Friday, July 3, 2009

What Motivates You?

What makes you get up and go? A good song? The drive to go that extra step, run that mile a little faster? Whatever it is there's something that makes you get up and go. Looking back there is definitely one thing that inspires me to get out there and work extra hard....

Soccer, Football, the Beautiful Game!

Why Soccer? (Or Football if you insist)

To me soccer is passion, skill, beauty, frustration, pain, anguish, elation and glory! The game is inspiring, and the work out is amazing!

Here's how I got into soccer...

This image of Brandi Chastain is forever burned into my memory...

In 1999 I was 17 and my only exposure to soccer was that it was a sport cliquey blonds played at my high school. Beyond that I didn't have a clue and certainly never had an opportunity to play it (plus I was a band dork and an art freak in high school, definitely NOT an athlete).

July 10, 1999. Brandi Chastain scores the 5th game winning penalty kick in the FIFA Women's World Cup Final against China in California, she immediately falls to her knees and rips off her jersey in celebration. On the other side of the country I'm watching, jumping up and down screaming at the tv!!

It was a major moment for me because for once in my life I was excited about a sport. I not only wanted to watch, I wanted to go out there and play! It was inspiring to see women playing a sport professionally, but also to see them get make that world wide....attention was just unheard of to me. If those women could play, maybe I could too??

I love the sport because Women bask in the glory as well. Go US Ladies GO!
USA Women take the gold in the 2008 Olympics. (I'm a bit disappointed that there seemed to be little news coverage of this state side from what I noticed. I think perhaps we were all a bit obsessed with our Golden Boy Phelps at the time?)

Anyway, that image of Brandi was huge. It made it on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Sports Illustrated. That was huge for women's soccer, it was huge for soccer in America in general, because let's face it... it's not the most popular sport in our country. And now I think we have finally proven ourselves on the international stage -- Thanks to US Men's victory over top ranked Spain. One rule to remember in soccer is never under estimate your opponent because the moment you do let your guard down, the ball is in the back of your net.

See those guys in the red, on the left I believe is Carles Puyol Saforcada, he's a defender and plays for FC Barcelona (that's right the FC Barcelona that won this years Champions League -- a team I'm also a fan of [read below] but hey, all's fair in love and war on the international stage.) In the center in the blue is the keeper and captain Iker Casillas who also plays for Real Madrid (yes he was captain when Spain won the Euro Cup in 2008) and on the right I'm pretty sure is Fernando Torres who plays for Liverpool in England's Premier League (Torres scored the winning goal in the Euro 2008 against Germany).

And on the ground scoring a goal is Clint Dempsey, who used to play for MLS with the New England Revolution before being transferred to the bigger stomping grounds of Fulham in the Premier League.

So we're not talking some second team that the US Men played against. We're talking about Spain's best. In fact the entire team is top ranked and had not been defeated in 35 matches -- 15 of which were played in this tournament. Ultimately the US lost to Brazil 3-2, but our perseverance in this tournament looks promising for the world cup next summer! And I think the rest of the world won't under estimate us now.

Let's talk for a second about FC Barcelona shall we (cause it's my blog and I can talk about what ever I want :))

If I had the opportunity to meet a celebrity like say Robert Pattinson...or the opportunity to meet Lionel Messi fell on the same day... I'm 99% positive I'd tell Rob to pack his bags for a flight to Barcelona because there's someone we have to see.

Would I meet Robert Pattinson...

Lionel Messi?

I realize right now there was probably a collective cry of blasphemy by fangirls reading my little blog and you pointed at the screen and went... "him?" Oh yes, HIM! Messi is a God amongst footballers. He is considered perhaps the greatest player in the world. He is a force to be reckoned with.

Messi gets some air and makes a header goal in the Champions League Final against Manchester United. Look at the panic on Van der Sar's (keeper in yellow) can't stop it! Let's see that from another angle...

Still not convinced of just how amazing this man's talent is?

Maybe you just need to see it to believe it? I did just that April 28, 2009.

A photo from my trip to Camp Nou

Being able to go to Europe was a dream come true for me, but being able to go to a game over there and witness the level of skill in the European arena was like I died and went to soccer heaven. I couldn't take my eyes off of Messi, he was jaw dropping. He's like a rocket with the ball. I fell in love with FC Barcelona that night. Barca is mes que un club (more than a club), they're a religion in Barcelona.

I'm also a huge DC United supporter. Trash talk the MLS all you want, but we've got some good players over here (and I'm not talking about Beckham). I love this game and I want to see the sport succeed in the US so I will continue to support our league. Now if DC United and FC Barcelona played an exhibition match against each other then I might be in trouble. Maybe I'll just switch out of my screaming eagles jersey at half time into my barca shirt so I show equal love.

Ok, Team Six Pack we get it you're obsessed with Soccer. What does that have to do with your fitness?

Fall of 2000 I was away at college and joined the intramural soccer club. Keep in mind I had never really touched a soccer ball before at this point, but it was pretty low key. It was also the first time I started losing weight in my entire life. I made sure I went to every practice. Unfortunately, the team didn't get the college to officially sponsor us so we were never able to play formal games, just pick up games in the park...but that's the beauty of soccer, you only need a ball to play.

Fast forward a few years. I had to give up playing while I finished college living in a big city. So I finished college, had a job...I finally had free time again. I was sitting on my butt watching the 2006 world cup when I realized, Hey, I should get back out there and play again.

So after some searching online I found a local women's rec league. SCORE! but my work schedule only only permitted me to play on their summer session... fail! So I waited eagerly for the following summer and then I was back out there, over weight as hell, but nothing made me happier! I also knew that I was going to keep soccer as part of my work out from now on.

My frustration with my skill and slowness on the field was another factor in wanting to become more fit. One of my biggest goals (aside from the weight loss) is to become the best soccer player I can be! Now that I'm serious about improving my fitness I've been spinning, doing sprint intervals, lifting, and after playing that first summer season, I found a job whose schedule allows me to play year round. I've been playing non stop since summer of 2007, and I played on two leagues last fall, women's and co-ed which was a bit more rough and fast, but that still = FUN in my book!

I'm a defender, sometimes I play mid. My height has definitely been an advantage on defense, but my weight has not. I'm working on building up my speed so I can keep up with those little forwards and toning my muscles so I can improve my kick.

This past week I started fitness boot camp, that's right my ass is getting up at 4:45 in the morning (but that's another blog entry). And starting soon I'm going to be working one on one with a personal trainer who conditions athletes to improve my skill with the ball. I want to do what ever it takes to be the best at my game! With hard work, I will reach my "GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAL!"

If you ever feel you can't reach your goals, take Messi's advice, Impossible is nothing!

Lionel Messi - Free videos are just a click away

Aww look at little Lionel! So adorable!

So I want to hear from you, what motivates you to reach your goals? Soccer gets me running, how about you?

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