Monday, July 18, 2011


My love of sports is both a blessing and a curse. 
Most acutely on days like today.  

Let me explain.  The U.S. Women's soccer team has given soccer a front page billing for the past few weeks and given me a reason to delight again and again in the joy of sport.  Their 11th hour comeback against Brazil, their thorough defeat of a resilient French team; it all seemed to be a perfect segue for a championship.  But they lost, after dominating the game against a smaller, overmatched Japan team, somehow they lost.  I left the house with 15 minutes to play, the girls up 2 goals to 1 in the second overtime.  I headed to a tennis match. And while the fate of the US soccer team unravelled, my tennis-playing fate soon followed.  Up 5-0 in the decisive 3rd set, my partner and I somehow then lost 5 consequetive games, ultimately losing in a tie-breaker.

I wanted so desperately to throw things, storm off, because really I made too many errors. Just tooooo many errors particularly down that stretch.  Ugh, it's so massively frustrating because of the high respect and love I have for sport.  That when I fail, choke, crumble. It's devastating.  

I returned with great hope, to finish out the rest of the recorded soccer match and at least have something to celebrate.  But another collapse played out in front of me.  I suppose the blow was not so harsh watching it on tape, but the message was clear.  Sport deals harsh blows as much as it deals great glory.   Now I think back on the 2 sporting collapses tonight and feel gutted. Betrayed by the thing that I love so much. But I suppose that's what love is, and what it means sometimes:  failure, redemption and everything in between.

But while I feel depressed by losses, I'm reminded of friends and family whose life has dealt them anguish that sport has only temporarily inflicted on me today.  Broken marriages, illness, the loss of loved ones seem to abound when you've walked this planet long enough, and most particularly of late.

When sport, or even life deals me blows that leave me scowling or frustrated, I can't help but look to the things I'm thankful for.  As I came in the house from my match, my precious daughter was there smiling and saying "Mommy!"  She had been well-cared-for by my dear husband while I was gone.  And this made me very happy.  I held her tight and felt the rush of anger and aggression I had experienced moments earlier just dissipate. 

The U.S. lost to a Japan team whose nation still reels from loss, destruction and heartbreak wrought by the spring tsunami.  If anyone has perspective on sport, it is that team.  I'm glad that for these moments and days to come they can celebrate with their teammates and countrymen the joy and unity of sport. I'm sad it's at my teams expense, but that's the way it goes sometimes in life and in sport.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Great post here Katie, I think you sum up the beauty and power of sports very nicely.

Interestingly enough, my favorite sports writer posted on almost exactly the same topic: