Being injured…sucks. That is a pretty obvious statement but it has been particularly applicable to my life lately. While playing with my club team at Colorado Cup, I sustained an ankle injury that has benched me for the past three All-Star games. On the Tour, it can be easy to get wrapped up in your own play or experience and forget why we are really here. For a while I was unhappy that I couldn’t get exactly what I wanted out of the Tour because of this injury. I felt frustrated that I couldn’t show off my skillset or contribute to the team on the field. I even felt guilty when my awesome and supportive friends came out to watch and I couldn’t play. I was being very individually focused rather than thinking about the team and our goals. But a young player recently helped me step back and realize that I am getting exactly what I wanted out of it: to empower the next generation of All-Stars.
Girls are coming to these showcases, and not only being entertained by big plays and close games, but also inspired. Last Friday, after our game in my hometown against my own club team, Phoenix, I saw at least 15 young athletes running around, smiling and throwing, all while wearing their brand new All-Star tanks. As I walked past a small group eagerly waiting for their discs to be signed, I heard a youth player exclaim, “Never end the All-Star Ultimate Tour!”
Her genuine excitement for the game was evident and it gave me chills. It reminded me of how I felt when I got to watch women’s soccer as a young girl. Dazzled by their skill and athleticism, I saw those women as a bold example of just how incredible female athletes could be. It drove me to push myself and to work hard so that someday I could be like them. And I have no doubt that each of those young women that came to our game will be able to achieve their goals as athletes. I am so proud to be part of something that is encouraging girls to do just that, regardless of whether I am making plays on the field or supporting my team from the sideline.
So, the people have spoken: never end the All-Star Ultimate Tour! I hope we never do.