Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Lesson learned

I am not a big soccer fan, but like a lot of other people, I watched the World Cup final this past weekend between the women's teams from the United States and Japan. That was a fun game. I marveled at the audacity of the longest goal in Carli Lloyd's hat trick, and cheered when Tobin Heath capped the scoring with a lightning strike that the opposing goalkeeper did not have a prayer of stopping.

The American women are champions, and rightfully so, but in the pre-game potpourri of "human interest" stories aired by Fox Sports, one thing stood out for me: Head coach Jill Ellis mentioned that a Navy SEAL had spoken with her team earlier this year. She added that his motivational advice was simple but effective: "Hold fast and stay true," he said.

Good for him for passing that along. I don't know whether he got into the oft-ignored difference between suffering and pain, as Neo-Neocon does thoughtfully at her eponymous blog, but you can't live out a statement like that without at least intuiting that there might be a difference between those things, even if you don't go so far as to wonder whether one of them can sometimes be redemptive.

Good for Jill Ellis for remembering the SEAL's line. She and her team took at least that much to heart, and the rest of us can learn from what such commitment looks like, even when we're not competing for a trophy.

(Photo by Anne-Marie Sorvin of USA Today/Reuters shows U.S. forward Alex Morgan)

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