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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Setting the Scene...

Five days ago, I had an opportunity to watch the Seahawks train. Before our small group even hit the field we could hear music keeping the beat of well-rehearsed drills.  The sharp staccato of a whistle to stop the play with their upbeat chatter added to the song.  Noise crescendoed when everything was in sync, followed by high-5’s, encouragement and cheers.  All the while, Pete Carroll directs the group with animated precision; a kaleidoscope of moving parts that match this symphony of sport.    The vibe was incredible. 

To hear Russell Wilson egg on a teammate, Baldwin encourage a rookie or a coach demand one more rep’ was awesome.  What made the experience even more real was all the other stuff; plain and simple.  From listening to Jermaine Kearse talk about Copa America, to catching conversations of injured players, journalists and photographers on the sidelines was as valuable as watching training. Overhearing (some call it eaves dropping) a sports psychologist's angle on how to handle pressure moments,  listening to a sports writer’s conversation with Pete Carroll on selecting players and joining in on a conversation regarding “grit” made for an inspiring afternoon.  

Fast forward to one day later:  I was watching USA vs. Ecuador game at a restaurant at the airport before boarding a plane.  Hearing the national anthem gets me pumped! The vivacious crowd made me proud to be from Seattle.  As the game heated up, the patrons did too. Gradually, more and more scootched their chairs to face the only screen with the game on.  The 6th game of the NBA Finals was ignored.  There was a woman from Ecuador cheering like crazy.  She bought tickets months ago… in the hopes her home country would land in Seattle; and they did.  Unfortunately her friend also decided to get married that weekend.   The simultaneous uproars and sighs made both of us get into the game as if we were competitors.  Immediately, Andrea, an engineer at Boeing and I (soccer coach J) seemed to have lots in common.  When one cheered, the other gasped simultaneously. What a great way to kill some time before boarding. 
“Attention please: There has been a gate change.  Alaska Airlines Flight 18 will now be leaving out of Gate 11” 

Why on earth am I writing about this?  Because Joy Fawcett and I are coaching the United States Deaf Women’s National Team. We are headed to a World Championship.  Since 2013 The team has only been together 8 days total; and in that short time,  I am hooked.  Hooked mostly because of who they are and what they represent.  I find myself thinking what life would be like as a deaf person.  Imagine how different the 2 brief snapshots of time I just mentioned would feel to a person who is deaf.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you are going to say, “Some wear hearing aids… so it’s not that big of a deal… blah, blah, blah.”   You try it.  See how fun it is at a noisy restaurant with Chatty Cathy in the booth next to you, or at practice when you still can’t decipher what a coach is saying without looking directly at her face.  Pick any venue and give it a shot.  And they are called “hearing aids” … not ears.  Sounds are distorted, batteries go dead, the sounds are either amplified or muted. It’s more challenging that one would initially assume.

Okay, so I had to say it because they don’t.  They don’t complain or whine or mope.  What they do is get after it.  These players smile, they work,  and above all they are patient (thank goodness) and they absolutely love soccer.  

WE are headed to Italy and our first game is on the 22nd.  Go USA. 

That gives you a couple of days to learn about the team if you'd like to ; and then.. it's LET THE GAMES and the stories begin.  I'm not sure how often these posts will come because the internet is poor.

United States Deaf Women's National Team Players waiting for opening ceremonies  

1 comment:

  1. Awesome, Amy! So proud of all of you. Rock it, ladies!