In the Circle of Vision which I wrote before this, I established that where there is no platform for a type of dream or vision, one has to be built.
A personal dream or vision will be difficult to actualize or fully realize without any national visionary platform to support those dreams and visions. And where there isn’t one – if there is no national visionary platform for freedom, a specific dream, or genre of skill, then the dreams and visions of the people perish.
If there is no platform, then one would need to be built.
Someone or some people will have to put their own dreams and visions aside to pursue the vision of building a platform for a people’s collective and individual visions to stand on.
Someone! Anyone – has to pay the price to build it.
Once that happens, then that volunteer can return to dreaming and journeying to establish personal visions in whatever field they chose or began.
In this post, I share one of my favorite examples. It involves soccer. More than that – women’s soccer. I was raised by women, cared for by women and supported by women. Plus, my brother played professional soccer in Europe.
So yes! I am passionate about soccer and Women’s Soccer for that matter.
It brings out the NINJA in me.
The Brief Story of USA Women’s Soccer
This story is one of my favorites. It shows the working of time, enduring faith, and perseverance. It demonstrates the establishment of a platform, the birth of a circle of vision, and the flow, growth, prosperity, and celebration of sports dreams of many women in America.
But as it is with many platform – someone or some people in this case, had to pay the price! And for that, it is an honor to write about them.
In the documentary—“Dare to Dream: The Story of the U.S Women’s Soccer team,” by HBO Sports, key players who played pivotal roles in the development of the U.S. Women’s national soccer team were interviewed.
This documentary was created to show the Eighteen year journey of the U.S women’s soccer team from obscurity in the late 80’s to its second gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
If you can imagine the gender disparity in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, then you can multiply that imagination by a factor of 10 if you can picture women playing soccer. And yes, it was so even in America.
The culture at the time women began playing soccer had just transitioned to a point where women’s rights were encouraged and women could work as men did and earn as high as they did. Moving into sports was a whole different story of its own. Women had been playing in obscurity even as Men’s Soccer thrived.
During the 1991 women’s world cup in China, the U.S. women’s soccer team won the tournament. But after their 52 hour trip back to the U.S. they were welcomed by 3 people. Yep, that was it!
In the U.S. as well as in other countries, women’s soccer was not popular. Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, joy Fawcett, Emily Stutzman, Briana Scury, Carla Overbeck were some of the women who took on the dream of pioneering the platform for women soccer by pursuing theirs.
They played as a hobby but longed for women’s soccer to be recognized as an occupation. Some went to college, got jobs, and the future of women’s soccer was uncertain. The federation did not have enough money at that time. But these women remained dedicated. Michelle Akers fought beyond her ailing condition to play in most games.
The team had their chance to showcase women’s soccer at the 1996 Olympic Games that held in Atlanta, Georgia. These women alongside others disputed the federation’s terms for payment and went on a strike after which a deal was reached. They stepped out in faith at the risk of being replaced.
Their strike ensured that women soccer players could receive bonuses for gold and silver medals even till today.
Though they won gold, their games were not aired on TV as they had hoped. Women’s soccer did not get enough air time. Nevertheless, the team had gotten attention. In the 1999 world cup that was held in the U.S, the ladies and their organizers planned in faith, hoping for large audiences by using huge stadia which they had spend millions to rent out.
One headline read, “What if they threw a world cup and nobody came?”
But the stadia where games where held, holding about 78000 seats were sold out. The U.S women soccer team played well and won the tournament against China during penalty kicks.
Two generation of women had played and pioneered a path and platform through obscurity and hard times and set the stage for women’s soccer and for women athletes to be seen and accepted. Their action built a platform for women athletes today to live their dreams from.
They influenced kids and communities with sheer belief and endurance. They impressed the federation and a league was started for women. That in itself was a new frontier. They believed. These early female soccer pioneers had faith. They chose to pay the price.
And they positively influenced the sports culture for women in the U.S and the world
Today, ladies play soccer and indulge in sporting activities of any kind from elementary to college levels. Huge scholarships are being offered to recruit high schools women. But, its thanks to the role that women and breastfeeding moms pioneered. Of the many –
Michelle Akers, Brandi Chastain, Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, joy Fawcett, Emily Stutzman, Briana Scury, and Carla Overbeck
- are the few that played a huge part in developing the U.S women’s soccer team and influenced women’s sports.
Sometimes, those in a position to effect change know that they can do it. Most of the time, there is a trigger that causes these sleeping visions and visionaries to come alive.
God does not do the work, we do. HE inspires you and those who can help you. HE engineers circumstances to help you. But, you must say yes.
Someone! Anyone – must pay the price.
But even before that, there is something bigger.
*Someone! Anyone – must believe it. Someone has to believe that what they “see” is possible*
If its a personal dream, people can belief in you. Ultimately, you have to for the dream to actualize. If its for your family, someone in the family has to. why not you? Why not now? If its for your community or nation, it will take groups, families, and communities. But still, there will be one prominent person who will pay a hefty price. It could be you. Why not you? Why not now?
Give it a shot! Do it again and again.
You will surprise yourself
Only when there is belief does the “it” begin to become possible. Only when someone is willing to “see” does the dream begin to become actualized.
Its just like a wise man once said –
Eyes that look are common. But, eyes that see are rare – Kim Clement
Photo Credit – HBO.com