3 years ago10,000+ Views
You all know me as the Marvel mod. Super nerdy. Generally the stereotype is that comic book geeks aren't very athletic. Well, we all know at Vingle that stereotypes are a load of **** and I'm no exception! I've been an athlete for most of my life. That's right! I was on a co-ed hockey team in high school, I played softball and for a decade and a half, soccer. It was a huge part of my life.

Womens' sports aren't always well-respected

Female soccer players for example make substantially less than their male counterparts, despite playing just as well, if not better (just look at the 2015 World Cup). It's true at the lower levels too. In my school district, the men's teams were... not superb. There were some amazing players of course, but often the teams were ruined by individual selfishness or cockiness. I know, because we played against them more than once. Eventually our coached told us to stop playing against the boys because we weren't learning anything from those matches- some of the girls on my team were literally running circles around them.

Yet when it came to scheduling field time, the boys' teams always got first pick.

We used to joke and say it was because they needed the practice, but that wasn't really what was going on. The mens' league demanded more space, more time, and more money from the community.

It's not something you can put into words as a kid.

I don't know if this was anyone else's experience, but when I was younger I didn't really understand what was going on in the way I do now. But I did notice that we were being treated differently. And it was very discouraging. I was lucky; my dad was my coach and he pushed me to do what I love. He still does! I'm all grown up and he's still my number one cheerleader. It didn't make any of this stuff feel less bad, but it definitely helped to know that I wasn't alone. It made me strong enough to deal with it.

And he brought me to meet Mia Hamm.

I remember that she was kind.

I was pretty young when I met her. She spoke about being an athlete and how much she loves her team and her sport. Honestly, it seemed like she was a little overwhelmed by how many people were there. It was before the 1999 World Cup, so her career was still taking off in response to her contributions in the 1996 Olympics. But even though it was a lot to take in, she made time for every single fan that came to see her that day. She took photos, signed autographs, gave hugs. When I told her I played she said that was awesome. I was really shy and awkward, and kind of intimidated because I was really young and she was just SO COOL. It made a huge impression on me.

She stuck with me, even though soccer didn't.

I don't play anymore; I got really sick in high school and had to stop. I'm still trying to catch up to my old athletic abilities today. But that meeting stuck with me. Seeing Mia Hamm succeed at what she loves when I was so young was incredibly important for me. I'm the kind of person that gives up easily, gets discouraged, accepts failure. But giving up is never the right thing to do. So when I feel like giving up, I try to remember what it was like being that shy little kid staring up at this woman who seemed so brave and strong to me. Would either of those people accept failure? Heck no! So I won't either.
@GinnaL13 @loftonc16 @Luci546 I'm so glad you're feeling inspired! ^_^ @baileykayleen agreed! They played really well and it feels like people are finally paying attention. Ultimately, as long as the team is playing well and winning games, they deserve all the attention and respect in the world and the Women's teams have been consistently doing that
@ChosenKnight yeah I'm hoping that's going to change soon! It's really unfortunate because honestly they work so hard and they get so little. I'm sure they're happy working because of their passion, but they also deserve respect. @chris98vamg me too!!! I'm glad we can all look up to them ^_^
@mchlyang I love Nomar!!!! I'm a Boston kid and some of his best plays coincided with the period when I used to go to the most games ^_^
Can't believe you actually met her! That is so cool! Also she's married to one of my favorite baseball players: Nomar Garciaparra. They're def the coolest couple ever!
Wonderful story! I was lucky enough to watch her play once when I was a kid, and she is such a brilliant role model. I truly hope that the USWNT's win this World Cup brings publicity and money to the sport. It's ridiculous how FIFA treated the 2015 World Cup in comparison to the ones boasting male teams. The grass/artificial issue was huge this year, and still was skirted around and ignored. Fingers crossed that things will be different next cup for these amazing athletes.
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