I should preface this post with the disclaimer that I am not an expert in anything athletic, least of all any sort of organized sports. I have discovered that I can actually sit through a soccer game though, and my mind not wander too much. This discovery was made because my husband is a huge soccer (real football because the players primarily use their feet to engage the ball) fan and I got pulled into it through the last several World Cups.
This was the first time I watched women play soccer. I had heard it was boring and slow to watch, and since…squirrel… I didn’t really want to lose precious time watching that.
I was missing out.
I watched all the USWNT matches and a few others throughout the tournament and I was impressed. They had skill, control, fancy footwork, and sportsmanship, or I guess sportswomanship. Don’t get me wrong, I love to watch the men play too, but they can be such divas, rolling around on the ground every few minutes. When these women fell down or crashed into each other, they helped pick each other up and kept going. (Ok, so the men sometimes help each other up too, but usually they are too busy yelling in the ref’s face). These women were tough, and I have mad respect for that.
One disappointment: the way our team changed their play every time Abby was put in the game. I never watched her in her prime, but I understand she is a legend and earned it. However, even when our ladies were doing fine already, every time Abby came in the game, they started playing long ball to get the ball to her, when they should have been keeping it close and following through themselves.
It comes down to confidence. I don’t think they realized they had it without Abby. They figured it out in the final…within the first 16 minutes of the game. The energy they began with was incredible. By the time Abby came out, our women knew they had it, and her playing was more of a nod of respect to her years of hard work as this would be her last match. She must also be proud to see that her team is strong and finding their way on their own now, no doubt partially through her expertise and guidance. The moment when the captain’s arm band was handed over to Abby was special.
If our little one wants to play in any sports as she gets older, I hope she plays like a girl.