The World's Biggest Stage!!!! I am sooooo EXCITED.
If you're a long-time blog follower then you're already familiar with my passion for soccer. (That or you read the little line about being on a muddy soccer field in the bio in the side bar.)
I've been playing the sport since I was 8 years old which is also how old I was when I wrote my first creative piece. I got a bloody nose in my first soccer game and that "creative" piece was a poem about Santa Claus. Let's hope I've gotten better at both!
And let's hope I've gotten more flexible:
(*Yup, that's me on the left prepping for the big game.)
There's really nothing I've loved as long as writing and soccer. They may seem like such disparate things but to me they both represent an escape. When I'm writing or running around the soccer field I'm not thinking about what errands I have to do or which phone call I should return. I'm there, in the moment, strategizing what comes next, and celebrating when the execution is exactly as I hoped. It's cathartic and at the end of the day it's mine. No matter what's going on I can always pull out the laptop or scrounge up the soccer ball, pound away at the keys, kick the sh*t out of the ball, or just go for finesse. It all depends on the day, but every day I know it's there: my escape route.
During the Men's World Cup I write a post here and here so it's only fair that on the day of the first U.S. Women's World Cup match, I pay homage.
It's been a bit of a surreal journey. That picture you just saw of me represented a huge milestone at the time: the first all-girls soccer league in my town. Before that you either played on the boys team (and being stubborn, I did though as the lone girl on the whole team) or you didn't play sports, at least not soccer anyway. And whether we knew it or not, that small little victory in Burnt Hills, NY was being repeated all over the country. Girls chose to forgo the cheerleading route or whatever else was considered appropriate girly girl activities in lieu of shinguards, cleats, and polyester jerseys.
And what we didn't know then was that girls only a wee bit older would later pave the way for things like Title IX, giving female athletes equal financial footing to their male counterparts, making universities--and later sponsors--pay attention to them. Perhaps that's why the 1999 Women's World Cup team was so popular too: they were the generation of Title IXers and those just on their heels were very aware of the path they had paved for us.
Now the women participating in this 2011 World Cup are a swath of ages, some a generation below and others, like all-star Abby Wambach, are of children of the early 1980s.*
And they're amazing players, many forging the women's professional soccer league. So get excited, and show some national pride. These may not be the pioneers, but they're making names for themselves in their own right and it would be a disservice to all the achievements we've made not to see the best of the best that bore out of that labor. And if you're still not convinced they're bad a*s, check out this pic:
And like the Men's World Cup, there's still the string of hilarious commercials that I so wish I could get all times of the year!
*Little trivia fact: I played against Abby Wambach out in Rochester, NY where she grew up.