In September of 1980 I stood on the sidelines of my first soccer practice, a young mother new to The Game. I watched three-year-olds run like a swarm of bees between chalk lines with a black and white ball rolling around their feet. I fell in love with the mayhem, the drama, and the passion. Over a thousand games and three decades later I can still get whiffs of cleats and shin guards in the way back, remember the sweet taste of orange slices, the thrill of winning and the agony of loss.
Ten years before the coined phrase ”soccer mom” I bought a Chevy Blazer – the eighties version of a SUV. Our life orbited around “The Game”. It evolved from town soccer, to state soccer, to high school soccer and finally to college soccer. Together we learned more than just a game. We learned that a level playing field in life, and in soccer, is rare. The people, the politics, the competition and the opportunities parallel adult reality.
The United States Soccer Team will play in the World Cup, at four o’clock this afternoon.
There is still time to believe. After all, we are a nation of firecrackers on the fourth of July, of spit and vinegar, of dreaming the dream, of grit and guts and never giving up – that’s what America is built upon. Every citizen combined in a melting pot of cultures blended together to live in a country of freedom of choice.
Play “The Game” boys! Play your heart out, play despite the politics, play because you can, and because everyone will be watching across the globe. Win or lose, you make a retired soccer mom proud.
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