As a former soccer player, I really enjoy watching professionals on tv, or in person, as often as I possibly can. Soccer has never been a sport that’s considered as mainstream as say … football. Lots of people think it’s boring, and it IS a long game. To me, though, there is no more impressive display of athleticism than being able to run, sprint, dribble, throw, dive, slide, think, plan, strategize, jump, fall and all the time maintain a level of focus, concentration and skill that would be challenging with a fresh pair of legs. It goes on for 90 minutes (at least!) with practically no substitutions, and while the audience may be bored by the lulls, there is never a dull moment on the field.
With the Women’s World Cup raging on the past few weeks, it has been the perfect motivation in the gym. This morning, I sprinted, ran and walked on the treadmill for 30 riveting minutes as I watched these ladies battle Brazil. Though I was already home to witness the riveting conclusion, the results were unbelievably motivating. For anyone that didn’t watch, here’s the basic gist.
Toward the end of the game, the US was ahead by one point. The official was making terribly unfair calls in favor of Brazil, and it didn’t seem like there was any limit to how awful her decisions could get. Brazil was on the fortunate end of a penalty in the box, and even after Hope Solo blocked her PK (an amazing save), the ref called it back on one of the cheapest encroachment calls I’ve ever seen. Brazil used the second try at the PK to tie the game.
Brazil scored quickly at the start of extra time, leaving the US lagging. The officiating only got worse from there, and it looked like there was next to no hope for the US. It would have been incredibly easy to write off the game, citing poor reffing, dirty fouls, tired legs … but Abby Wambach smashed a game-tying goal into the net with her head – one of the most brilliant goals I’ve seen to date.
In the round of penalty shots, as is normally the case, most the girls were able to score … except one shot. Hope Solo made a picture-perfect save, ultimately leading to the victory of USA.
In addition to all the teamwork, patriotism and excitement behind this amazing match, one thing stuck out to me. The conditioning and perseverance of the women in the game was a wonderful reminder of what our bodies are capable of doing and the real reason I love to work out. To push limits, and to know, at the end of the day, no matter what the end result, that I didn’t give up. That I didn’t use any excuses that were given to me to use at will. These feelings don’t come with a championship title, but … maybe I could make one for myself.