I promised myself (and anyone who’s reading) that I’d get serious about posting weekly because I learn so much by looking back at what and how I’ve done in the last week. I’m a little behind with this week’s post but that’s in no small part due to a bit of soccer mania at our house. See, the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifications have been going on for a couple of weeks now and we’ve been watching. We aren’t fanatics about much in the sports world, but soccer and the Olympics are biggies for us.
Apparently not enough people in the US care about women’s soccer for the CONCACAF tournament to be televised here. I bet if more Americans knew how tight the qualifications were — that of the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Canada and the US, only two teams get to go to the Olympics — it might get televised. I won’t complain, though, because we were able to watch all of the US team’s games online.
The US and Canada were predicted to emerge from the eight-nation field with the two Olympic berths, and they did, in that order. The US outscored its opponents 38-0 in 5 games (14, 13, 4, 3 and 4 to 0, respectively). That sounds like they dominated, and for the most part they did. But in the one game that mattered most — the semifinal versus Costa Rica to determine which team would get one of the two Olympic berths — they had the most trouble. They looked nervous, and they admitted as much after the game. In the end, they pulled through, got their ticket to London, and then went on to win the whole tournament by defeating the other Olympic qualifier, Canada. You can see the highlights, which are pretty impressive, at concacaf.com.
Our household fanaticism included lots of Twitter reading and youtube watching of related content. I was checking out tweets by some of the men’s national team players congratulating the women, and I got sucked into Landon Donovan’s stream. I hit a tweet by his amicably ex wife, Bianca Kajlich, of this quote: “One of the reasons we struggle with insecurity is because we’re comparing our ‘behind the scenes’ with everybody else’s ‘highlight reel.’” It’s attributed to Steven Furtick, a North Carolina pastor.
Doesn’t that just about sum it up? We watch the highlights and we see the best moments. But they are just moments. If we dig a little deeper, we hear Tobin Heath, for example, talk about making enemies by deciding not to play for her high school soccer team because she wanted the challenge of training with a boys’ club. We saw tweets berating Rachel Buehler following the 2011 World Cup. We hear Sydney Leroux say that by age 6, she knew that she wanted to play on the US Women’s Soccer team when she grew up, and so left Vancouver for the States (thanks to dual citizenship) at 15 to make it happen — and got booed for it each time she touched the ball tonight in Vancouver. We see video of Ali Krieger making herself keep running intervals after the rest of the team has stopped.
I love these women. And I know that the only reason they make it look so easy is because they work so, so hard.
If you’ve really got to compare yourself to someone else, keep it apples to apples. Everybody has highlights, and everybody has bloopers. And maybe every six months of effort you put in will yield just a few seconds of highlight reel — but they’ll be awesome.