Soccer is serious, and some claim it is more important than life and death. I am not going to debate that statement here, but I will ensure you that it IS life, when you dedicate yourself to the game 100 percent. Maybe it is not healthy, I don’t know. Sometimes it is the healthiest thing on earth, as the pleasure it gives is something you will carry with you and hold your head high. At times though, it can be the most devastating and stressful. Yes, like any other life choice, it carries its ups and downs with it.
Sure life is easier when we get a W every weekend and we play awesome. That sure does put a smile on my face. But is that what makes us grow? Well, you do get the confidence of a thousand men, but at one point you have to handle the L. I am a sore loser, and my outtake on life is not a positive one after a loss. I try to carry myself with grace in front of others and not say too much as my mind is clouded. However, in my silence, I analyze and I correct the errors in my head. What went wrong? What should I have done? What should we have done as a team? Sometimes I find the answers, other times I am left with a big “?”. If I find the answers, I do all I can to correct it for the next game. If I don’t, I just work harder on the things I work on every day. I also find that I do the same when the game has been won. What went right, how did I contribute, and how can I carry the same level the next game. Much harder answers when I have lost, but personally that is maybe when I learn the most. That is when there is no mercy and I am put to face my wrong doings, and that is when it is crucial that I am honest with myself.
It is hard to get back up at times, but it builds character. There are enough people out there who want to bring us down. I don’t have to be one of them! Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the best thing you can do about a game is to FORGET about it. Sometimes you are just not yourself, the team is just not like itself, and everything just goes wrong. You want to bury yourself down. Then you just forget about it and focus forward on the next game.
Whatever it is, win, draw or a loss, I think the best lesson to learn from the ups and downs is to grow from it, get back in there, and work hard. The game is 70 percent mental. How strong are you when you really need to get back up, and how strong are you to handle being on top? It takes a lot, but it is worth focusing on and grow from.
Lisa-Marie Woods is a member of the Norwegian Women’s National Team. She also plays for Danish champions, Fortuna Hjørring.