“Now is the winter of our discontent …” - William Shakespeare
[THE PITCH] In the midst of what I can only describe as a winter whirlwind, six months ago I huddled up and headed North without the benefit of seeing too far forward nor the security of looking back. Immediately, I decided to write a blog. I wanted to stay connected to the States, to the soccer world, and to my friends and family at home. Writing a blog seemed like a great way to do that. Although I wrote my first entry from my bedroom in California, I would take my blog with me, much like a southern California kid packing a snowball from a trip to the mountains, placing it gingerly into my suitcase along with my fears and excitement, only to find upon opening my bag in Gothenburg that my “link-to-America” snowball had melted away … I couldn’t help but wonder: could I ever get it back?
It starts with a few flakes … both wet and dry…
On my first day in Sweden it became clear that plan BYOS (Bring Your Own Snow) was soooo unnecessary…. Still, for the first weeks here, my blog was my confidant and best friend. Although initially I pulled out my laptop in an attempt to rebuild my connection to the States, over time I have established quality relationships and learned many things: about Sweden, about soccer, about myself, and writing my blog has been an incredible facilitator in this process.
Writing is therapeutic, unintentionally providing optimism. Who is this person sitting behind the computer screen? Well, she’s wildly more optimistic than the everyday me … I often start out venting about all the annoyances and frustrations in my life, but when I read my writing back, there is always a transformation from "this is lousy" to "this is lousy but I can endure it” to "I love this for challenging me and demanding that I be better."
Also, writing my blog gives me perspective. So far I’ve written 25 blogs, spanning over my 25 weeks in Sweden. I reread them to reflect on how far I have come. I also read blogs written by my peers in juxtaposition to my own, which gives me an even keener perspective on my experiences.
Pat well … with both hands.
Writing this blog brings balance to my life. Though it may not seem so important, it is essential for me as a professional athlete to have a full and fun days. It was scary coming all the way over here just to play soccer. Putting all your eggs in one basket is a dangerous game. But I’ve found writing the perfect complement to sports, as it is an intellectual outlet.
Now let it roll!
Perhaps the most important effect of writing my blog has been viewing the world as a writer. Blogging is motivation for deeper thinking. I first realized its power when, after talking with some friends, I thought — wow this is a perfect subject to write about in my blog. These “Bloggles—blog boggle moments” (revelations that something is ironic, profound, relatable, or significant to me) happen regularly as writing a blog encourages me to consider experiences on many different levels.
The snowball effect:
Somehow the simple process of sitting down at a coffee shop with my laptop has changed my life. Being a writer inspires me to change my patterns of behavior; to “experiment” for the sake of my blog. For example, in pursuit of the development of this, “My Connectivity Blog,” I attempted to switch-off my usual focus on the more narcissistic aspect of football (stats/results) in order to hone the elements of team bonding. I have made a pact to have an in-depth conversation with a different player on my team before every game. There were times during the first half of season that I lost my attachment to winning; so focused on my personal goals. After talking with some of my teammates, I have been reminded how invested I am in my team and how much I want success for all of us.
|From September 6, 2012|
Which brings me back to the purpose of my blogging, both generally and this blog specifically: connecting.
An unwritten law of Irony is that it can only be discovered by accident. What started out as a device to keep myself connected to my past, has, quite fortuitously, turned into a conduit for connecting me to the present. So…what happened to my snowball? Is it here, only made larger by a continuous roll down life’s slope? Perhaps it is not the same at all… But after six months in Sweden, I know now it has been “…Made glorious summer by this sun.”
Our Damallsvenskan game last Sunday was perhaps the wildest game of my career. But now, we are on a three-game win streak! And we are proud of that, especially since we had to play as a unit and scrape to the very bottom in order to squeak out this last win.
I left the field after the 73rd minute with our team leading by two and soon after our final third and final substitution was made. It felt like we were winning comfortably. Our young forward was doing rainbows over defenders. We were smiling and cheering from the sideline. We had all the momentum. Until suddenly we didn’t.
First our forward Sara was forced to leave the game after a hard tackle. Then our keeper Kristin landed on her neck and also left the field on a stretcher. So, we were down two players with a field player in the goal.
Swedish fans are eerily calm during our games normally, with a nice golf clap here or there. But as our team got compact: sliding, sprinting, and leaping in order to keep the ball out of our goal, the fans came alive like never before. When our field-player-keeper Johanna came out sliding to take the ball from their forward’s feet, the crowd went nuts. And when the final whistle blew with 98 minutes on the clock, we were proud and so grateful for those three points.
Off The Post
Fun Facts about the enigma that is my father Cody Press … who recently returned from an impromptu trip to Sweden to catch two games last week! Our conversations go like this:
He takes himself very seriously.
Me: “Do you ever wish you had had another child? Why didn’t you?"
Dad: “Hell yeah. All the time. Tyler’s big ole’ watermelon head ruined that!"
He is eloquently spoken.
Despite two Ivy League degrees, he continues to refer to multiple shrimp as "shrimps” to every member of my family's irritation and chagrin. You can imagine his excitement when he realized that the Swedish translated-to-English menu always featured his favorite: shrimps!
|From September 6, 2012|
He is a stickler for eating healthy.
Every night of his trip I would receive a message around 11:30 pm stating, “Got my hot link at 10.59. No leftovers in da kitchen.”
He is a poet who knows it.
Most nights before games I get a text that looks something like this: “Mo u da sho. Put a show on manana. I am wit u always.”