Monday, June 24, 2019

Women's World Cup Preview 2019: Part of Why It's Known as "The Beautiful Game"

I recently started to give my back issues of Sports Illustrated to my Dad. This is the best thing I have done—intentionally and unintentionally—in a long time. Passing this magazine on to one of the bigger sports fans I know means that I have learned a whole lot more about sports from a historical and statistical perspective. And when I gave him the Women's World Cup Preview issue, I realized, I am also learning more about me dad, too. It's pretty awesome. 

I understand why people prefer to go digital with their subscriptions. For me, it's not fun to have a visual reminder that I'm behind in my reading. I have not checked the box to go paperless as I think I may be held more accountable to read, open and flip through a hard copy of a  journal rather that let it remain somewhere in cyberspace. I have always made a point of sharing thoughtful pieces with friends and families and now that habit included giving the entire issue to my dad. I'm curious, What is your approach toward this topic?

My dad has always been a huge soccer fan. He has never held back his belief that soccer players are the best athletes in the world; that the game is 10 times more exciting than any baseball game ever could be. He coached my brother's team and still talks about that time in their lives with great affection. The increased coverage of televised soccer in the US has taken over my parents' household. I was not sure how his love for the Beautiful Game would apply when it came time for the FIFA Women's World Cup. Would he watch any of the games? Does he hold any of the interest in the twenty four teams?  Would he have any of his great excitement for the round robin tournament? Does he have a favorite player? A love for sport does not always translate from the men's to the woman's game (and vice versa). I have wondered Does the true love of sport require equal enthusiasm for both games?

I handed him the June 3, 2019 issue with Megan Rapinoe and young female soccer players on the cover, not knowing if or how he would react to it. His response was ecstatic. His enthusiasm was contagious. "Thank you!" he said. "I can't wait for the games to begin, and I'd like to read more about it. That Carli Lloyd, she is an incredible player." He went on to mention several women on the US team that he admires. 
His appreciation and value for the Women's World Cup meant more to me than I thought it would (and full disclosure, though I wish I was...I am not a soccer fan). I am a grown woman and have my own passions and interests in and beyond sport. But knowing my dad and his, I was sincerely touched that it made room for these women who are equally talented, dynamic and competitive (if not more so! US Women have won the World Cup three of the seven times the tourney has been played). 

The opinion and support of our parents have an impact and this one, from my dad, meant a lot. His interest in women in soccer affirmed that his beliefs—they are the best athletes in the world and the game is incredibly exciting—need not be limited to the men's game. I think part of why we call soccer The Beautiful Game is because it is so radically inclusive—men and women, all young and older, one nation after another. Enjoy the tourney!

Photo Credits
SI Cover

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