Tag Archives: world cup

Like a Girl

7 Jul
Courtesy of Tumblr

Courtesy of Tumblr

I run like a girl. I run like someone who has been female my entire life. I pound one foot after the other on the pavement as fast as I can for as long as I can and am overjoyed when I finish. Because I’m a girl who thrives off of that feeling of accomplishment. I did something that many people can’t or won’t do. I did it for me and I did well.

I also spin like a girl, swim like a girl and Zumba like a girl. I’m working on yoga-ing like a girl and eventually cross-fitting like a girl.

There’s nothing wrong with doing things like a girl. Always had a great campaign last summer reminding girls that competing like a girl doesn’t mean they’re going to lose. Right now, female athletes are killing it in their respective fields. Find one person who can defeat Ronda Rousey. Go on. I’ll wait.

venus_serenaLook up a better rivalry than that between Venus and Serena Williams. You won’t be able to find one. They are each others best competition. Monday’s match went by fast but it was hard-earned. These are two women who love and appreciate each other, respecting one another’s talents to cheer even in defeat. Like girls.

And let’s not forget the epitome of #squadgoals right now. The U.S. women’s national soccer team just won the FIFA World Cup, making them the winningest team in women’s FIFA history. And just like girls, they went out on the pitch and dominated as only girls can. Within 17 minutes, the team had all but secured their victory with four goals. FOUR! Do you know how rare it is not only for four goals to be scored in 17 minutes, but for three of them to come from the same person? It’s so rare that Carli Lloydd, who scored three of those goals, pulled the fastest hat trick in FIFA finals history. Girls. I tell ya.

Well now, there’s a new girl on the scene. As in last year’s ESPN Magazine Body Issue, the editors decided to incorporate a woman with a less-than-Aphrodite appearance. Meet Amanda Bingson.

Dense would be the right word for me. I think it’s important to show that athletes come in all shapes and sizes.

Courtesy of ESPN Magazine

Courtesy of ESPN Magazine

Amanda competes in the hammer throw like a badass girl. After moving from Las Vegas to Texas, the Olympian has come to embrace her curves. While there are limits to what she can do physically, they can’t stop her from becoming great. Here are few things I’ve learned about my new hero Amanda from her interview with ESPN Magazine.

I have a very strong core. For training, we do a lot of twisting motions because that’s what our event mainly is: twisting. But I don’t have a six-pack or anything else like that. I have, like, two rolls in the back, but I still think I’m pretty strong in my core.

Definition is not the definition of fitness. Amanda can throw a hammer, mostly using her fingertips, more than 200 feet. She has to engage her core to make this happen. You will learn a lot about yourself on your weight-loss journey, but one of the hardest lessons is that your body may not transform the way you want it. Blame genetics, blame surroundings or blame Dr. Phil. Still you must come to terms with this and make the best with what you’ve got.

I’ll be honest, I like everything about my body.

After coming to grips with the body you have, loving it and accepting it will follow. Depending on how you deal with things, this may happen quickly or it may take a while. But the day you look in the mirror and say, “I look pretty damn good,” will be your a-ha moment. You’ll go on a “Fellin’ Myself” spree, and I will applaud you from here.

If I medal in the upcoming Olympics, I’m just going to chug a beer. I’m going to get up on the podium and just go “Stone Cold” Steve Austin on it. I’m working on some things. Everyone will be looking at me like “trashy American.” But at least we’re still No. 1!

Courtesy of ESPN Magazine

Courtesy of ESPN Magazine

Celebrate yourself and your accomplishments. If you’ve done well this week, have a celebratory cookie. If you’ve run the hard race on your schedule, cab load with some pancakes and a mimosa. Anytime you reach a goal or surmount a final hurdle, take a moment to look at how far you’ve come. You did something amazing. Going “Stone Cold” on the situation might make you feel even better.

Like all girls, these women won’t allow anyone to shut out their accomplishments. They are the goals in the their sports. They are the ones who inspire other girls to dream the impossible and to win.

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On the Women’s World Cup

30 Jun
When the U.S. defeated China 0-1. Courtesy of Tumblr.

When the U.S. defeated China 0-1.
Courtesy of Tumblr.

Last year around this time, I observed the fascinating male form that runs around a soccer pitch and kicks at other people. Last year was the men’s World Cup (congrats, Germany!). This year, the women get to impress.

While on your weight-loss journey, you’ll look around for inspiration. Because I’m so active, I tend to look at athletes. Serena Williams is my spirit animal. Ronda Rousey is a beast. I think these women’s bodies are incredible. They work out and take great pains to keep themselves in top condition to participate in their sports.

Brandi Chastain

Brandi Chastain

When I was in college, the U.S. women’s team won the World Cup and the poster girl for the sport became Brandi Chastain. With a look of pure glee and a body rippling with muscles, Brandi embodied athleticism. This year I have a new crop of athletes to look up to.

They are disciplined, dedicated and successful. They are accomplishing things most people in their field could only hope to accomplish. And they are good. Really, really good.

That’s why I take issue with anyone who doesn’t appreciate women in sports. Regardless of what some may say, including an actual sports editor at Sports Illustrated, these women deserve the title of role model. They deserve to be inspiration for girls who want to excel in athletics. They deserve to be on the vision boards of women who seek body inspiration. And they deserve praise for getting over the physical and mental hurdles it takes to compete at the highest level.

What I take most from these women is  not so much a desire for their bodies. It’s more a desire to maintain that level of discipline. To achieve what these women have, you have to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind. You have to really want it. The same goes for your weight-loss goals.

So as these women attempt to do what the men’s team couldn’t last year and defeat Germany, I’ll be rooting for them from the couch. And I’ll have Seth and Amy’s “Really” tirade running through my head. Because, really? You don’t think these women, and all female athletes, deserve to be watched? Really?

World Cup Observations

2 Jul
This man, Tim Howard, was incredible. Stellar goalie.

This man, Tim Howard, was incredible. Stellar goalie.

Like many Americans, I am a new (and disgruntled) soccer fan. The game is full of near misses and frustrating endings. The team that’s been playing crazy defense all game can get tripped up in the last 30 seconds and lose it all. It’s a frustrating thing to watch. But I love sports, so I’m learning to love soccer.

The World Cup has been so exciting this year. Despite yesterday’s loss, it’s been easy to root for the U.S. Men’s team. Having only really paid attention to soccer for the first time ever two and a half weeks ago, I can’t claim to be an expert. But there are a few things I’ve noticed so far.

1. Thighs. Soccer players have some of the most beautiful thighs I’ve ever seen on men. They are ridiculously toned. I’ve been an avid runner for about five years now and am nowhere near that kind of definition. Those beautiful quads and hams have to be well taken care of in order to kick the ball with such precision.

2. Abs. Core strength is key to almost any physical activity. These fellas have great cores. It keeps them agile and allows for some awesome scissor kicks.

3. Faces. It’s not called a beautiful game for nothing. Soccer is the CW network of sports. Marginally attractive people aren’t employed there. The only sport that comes somewhat close in the ratio of fine athletes to their less-attractive brethren is tennis, and that sport doesn’t has nearly as many players. Sure, most soccer players average about 5’7″.* But with faces like these, you have to give them a pass.

4. Speed. I heard somewhere that for the 90 minutes that soccer players are on the field, they’re averaging about seven miles of running. Seven miles! For comparison, I run six miles an hour, and I’m not chasing a ball, trying to control it with my feet, dodging 10 other people and trying to kick it into a goal.

Good job, fellas.

Good job, fellas.

5. Sportsmanship. In high-stakes competitions like the NBA Finals or the Super Bowl, you’re bound to have a few scuffles. I have yet to see any real blowups on the pitch. These guys are running around in Brazilian heat (which is no joke) for 45 minutes straight each half with other people kicking at them, tripping them, pulling at their uniforms…and no one has thrown dem bows. My favorite part is the end when the teams exchange jerseys—partly because of observation No. 2, but also because the players appreciate the other team’s hard work. It’s a really special moment.

6. Dedication. I ran a race on Saturday (five miles in 50:35, thank you very much) and the sun was beating me up. I was frustrated with the organizers for having only two misting stations and myself for not stopping for water more often. I finished, but I was not pleased at the amenities. Soccer players play through each half with no timeouts, no water breaks, no ref challenges. Nothing.** You’re just out there until your half is up. And they do it with no complaint. It’s inspiring.

Even though my team is out, I’m going to continue to watch the Cup through the end. I’ve gained a new appreciation for the sport. Will I try it? Probably not because I’m an old. But I can definitely see its universal appeal.

Now that the U.S. is out, will you continue to watch? What’s been your favorite moment so far? Mine was anytime Tim Howard let out his inner beast.

*I’m 5’2″, so I have no real right to complain about height. But a girl’s got preferences (not necessarily prerequisites).

**Players do find a way to take a breather by doing I what I call the “Paul Pierce.” Old Navy doesn’t have as many flip flops as I’ve seen during these matches. It’s hilarious, but at the same time a bit of a “Come on!” moment.

Photos courtesy of FIFA/Getty Images