Finding Greatness

If you haven’t heard, the USA Women’s Soccer team won the Gold Medal again today. They played a great tournament as they faced adversity and worked together to achieve victory. As with gymnastics last week, these ladies were a true team.

Last year’s World Cup loss to Japan was a tough time for me as I was in the hospital fearing that I wouldn’t be able to go to Philadelphia and compete in my own tournament. Watching the World Cup was one of the few breaks from sadness I had, so the loss in the final just added to my disappointment.

After the win today, I felt like I had won as well because I was still here to watch the game. The ladies fought all year to get another chance at greatness, just as I had to work my health back to where I could live life to the fullest. I can honestly say that their effort last year helped motivate me to play in Philadelphia and their effort today will continue to drive me to be the best player and person I can be.

It’s no secret that Hope Solo is my favorite athlete and, yes, like every other American male, I have a major crush on her. I would have loved to hug her and shed a few tears after the win today, but unlike most males, I have a true admiration for her because I find her relatable.

When I had to move to goalie because of weakness due to my SMA, I was frustrated because I loved playing forward. I didn’t know if I could play the position, so I started doing more research on Hope and found out that she also used to be a forward. I also discovered she is from a small town like me and she has had to work very hard to be where she is today. Granted she doesn’t have a disability, but she did come from a tough childhood. Her childhood gave her the adversity, like we face with disabilities, in which she could have just blamed the world and had no ambition at all. However, like me, she wants to be the best she can be. Her biography “Solo: A Memoir of Hope” comes out on August 14 if you would like to read it. I’ve already ordered mine!

Hope is very honest and will give her opinion when asked, so I expected to defend her comments in a blog, but she didn’t say too much. She did comment about the game announcers when they talked about her defenders, but I agreed with her because goalies are nothing without a defense in front of them. If comments were said about my defenseman, I would do the exact same thing! I can get after him as needed, but I don’t think anyone else should question his work ethic. We are working hard to become the best defensive duo in Powerhockey and I am confident that we can get there.

Confidence is another reason why I admire Hope. All goalies need confidence. It is a high pressure position and you must believe that you can stop every shot. Even after a goal, you have to have a short memory and stop the next shot. That confidence has to be seen by your team because they will play more aggressively knowing that you are there to defend their mistakes. Therefore, when the media asks Hope if she thinks she could make a save, she should say “YES!” The team depends on that confidence and the fact that she backs it up, unlike other athletes who guarantee wins or championships.

The moral of the story: The Nike commercial is right; “Greatness” is inside of all of us. We can’t rely on others to hand it to us because it’s already there as long as we put forth the effort to be the best we can be. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right!” The USA women believed in themselves and their team. Again, we can learn a lot from the Olympics!

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