Hope Solo, a fixture on the US women’s national soccer team, makes headlines for her fiery personality almost as often as she does for being one of the world’s best goalkeepers. Today, she refused to back down from tweets she made Saturday criticizing Brandi Chastain, a commentator covering the Olympics for NBC.
I grew up playing soccer. In my eyes, Brandi Chastain is not a sports broadcaster but rather the primal screaming, sports bra-baring hero of the 1999 Women’s World Cup final. Chastain scored the shootout goal that beat China for the title in front of more than 90,000 people in the Rose Bowl. The next morning, after reading the newspaper, I cut out the iconic images of the game and made a collage that hung in my room until I got married nearly seven years later.
Before that legendary match, the US had to win other games to get to Pasadena. The quarterfinal against Germany took place in the Washington, DC area. Just a few days before the game, Dad got three tickets. To this day, I don’t know how or where he got the tickets or how much he paid for them. Dad told my brother and me we’d have to drive to the 7 p.m. game that day and drive back to our home in Charlotte, NC that same night – almost 1,000 miles total.
We didn’t stay very long to celebrate after the win; we got back on the road by 11. I was 17 years old that summer, and Dad asked me if I wanted to start out behind the wheel. I thought we’d take turns driving, but Dad and my brother passed out before we even reached the highway.
I drove all the way back to Charlotte without stopping even once. I kept the highway between my thumbs; I listened to the same song, “Typical Situation” by Dave Matthews Band, on repeat for hours and at a volume that should have kept my dad and brother awake but didn’t; I rode the adrenaline high of an amazing win by our country and an experience I would never forget.
My sister, Taylor, will be 14 in a few weeks; in a few short years, she will be the same age I was on that magical night in DC.
At Taylor’s age, I idolized the women’s national soccer team. I wore the jersey in my dreams and scored on invisible opponents on empty fields for hours on end in real life.
Sometimes, I wonder what Taylor dreams about now. I wish she could tell me. I wish I could give her everything.