Live As a Learner

Last evening, I poured myself a cup of coffee in my Batman mug, sat down at my desk and did something I haven’t done in ten years – homework. 

I started the online MA program for English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, which is something I’ve wanted to do since I graduated. Only until recently with the Boston Breakers partnership with SNHU did it become a reality. 

Last year I took a course online with Second City and learned a lot about sketch writing. Sometimes one of the best lessons I can learn is that I don’t like something.  One of my strengths as a human I believe firmly is that I know with ease what I like and don’t like. I finished the course, but it wasn’t for me. 

Starting this program earlier this week, I already know it’s for me. I want to be a better writer and storyteller. If that means write a book, great. If that means write better blogs, great also. If that only means I write better for myself and my people, great again. I have realized that I just want to get better for myself (though I hope you all can benefit). 

One of the first lessons we “talked about” in “class” – see yeah, it’s going to be like “that” because it’s online and not in real life- was the idea of reading like a writer. 

Reading like a writer means simply to read in order to learn for your own writing. I’ve spent my whole life reading for pleasure and for the content of the book. I was reading as a “fan” I guess I can say. Now, I’m starting to read books with the intention of gaining more from them.

The idea that I can improve my own writing through the act of reading made perfect sense to me once someone else said it. I have been doing that same thing my entire life with soccer. 

I know there are professional players out there who don’t watch much soccer and still have successful careers playing the game the right way. I can’t argue that whatever they did or didn’t do has worked for them. For the majority of players though, especially young players, watching the game is vital to development and there is a major different between watching games as a student in order to learn from it and watching as a fan for pleasure.

When I watch games for pleasure, I am in my bed with my coffee and one eye open at 7:30 am on a Saturday morning. Sometimes I sit up but usually I’m still under the covers and have the volume up so I can be more attentive when the announcers get excited. 

When I watch as a student, I’m sitting at my desk with the game on my computer using the tactical cam options on NBC Sports with a pen and notebook --- plugs company for soccer planner (www.duktigbrand.com) --- and the volume is off. 

I watch the players that play my position (wingers, attacking midfielders) and their movement off the ball, where they receive the ball most on the pitch, how they get back into defensive shape (and how quickly), their body language (it is extremely important to see good and bad body language to think about our own) and where their best chances come from.

If I’m not watching other games, I’m watching my own film. It’s hard not to watch that for pleasure sometimes (haha sorry, couldn’t resist). I can see the good things and the bad things I do in a game and see how those decisions impact the team and the game. It’s how I can learn to be better for next time. 

As young players progress through the game, it’s good for them to know that there are two ways to watch games: for pleasure and enjoyment and to learn. Obviously, a little of both is always going on while we watch. As coaches and parents and mentors, we can all help to encourage players to rethink the way they watch games. That is something in our control. 

The reason I liked this idea from my writing class so much was that it applies to everything. Obviously, soccer is what I know. Some consider me an expert or something. I don’t know. Don’t ask me. 

Writing is something I’m not as good at. So, this is a way for me to train it. And it’s something I’ll take into other parts of my life that I want to improve. 

The beauty of our everyday lives is the ability to get better no matter our circumstances. I know everyone has their shit. I have my shit. Some shit is really, really bad. (LOL, to Yael and the rest of us dealing with gastrointestinal problems) I don’t pretend to think life is always wonderful for everyone. 

So, what can I do? I can try to live as a learner. That’s about it. And maybe help others do the same.

Preseason with the Breakers: The short version

A week into preseason with the Boston Breakers and yes, I’m sore, tired and perhaps I’m not sure what day it is, but there’s much more to update you on than the condition of my mind and body.

Just kidding.

That’s all there is. Preseason, for those of you who have never experienced it, is similar to spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is something you prepare for beforehand, yet it’s always harder than you think. It’s getting the rust and dust out of places there shouldn’t be rust and dust and figuring out what you should keep and what you should get rid of. In soccer, it’s realizing some bad habits might have snuck in and getting rid of them, while developing new, better ones. It’s a lot of excitement in your mind but physically taxing enough to make you think, man I came into this guns a blazin and now my guns are a [GOOGLE SEARCH: something that rhymes with blazin and means tired.]

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Why I'm Still Playing Professional Soccer

I have a confession to make right off the bat. I’m not good at a lot of things. I’m consistently settled in bed for the night before I’ve flossed (judge away). I like chicken parms more than I should. I don’t always respond to texts. There’s a long list. 

I’m okay with the fact that I’m not perfect, even though I never settle for not being perfect. It’s confusing. 

I think that one of the most fascinating aspects of life is the idea that we want something we will never attain: perfection. Whatever that even means to us. 

Perfection is a silly word. It’s possible perhaps in bowling and I don’t even know what else. Yet we aim for it in almost everything we do. 

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Offseason Thoughts: Is it worth it? Let me work it.

The last time I wrote, I was living and playing in Sweden and we had just clinched a spot in Damallsvenkan for 2017. Since then a lot has happened. Let me fill you in quick.

I decided not to return to Kvarnsvedens IK for next year. It was a great opportunity to play at a high level and a good reminder that the end of something can often times be the beginning of something else. 

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Shine On Sweden Pts. 1-6

Ah Sweden. A country so beautiful it’s almost a shame it gets as cold as it does here. I’m lucky to be here during the best part of the year, my favorite part of the year: the fall. 

Sweden, for those of you who don’t have Google, sits between Finland and Norway way up near the Arctic circle. It’s well-known for several things. None of them are Swedish fish. It’s funny, if you ask a Swede what they’re most proud of they have to think about it for a few minutes. Eventually they’ll come up with the following: ABBA, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marabou chocolate. 

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A Little Tribute to FCKC

Most days I get in the car and go where I need to go without thinking much else. I need to go to the store, or the field or the gym. Then there are days when I get in the car and I just feel like driving. Not anywhere in particular. Just away. And it’s not necessarily because I’m unhappy, it’s just because sometimes I crave a change of scenery. I imagine many people feel this way once in a while. 

The urge for something different. 

One day in April, my brother and I got in the car and we drove. To Kansas. Just those words alone seem ridiculous to me, even now. We drove to Kansas from Connecticut. Me. Who said she would never, could never, live in the Midwest. 

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It's Okay To Go Back

Almost three years ago to this day, I decided to go to the stadium earlier than usual for our game. I was in Portland and the stadium was then called Jeld Wen. 

I put all my stuff down in the empty locker room, grabbed a pen and my journal out of my backpack and walked out into a desolate stadium. It was so quiet and so peaceful. I sat on our bench and started to write everything I was feeling about being out there. I poured my heart out for a good 30 minutes.  

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What A Fool Believes*

I haven’t posted an update on my life in a long time. Therefore, I presume many of you have made assumptions about my life. And you know what happens when you assume… You make a story in your head. Some of those stories might include:

1.    Joining the circus as a traveling headband spinner (the plate guys got the boot) 
2.    Being the 8th Wonder of the World  
3.    Starting a cat farm with my mom
Or…

Training with FC Kansas City during the day, while partaking in intense improv sessions at night and all the while realizing that in life, you can have more than one calling. 

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Letter From Editor, OGM

Dear Women's Soccer Fans, 

It was a difficult decision, but after five years and 38 issues, this will be my last issue as Editor-in-Chief of Our Game Magazine. 

There are many reasons for leaving, focusing on other things, getting back to playing, trying some new things and maybe just not trying to have three jobs at the same time for once are a few that come to mind. 

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A Thank You To All

Now that I’ve had time to decompress, I have realized just how many emotions we have been experiencing. 

I have so many people to thank, but truthfully that smoke alarm was the real hero. If the smoke alarm didn’t go off, we could be dealing with a very different circumstance right now. And for that reason I will be looking at fire safety in a completely different way than I used to. I know it shouldn’t take something like this to change, but it has and this is where I am. 

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