Jul 112011

“I always turn to the sports pages first, which records people’s accomplishments. The front page has nothing but man’s failures.”
Earl Warren – Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

The United States National Women’s Soccer team should have lost their optimism.  Soccer / Football at the highest level is an unforgiving sport. One or two moments, one or two mistakes, one or two bad calls by the ref, tend to be the difference between winning or losing, rejoicing or packing to go home.

Yesterday, the US Women should have lost.  The game plan got trashed when Brazil tied on a penalty kick that should never have been awarded.  The U.S. defender was sent off with a red card, leaving the team short-handed with more than 20 minutes left in the game.  The US Women played on valiantly, surviving through the end of regulation time. Then, at the beginning of overtime, the U.S. fell behind 2 – 1 on another terrible (non) call by the referees as Brazil was off-sides.  What would 99 out of 100 teams do if they were short-handed, down 2 – 1 to supremely talented Brazil with the best player in the world Marta having a great game, and with the referees making critical calls against you?  99 teams out of 100 would roll over and die.

Not America! The U.S. Women stayed optimistic and continued to fight, finally rewarded with one of the most stunning last second goals in world cup history.

The United States optimism prevailed into the penalty kicks. Mental toughness is everything in life. The U.S. Women moved on to the semi-finals while Brazil is packing their bags for a long flight home from Germany.

Here is a great article about this extraordinary game: David Hirshey

The replay of this glorious example of optimism and determination will be on ESPN3.com for a week or two. If you have a daughter that plays soccer and want to inspire her, or if you just want to see a truly great, gritty game, check it out when you are on a fast connection.

Be mentally tough, be optimistic, and the extraordinary will happen. Success is not about the Pre-, During-, and Post-game Gatorade! Do you have optimism “in you?”

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