Twelve years ago I vividly remember sitting on my living room floor, anxiously awaiting the final match of the 1999 Women’s World Cup. The teams. the USA and China. I was a young soccer player but my parents had encouraged me to become engulfed in the sport. Play on this team. And this one. and On this indoor team. And do all you can to become the best player you can be. “I want to be the next Mia Hamm. I want to be a Tarheel, too!” Words I said as a young girl. It is crazy the emotions that a sporting event can bring back to oneself.
I sat today in a living room of a friends house, surrounded by some I spent the night before out drinking. We’ve known each other for some time. But the anxious feeling I had for this game was all different. I’ve grown up. I no longer play soccer. I did not become a Tarheel, or at all close to being the next Mia Hamm…yet I was still on the edge of my seat. I still wanted to be victorious.
The difference however, is that in 1999 I had no way to gage how people felt from the victory. However, in the new world and in the age of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. I know exactly what my friends, celebrities, even President Obama felt directly after the loss.
Today the US women walked off the pitch with silver medals. Nothing to cry about, but it is something to hang their heads about. It came down to penalty kicks. Exactly as it did in ’99 against China, except this time the “worlds best” goalie, Hope Solo, seemed to not be trying her hardest. Perhaps it was something physical, but the way she had sacrificed her body in earlier games did not compare at all to the half ass performance she displayed against the Japanese today.
All in all, I will still say the USA v. Brazil soccer game earlier in the tournament was one of my favorite sporting events I’ve ever witnessed.
It will be another four years until we’ll be able to see if the US still has it in them. A lot of players will be returning. But will it be enough?
Only time will tell.