Sunday, December 18, 2011

If You Don't Know What WPS Stands For-Go Sit In Time Out

Think back to July 10th, 2011.  Where were you the moment Abby Wambach’s fantabulous head buried a cross in the back of the net behind a stunned Brazilian goalkeeper?  I was sitting in front of my TV weeping like a little child over a lost imaginary friend.  But of course, tears of joy.  This is no shock because I have been a devout fan of women’s soccer since I could say the word soccer.  (My verbal skills weren’t killer so this came a little later in life than you would expect, but you get the picture)  The thing that was incredible to see though was the fans this moment gained for women’s soccer who hadn’t given it a second look before.  The whole country stopped, watched, screamed, cheered and Tweeted their asses off.  Now I have a question for you all… 

Did someone forget to send out the memo to the country that these women play in a professional league here also?

During the Women’s World Cup there was enough women’s soccer spirit to fly the women’s soccer sleigh around the world. (It’s Christmas time…bare with me on the themed analogy)  And the support for them when they came home from Germany continued with TV interviews and people taking a genuine interest.  While our girls were all the way in Germany battling it out, the whole country was behind them.  They could feel the support from thousands of miles away.  So if we can support them from across the pond, why can’t we support them when they’re in our own back yard?

Women's Professional Soccer (which is in fact, WPS...for those of you sitting in time out) saw a very positive increase in ticket sales including a 15,000+ crowd for the first game back in Rochester, NY after the Women’s World Cup.  Yet, the league came inches from folding recently.  I would say “it’s time to put your money where your mouth is” but I hate that expression.  I’m not putting my money anywhere near my mouth.  Do I look like I want to get hepatitis?  But essentially, that’s what we need. (Money…Not hepatitis)  If you say you became a fan  of women's soccer during the World Cup, now is your time to prove it.  I understand the World Cup is a higher level of excitement than any league can offer.  But it doesn’t change the level of talent, skill, determination and poise that they play with.  That will all still be there when you tune into WPS on TV or head to a game.

This past week I was lucky enough to catch a short documentary by Jun Stinson called “The 90th Minute” ( to see the trailer and learn more).  It was a look at the lives of three professional players and what it’s like to play for WPS.  It gives a glimpse into what a true athlete with pure love and admiration for a sport looks like.  Not only was it beautifully done, entertaining and informative but it also brought up the question that all women’s soccer fans are racking their brains trying to figure out; WHY?  Why is this league having such a hard time finding success?  I spoke to Jun after viewing it and thanked her for putting together such a great documentary.  More people need to get involved with out of the box ideas like this to support the league and raise awareness for it.  There are far, far too many people who will still give you a dumbfounded look when you use the acronym, WPS.

So here are two of many thoughts I have on the whole thing…

Let’s be honest; the sports world is no longer separate from Hollywood.  Sports and Hollywood are now combined into the celebrity couple Spollywood.  They haven’t adopted any babies from third world countries yet, but they have taken a whole lot of NBA, NFL and MLB players under their wing.  When I see basketball players at red carpet events I don’t know if they’re promoting a new album that Timbaland is producing, because they play for the Lakers, or because they’re Kim Kardashian’s newest husband.  They are not only athletes, but ‘A list’ celebrities reaching people who don’t even watch the sport they play necessarily.  Hope Solo took a brave leap into this world by partaking in Dancing With The Stars which I hope will act as a gateway drug to more publicity through TV and Hollywood.  Every time one of these women appear on a show (not sports related) that is a huge success in my book.  The talent in the league is undeniable; it’s there.  But now because of the newlywed, Spollywood, the league needs publicity in other media outlets.  WPS is filled with beautiful and funny girls with great personalities.  It’s time that people got to see that side of them so they can relate to them and be drawn in.  Individually they do a great job of marketing themselves.  I just hope to see extra support for them to continue doing it through more media outlets to reach more people.  (Ellen DeGeneres, I am still waiting on a call back from you to get some women's soccer love all up in your show.  I'll assume you just lost my number, it's ok.  No hard feelings.  But me.)

Next, I hope WPS remembers that people over the age of 13 are the ones paying for the tickets and merchandise and therefore need to be marketed to.  We get it, WPS; young girls love women’s soccer.  But so do young boys, adult men, adult women, elderly men, elderly women and dogs of all ages! (Proof: My parents’ dog completed a glorious victory lap after Alex Morgan’s goal against Japan and also watched a Lauren Cheney interview with me.  For research purposes she is a 2 year old female mutt and seems to really be drawn to Cheney and Morgan…and her red ball) It is a professional league, yet through their marketing it looks more like a D2 college league.  I’m not saying to neglect the younger female demographic by any means because they truly are at the heart of the fan base.  These are the girls who dream to someday be a part of this league, so we cannot underestimate their true dedication and love for it.  All I am asking is that it isn’t made out to look like they are the only fans showing up to these games on their way back from a Justin Bieber concert.

If you watched any of the Women’s World Cup this summer and can say that you found it entertaining, give the WPS a chance.  There is no gold medal on the line, it is not an epic competition held once every four years and it will not give you the chance to scream, “Suck it! Go home Brazil!!!” at the TV like a crazy person.  (Was that just me??) But it will give you the same brilliant athletes from our US squad plus many amazing international players as well; all playing at the highest level of the beautiful game.  If you say you supported them in the Women's World Cup you can support them in the Olympics next summer and most importantly; in the WPS.  Buy season tickets, make sure you get Fox Soccer Channel to watch the games and buy all the merchandise that your little soccer heart desires. 

In short, as they say…let’s all get hepatitis!  Put your money where your mouth is.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Day With Ginny

I have accomplished many great things in my life.  I have……...give me a second.  Ok, got it…  

I have acted in plays and performed in shows.  I have been told I have the best white girl crip walk in my suburban upper middle class hometown.  I have been given prestigious titles such as “Class Clown” and “Night Surfing Champion of The World and Most of The Universe” (that one may be self-proclaimed).

And teachers assumed I would never amount to anything……Suck it.

But none of these “achievements” are as glorious as the one I am aiming for now.  This idea…this flash of light…this breath of fresh air that has swirled into my path has given me new found meaning.  Ok, I may be overplaying this a bit.  Let’s get to it.

I want to spend a day in a forest baking cookies with Ginnifer Goodwin and a group of well behaved magical elves.

I know what you’re thinking.  Trust me, I do.  And I thought the same thing for awhile; how could I possibly find enough activities to span over the entire day!?  Let me share…

First Ginny and I (we’re good chums now at this point so I can call her Ginny) will meet up at the forest’s edge with the elves.  We’ll begin our day at the crack of 11:35 am.  I will name each elf based on their appearance and demeanor then we will be on our merry way.  After a fun walk skip through the woods we will come across a field where Ginny and I decide to have a frolic.  The elves will set up our baking station in the trees while Ginny and I pick daises and prance about the field singing whimsical songs about fairy tales which we will make up on the spot.

Next, once the elves have assembled our baking station we will begin!  We’ll bake all sorts of glorious cookies in fantasy blumpkin shapes. (I’m unsure what ‘fantasy blumpkin shapes’ are, but I really like them and am determined to figure it out)  Once they’re done the fairies and nymphs come out of the trees to dance in the wind because they see Ginny and of course want to be a part of this magical day. 

All of this singing, cooking and eating will obviously tire us.  So we will all take happy naps in the field.  I’ll most likely spoon with the elf I inevitably name Lord Snugglekins. 

After our naps it will be time for pictures!  Ginny and I will take pictures with bunnies and chipmunks and squirrels who all comply of course because of Ginny’s magical powers over all that is cute in the world.  We will take a good mix of posing with the animals and also some action shots.  If you're wondering why I want the variations it's because we need a good mix for the photo album…don’t be silly.  Eventually, the elves will join but they will not…I repeat will not…make this about them.

And alas, when the day is done we will walk skip back through the forest to civilization.  The fairies and nymphs will fly back to the forest after accompanying us on our journey back.  The elves will disperse and go back to their elf families and elf homes which I envision to be a combination of miniature Santa workshops and Smurf mushroom houses.  And I’ll tell Lord Snugglekins I enjoyed our time together but we should just stay friends.

Then it will be time for Ginny and I to part ways.  We’ll make plans to tag each other in all the pictures and look into booking a recording studio for our fairy tale improv songs.  I’ll gush over what a great actress she is and what a fan I really am and thank her for spending the day with me.  She’ll ask for my number and email to keep in touch but then giggle because she knows she can just send a hummingbird or a forest fairy with a message.  Then we live happily ever after knowing we have lived a perfect day amongst magical elves, forest fairies, pretty daisies and fantasy blumkpin cookies.

The End