Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Playing Like a Girl

As Edie grows up and develops her own interests and talents, I pray I'm able to give her adequate space to become herself.  I don't want to try to live through her, whether that be by hoping she loves the same things I loved as a child or that she does better than I did at them. I want her to be her own girl.

But, I do have one somewhat specific little dream for her. I pray that, at some point throughout her childhood, she is part of a team.

I played soccer growing up, and I probably have just as many painful memories as I do fond ones of the game.  But I also probably appreciate the painful memories more because they were teaching me something--how to lose, how to let someone else score the goal and get the glory, discipline in going to practice day after day when I'd rather be doing just about anything else, how to push my body through exhaustion or heat when I thought I had nothing left to give, how to handle the inconvenience of injury, how to still be a teammate from the bench.

The U.S. women play Nigeria tonight in their last game of World Cup group play.  Watching the Women's World Cup always brings me back to the day I screamed my little head off at the tiny T.V. in our family R.V. (we were at the lake) when Brandi scored the game-winning PK and slid across the field in her sports bra. In that moment, I felt like I had also won because I, too, was a female soccer player in the United States--we were on the same team.

I'm obviously hoping for a win tonight, too, even though as a mid-20s retired soccer player-turned wife and mom, I'm much less invested in the celebrity of our national team.  Instead, I'm enjoying watching from the sidelines for the few seconds here and there I'm able to turn my eyes away from my baby girl, who is currently making a sport of standing up to violently grab my face, letting go and falling back on her bottom and then doing it all over again.  I look at her and find myself dreaming she throws her heart into a sport like this one day and leaves it all on the field every time she plays.  I also hope there are games she leaves it all on the bench, too, including her tears of disappointment, and learns that it isn't all about her.



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