US Women's soccer – I still love you

I’m closer to a new poem. Holding it in the light. Peeling off its unneeded skin like a sunburn. I am closer to soaking in faith. I’m tired of not quite believing in myself. My voice was strong when I knew it was just me, but releasing it into the world has offered a new set of insecurities. Ones I’m facing in circles.

This morning I was chewing on a line, playing doctor, pondering the drama of a story I’m not sure if/when I can tell. I was distracted. I put on my cushy flip-flops to ascend into the attic, I didn’t realize I was still wearing them until I came into work. My feet don’t match. I was going to wear purple sandals.

And now I’m looking at pictures of the US Women after the game. Abby’s back, the confetti fallen, her hand on the nape of her neck. This was her last chance as a player. I’m heartbroken all over again. I love women’s soccer. For my 12th birthday, my mom bought me tickets to the Pasadena game. 1999. The sports bra moment, 60,000 people doing the wave, the penalty kicks, the energy hot and echoing, we could have moved that stadium 10 feet. I remember Debra Messing smoking a cigarette in a box above me. JLo launching her music career before the game started – even then I remember thinking “what is she doing here?”
I was a goalie when I played. I broke some girl’s ankle and then their coach asked me if I wanted to play for them. I loved the bruises, the cleat mark on my thigh that lasted a whole year, jammed fingers I’d tape for school. I pulled my knee and feel it still. I loved the family, what it meant to be a team. You win and lose together. rainy games filled with mud when the ball would hit and thud. Chattering teeth. How amazing it is for those women – 22-30 some years old to still be a part of a team like that. To band together, duke it out and even when they lose they still have faith in each other to win. The next game. Abby will be back.

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