Tag Archives: soccer

mid-week round-up

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What are you up to this week? Last night, Chet and I were on a walk and got caught in a wild rainstorm. Those dark clouds can go from 0 to 100 down here in South Florida. Geeze Louise. Hoping for better weather this weekend so we can go on a Pokemon capturing adventure on FIU’s campus! Oh, I’ve also started a Finding Delight newsletter. (The first one went out last Friday!) They’re so much fun to create. I’d love if you’d SUBSCRIBE. You’ll receive an email on Fridays with links, videos, quotes, and MORE! Until then, enjoy the rest of your week, and here are a few fun internet goodies to tide you over…

How to build an entire makeup collection for under $100.

Team USA suits up for competition.

An appreciation of Michelle Obama’s DNC address.

American soccer’s gender wage gap is bananas.

An incredible tale of glamour, sex, betrayal, death and prison in the dizzying world of high fashion.

Dance mashup of the last thirty years of Disney.

The Strand Bookstore has included a literary matching quiz in its job application form since the 1970s. How would you do?

Why Van Gogh’s “mad genius” is a myth.

Loving the new Ghostbusters? Here are 11 other things in need of an all-lady reboot.

Hotline Bling poster.

Ten outstanding books to read this summer and beyond.

A must-read for young women!!! #ballonabudget

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On the road again…

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As I mentioned last week, I spent my middle and high school years criss-crossing the state and my college years criss-crossing the nation because I fell head over heels in love with an extracurricular activity. Which is why, when I read this article about a JV girls soccer team from Alaska, my heart went out to them. You’ll see why…

Players from the Ketchikan High School girls JV soccer team, the Lady Kings, wait in the Ketchikan airport for their final trip of the season. They’re flying to Sitka, a slightly smaller town that’s about 200 miles north, also on an island. The past month and a half, they’ve traveled nearly every weekend. They flew to Juneau twice, then Anchorage, now Sitka.

Marissa Medford, the team’s head coach, acknowledged that the trip was exhausting. But she was nevertheless confident and optimistic.

“They’ve got this down,” Medford said. “They’ve pretty much been living out of their bags for a month now. Pretty much enough time to get home, wash their stuff, get the new set of homework and hit the road again.”

Wow, have I been there. My first year competing for collegiate forensics, before our team had travel restrictions in place (mandating students couldn’t travel over 3 weekends in a row), I felt like I was in a constant state of motion with my eternally packed suitcase in tow. I can remember doing laundry with my roommate before our last and most important tournament of the season and tearfully confessing to each other, “I don’t want to go.” We were just so exhausted. Because not only were we sleeping nights on buses, putting in long days and coming home to paper due dates and tests to study for but we were never alone. As an introvert, this was the most tiring and scary aspect of a rigorous travel schedule. No time to slip away and recharge one’s batteries; having to be “on” all the time.

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Indeed, if soccer is such a huge and exhausting commitment, some might wonder if playing in the first place is worth it. But according to Coach Medford, the experience of being on the team does more than give the athletes a chance to play sports.

“I think it helps them grow, and it brings them closer,” Medford said. “It’s different than people down south. You hop on a bus, go play a game, hop on a bus, go back home. [The Lady Kings] are with each other all the time. They grow friendships, and they grow up together.”

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And she’s right–friendships forged in this manner will last a lifetime. More or less because… you’ve been. through. some. shit. My coaches and teammates saw me at my absolute best and my rock-bottom worst. And I saw them. We were thrown into some pretty wacky situations that only travel can create…and became closer as a result.

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[Medford] believes the payoff is worth it, despite the brutal schedule.

“We have a really bad issue with substance abuse and domestic violence,” Medford said. “Not just Ketchikan, but Alaska in general. So it’s good for them to stay involved and have self-worth, and a sense of purpose and meaning. So that’s good to see.”

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But this is the part that struck me right to my core…how in the face of shitty consequences, extracurriculars, whether that means debating or kicking a ball or strumming a guitar, give a different option. In simplest terms, they give kids something else to do…something BETTER to do, than the outlets that can look so enticing when you’re young and dumb and not thinking about consequences. The girls on the Ketchikan JV soccer team may miss a few homework assignments. They may not be as chatty at the family dinner table because they’re reserving their words for strangers hundreds of miles away. They may, on certain days, question why they even chose to play soccer in the first place. But they will also have beautiful bonds with their friends and memories. They will have opportunities perhaps otherwise overlooked. And maybe they will play that much harder because the journey was just as important as the destination.

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And whether they know it or not, they will have a forever fan way down here in the Bluegrass State who realizes how meaningful those journeys can be.

 

(Pictures of the soccer team from the original article and by Emily Files. Pictures of the WKU Forensics team from Facebook culling and by various friends and old teammates who I hope don’t mind. ;  )

World Cup Half Empty or Half Full

Ghana v USA: Group G - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

The other day, I was talking to my friend Jimmy Drake about the World Cup. He LOVES it…and sports in general, actually. But his stance that this relationship isn’t always easy interested me. I asked him to share his thoughts with you on why and HOW you can choose to embrace, love and celebrate one of the greatest shows on Earth–The World Cup. As Team USA takes on Germany this afternoon, while at the same time protesters continue to riot just a stones throw away from the pitch, things have certainly reached fever pitch. Thanks so much for sharing, Jimmy, your analysis rings remarkably true. Enjoy!

World Cup Half Empty or Half Full

by Jimmy Drake

As we get older all kinds of things become more complicated. It’s a fact of life, but it’s become especially evident in my sports fandom. When I was a kid it was easy to root for my favorite baseball team, the Atlanta Braves, and wear their logo proudly. However, as I grew older, I realized a picture of a screaming Indian and tomahawk chants are offensive to Native Americans. As a kid it was easy to get excited every time my favorite football player clobbered a defenseless receiver, but as I learned about the severity of concussions and brain damage my shouts and fist pumps turned to cringes. Or college basketball–growing up in Kentucky it’s a close second to Southern Baptist as the state’s dominant religion. But then you learn the NCAA generates millions of dollars as a “non-profit,” gives athletes a rushed and sometimes¹ even fabricated college education, and only offers their scholarships one year at a time. These situations bring up complicated emotions for any informed sports fan, but none present the biggest challenge to my compartmentalization skills as much as FIFA and the World Cup.

Before I explain how evil and corrupt FIFA is, I’ll explain how fucking awesome the World Cup is. First off, it’s soccer at a high level. The teams aren’t as good as you’d find in the Champions League or the Euro’s, but it means more than both of them. Soccer on it’s own can be beautiful and epic. The World Cup adds to this beauty and epicness by raising the stakes to an astronomical level. Just watch the video of Maradona in the 1986 World Cup. His goal is one of the more incredible things I’ve ever seen in sports, the moment magnified by the hopes of an entire nation.

 

And these hopes are the very reason Americans should enjoy the World Cup. Being a patriotic American is awesome, but given America’s current geopolitical standing, it’s difficult for me to to get all patriotic about wars, politics or international relations. Sports make it easy. I can chant “USA!USA!USA!USA!” and wave a “Don’t Tread On Me” flag without looking like an imperialist xenophobe. I can sing the national anthem with my hand over my heart without feeling like I’m being indoctrinated into nationalism. Events like the Olympics² and the World Cup are my only chance.

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So the World Cup is awesome, that’s easy enough, but something sinister lies beneath the surface. FIFA is the Fédération Internationale de Football Association³ and it’s president, Sepp Blatter, is a villainous character straight out of a Disney movie, the kind of guy who suggests female soccer players wear shorter shorts to grow interest in their sport.

Countries find it an incredible honor to host a World Cup, so much so that they’ll change constitutions¹, pay millions of dollars in bribe money² and pour their own citizens tax money into stadiums that are rarely used once the whole shebang is over³ while these same citizens live in abject poverty. Okay, so that’s a pretty insane investment, but surely hosting a World Cup boosts the economy enough to have it all make sense. But FIFA operates as a non-profit. Any money they make in Brazil this year from endorsements, advertisements, ticket sales aren’t even taxable by the Brazilian government. So, while the rare rich hotel owner may profit the taxpayers investment isn’t returned at all. And locals are justifiably angry, storming the streets and protesting FIFA and all it stands for.

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There is no solution I’ve found to this conundrum other than compartmentalizing the two sides. I hate how FIFA and the Brazilian government have handled the event but I love the spectacle of it. And soccer… isn’t FIFA. Soccer isn’t the Brazilian government. Players train their whole lives for a chance at this World stage and I will cheer them on…and I will cheer them on even louder if they’re from the USA. It’s just another complication of growing up and having to search harder for joy in a complicated world.


1. http://www.newsobserver.com/2014/06/17/3943396/morris-what-happened-at-unc-happens.html?sp=/99/102/110/112/973/

2. Summer only. Seriously the Winter Olympics are so boring, except hockey. I’m honestly surprised that the USA figure skating team isn’t selected by way of a America’s Got Talent style reality show.

3.  Not just an awesome video game that helped get tons of American bros into soccer.

(Ed. Note: WordPress only let me “superscript” 1, 2, 3 so please excuse the repetition here.)

1. http://l2b.thelawyer.com/home/insight/how-fifa-is-changing-brazils-constitution-for-the-world-cup/3020589.article

2. http://www.theguardian.com/football/2011/may/10/millions-bribes-qatar-2022-world-cup-claims

3. http://www.npr.org/2014/06/21/324260148/world-cup-stadium-in-the-amazon-is-nice-but-is-it-needed