While on special assignment to the Women's World Cup for Bared Affair, roving reporter Beth ran into some of the mothers of the current U.S. women's team. Beth took this opportunity to inquire about the child rearing methods these mothers used to raise such an outstanding crop of young ladies.
The no nonsense, old fashioned Stephanie Hamm.
Stephanie's celebrated daughter; Mia.
The first mother that I was able to speak to about child rearing methods was none other than Stephanie Hamm, mother of perhaps the greatest woman ever to play the game, Mia Hamm. Mrs. Hamm told Bared Affair that Mia was a delightful girl growing up, but as one who liked to play sports with the neighborhood boys, managed to get into a bit of trouble in her youth. "Wichita Falls was pretty much a no nonsense kind of community," Mrs. Hamm stated. "When children in this town misbehaved, at school or home, they got spanked, and Mia was no exception. With her father flying planes for the Air Force, disciplining the children was usually left up to me. Sometimes Mia would go out of bounds when playing soccer, football, or baseball with the neighborhood boys. When I'd find out about it, she always told the truth, even though she knew it would mean a trip over my knee for a dose of the hairbrush. In her teen years, she got a bit too strong for me to control over my knee, so I would make her bend over the bed or a chair for her spankings."
When I inquired as to how Mia was spanked, asking if it was bare bottom, Mrs. Hamm laughed while replying, "Is there any other way to give a spanking?" I followed up that question by asking how old Mia was when she got her last spanking.
"The difficult thing when it came to punishing Mia as a teen," began Mrs. Hamm, "was her schedule. Grounding her wasn’t really practical because of her many soccer commitments. To ground her would punish not just her but her team. Spanking seemed to be the only real solution, so Mia was spanked all the way through high school and even received a couple during college. She inevitably would receive a spanking whenever she returned from a stint with the national team. People always talk about how unassuming she is, but in her early days on the national team, she wasn't always like that with her family. Within a few weeks of her return to the family, her mouth would get the better of her, and she would end up bending over her bed for a dose of my hairbrush."
After finishing my interview with Mrs. Hamm, I ran into Mrs. Foudy, mother of national team co-captain, Julie Foudy. Mrs. Foudy was very forthcoming when it came to discussing her famous daughter. I had to ask Mrs. Foudy about Julie's nickname, Loudy Foudy. I wanted to know when she first received that moniker.
Julie 'Loudy' Foudy and tennis great Billie Jean King. I wonder if the ladies were discussing Miss Foudy's traditional upbringing.
"Julie has always been a bit on the loud side," confided Mrs. Foudy. "She's had that nickname since elementary school days. I must admit that I didn't always spank Julie in her childhood, but when I started getting calls from her teachers, complaining about the constant talking, my discipline method of a stern lecture just wasn't getting through to her. I had read Dr. Spock, and he said we shouldn't spank our children. Well, I was a talkative child growing up, and I got spanked when the school called. It didn't take many spankings from my mother to convince me to mind my teachers. About 4th grade, I decided to abandon Dr. Spock's philosophy of child raising and embrace my mother's. When I got calls from school, Julie got the wooden spoon across her backside. I suppose she got a couple of spankings every year all the way through high school for being too talkative, but it was nothing like the weekly phone calls I used to get during her first years at school."
I mentioned to Mrs. Foudy how Mrs. Hamm found it difficult to use more conventional older girl punishments on Mia because of all her soccer commitments. Mrs. Foudy concurred that it was difficult to ground Julie for the same reason. As a result, like Mia, Julie found herself bending over for the wooden spoon as an older teen instead of being grounded. I began to wonder if this was a commonplace punishment for the members of the national team since all would have had similar commitments to various teams while still in school.
Kristine Lilly. I'm sure she and her mother had words about this risque shot.
A conversation I had with the mother of Kristine Lilly began to confirm my suspicions. Mrs. Lilly told me that she and Mrs. Hamm had talked about their daughters being members of the national team while still in high school. All girls are subject to naughtiness, and Kristine was no different. To ground Kristine would jeopardize her position on the national team, and she never misbehaved badly enough for that to be a reasonable punishment. So, like Mia and Julie, Kristine was also spanked all the way through high school for her various transgressions. Mrs. Lilly preferred using her hand to spank Kristine, although she sometimes did resort to a belt for more serious wrongdoing. Mrs. Lilly also confided that both she and Mrs. Hamm had given the national team coach at that time permission to spank their daughters if they got out of line. To the best of her knowledge, that permission was never used, but Kristine and Mia went to national team camps and games knowing that they could be spanked by their coach if needed.
Joy Fawcett. Joy is a highly decorated player and a mother herself now, but she went over her mother's knee all through high school.
The next mother I had the pleasure of meeting was Mrs. Biefeld, mother of Joy Fawcett. Joy is unique among national team members in that not only is she a daughter, she is also the mother of three daughters. Mrs. Biefeld looked reflective when asked about her child rearing methods. She admitted to spanking Joy as a child. "After all, don't all young children get spanked?" she asked.
Joy's name apparently fit her personality, and she rarely needed discipline as a teen. There was one time, though; at about age 14, when Joy had crossed a line of disobedience, and Mrs. Biefeld grounded her for a week. Because Joy would have to miss two practices and two games during the grounding, Mrs. Biefeld told Joy she would have to call her coach to inform her of the situation. When Joy told her coach about being grounded, the coach asked to speak to her mother. The coach understood that Joy had done wrong and deserved punishment, but then she asked what her teammates had done to also be punished. If Joy had to miss the games, her teammates would also end up being punished. Even though Joy hadn't been spanked in several years, she ended up bending over for the belt, because her mother agreed that it wasn't fair to punish the team for what Joy did. Ever since that time, if Joy earned a punishment during a soccer season, the punishment would be a spanking.
Cindy Parlow's mother kept her in line with the switch while she was growing up.
Cindy Parlow's mother didn't hesitate to talk about how Cindy was raised. Being from the South, spanking was commonly used, both at home and school. "On more than one occasion," Mrs. Parlow stated, "Cindy was sent to cut a switch. She got a bit too big for her britches her senior year and skipped a couple of classes. She ended up getting paddled at school and switched at home for that."
Nothing Abby Wambach did on the field was quite as unpleasant as the ping pong paddle from her mother.
Abby Wambach is one of the younger members of the national team. She is the youngest of seven children. Mrs. Wambach said that with so many children, she had to run a tight ship. Abby and her sisters went to Our Lady of Mercy High School because the philosophy of the school so closely matched the philosophy of the Wambach household. All of the Wambach children were spanked, and Abby was no exception. Mrs. Wambach confided that Abby was spanked all through high school, but it wasn't because she was a soccer star. All of the Wambach children were spanked until leaving home. Mrs. Wambach preferred to use a ping-pong paddle on her children after they reached their teen years.
The cheeky youngest member of the team; Cat Reddick, knew how to cut a switch.
The youngest member of the national team, and the only one still in college is Cat Reddick. Mrs. Reddick was a delight to talk to. Like Cindy Parlow, Cat is from the South, and the Reddick household was run much like the Parlow household. "We have a peach tree in the backyard," Mrs. Reddick said. "Cat and her sisters knew if they misbehaved, they would be sent to cut a switch that would be used on their bare behinds. If they brought back an unacceptable switch, they knew I would go cut two to replace it and use both of them. They also knew that a spanking at school meant a doubly hard spanking at home. That happened to Cat a few times, but I must say that generally, she was a very good student.
While I was talking to Mrs. Reddick, several members of the national team came up to us. A few, Cat Reddick among them, blushed when they heard the topic of our conversation. Despite being embarrassed about being spanked as older teens, all of them readily admitted that it was far better to suffer a sore bottom than to have missed out on soccer. This was especially true for both Mia and Kristine, both of whom made the national team as teenagers.
"Mom's spankings hurt," grimaced Mia, "but getting knocked off the national team because I was grounded from camp would have hurt a whole lot more,"
"I think we were better behaved than most teens because of it, too," added Kristine.
"It's helped me learn to be a better parent," added in Joy. I won't punish a whole team if my girls misbehave, although that's probably still a few years away.
The consensus among the U.S. women's team is that most, if not all, were spanked by their mothers during their teen years. It also would appear that most would not have been spanked as teens had it not been for their many soccer commitments. Can we attribute the great success the U.S. team has had over the years to spanking? It would seem that at least a little of the credit can go to that time honored method of disciplining naughty girls.