Last Wednesday was the 14th anniversary of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup finals between the US and China – the most inspirational sporting event I ever remember watching/experiencing. I can so vividly recall watching this soccer game on television with my family. All of us were on the edge of our seats throughout the game. It was the type of game that could have been in a movie. After neither team scored in the first 90 minutes of the game, overtime also went by scoreless. The US then won the shootout 5-4. The celebration after the game was so amazing that it is hard to describe. Brandi Chastain took off her shirt after she kicked the final penalty shot, and the rest of the team rushed the field. Everyone else was screaming and waving American flags. It was fitting for such a perfect moment.
The passion the US women’s team had for the sport and their teammates was so evident for years leading up to the tournament, while they played all of the games and throughout the celebration after they won the championship. This game broke the attendance record for a women’s sporting event, a record that the game still holds, which is a testament to all of the fans they had before the game. After this game though, the members of this team were known as childhood heroes. When I told my cousin I was writing about this game, she said “every girl wanted to be Mia Hamm.” That was a perfect way of describing the effect of this game. I also thought that many girls had a new sense that dreams can come true with hard work.
Mia Hamm choosing people (that girl happens to be me) out of a crowd at a Charlotte Sting game.
Advertisements even displayed the impact the women’s soccer team had on sports and the perceptions of women athletes.
For their performance on and off the field, this soccer team will be thought of by many as being one of the greatest teams ever. I am sure that memories of this team and the final game of the 1999 World Cup will be remembered and talked about for many many years to come because of an amazing game and how their inspirational win changed women’s sports.
Until next time,
During the Branding of Me class last semester and through some further reflection this summer, I have been thinking about my passions. What I have come to realize is that the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree, and my passions are very similar to the passions of my grandparents.
My grandmother loved journalism. Family and journalism definitely seemed to be her passions, or at least this is how it always seemed to me. You could tell how passionate she was about journalism by reading her articles and columns that were in the Salisbury Post almost every day, or by hearing her talk about an article she had written. She loved writing, being able to learn about people’s stories and then having the chance to share their stories. As you can tell from an article like this one “Where did all those years go?”, she had so much passion for what she did for a living. I am pretty sure that her passion was contagious and helped me to look at writing as an enjoyable experience, and almost never as a task.
My grandfather had many passions, but I remember most his passion for sports and the perspective it gave him on life. He loved baseball. He told stories of playing for a team while he was in the army. He was also a lifelong NY Yankees fan, although he at times joked that he cheered for the Atlanta Braves since they were on television more often in North Carolina. He mostly taught himself how to play tennis (at least I think that’s how it started), and then he played the sport all of his life. His passion for tennis resulted in most of my family both enjoying and playing the sport. I always felt like he loved playing, watching and talking sports. He was also extremely supportive of everyone’s sports experiences. I remember him watching some of my first tennis matches and talking to me after softball practice. I always felt like he was on my side and was one of my biggest supporters.
My grandfather had a few sayings that I’ll never forget. One was “grab a pen.” He just wanted to make sure that everyone was ready if you drove over a drawbridge (and then really any other bridge). He also would say “bend your knees,” which is definitely the best advice I ever heard for playing tennis. The other saying I remember was “keep your eye on the ball.” I know that this may have been directed at tennis, or another sport, but he said it very often and I really think he just liked this advice for life. It was kind of like the book Rules of the Red Rubber Ball. While my grandfather may not necessarily have been giving only life advice, I think that the ball he was talking about represented passion. Whether is was a ball in a sport or a “ball” representing something else in life, I really do think he was saying to keep your eye on it and then follow it.
I am excited to have the new blog title “Keeping my Eye on the Ball,” and I am looking forward to continuing to write about my passions.
Until next time,
P.S. next time will be soon because I can’t wait to write about some of the recent events in sports!