you. What are the top 3 that you find yourself reflecting on?
Abby: A flash in my mind is my senior year (at Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women) on my hands and knees crying in Hornell at the state championship game, that was my first real heartbreak, I know a highlight reel is supposed to be high, but that was really indicative of the kind of person and the personality I was going to become as an athlete as a player, as a soccer player. That was definitive in that I was never not going to win something. It’s the last time I didn’t win something. I went on to win gold medals, I went on to win world championships, best player of the year, I went on to do all these things because I tasted that kind of failure … The only thing grows us as people is pain, the only thing that makes us better is pain, is hardships, it’s getting through something, it’s overcoming, that’s what makes strong successful people … The other highlight reels of course would be winning a gold medal and World Cup championship and then I think the all-popular goal in the waning moments of the 2011 World Cup.