Did you ever get challenged in high school to be forced to play a sport during P.E. when all you really wanted to do was read the most current issue of Vogue? That was me...many times.
Until the Summer of Senior year, when my coach who was an athletic trainer and soccer fanatic inspired me to push myself...and the fact that if I didn't make the slightest attempt to seem interested in sports - I would be held back. Whatever.
Soccer has and will always be a part of my life. There's a similar feeling I get associated with certain memories that really bring me back in time, like that Summer when my coach finally let us play a new sport...one I was interested in.
When I decided to play with the boys and show them soccer was in my Brazilian blood, I rocked it after getting kicked right in the stomach with a ball from a guy who was ten times my size. In an instant, it hurt like getting a ton of bricks thrown at you at once. But I didn't stop and kept going, acting like nothing happened.
The reaction of amazement I got from everyone is the same feeling I relate to during a soccer game, the time I saved my father's life and the time I gave my best speech.
That feeling of pushing yourself when you either don't feel up to it or don't feel you can do it, the amazement afterwards gives you that moment of adrenaline with validation. Validation to keep going.
When I did CPR on my father and didn't know if I was doing the right thing, I felt I had to keep going either way. I knew I had to try to save him until the paramedics arrived. The quick second I felt discouraged like I couldn't save him anymore, the Fire Chief appeared behind me and when I turned around to see that look of amazement he had when he saw "some girl" saving her father, was a moment I will never forget.
A few weeks ago, I retold that story - in more detail, to relate to my holistic approach of facing any challenge and seeking any opportunity. I knew I was on the path to something and when I used such a personal experience to relate to the way I feel and see things from a different perspective, I was amazed along with everyone else and we all shared that same feeling. That validation to keep going.
Saturday night at the Citrus Bowl was another moment where thousands of fans showed up to support Orlando City Soccer. The now MLS team will be playing March 8th. This is a team that went through many hurdles and many detours. But they kept going and still are with the addition of Kaká and many other talented athletes who are proving that soccer is here to stay.
The way we all rally up behind this team with a great amount of support and passion, is the way I believe anything is truly possible.
We will #fillthebowl and we will continue to make soccer the number one sport in the world.