With all the obligations pulling us around on a leash in our daily lives, it’s a challenge to make time for plans with old friends, and even more of a challenge to keep those plans.
What makes it easier, however, is when you know that you’re not just making the effort for yourself – that seeing those people is more than just a get-together of old buddies, but an important opportunity for your daughter to spend time with some of the most impressive women around, amazing women you’re honored to call friends, or more precisely, teammates.
I felt that way last Saturday when I brought my daughter and her friend to the U.S. Women’s National Team game at Red Bulls Arena in New York to watch them play against England in the 2017 SheBelieves Cup.
Our large, very excited group was made up of four former Harvard women’s soccer players and two former Stanford women’s soccer players, along with our daughters and their friends (and one husband and son too!). We were on a mission to engage in the game fully and lose our voices cheering for Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and the girls out there fighting for our country.
It’s one of the greatest accomplishments of my humble life to be included on the invite list among these women, who are not only impressive athletes and successful adults, but also all-around great people – back-breakingly funny, kind, and earnest to an infinite degree. A good influence on my daughter and her friend, but also, even after all these years, on me.
Watching the game I marveled over how women’s sports, paralleled by women’s rights, have come such a long way in this world. As the up-and-coming English team ran stride-for-stride with the U.S., staying 0-0 and eventually defeating our women – who were proudly number one in the world rankings! – I couldn’t help but remember that the English had banned women’s football (soccer) for 50 years because its popularity was considered a threat to the men’s game.
The icing on the cake was a half-time visit to our group from Lizzie Durrack, the graduating goalie of the current Harvard women’s soccer team, recently called up from England’s under-23s, experiencing her first tournament with England’s full national team. Even the most jaded teenagers were impressed, and as any mom knows, that alone means the whole night was a win.
But for me, the best thing about the night was that the stadium was full. I was even grateful for the traffic because it showed there were so many people like us who cared more about seeing the game than they minded the traffic and frigid weather. And even more importantly, because it meant that thousands of little girls were in that huge stadium with us watching, cheering and loving a women’s soccer match.
Susie DeLellis Petruccelli (Twitter @Sooozie) is currently working on her first book, a memoir entitled “Title IX and Tampons”, a serious yet fun take on her life as a Title IX baby, and the history of women’s sports and rights in the U.S. and beyond.