“The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when nobody is watching.” Mia Hamm (1st woman inductee, World Football Hall of Fame)
Virginia has been (mostly) AWOL in the blogosphere the past month due to FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer tournament. No free time, what with recording and watching the month-long tournament of 24 national teams taking on each other in Group Phase, narrowed down to 16 teams in the Knockout Phase, on to 8 teams in the Quarter-finals, then 4 teams in the Semi-finals, who continued on to the bronze medal match yesterday between Sweden and England, and today’s big final in Lyon, France.
The U.S. and Netherlands women’s soccer teams kicked their way through an exciting final match today. So excited for the U.S. women who have done an amazing job the whole tournament (especially getting through France in the Quarter-finals.)
Kudos to Coach Jill Ellis and the whole team! YAAAY, USA!
FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup has seen incredible action – upsets (Sweden overcoming #2 ranked Germany in the Quarterfinals, Norway knocking out Australia) and surprises (Italy making it to the Quarterfinals for the first time), incredibly tense matches (last second plays, goals, overtimes, penalty kicks) and stellar soccer moments to savor.
So, it’s just a game. Football (as most of the world calls it.)
22 players kickin’ it for 90 minutes.
“The thing about football… the important thing about football… is that it is not just about football.” Terry Pratchett
Therein lies the rub, especially with women’s football/soccer. Today women coaches led both teams in the final match – Jill Ellis for USA and Sarina Wiegman for the Netherlands – a huge stride for women’s soccer. There are not many women coaches out there (yet), but maybe after today more women players will consider coaching.
It’s also about grit, endurance, determination, working toward goals, teamwork, performing under pressure, practice (practice, practice), continuing to try when down by one goal, two, three – multiple goals – for the joy of playing. Thailand lost all their Group Phase games, but they scored one goal in their match against Sweden.
The whole country of Thailand celebrated that goal, even though they lost 5 to 1.
Life can be like a football match. We try and try to reach our goals, but miss. When we miss our goals and jumble our life grooves, do we give up?
Reminds me of a favorite scene from the movie Chariots of Fire after Eric Liddell beats Harold Abrahams in their first race. A frustrated Harold tells Sybil, “if I can’t win, I won’t run.” But Sybil replies, “If you don’t run, you can’t win.”
We’ve got to put ourselves out there if we want to reach our goals. We can’t sit on the sidelines of our lives and expect to achieve …anything.
Sometimes we might want to just quit. Sometimes our best life grooves involve just ‘hanging in there.’ Showing up each day, praying for the grace to meet each challenge as it arises. Being faithful (even if we’re so bone tired achieving anything seems impossible.)
Getting help, also helps. Like, we need each other. Football is a team sport – it takes good teamwork setting up a goal. In the 10th minute of U.S. Semi-final match against England, Christen Press made an amazing header goal off a cross from Kelley O’Hara – the best kind of teamwork. All the more special as post goal Christen Press honored her mother who died suddenly this past year. (Megan Rapinoe teared up talking what that goal meant at a press conference yesterday.)
Sometimes we can’t see those around us, willing to assist our life grooves. Maybe we need to sit back, look around and have a go at it (whatever ‘it’ may be) with help from others to reach our goals.
Developing good life grooves (the kind that see us through) can be tough, especially as in the World Cup when the game gets rough and the going gets gritty (like bronze-medal winner Sweden defending with everyone on deck for unbelievable saves against tenacious England yesterday.)
Like Terry Pratchett said, it’s not just about football. How these teams played, matters. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer team won FIFA 2019 Women’s World Cup by powering their way through the tournament, one game at a time with consistent teamwork, dedication, determination and grit – interspersed with moments of brilliant soccer.
Not just the Americans, but all the players in this tournament inspired me – because they all went out there and played.
Virginia : )
“God didn’t create you to be like everyone else. Be you.” Tobin Heath