I’m afraid this won’t surprise anyone who’s followed Christie Rampone’s struggles in 2015. The Equalizer reports that she’s skipping the U.S. team’s December games because of “ongoing issues” related to a bone bruise in her left knee.
Even late into her 30s, the mother of two remained one of the fittest athletes on the team. These days, though, no matter how many hours she puts in at the gym, no matter how rigorous a diet she adheres to, she’s simply not able to will away the downward pull of age.
Her body is breaking down, in small, varied ways. Rampone started 2015 injured, she’s ending 2015 injured, and in between she was less productive than we’ve seen in a very long time.
It’s not practical to think that this will change significantly, any more than Kobe Bryant had reason to believe his outside shot would start dropping again, any more than I should expect my 63-year-old eyes to regain the power and focus they had when I was 20. That’s not how aging works.
As I wrote in a lengthy piece published earlier today, with the Olympics just eight months away — and with a roster that shrinks to 18 players, down from the 23 that teams could carry in the World Cup — the time may be rapidly approaching when Captain America will have to decide how much longer she wants to fight the inevitable.