Twitter Geek

Twitter Geek

As far as social media platforms go, I love Twitter the most. Granted, I probably use Facebook more often, but the ability to customize feeds and easily interact with others via Twitter is what makes it, to me, the best platform out there.

I also love soccer. It was one of the first sports I learned, and it was an early bond my father and I shared. His passion for the game was passed down to me, and I as I started playing American football, he used the analogies and differences between the two sports to make me a better player.

I am glad to say the soccer bug was also picked up by my daughter. In 2015, we had the opportunity to travel to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to cheer on the United States Women’s National Team as they competed in the FIFA World Cup. My daughter played recreation and competitive soccer for over a decade, and to see her watch her heroes on the pitch was an extraordinary sight.

Natalie at BC Place in Vancouver (2015).

Because of her, I am an avid fan of the USWNT. I’d much rather watch the women play than the men, in part because I believe the play is more pure, but also because of the emotional bond I have from watching my daughter play all those years.

A third reason I prefer to watch the women play is that I still recall their amazing run in the 1999 World Cup. Three months before my daughter was born, the US women defeated China via penalty kicks in the championship game of that tournament. The game was amazing. The atmosphere, as seen on TV, was electrifying. I can only imagine what it felt like in the Rose Bowl on that afternoon in July. I still get goosebumps watching the replays, and I became a fan, following the USWNT roster and results ever since.

So you can only imagine my excitement when two of my geek worlds collided. I made a playful remark to a tweet from Julie Foudy, a member of that 1999 World Cup team, as she was commenting on last night’s loss by the US Men’s hockey team in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Her tweet read:

Heartbreak for Team USA. @usahockey knocked out in Qtrfinal shoot out loss against the Czech Republic. I officially do not like Shoot Outs. There, I said it. #PyeongChang2018

I casually reminded Ms. Foudy of the shootout in 1999, and she promptly shared my tweet with a reply of her own.

I know it may seem silly, but it’s a complete geek-out moment for me. Julie Foudy had a stellar career as a member of the USWNT, is an ambassador of the game, and does exceptional work for ESPN. To be RT’d by her – a world champion – is way, way cool!

I’ve written before (Part I and Part II) about some of the things I’ll miss when my wife and I move later this Spring to the D.R. to pursue our mission work. Living in Florida, we’ve had several opportunities to see in person the USWNT compete. Perhaps I should publish a Part III discussing how much I will miss being in the stands, watching those talented women play, watching them represent our country on the pitch, and watching so many girls and young women dream big.

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God’s Sense of Humor

God’s Sense of Humor

My kids participated in Wesley Chapel Athletic Association activities for years. I have so many wonderful memories from that period in time, and some not-so-great ones as well. Yet through it all, I know my kids are more well-rounded and better prepared to take on some of life’s challenges as a result of their participation in organized sports.

I will admit the experience did not come without its challenges.For over a decade, I’d make the trip up to Wesley Chapel District Park for either practices or games, sometimes four times per week, oftentimes fueled only by the desire to be a good dad.

The things we do for our kids.

Getting there after work or early on the weekends took a toll on my body and my energy levels, and it was not uncommon for me to take naps in the car during practices. I would admonish the powers that be for the fact there was no place nearby to get a good cup of coffee. More specifically, I’d curse the fact there was no Starbucks near Wesley Chapel District Park.

My daughter is now in college and my son is wrapping up his Junior year in high school. They’re both very removed from participating in WCAA activities, and I can’t tell you the last time I’ve been up that way. So file under delicious irony the email my wife sent me today. In it was a link to WesleyChapelCommunity.com. The headline of the story reads simply: New Starbucks to open soon in Wesley Chapel.

Really? Really, God? Now? Now is when there’s a Starbucks on the way to the district park? After all those years of dozing off at red lights …. now?

Just continued proof God has a great sense of humor.

 

183/365 Sunday Lazy Sunday

So after a busy Saturday that was full with cleaning and tidying and yard work, Lee and I chillaxed some today.

Coming from home following church, we grabbed a bite, picked up some beers, and parked ourselves in front of the TV to watch the finals of the Euro 2012 football tournament. Given Spain’s dominance in the game, it ended up become the perfect time to take a nap.

As for the aforementioned brewskies, I think I may have stumbled across a new favorite. The best part is it’s from a brewery right here in Tampa.

174/365 Packing Again?

Having just returned from vacation, the last thing I want to do is pack again (especially since I am still not completely unpacked from my trip).

This, however, is a quite different given the packing is for Natalie as she prepares to head out to residential soccer camp at USF. It’s pretty weird knowing it won’t be long before she’s packing to go off to college.

148/365 Rising Up

Today, my daughter’s soccer team took on one of the top-ranked U13 Girls teams in the state of Florida. The Sunrise Sting had not allowed a goal in the Disney Memorial Day Soccer Shootout tournament, and there was a lot of chatter about our girls facing such competition, especially since they’ve been playing 11 v 11 for only a couple of months.

I think I speak for all the parents of our club when I say I could not be more proud of the level of effort our girls displayed on the pitch. The competition was fast, the opposing girls were fierce, and the intensity was a notch above anything else they’d previously experienced.

And they rose up to the occasion.

Thanks to an aggressive attack on the net, our Flames were awarded a direct kick following the opposing goalie taking out one of our forwards as she broke away with the ball. The set piece allowed for another one of our girls to float the kick over the opponent’s wall, and sneak the ball just under the crossbar in the top corner of the goal. It was the only score they’d need as both Natalie and her goalie partner Jannae pitched a shutout.

The 1-0 victory secured a 3-0 record in their bracket, and a #1 seed in the semi-finals.

The reward? More nail-biting, anxiety, and increased blood pressure for me on Monday morning.