Pressure makes us

First, I want to thank everyone for your messages of encouragement and support regarding last week’s post. I think downs are just as natural as ups, and that was my point: Sometimes life is overwhelming, and that’s okay. We don’t have to be ashamed of it, we don’t have to hide it. That said, it’s much easier to bear when you have such great people in your life cheering you on. Thank you all.

Second, I want to talk about the US women’s soccer team. If you’re like most people in America, you may have no idea that the Women’s World Cup is going on right now, and that the US is in the playoffs. But it is, and they are.

Yesterday they played Brazil in the first elimination round. Meaning you lose, you go home. And for half the game, it looked like the US women would be boarding a plane at the end of the night. Thanks to a red card (let’s not talk about the refereeing) the US was playing 10 people against Brazil’s 11. The odds were against them.

Somehow they hung on, though, and the regular 90-minute game ended in a 1-1 tie, which necessitated a 30-minute overtime. Brazil scored almost immediately, and I admit: I thought it was over then. As the minutes ticked away, so did my hope. One announcer even said this would go down as the US women’s team’s worst showing in World Cup history.

Then, with less than a minute to go, Megan Rapinoe kicked the ball to Abby Wambach, who headed it into the back right corner of the Brazilian net. The goal was so unbelievable, so exciting, so perfect, that I actually have tears in my eyes just writing about it now. I screamed, sending my poor dog flying off the couch, and I really think my heart stopped.

By tying the game up 2-2 in extra time, the US forced the match into Penalty Kicks. They made 5 out of 5 PKs. The Brazilian team did not.

The US’s mind-blowing comeback win not only revved me up for the rest of the night, it also reminded me that pressure can be a good thing. Sure, sometimes it’s intimidating, and sometimes it can get overwhelming. But sometimes it pushes us to work harder than ever before. Sometimes it brings out our best. Sometimes it makes us who we are.

15 responses to “Pressure makes us”

  1. Sonje Avatar

    You should have mentioned that the tying score was not just in the last minute but in the last minute of added stoppage time to the overtime, and all that time was added because of a blatantly fake injury by Brazil in the last five minutes, hoping to run out the clock while the stretcher came, and then ha! The time was added on, and we scored in that added time! It was amazing! I could not believe what I was seeing! They really played much better with 10 than with 11. I’ve already got the semifinals scheduled to tape.

    Glad you found inspiration from that match. I did too a bit yesterday.

  2. M.E. Anders Avatar

    This was an amazing game – I’m glad you wrote about it, Kristan. I watched replays of it at the gym this morning…incredible!

    Glad you are feeling better – we all understand the throes of writing when we need some inspiration. :)

  3. gingermandy Avatar

    I love this! I had it on for a couple minutes but wasn’t really paying attention, I probably would have been squealing too if I saw that happen. I’m not a huge sports fan but when something is on and it’s a really intense situation, I get sucked right into it.

    It sounds like such a good lesson of inspiration and hope, I’m going to have to watch these clips.

  4. Sarah Wedgbrow Avatar

    …and don’t forget Hope SOLO!!!!! Not that you did, but she’s got to be my favourite to watch. I LOVED that game so much. My husband was screaming at the referee the entire time, I really thought a black cloud had descended. Rapinoe was just firing in those crossovers each and every time, could not believe my eyes when Wambach headed it in. Then the PK’s. Yes, that was the best game I’ve seen all year in any sport. xx

  5. Aisha Avatar

    Great post, I agree, some of us actually excel under pressure rather than let it get the best of us :)

  6. Les Avatar

    I do way better under pressure… time makes me WORK lol.

  7. Joelle Wilson Avatar

    Can’t relate to soccer (just not into it) but I can relate to pressure. Sometimes pressure is a good thing but it has to be the right kind I think. Also glad that you’re feeling better this week. :)

  8. Trisha Avatar

    I know the Womens’ World Cup is going on. Did you ever know I played when I went to ASU? That was before the school officially recognized a women’s team; only the men’s.

  9. Christa Avatar

    I saw that game. It was the best soccer I have ever seen in my life.

  10. jon Avatar

    Great post. I totally missed this game and the Women’s World Cup, but now I’m going to follow the US team. Who do they play next?

  11. Kristan Avatar

    Oh, there’s so much I could have written about the game. But I figured I should have a point, lol.

    Even if I wanted to forget Hope — which, of course, I did not! — the announcers wouldn’t let anyone. They mentioned her all the time, hahaha.

    No, I had no idea you played! Very cool. You should put some pics of that up on FB! :)

    Sweden FRANCE, tomorrow, 11:30 am EST.

  12. Pseudo Avatar

    I like your sporty side ; -)

  13. K. Marie Criddle Avatar

    Kristan, I love this post. I heard so much about the game, but didn’t realized what a close shave it had been! And a big hooray for pressure; without it I wouldn’t have finished ANYTHING, much less books that take months upon months (who am I kidding YEARS) to write.

    Oh great, now I’ve got Queen’s “Under Pressure” running through my head. Dun dun dun dudu dun dun… :D

  14. John T Avatar

    this is really a very great game to admire, i just love the way you tackle the game. Real good game to enjoy, this gives the sport side of a Woman.

  15. Kristan Avatar

    Hehe, good! I love football (American kind) especially, and I keep wanting to write about that — about how a feminine, non-athletic girl can be really into a tough sport like that. Maybe if we have an NFL season this year, you’ll see more of my sporty side.

    K. Marie-
    GREAT, now I do too! Lol.

    John T-
    Thanks! And hello. :)