Thursday, August 09, 2012

gold

Our poster child for human beingness   
If you've been reading this blog over the past, um, seven years, you know that I'm a little bit of a soccer nut. Even though I, myself, have never played. Yeah, I'm one of those. But, c'mon, I've been a beast of a soccer mom for 20 years, I've written articles about the sport (and its regional fandom), and when it comes to women's soccer, ask my husband, he'll tell you that he NEVER sees me as animated as I am when glued to the Abby-Megan-Alex-Hope show.
 
Though I felt bad for the Canadians with the semi outcome the other day (they gave just as much as our women did, and if you're from Portland, you gotta love watching UP alum Sinclair), I was salivating for the chance to watch USAvJPN again. The Japanese women are simply the smartest, most disciplined team out there. They don't have our drama or individual personality. Our sheer physical intent. Our bravado. But they use every ounce of ability and focus.They punish every mistake. They are winners in the deepest sense of the word.
                            
Last summer's Japan-USA World Cup final was a heartbreaker for the diehard USWNT fans, but one of those emotional sports capstones that paper towel companies relish. The country had been devastated by the earthquake just months before the World Cup. It was this sort of "Well, if the U.S. had to lose, better to the poor Japanese girls than to, say, the Germans or the French" feelings. Which is bullshit, but where would international advertising-fueled, media-inspired sporting events be without sentimentality?

And speaking of the media, nobody was more soundbite-bite worthy than Wambach when she went on record before the London Games with her, "It doesn't matter who gets the goals - I'm going to leave my whole Human Beingness on that field" statement.

Tears of silver 
Today's match was a tad anti-climactic after that amazing semi-final against our neighbors to the north. I mean, Rapinoe was spent and sore. Wambach, bless her heart, looked run over by a freight train for much of the game. Baby Horse was her usual energetic self, but was outshined at the back of the net by Lloyd today--which, in the end, is why I love watching these women. Pia's team is deep. So deep. And know each other so well, you get the feeling that they make plays based upon this sort of infallible intuition that you just don't see with the boys' teams.

And don't even get me started on that stud, Solo. If the Timbers HAD to trade one of their most popular team members, it should have been Solo, not Ricketts, they acquired. (Though my son tells me she's crap against grounders, and that's why she blows shootouts. Hm.)

So the USA wins gold in Women's Football, and soccer-playing girls all over the country have sparky, genuine, incredible athletes as role models, their stature only outsized by their hearts. Silver, Gold, Bronze or no medal at all, I'm a fan. #USWNTTID.


5 comments:

  1. Yea !!!!!! I'm right there with you, Suzy! I don't follow soccer like I do tennis and golf, but I'm still so excited for this GOLD medal. And you're right, our Hope Solo is a total stud! I love her.

    Today I noticed that open water swimming sport, which I'd never even heard of. An event so taxing they have to eat and drink WHILE they're swimming! My god.

    I love watching the games, but I like hearing their stories just as much. The talent and dedication. The odds. The struggle. The daily work, mostly alone, trying to get it right. Sound like any other profession you know?? I'm going to miss these Olympics when they're over ....

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    1. Teri, it is like writing, it is! The solitude the focus, the tears. Maybe that's why all the lit folk over on the Twitter are always tweeting their thoughts on the swimming/gymnastics/t&f.

      And let's not forget about the stats. Every week I'm checking the back page of the NYT Book Review to see how long Cheryl Strayed can keep kicking ass!

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    2. Cheryl is totally kicking ass. Even my husband is in on the "what's Cheryl doing this week?!" wagon. Exciting to watch. Love it.

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  2. Hi, soccer fans (Suzy), can someone help me out with a remedial question? Maybe it's all the Olympics on TV, but it looks like there's a lot of team sports that look the same, more or less. Two teams, two goals, two goalies, and some unique way to advance the ball. Handball looks like football (soccer) except using hands instead of feet. Hockey uses sticks. Ice hockey is obvious. Polo (which isn't in the Olympics) looks like hockey on horses. Water polo looks like handball in the water. So, why is non-American football so much more popular than all the other team sports with two teams, two goals, and two goalies? Help!

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    1. I'm sure there's a biological imperative there somewhere, regarding the goals and sticks. Building skillsets in order to slaughter prey? Hand-eye calisthenics ensuring the continuation of the species? The gladiators, look at the gladiators! It's all so caveman. But, alas, we succumb, and will continue to do so.

      Plus, world-class athletes are generally very pleasant to look at.

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