I don’t play soccer, but I love to watch it while eating snacks.
In my youth, I played softball and tennis. I was a fierce racquetball competitor which resulted in the accidental breaking of my opponent’s nose (hey, she got in the way of my racquet!).
My daughter played an entire season of soccer on an ankle with a hairline fracture. Because she is fierce, too.
As I watch the FIFA Women’s World Cup, I’m slain by the spirit of female athletes everywhere.
The women’s dedication to the sport, their tenacity, and their toughness have caused me to collapse in the proverbial church aisle, overcome by the confidence displayed on the field.
If we could only translate that confidence into our daily lives.
In the next few weeks I am publishing a book I’ve written for young girls intended to build their confidence. Why?
Because too many females believe the hype. . .
Too many of us believe that anything that ends with “like a girl” is weak.
That our real skill is found in the outfit we wear and the weight registering on the scale.
That reality television depicting women as shrews who fight each other is acceptable.
We make up 50% of the workforce, yet television has us dancing with our Swiffers, breaking up with our mops, and giving the perfect candle party.
I don’t know about you, but the last time I smelled my laundry detergent with the look of an addict snorting cocaine, was, well, never.
Case in Point
When I tried to find a photo for this blog, I searched for “soccer players.”
I went through more than twenty pictures before a photo of a woman was shown, and then it was two scantily-clad Las Vegas dancers standing on either side of a male player. There was a picture of the backside of a female referee, wearing a g-string and stiletto heels.
Because that’s what female referees wear.
I notice a lot of fathers in the stands at the World Cup, cheering for their daughters. I think the good men are behind us. Now, we just have to stand beside each other and show the world our power.
As I watch the women’s soccer team, here’s what I believe about women . .
We are physically tough.
As I watched two females in the semi-finals collide when they both went for a header, I cringed. The athlete from Germany had blood pouring down her face for the rest of the game as she continued to nail headers that probably re-opened stitches. The American player ran back in to finish the game, still pale and shaking. Don’t tell me girls are fragile.
We are tenacious.
I love to watch a goal scored in the final minutes of a game, because it means that athletes never give in. In day-to-day life, we often give up out of guilt. We believe that we’re neglecting our kids or our husband or our mothers or our friends. We question ourselves and see our goal-setting as selfish. Our tenacity is applied to everyone except ourselves. If you have a goal, dig in. Stay on the field until the goal is reached.
We are skilled.
It used to be that any sport involving women was seen as weak, second-rate, dull. Not anymore. Now that we’ve had the opportunity to be trained, we’re as skilled as any male athlete. We sweat, we fall, and we get up again. We battle fiercely for the ball, and forgive each other when the match is over. Now we just have to believe in our professional skills.
We don’t have to apologize for being alive.
The athletes might trip another player or collide with them going for the ball. They score on the other team and beat them. Yet, you don’t see them apologizing. You see them celebrating.
The Women’s World Cup has reminded me that we are strong.
We are invincible.
We are women.
And, yes, I’m going all Helen Reddy on your ass, because I’m not sure that we believe it yet.
Now, let’s raise our glasses to the decade of the woman and be all that we can be . . . without apology.