Long ago (1988) I moved to Berkeley and started sending a monthly "newsletter" to my Boston friends. When I returned to Boston (1993), I continued the tradition for about five more years (or until I had kids). Looking back, I realize that I was actually blogging. Each newsletter contained anywhere from a few to several blog posts. Having been silent for the past decade or so, I've decided to resume these activities. Don't expect anything profound -- I tend to focus on what I find entertaining or amusing and perhaps sometimes informative. We shall see!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Confessions of a Soccer Groupie

With the Women's Olympic Soccer competition over, I figured it was time to offer my own tribute to US Women's Soccer.

I'm Margo Seltzer and I am a US Women's National Team Soccer Groupie.

What do I mean by groupie? I mean I recorded every single US Olympic game (as well as many of those played by the likes of France, Canada, Brazil, and Japan). I listened to semi-final, consolation, and final Olympic matches on my phone while commuting to work, snuck peeks at the game during group meetings and had games playing on my workstation while I cranked out python. I spent ten days last summer training around Europe with my son and goalie friend watching the Women's World Cup. I've traveled to California, Cleveland, Connecticut, and Foxborough to watch the US women play. I've been a Boston Breakers season ticket holder since WPS started and stopped. I've raised two kids to love the US Women's National Soccer team. I've watched the final of the 1999 Women's World Cup more time than practically any other human being on the planet (except my son). I've bid on Project Pink raffles and own a large collection of bright pink Boston Breaker jerseys. I have autographed shirts and soccer balls. (And an amazing pair of goalie gloves ...)

How did that happen? I never watched sports as a kid. I never played sports as a kid (something about growing up in the 60's in a Jewish family for whom sports was never really important or interesting). I didn't even play a real soccer game until I was 24 (1985).

It happened in 1999. By then I'd been playing soccer and had fallen in love with the sport as a player. (Thanks to my coach while I was in grad school -- he taught me to love the game.) Since the US Women were going to be playing close to home, I bought tickets and dragged my husband to Foxborough to see the USA play North Korea.

That's where it happened.

When the US players took to the field, I suddenly got spectator sports in a way I never had before. These were people like me. These were people doing the same kinds of things I did on a soccer field, but they did them professionally -- in the skill and quality sense, not the economic one. And I fell in love. I fell in love with the team, with their play, with their work ethic, and what they represented. To this day, I cannot sit in a stadium and watch the US Women take the field without becoming teary-eyed. It's just that magical.

It doesn't hurt that they win, either. But winning isn't everything -- when they lose, they lose with class. And win or lose, they make you believe that anything is possible - a 122nd minute goal in the quarter final against Brazil, a 123rd minute goal in the semi final against Canada. An Olimpico to tie the game; a crashing header in the 8th minute to set the tone for a final. And public appearances, autographs, encouragement, and the advice, "Dare to Dream."

So, on the eve of the 2012 Olympic final, what's my next wish?

  • I wish Abby will continue playing through the 2015 World Cup (and once she does that, why not the 2016 Olympics as well?).
  • I wish Christine Rampone would wow the world by competing in Rio in 2015! (I wished the same of Kristine Lilly.)
  • I wish the newly forming women's professional league well -- I want to see these women play regularly; I want to meet the world's stars; I want my kids to know that Boston has not only the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, and Celtics, but the Breakers as well.
  • I want television, radio, and other media to recognize and respect women's professional sports.
  • I want my daughter to grow up in a world where professional women's sports is a foregone conclusion.

Evidence of Groupie Status



2 comments:

  1. Are you Dr. Margo Selzer at Harvard? Just curious.

    ReplyDelete