With the Second Round of the 2021 NCAA Women’s College Cup Series underway, I’ve been thinking about my soccer experience in high school. Over the years, I’ve grown to love the UCLA women’s soccer team as well as the Texas women’s soccer team, but unfortunately, they were eliminated within the first round.
I was absolutely shocked when I found out these teams–especially UCLA– lost. I mean, seriously, UCLA, the second ranked team in their bracket, lost to UC Irvine– a team that isn’t even ranked. Watching the game, I was in utter confusion because that definitely wasn’t the gritty UCLA women’s soccer team I fell in love with watching. I took the loss hard, so I know they did, too – especially since they allowed UC Irvine to score their only goal within the first 14 minutes of the game.
But just like Ty Dolla Sign said in his song “Blessings” with Lecrae, “If I ever took a loss, I learned a lesson,” I realized those girls had to have learned a lesson from that loss. Then shortly after, I started thinking of the lessons I’ve learned while playing soccer.
Now (yes, this is definitely in my seasoned Black woman voice), believe me, I was no soccer superstar at all, but I definitely gained some lessons in the sport that are invaluable and easily transferable to my daily life.
Soccer is the type of sport that requires plenty, PLENTY, plenty of endurance because in a mere flash of a millisecond, a soccer ball, much like life, is at your feet waiting for you to do something with it. It’s a never ending occurrence, and somehow– some way– you have to make the best move possible not only for yourself, but for the people around you, too! It’s hard, and it’s definitely gruesome, and you will get hit in the face (I can’t tell you how many times a soccer ball AND life have hit me in the face). But at the end of the day, it’s something about the prospect of succeeding and winning that keeps you going.
Soccer can be a fast paced game, but I can honestly say the best teams I’ve played against had a way of slowing the game down to make calculated moves. They let the game come to them. They had patience.
Any soccer coach– especially a high-school coach– say this at least once every game: “You have a huge field, use it to your advantage, and,” *starts yelling* “Be patient!”
This is like life. Life happens on such a huge playing field. The hardest thing about using it to your advantage is the act of being patient. I can honestly say I never mastered the art of being patient on the soccer field, but I have applied it to life.
Patience, not only with others but myself, has proven to be the key to the evolution of my mentality and the way I maneuver through situations. I’ve realized that life has many roads, many avenues, and many destinations and that what I thought would be my method of travel though my desired destination may change– and that’s okay.
I’ve watched many sports– and participated in a few, so I can honestly say girls’ soccer requires grit like no other. You have to be tough. You have to be locked in with the goal (no pun intended) to know that, no matter what, you have an objective. It’s hard, and it’s a lot– just like life.
I think now more than ever I’ve had to really dig deep within myself to channel that grit for all of college’s curveballs. I had to find the motivation and mental toughness to power through “eighty million, fifty-leven” assignments, a sub-par grade on a quiz (or two or three), two STEM labs, extra-curricular involvements, and being pre-med as a Black woman. All this while trying to remember to call my momma and daddy at least every two to three days. WHEW chile.
But I remember the objective, so the grit somehow magically appears, and I get it done.
As I finish this semester out, I’m definitely meditating and trying to channel my inner soccer player so I can keep my endurance and have patience with myself while maintaining the highest amount of grit to accomplish (or score) all of my goals. And while doing that, I’ll be tuning into the rest of the 2021 Women’s College Cup to see who turns up with the Championship trophy.
“Hey Alexa, play ‘I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan”