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What's Love Got To Do With It?
by Christen Press, May 25th, 2012 5:11PM
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TAGS:  americans abroad, sweden, women's national team

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[THE PITCH] Falling in love is fun. I relish the rush while preparing for the big date. Everything has to be perfect: the outfit, hair, a puff of perfume…Oh wait! I mean … the right sliders, secure ponytail, a fresh pair of socks…

As a 23-year-old with an affinity for melodrama, I have done a lot of thinking lately about the state of being single. Yes … I am alone, but I am not lonely. I celebrated last Valentine’s Day by putting in four hours at the field … romantic, I know! And when I received red roses at the game this week, I thought the universe was trying to give me an ironic sign. As it is, my days are filled with both passion and pain. Passion in the form of a renewed love for my sport; and pain, a result of giving till it hurts.  Still, when it comes to long-term relationships I have to admit football and I are deeply committed.

This only-somewhat-serious revelation -- that football has taken the place of a significant other -- occurred to me when listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe. The song resonated with my hopes for making the U.S. women’s national team … Call me up, maybe? Then it was Whitney Houston’s How Will I Know reminding me of my pregame jitters. How will I know if football will be good to me tonight? Even Florence + The Machine seems to be doling out advice for dealing with post-game disappointment. Shake It Out! Shake It out! So now, like a love-struck teenybopper, every dumb love song on the radio evokes my feelings towards … no, not a significant other, not a potential first date … but my fanatical relationship with football. Awesome.

With my headphones in and a serious bounce in my step, I’m off to rendezvous at Valhalla. I let my mind wander to potential outcomes as I glide through the streets of Göteborg filled with the giddiness of young love: scoring, winning, celebrating! I often catch myself giggling out loud with excitement. Candlelight and dancing await … hmm, make that stadium lights and tackling … oh well.  

The feeling of elation after a great game is uncannily similar to the feeling after a great date, too. Breathless, there is that moment when it’s over but you just don’t want it to end. Then there is the restless night to follow that comes with trying to relive the highlights in your mind over and over again.

But sometimes football’s no gentleman. Over the last year, there have been moments when the game has seriously broken my heart. It’s let me down in the most crucial of times. I’ve gone to bed crying furious tears, claiming I’d never love again. We all know, however, the opposite of love is not hate … it’s indifference, and that is one thing I have never felt. Just like any relationship, this love takes a lot of work. So, in the morning, I’ll be back on the market … well, field.

Like the relationships of my past, this love is not stable or easy; but it can be kind and it is fueled by intense emotions. No matter how many games I lose, or game-winning shots I miss, no matter how many mornings commence with aches and pains all over my body, my pre-game butterflies are as unwavering as the hope that floats them. My belief that all my dreams will come true is ever steadfast. And my love, well … it is one for a lifetime.

Stoppage Time

When we do it, we do it BIG. Tuesday we had a BIG home game versus Linköping -- a team considered a contender for the league championship. We came out in a new formation, but more importantly, with a new mentality. Although a 4-5-1 may appear to be a more defensive formation, we actually wanted to use the change to become a more aggressive, pressuring team.

I have voiced my fears in the past about our team’s hesitation when not "on the same page." Well over the past week, we worked even harder to come together, with multiple meetings to go over tactics. The theme for our game was decisiveness. We didn’t care what the plan was, as much as that we went into it whole-heartedly.

After endless rain in Göteborg, the sun made a powerful appearance on game day. Since the spring sun sets around 9 pm here, a good part of our game was played in heat. Being the lone forward with a main responsibility to chase down balls, I walked off the pitch exhausted. But I would suffer the hamstring cramp I experienced on my walk home any day for such a result!

We have a two-week break from games before we face the league’s giants: Malmö and Tyresö. It is great to go into this part of the season on a high note. At this point, each team in Allsvenskan has at least two losses, so it really is anybody’s championship. And it feels like the next few games will be defining moments. Perhaps it is impossible to predict what will happen on any given game day. But if it’s up for grabs, then it’s ours for the taking!

Göteborg FC 6 Linköpings FC 0 Highlights



2 comments
  1. William McGlockton
    commented on: May 26, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.
    Great video...hat trick a thing of beauty...congratulations. DC Crew
  1. Eric Blackman
    commented on: May 27, 2012 at 2:06 a.m.
    Dear Christen-- Ooh-the complexity of your passion for the game really comes through. I have been puzzled by your absence on the USA roster and you must be sooo close. I'm sure you hear that a lot (though hopefully in the coming years, eventually from the folks who actually make it so!) I followed your success at a distance in the WPS and saw you play when you visited Rochester. Now your top caliber play continues in the Damallsvenskan. I hope you continue to enjoy the "game on the field" regardless of who you play for and life will be harmonious. That perspective applies to other endeavors beyond soccer too. -EB

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