WPS Championship Eve

Our new team mascot, Petey, showing off for the crowd at WPS Media Day

It is officially the eve of the WPS Championship.  Most of my teammates are off at the movies but I stayed back to tell the world, via my blog, what it is like to be at the Super Bowl of Womens Pro Soccer.

If you live under a cave and have not read our incessant tweets about our new penguin friend, then its worth starting an account just for that.  On the way up to Rochester on our rock star bus (we normally travel school bus standard) full with flat screen TV’s and actual outlets, we decided to stop off and stretch our legs.  No matter where we go as a group, the Cheesesteaks always find a way to entertain.  This time, it was trying to win prizes (Ipods, gift certificates, stuffed animals) with games that revolve around enormous claws or scissors. 

After numerous unsuccessful tries to win the more “classy” prizes, we thought we would test our skills with the big claw.  Natasha Kai zeroed in on a prize penguin.  Her tactics were remarkable.  She dragged the penguin closer to the exit shoot and then pounced on it at just the appropriate time.  Our entire team was anxiously watching on and we even had a group of spectators that were just as intrigued as we were.  The claw grabbed the penguin around the belly and a hush went over the crowd.  Would the claw have the strength to pull the big bird in?  Ah!  Indeed it did! 

As the penguin came tumbling down the shoot into our open arms, the crowd erupted with joy.  It was as if we won the World Cup.  We were jumping up and down, screaming at the top of our lungs, and laughing.  The best $1.00 we had ever spent.  Sweet sweet victory.

We all decided to name the penguin, Petey, and he would now be our adopted mascot for the weekend.  He would be treated like a god and would attend EVERY team function….meetings, practices, meals…everything.  We insist on taking pictures of him doing the most absurd things.  Petey lifting weights, Petey in the sauna, Petey on the treadmill, Petey talking on the phone, Petey kicking a soccer ball, Petey wearing a chef’s hat, Petey wearing Tasha’s work boots, Petey doing interviews (yes interviews, that is not a joke). 

Petey has become quite the celebrity.  He had more action at WPS media day than our entire team combined.  Yes, we had to translate for him (he only speaks Penguinese and Whale) but he came across as a confident, passionate penguin that loves his Cheesesteaks.

Petey has obviously been the highlight of the weekend so far but there is still plenty more to come.  Tomorrow marks the most important game of the season and at 4pm EST on Fox Sports Net, we will see how we match up against the #1 team in the league.

It is a dream final.  The two top seeds facing off.  Winner takes it all.  This final has eerie similarities to last years Championship, however, we are much more prepared this time around.  Last year we had a to play a game coming off of two double over-time victories, a 6 hour plane trip, and 2 days of rest. 

This year is a different story, after our convincing win against majicJack, we have had an entire weeks rest and only a “short” bus trip to Rochester.  While we are up against a team named “Western New York Flash”, they could also be called “Bay Area FC Gold Pride 2”.  We have our chance at redemption and our entire motto this season has been “unfinished business”.

It will be difficult to contain Marta, Sinclair, Morgan, Seger, and the rest of the Flashers but it is not an impossible task.  We have done it before and we are fully capable of doing it again.  With WPS Coach of Year, Paul Riley, and WPS Player of the Year, Vero Boquete, anything is possible.

So, wish us luck!  Watch out for Petey on the bench tomorrow supporting his team and hopefully after 90 minutes of action packed, competitive soccer the Cheesesteaks will lift the WPS Trophy once and for all.  An entire season of blood, sweat, and tears all comes down to this.  We are ready.

 
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WPS Shark Week!

Goal celebration for the 'Steaks! against WCS magicJack

It’s officially “Shark Week” people and it is only appropriate I dedicate my blog this week to the best 7-days of the year.  Now, while I will not be discussing the shark attacks from the 1970’s, I will make some apt shark comparisons.

There is a reason why “Shark Week” is only once a year.  If the Discovery Channel decided to have it once a month, one every two months, etc., it would really lose its bite (pun intended…you are permitted to laugh).  This is the same reason that the Olympics and the World Cup are once every four years.  It is much easier to get amped up for an event when you don’t have to do it all the time.  Hence the overwhelming excitement about the most recent Women’s World Cup.  It destroyed TV ratings, it blew up twitter, it had President Obama paying attention.  It was big, really big. 

I don’t want to go in to detail on what this means for the future of women’s soccer because I already did so for the WPS blog: http://www.womensprosoccer.com/sitecore/content/Home/news/general/110729-joanna-lohman-blog-5.  Feel free to take a gander. 

What I do want to talk about is the “rogue” shark, the vicious and solitary shark that is an undesirable variation from the standard.  I use the term “rogue” for our league not for its negative connotation but for its assumed unpredictability.  This season has been anything but predictable. 

It is almost as if we had two seasons built into one.  The pre/post World Cup season (PWCS) and the World Cup season (WCS).  It is here that our Cheesesteak “double turkey” must be highlighted (thank you Steve) and it is no coincidence this occurred during the WCS.  I in no way want to take away from its significance (pretty fricken cool), you would have to be blind and deaf not to realize that during this time period, each team in the WPS was significantly hamstrung by the departure of high quality domestic and international players.  For a glaring example, look at magicJack and their results during this period….the worst loss in WPS history 6-0 and it could have been worse. Coincidentally it was against our ‘Steaks who proved to be the strongest of any WCS team. 

Similar to “rogue” sharks seperating themselves from the norm, the WCS is not the norm.  It cannot be used as the benchmark for the PWCS.  Things have shifted dramatically.  Teams are COMPLETELY different.  Take us for example, we are still winning but not nearly as convincingly.  Just look at our last four games.  In those matches we have 3 victories (all 1-0 margins) and one loss.  That loss broke our six game win streak, took a bite out of our leg, and knocked us back into reality of the PWCS.  The parody is back, the unpredictability is back, Marta is back, and magicJack is winning, 4-0 over Boston.

The question is, now that we are back into the PWCS do the outcomes become more predictable?  Is the element of the “rogue” a non factor?  Not really.  Both the PWCS and the WCS have been too short to really form set judgements.  The Cheesesteaks have two regular season games left.  The first being against Sky Blue, who most recently attacked us and broke our winning streak and then magicJack, the most mysterious team in WPS history (all sports history for that matter).  While I am certain we are going to win (I have my biases), I don’t think the certainty in Vegas is as strong.

We are currently sitting at the top of the table with 33 points but have played two more games than the second place Flash.  If you do the math on that one, there is a chance we could finish second.  The good news is that second place would be our lowest finish considering Boston and magicJack have a solid 19 points with three and four games left respectively.  That means even if the PWCS MJ (don’t you love all the acronyms) win-out we would still have more points.

Wow – my brain hurts.  This makes for an exciting end of the season and we find ourselves in a great position but need to win these last two games to help our cause.  While our destiny may not be in our complete control, it is always nice to go into the post-season with momentum.

If your like me and can’t handle all the suspense then come to our last regular-season home game this Sunday and be a part of it all (Widener University, 6pm) (It’s also live on Fox Soccer Channel).  Even better, sit in my personal fan section, JoLohManiacs. http://twitvid.com/RECPP. If your interested in making it rock, call 1-877-977-7445. Pictures and autographs with me after the game….and a JoLoh t-shirt.  

It really doesn’t get much better than this.  “Shark Week” meets “WPS Shark Week”.  Swim at your own risk.      

 

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180 Degrees of Women’s World Cup Action

Carmelina Moscato of Canada putting in a fierce slide tackle against Germany

Whew, we can all take a deep breath.  The suspense of the Women’s World Cup in Germany is over and although our country cannot celebrate a finals victory, we can bask in the glory of what was one of the greatest tournaments in any sport, of all time.  The game got an 8.6 rating on ESPN, that is the highest rating for any World Cup game, men or women’s, in history.  To put that into perspective, last year’s World Series between the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants got an overnight rating of 8.4.  Wow.  Even more spectacular, the World Cup final between theUS and Japan broke the Twitter record for tweets-per-second (7,196/sec).  Who would ever believe all this popularity for women’s sport?  It truly was total and utter enchantment.

There were so many compelling story lines.  Japan playing their beautiful style of soccer to inspire its entire suffering nation after the tsunami disaster, Brazil and their flair, creativity, and unfortunate antics against the United States (how do you go off on a stretcher and then immediately get off and start running?), France and their intricate passes and superior skill, and of course, the United States and their never-say-die attitude, heroics of Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, and the rest of the bunch. 

This is why we watch sports.  To not only see the best players in the world compete on the grandest of stages, but to witness the blood, sweat, and tears that come with it.  In order to get a full 180 degree view of the magnitude of an event like this, I interviewed Carmelina Moscato, a midfielder for the Canadian National Team.  Canada (the host of the 2015 Women’s World Cup) was one of the most anticipated teams to come into the World Cup only to lose all three of their round-robin games.  I wanted to get a sense of how it felt to have so much hype going in and so much disappointment going out.

Canada was the opening game against the home country of Germany, what was the atmosphere like in the 75,000 seat sold-out stadium?

The stadiums in Germany were one of the most impressive parts of this prestigious and professionally run tournament. The historic Olympiadstadium in Berlin was no different. Walking into a stadium so rich in story and culture was an absolute honor. The crowd at the opener was perfect, engaged and enthusiastic. I don’t believe it could have been a more inspirational or motivational set up.

Having spent months in a residency camp in Rome prior to the World Cup, do you think that affected the performance of the team? 

I am a big believer that for anyone or anything to succeed you need a balanced approach. Looking back, and having the luxury of hindsight, I would say that I completely understand why we would take the residency approach; but it may not have benefitted us fully. For starters, it must be said that as an up and coming soccer nation, we have a long way to go to be at the top. Therefore the pure hours that residency provided us needed to be inputted. Taking a couple things into consideration however, notably that Rome is not our home or our sense of comfort, more mental breaks would have been useful. Ways for us to continue training, but also have some freedoms you naturally do not have in camp. Some people may have even flown home with more breaks to recharge their batteries…but what do I know? haha.

 Were you impressed with the overall level of play?  What countries surprised you?

I was extremely impressed at the increased level of technical and tactical improvements made by essentially every country at the tournament. Traditionally weaker nations stepped to the table and made every game interesting. There weren’t as many, if any, sure wins which makes the game more exciting, purer. This is what the game is about, closing these gaps between nations so that the game is played to the highest standard. The countries that surprised me the most were Nigeria, Australia and Equatorial Guinea!

Having underperformed as a country, what type of response are you getting from your fans back home?

Our response has been mixed to be honest. You have the people that will always believe in us as players and as a team, and they understand we have a lot left in us for the future. Then you have people that have jumped on the bandwagon and this result only confirmed any lack of belief they had in the first place. I think the final type of response is the “no response” because a lot of people don’t know what to say!

The final of the WWC got amazing ratings, what did you think of the Japanese victory?

Japan’s victory was a true testament to perseverance and the ability of a nation to come together to accomplish powerful things. Although I will always cheer for a North American neighbor if it’s not us in a match, I was happy to see the “underdog” win in a fairly played, well played match of soccer. It was a final you hope for, with all the twists and turns and players playing with all their heart. What that win did for the mourning country of Japan is just too powerful to put into words. The world should be proud of that Japanese team.

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Making History and Making Turkey’s

The Champions Pose for the Cameras

For all of you bowlers out there you know a “turkey” is when you get three strikes in a row.  The Cheesesteaks are on the cusp of the WPS version of the turkey with the chance to win our third game in a row this weekend against magicJack.

I am never one to count my chickens before they hatch so consider it a mere turkey suggestion rather than a foregone conclusion.   The timing really couldn’t be better considering my birthday is the day after and it also marks the start of our World Cup break.  What could be a better birthday present than celebrating the Turkey in fine fashion with all my closest friends in the dear city of Philadelphia?  The answer: Nothing. 

Many of you probably want details on our two huge wins these past weekends.  I can tell you that the games could not have been any more opposite.  For starters, the game against Western New York was a defensive battle with few chances created and few chances given up.  The announcers were correct when they said the game was there for the taking.  Luckily with the insertion of two huge substitutes (which speaks volumes on the depth of our team) we secured the victory through a pinpoint pass from Lianne Sanderson to Danesha Adams for a clean header that rippled the back of the net.   A 90th minute goal that fundamentally changed our season and gave WNY their first loss in the history of their program. 

One week after making WPS history (it felt so good), we again decided to make WPS history with a 6-0 win over magicJack.  As you can tell from the score line, this was not a defensive battle, and in all honesty, the score could have been 10-5.  But, lucky for us, Val Henderson flexed her Cheesesteak muscles and came up with a couple of key saves in the second half that kept magicJack off the scoreboard and propelled us to greater scoring heights.  Everyone got in on the action.  Frida scored her first goal of the season, Danesha Adams added two more to her latest game winner, Veronica Boquette recorded her first ever goal for the club, Lianne Sanderson got her second goal of the season, and we can’t forget Natasha Kai joining in with one too.  Wow, talk about a victory that left smiles on the players, coaches, fans, and staffs faces. 

After two huge wins I would have suggested we fly to Las Vegas to ride the wave of our winning ways.  Throw me on the black jack table and let’s see how much we can make =)  A very tempting idea, however, difficult to pull off in such a short time.  Instead, Lianne Sanderson, Paul Riley (yes, our coach), and I decided to enter into a soccer-tennis tournament dressed clad in Canada jerseys.  Why Canada?  Our friendly neighbor to the North deserves a shout out every once in a while.  

Team Canada was made up of the three most competitive people you will ever meet.  Literally stepping out of the car and directly onto the playing field, we had no time to stretch and no time to talk tactics, but our winning ways would not cease.  We won and we won again and we won again until we reached the finals with a unblemised record.  There was nothing stopping us, regardless of all those rooting against our team (we were the Miami Heat of soccer-tennis).  21 points later and we were the champions.  Sweet sweet victory. 

Yes, we are still riding that wave and although Vegas is out of the question for the time being there is still this weekend.  So much is on the table: The WPS Turkey, Philadelphia Independence History (we have never won 3 games in a row), my 29th birthday, and the chance to go into the World Cup Break with all of our chickens hatching. 

The 28th year of my life and the possibility to go out a winner.  A tantalizing idea.  Come see how it turns out.  Saturday, 5pm, Widener Stadium.  Come early and stay late….very late =)

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There is No Steak Without the Cheese: My Ode to the Fans

Me and the Crew postgame. What a great group of kids.

There is not much else in this world that I dislike more than losing.  So, after the final whistle blew on Sunday and we had to admit defeat to Western New York, I was not a happy camper.  To be fair, The Flash were the better team that day and in front of 3,500 screaming fans, we were sad to have to disappoint the thousands that sat through the  smoldering heat to cheer us on. 

I had a hunch that we would have a good crowd on Sunday.  Why?  Because the team went to great effort the week prior to spread awareness, sell tickets, and personally invite fans to watch us battle.   The staff works endlessly to promote the games via every media outlet you can think of.  Also, add in personal appearances from the staff and the players.  For instance, Lianne and I, along with many of our other teammates, sat at a booth at USTC as hundreds herded in to register for the FC Delco tournament.  Although we were pitching to many out of towners, we felt as if the overall message, that being, the Philadelphia Independence are here and here to stay, was accepted quite warmly.  Maybe this is to be expected when you have pretty girls flexing their salesmanship muscles and cheerleaderesque smiles in front of young kids, coaches, and parents.

There was also the “Meet the team” Event at Kildaires in West Chester on Friday night.  This had to have been one of my highlights of the season.  Yes, we all had to dress alike in oversize t-shirts but the fans came in droves and their exuberance was palpable.  There were people of all ages, sizes, sexes, and races and each person seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their chance to meet a bunch of H-List celebrities (that could be an overstatement).  I signed all sorts of marketing material, took pictures, shared stories, and laughed. 

I can honestly say that I will always have time for anyone that chooses to support the Cheesesteaks.  I will never tire of signing autographs (I am not guaranteeing it will be legible) and I genuinely enjoy hearing the background of each and every person that comes to our events.  I loved meeting Bencella, the IT Consultant that came with 2 of her friends who are students at a local University.  I loved meeting young Jordan, who started off extremely shy but is now my best friend.  I loved seeing the familiar faces of Liz Manning, Ana Aguilera, Matt Jolles, Jon Kirkbride, his wife and their two kids, Noah and Megan (we have our own hand shake).  I love getting to know our staff better outside of USTC and also seeing our head coach, Paul Riley, all dressed up in his Hugo Boss (as usual) alongside his wife, Tracy.   I loved meeting Sinead Farrelly’s mother (so young she could be her sister) and her teammates on her adult soccer team.  They even challenged our team to a scrimmage and by the looks of their fit bodies, we may be in trouble. 

Two hours of “Meeting the team” and I am exhausted.  My cheeks hurt from smiling and my throat hurts from talking.  All worth it a thousand times over because as a player (regardless of the amount you play and where on the field) you are able to impact so many lives in a positive manner.  What other profession do fans show up at your work, high-five you, and take your picture?  Definitely not at my parents offices.  We are extremely lucky that this happens every weekend and I know I can speak for the entire Cheesesteak Organization when I say that it never gets old.  I can easily and accurately admit that this league is only as good as its fan base. 

Considering our league is more grass-roots than say the NFL, we can develop a personal relationship with our supporters.  They are not just the casual fan, they are our friends and when I walk off the field as a winner or a loser, I know that I will be received open-armed.  So after I signed autographs and took pictures for about 45 minutes after the game on Sunday, my spirits were lifted.  I walked back into the locker room smiling to myself thinking how special these moments truly are.  I once again got to see Jordan, Ana, Liz, Matt, Bobo, and thousands of others who stand behind the Cheesesteaks regardless of our record and regardless of our standing in the league.

My Facebook page is filled with pictures and messages that depict the true joy the Cheesesteaks are able to provide both the players and the fans (check it out yourself).  My twitter account is evidence of the same (@JoannaLohman).  When the unfortunate day comes when I have to hang up my boots, I will badly miss the connections I am able to form through a sport that I love.  Thank you to the individuals (I am sorry if I didn’t name anyone specifically that feels they should be named) that allow me to touch their lives in some way, shape, or form because you have touched mine.

Of course, I hope to see you all out again for our game this coming weekend against Atlanta.  7 pm, Widener University.

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Seeing Red

The reaction as the red card goes up

If you had some how fallen off the planet and missed our game on Fox Soccer Channel this weekend then you missed a crazy one (plus I want a note from your doctor stating why you couldn’t watch).  Luckily for those ashamed few and all the other loyal fans, I will completely fill you in.

The stage was set perfectly.  Kia McNeil, our new warrior central defender, was returning to her old stomping grounds on no other day but her birthday.   Also, unlike most spring/summer days in Atlanta there was no humidity and it was a cool 65 degrees.  Lastly, the pitch was immaculate and recently made 3 yds narrower and shorter (a smaller field suits our style).  So, we had no excuses not to play the game of our lives.  With this is mind, we had every intention to get the victory and then celebrate the W and Kia’s bday in fine fashion.

The start of the game was comfortable and we had our share of the possession.  The crowd came in great numbers and were surprisingly raucous. Things were going as planned and then, out of nowhere, disaster struck.  The birthday girl was called for a foul as the last defender.  The ref reaches into his back pocket and pulls out the dreaded red card.  Shocking.  Happy birthday Kia. 

Kia walks slowly off the field as our players defend her vehemently to the referee.  This couldn’t be possible.  A red card?  In the 12th minute?  And with the flash of the card, the game completely changed.  We were down to 10 women, on our back foot, and unable to sustain possession.  We were chasing the Atlanta players around the field.  We knew if we could make it until halftime without giving up a goal Paul would pull the team together in the locker room and restore our sense of belief.  We just had to make it………43rd minute….boom, goal Atlanta.  Welp, there goes that plan.

The halftime whistle could not have come any sooner and we all shuffle in.  We had no choice at that point but to change formations and go at Atlanta.  We would attack with force to attempt to get the goal back and then push for the winner.  Paul decided to have us play a 3-4-2.  Three defenders, four midfielders, and two forwards.  We were going for it and every Cheesesteak in the locker room knew if there was a team in the WPS that could come back from a 1-0 deficit with 10 players, it was us.  We are the comeback queens.  We were not out of this.

This game proved nothing different.  We were able to steal the first goal from Estelle Johnsons great anticipation off a Lianne Sanderson free-kick rebound.  The comeback was on and we knew that the second goal was not far behind.  Instead of banking on the tie, Paul kept us in the attacking formation and urged us forward.  We did not come to tie, we came to win and it is this mentality that spurred the winning goal from Laura Del Rio.  The last 15 minutes we held on for dear life.  Atlanta was throwing everything at us.  It was as if we were animals possessed and we did our best to deflect every shot and every pass that came flying into our box. 

90 minutes had gone by and we still had three minutes of stoppage time to grind out.  Those minutes were filled with Ooohs, aaahs, and gasps from the crowd as we eked out the win.  What an amazing feeling that was when the final whistle blew.  An entire team victory where every single player contributed in an essential way.  We were so proud of ourselves and as Kia walked back out on the field we all dog piled her.  We knew this was not the way she had wanted to spend her birthday game and she was near tears talking to the team as she thanked us for pulling out the 3 points.   

I have said this before and I will say it again, I am big believer that a team encompasses the character of its coach.  Paul could have easily taken the defensive approach and told us to bunker in and prevent Atlanta from scoring again.  He could have easily given up because being a man and a goal down is not an easy thing to overcome, but, what Paul did in the face of adversity, is quite simply exhilarating. 

He believed in the fortitude of his players and so we began to believe that winning is the only option.  Forget the fact we had one less player, we were completely capable of still winning this game.  This credo spread like wildfire through the team and soon enough we were all prepared to accept nothing but a victory. 

It is no coincidence that we have come from behind so many times (2-0 down even) and will come from behind so many more times this season.   It it because we have the organzational environment where good is just not good enough.  We fight, for everything, and we expect greatness at all levels.  There is no mediocrity.  Regardless if we have 11 players, 10, 9, or 8, the Cheesesteak standard never drops and when we walked off that field at Kennesaw State University we all knew we had accomplished something special.  More importantly, we could add 3 points to our league standing.

So, there you have it.  The behind the scenes look.  Thanks to all of those who watched and thank you again to those who have sent nice messages.  In all honesty, the fans are monumental to our success and to know you are behind those TV screens cheering us on means the world to us. 

Two wins in a row.  Let’s make it three.  Off to Boston this weekend to keep on rolling, hopefully red card free.

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Releasing the Artist Within

My artistic talents meet Nike running shoes

 

Jo on the Moon and among the stars

Welcome back to my readers and followers.  I hope you have missed me as much as I have missed you.  It’s crazy to think that we have yet to play a home game 4 weeks into the WPS season but alas, we haven’t.  No tears will be shed, however, since our first game in Philly is just around the corner:  Sunday @ 6pm to be exact. 

I have been trying to think of an adjective to best describe the season so far.   The best I can come up with is…strange.  This adjective in no way reflects the sentiments of the entire Cheesesteak Organization and I am sure if you went around the team they would all have their own words to describe the WPS 2011 season.  Regardless, this is my personal blog and therefore, strange is the word I will be using. 

Why strange?  It seems to be the year of the unconventional.  Canceled home games, National Team players in and out of the squad, a once familiar Washington Freedom team moved to the unfamiliar Palm Beach, mystery team owners, a new Cheesesteak home field, two-week World Cup breaks, and the expansion Western New York Flash (which are eerily similar to the now defunct Bay Area). 

An apt response to this scenario, “get comfortable being uncomfortable”.  The one exception: our uncomfortable place in the league standings with one loss and one tie will NOT be something we get comfortable with.  Sunday is another chance to vault our way back to the top and I have no doubts that the Cheesesteaks are a force to be reckoned with.  

Amid all the distractions, it is business as usual here in Philly.  We will not accept any of these things as excuses to take our eye off the ultimate prize.  Our double days are still intact and we are as competitive as ever in practice.  We are positive, pumped, and preparing for the next opponent, the Boston Breakers. 

As a true professional, the 6 days of training and games require constant analysis of the game and my personal play, almost to the point where I drive myself crazy.  A day off, therefore, really needs to be an entire day away from the game.  Is this hard?  For sure, especially when my day off falls on the same day as the Barcelona/Real Madrid Champions League semi-final.  While it is difficult not to cheat and watch one of the best rivalries in the world,  this voluntary boycott can be quite therapeutic.

It is very important that we find reprieve and value in the finer things this world has to offer.  Everyone has their creative outlets, their escapes that enable them to rest their weary minds and bodies.  As a professional athlete, what you do on your day off can be just as important as what you do in a game. 

When your life revolves so heavily around a certain activity you can often feel lost when that activity is temporarily suspended, even for a day.  Luckily, Lianne Sanderson and I are full of imagination and 24 soccer-less hours is no doubt filled with various engaging projects.  For example, we enjoy spending hours at the park, reading, writing, laughing, and basically lying around the grass.  We spend precious time with family and hunt for easter eggs.  We walk the lovely streets of our home town, West Chester, often ending up perusing the aisles of the library.  We attend Women In Business events to promote the team and build a professional network.

Believe it or not, we even do arts and crafts. Maybe our works of art won’t be sold for millions (I don’t want to sell ourselves short), they do make for wonderful refrigerator decorations.  Most recently, I painted Lianne’s white Nike shoes to give them a bit more flair and flavor.   I also painted my personal take on a moon landing.  While I am bit biased, I do think it is a realistic rendition of the first ever steps that transformed our country.  It does get messy, especially when you paint with your fingers, but it is amazing how things you did as a kid can still bring so much joy.  Art therapy at its best.

I have shared pictures with you of my projects and I would love your feedback.  Not just on my use of color, texture, dimension, and brush work but also on alternate ways to mentally escape from the rigors of life.  We obviously take what we do very seriously but there is always life outside of sport and sometimes it is this life that can be so utterly refreshing.

Meanwhile, this is a formal invitation to come to our game on Sunday.  6pm, Widener University.  We extend a special welcome to all the Mothers out there who have helped to make this world a better place.  I love you, Mom.

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