Tag Archives: soccer

Inspiration, Insecurity, and Insane numbers of… goals.

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.

The US Women's National Team following their win at CONCACAF

The US Women's National Team following their win at CONCACAF

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.

“The 4-Hour Work Week” — part 1

OK, so I know there are plenty of posts out there about the Tim Ferriss book The 4-Hour Work Week. There’s no need for a long-winded dissection from me.

But as I type this, my bare feet are up on a windowsill in Portland, Oregon, with an incredible morning breeze coming into our hotel room; I’m relishing that perfect, teeny bit of bourbon-head that — rather than truly hurting — reminds me that I had a really fun time last night; and I’m about to go for an absolutely gorgeous run along the Willamette with my beloved spouse. We flew in yesterday from Albuquerque primarily to watch the US Women’s Soccer team play a friendly (exhibition) match against Canada last night, and it was totally worth it.

In short, it’s bliss.

If you’re familiar with the world according to Tim Ferriss, you get the connection. You might think he’s a douche as a person (I’d be inclined to agree for reasons spelled out in his book and in some high-profile blogs), and the whole package that he pushes might not work for you. But one point on which I definitely agree with him is this: Feeling free, or even successful, is not nearly so much about money as it is mobility. At least for me. Ferriss, who has earned $70K/month and more, can’t exactly speak from an either/or perspective about money vs. mobility anymore. Nor do I believe for a minute that he only works for four hours per week. But he is definitely a mobility guru.

For Karen and me, there’s nothing so fun and energizing as getting way – even for just a day or two — to explore a new city, to find the locals’ favorite coffee house, to have a few great meals somewhere new, to window shop. It doesn’t take a ton of money; on the plane here yesterday, I did a pleasant editing job that will buy us a decent dinner at the Bridgeport Brewpub tonight. It doesn’t even take a lot of time, because amazingly, consistently, a few well-filled days feel more like a week. It mainly requires mobility.

When I tell friends and colleagues about our little jaunt, too many say, “I wish I could do that.” Actually, a lot of people say the same thing when I talk about having left the corporate gig to do more of the things I love.

My response in both cases is, “Are you sure you can’t? Absolutely, positively sure?”

If you take a good, hard look at how your life is set up, do you find that you’re assuming some tethers that don’t exist, and maybe hanging onto others that needn’t?