Racecar driver Michael Andretti says he remembers the day he passes his famous father, Mario, on the racetrack for the first time.
Today, Elise says “adios, dada,” too.
Elise, the girl you might have read about here and here and most definitely here, has written a guest post for today. I asked her a while ago to write about life as a girl athlete – and she delivered, in a big way.
A sassy, big way sometimes. But always true to her heart. I’ve watched this kid become a young woman, and still see the girl I could carry on my shoulders when I see her.
I hope she sees me as the man who did. And who will always be here for her.
Elise has answered, with her sisters, questions I get from Q4KIDZ. She’s illustrated some posts on this blog. And she’s the soccer player you’ve often read about lately, who’s on the lookout for a good fit of a college program.
Please give Elise a warm CD welcome in her bloggy debut.
Life As A Girl Athlete
“You can beat her!”
“Come on ,don’t let her do that to you!”
“ Don’t let her beat you!”
“ She’s just a girl!”
I hear this a lot. Most people might get offended if they get talked to like that, but I don’t. I smile. I laugh a little. Then I give them hell.
I have played soccer ever since I could remember. Granted, I have a horrible memory. I guess I was about 5 when I started, so that makes this year my 12th as a soccer player. I like to think I know the game better than anyone else, and I make that known. Don’t ever mention watching soccer games around my sisters or they will immediately tell you not to invite me. I like to talk to the players. Loudly.
And the refs, and the coaches, and the people in the stands. I tell them what I think about the calls, and the goals, and that bitchy player on the other team … even though they can’t hear me through the screen. It’s okay though. I feel as though I help them.
Imagine this… you’re in fourth grade. You’re at recess playing soccer along with the rest of the nasty, sweaty, cootie-infested boys in your class, and this girl walks up to you and asks if she could play. You’d probably laugh a little and shake your head. A girl, you think, she can’t play soccer… well you nasty, sweaty, cootie-infested boy, you have never been more wrong in your life. I played. I won. I made one boy cry. It was a pretty good recess if you ask me.
Growing up with all girls, you’d think that I would be scared of playing against boys, or at least intimidated, but I was the exact opposite. I loved playing against boys, other than the fact that they have this very strong smell that you can’t really place. Its somewhere between last weeks dirty soccer laundry and roadkill. I loved the rush it gave me. Its like the gazelle was chasing the lion. Nine times out of ten the gazelle won.
And it pissed everyone off. It was amazing. The coaches who were too big to get off of the benches turned red and threw things. The parents jumped up and down on the sidelines asking for a non-existent penalty ( I guess getting fouled by a girl is somehow better than getting beat by one). And the players on the other team got their “game faces” on and started taking cheap shots. I got beat up. A lot. But I didn’t mind it.
Getting bruises and scratches and scars is like getting memories tattooed on you by Mother Nature. There’s always a story.
Being an athlete, you have to overcome a lot. Not only do you have to overcome the game itself, you have to overcome the players, the coaches, the refs, the field conditions, the burger you ate as a pre-game snack, and the loud-ass mom on the sideline who talks junk about random players on both teams, what she bought at Wal-mart, and what she’s making for dinner.
People are annoying, telling you what you can and can’t do. Whether it’s going that party, getting the shoes that everybody has, or in my case, my ability to play soccer. I know my dad has told you about me taking bitches’ souls and that one time I defeated that Mexican God or whatever. I can play soccer. I know I can. A lot of people know I can. But that doesn’t stop the boys at The Turfs from rolling their eyes when I’m put on their teams, not passing to me even when I’m the only one open and in perfect position to score, or when I do have the ball and no one challenges me.
To me, nothing is more disrespectful than not trying. If you challenge me and beat me, good for you. But, please, don’t just not try.
Why is having a pony tail and your nails painted weak? Just because I look good, doesn’t mean I can’t kick your ass, it just means that I look that much better doing it. Being a girl isn’t an excuse, it’s an advantage. Boys will be boys and will continue to doubt what all a girl can do. The best thing we can do is smile at them, laugh a little, and feel bad for their moms, cause they’re about to watch their little boys get beat by a girl.
And its okay. Girls are strong. We’re smarter. We live longer. And the least we can do is rub it in boy’s faces every now and again. It’s about time we take the saying You play like a girl as a compliment. Hell yeah I play like a girl, and you sure as hell can’t beat me.