I know it has been awhile and that I have some updating to do, but I had a beautiful day today and feel as if it should be shared.
I decided to go to the turf field a bike ride away to do some skill work this afternoon. It was a tough decision.. work on my golf swing.. or work on my soccer skills.. both are in need of work, but considering we had no practice today.. I had to touch the soccer ball!
Upon arriving to the field, I saw a kid walking to the benches with his soccer bag. Darn it.. of course I decide to go to the this field when they have a practice or a game about to commence! Well, I asked the kid just to make sure. He said there was no game or practice that he was just here as well. I started putting on my stuff and beginning my little routine. Turn on my bluetooth speaker.. gonna play Drake/Lil Wayne Mix.. I aint got no worries ;) and start juggling a tennis ball.. yes a tennis ball!!! Check out beastmodesoccer.com (that and other helpful people --cough cough Oni Soccer Academy-- have helped me get to a whole other level (especially as a centerback it's hott to be technical- think Sergio Ramos) .
Anyways.. as I juggle, two other boys show up and ohh how I love pressure!! and so of course I break my record and get to 39 juggles on tennis ball. That is a lot for me considering I started at 3 the first time I tried earlier this year! Sometimes I skip juggling the tennis ball because yes it is extremely frustrating when I am not good at something already-- maybe why I opted for soccer over golf today too! I feel the three boys eyes on me. I know they are watching. I mean it is kind of weird to see an American woman juggling at a random field in a random small town in Sweden. Somehow I know I will be kicking the ball around with these kids. There are three of them and one of me. Four just seems like more fun. But I really do need to work on my footwork so I begin, but still put off the vibe that yes I will play with you guys!
Sure enough, after I get over 1000 touches in (you can learn how to do 600 in 6 minutes here-> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REyRmHapZFg ), I get asked to play! Up until this point the kids have just been shooting on goal, with no warm up, no rhythm, no rhyme. At 25.. no can't be doing that! I hope we quickly change games and get some competition going.
After a quick introduction, "yes I play for Landsbro IF, yes I only speak english, and my position is center back, yeahhhh I am 25…," David suggests that we play World Cup! How fitting! World Cup just around the corner. The ball I brought is obviously the World Cup ball (but winter edition because I like to be different and because it was a gift to me ;) ). David is originally from Spain. I am from the states. The other two boys David (another David yes) and Mohamed have their own backgrounds as well. And here we are the four of us, all with our own stories, but all with the same passion, connected by this one ball. How beautiful is that?
After I take a few shots that were completely terrible, I kid and say that is why I am center back. In my head I know I will take it to these guys. Yes they are 13 and I am 25, but that doesn't matter. For me, for today, this is my world cup. I have everything to prove! So after I give these kids false hope, the set up will be one in goal and then the three of us will play against each other. First to three goals wins. Guess who wins :D?. And yes of course I was trying-- 1) I am not that good to not try! 2) you can't just turn it off and 3) I do not like losing one bit!
Well now these kids are a little impressed. If only I could take this confidence with me everywhere. Right now in this moment, I feel myself. I feel calm, collect, at peace. Other than my head/jaw still throbbing from trying to save a shot going in which then hit me in the side of the head.. and then shortly after that I was going up for a ball and got elbowed in the mouth.. But I feel GOOD! Mind you when these painful acts happened, I pretended I wasn't even hit. But I was hit.. and kinda hard.. and as I type I still feel both :) . But while those boys were being worried about me.. I was obviously chasing after the ball and putting it on frame. Take advantage of your opportunities! No time to whine about my face. Kind of like how we some times stop and whine about our mistakes. DONT STOP!!! GO FIX IT!!! CHASE AFTER IT!!! Sorry pet peeve of mine! In life and in football.. It's what you do after your mistakes that define you. We are human. Mistakes are an inevitable part of life. After a mistake.. what can u do to make it better.. For example... If you lose the ball, you are probably the closest one to it, so why don't you go win it back instead of whining how you took a bad touch or whine that your teammate didn't pass it perfectly to you. Like I said.. we don't have time for that!
Okay okay- now to the highlight of my day. After a few more games, I was tiring pretty quickly (cut me some slack, I already hit the gym earlier in the day! and 13 yr olds can run forever!), so we began to talk soccer and take a break from playing. David told me that I am the best female player he's ever seen. And I said, "in this town?". And he said, "no, in my life. and I am from Spain so I have seen many good players." Well at 13, this kid has never watched women's soccer in his life and so he can really only make this judgement off of the random girls that find their way into a group of boys to play ball-- basically me and maybe even only me. Regardless, what a statement for anyone to hear. Here I am playing World Cup and David of Spain just told me I am the best footballer he has ever seen. I will take that for what it is worth. To me that means a lot. It means even as a kid, he can see my passion, my hard work, my determination, and what I have been doing my whole life; all in this little game of World Cup. Little moments like these, we should really appreciate :) !
After we talked more about the soccer, we juggled a bit. He mentioned seeing me juggling with a tennis ball and I told him to try it. Three more kids on their way to #beastmode. I hope to see these kids around. On my bike ride back, soccer practices all over were beginning to commence. I reflected on the last hour and my time here Sweden. I feel very fortunate to have these opportunities to follow my dreams, live my passion, travel the world, meet wonderful people, and try to inspire others to do the same. Thanks to all that have contributed to my journey and thanks in advance to all in the future.
In the meantime.. challenge for my readers.. see how many times you can juggle a tennis ball! :)
PS. I know I am not the best female soccer player.. obviously there are people like Marta, Alex Morgan, Sawa, etc who I guess.. are better than me.. But you can't take away dear 13 yr old David's opinion unless you come over here to Vetlanda, Sweden and show me up yourself and KICK IT WITH COOKIE!!! XD