How soccer changed my perspective on life.

First of all, who am I? I am a software engineer. I work in a Data Company and also I freelance. As a kid, I had zero connection with sports. I was an introvert. So I would just stay home and study and try to avoid human interactions as much as possible. No one in my family had shown any interest in sports. They wanted me to focus on academics and I wanted to do that too because I was very competitive and the best way to do something without talking or interacting with anyone was studying. So that’s what I did! I got good grades, was a class topper, won some prizes in Olympiads and Science exhibitions. And I was happy, my parents were happy too. In between these not-so significant yet significant achievements, I would think about what did I want to be? What was my goal? And I would follow Sunita Williams and Kalpana Chawla a lot. Strong women in powerful positions used to amaze and inspire me. I would think, “Maybe I want to become a researcher.” Then I would think sometimes, “Maybe I should become a doctor, I will be a good one. I will do good to society.” like almost every other kid. But it didn’t happen because of several reasons and I chose to study Mathematics instead of Biology in my Intermediate and finally told myself, “Now at least become an engineer!”.

So that’s what happened! I became an engineer. The software kind! Cause I loved computers and I liked programming. I chose the easier path. Always! And don’t worry, I am doing good. I work hard and I try and learn more, and technology thrills me, so all is well. I work about 18 hours a day. I know it’s not healthy right? That’s not the problem though. The problem is I have always been very anxious about anything and everything.

Fast forward to January 2020, I was watching a few videos on feminism and YouTube recommended a video titled, “An equal playing field” and I watched it.

It was about the loss of opportunities for women in soccer and how it’s difficult to manage a career in a very popular sport in a country like the United States. It starred Christen Press, a USWNT Forward and the winner of two world cups. I didn’t know anything about her or USWNT. So I searched USWNT on Google and the first clip it recommended was their world cup final match against the Netherlands. After that, I watched many of their videos mostly the highlights. Then I started watching their full matches and started following their club teams, especially Utah Royals, they have got Christen Press.

I liked this woman running on the field with so much passion. Christen Press is a joy to watch.

I liked her calmness and her intellect more than her goals. She is one of the best strikers in the world. But she looks so calm on the field. She is focused, she knows why she is there and what is it that she has to accomplish. She is kind, on and off the field. I know it sounds more like I am fangirling over someone and I myself used to find this weird but she is inspiring. Have you binge-watched a show so much that you start behaving like one of the characters? Exactly! I saw this change in myself, I had started smiling more, believe me when I say, I am not the kind who does that very often. It helped me in controlling my anger so much. Once I was watching an interview and she said,

I would like to fight as hard as I possibly can in each and every game and win or lose, leave it at that, and move forward. I know in my heart that that is the mindset I need to be a successful and happy athlete.

And I would ask myself, Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I take the challenges, have fun with them, and then move forward to the next one without thinking much about whether I failed or won my past battles? And this thought affected me a lot. I recall this every day. I tell myself, “Happiness is a path. You have to be happy. That’s the only thing that matters.”

And I can’t thank Press enough for her positivity and for teaching me to be optimistic. She has no clue how much I owe her.

On the very last note, I would like to mention my recent interaction with her. Nope, I didn’t meet her! We are in a lockdown guys! I recently discovered her blogs. Her last blog was dated in June 2015. I was sad, “Alas! It’s old.” But I anyways read them. The first sentence read,

“I was mystified when my fifth grade teacher explained the concept of “infinity” to the class.”

And guess what? I was in shock because I right here is obsessed with the concept of infinity. I have it tattooed on my body. For me infinity means opportunities, there are so many of them and they are never enough. Here’s what she wrote though,

”Imagine moving from point A to point B, but you are only allowed to go half the distance at a time. When you arrive at the first halfway point, you must stop and recalculate the new half point … and on and on and on. You will never arrive at B, because as you move closer to your target, you see how many halfway points there are between you and your target: an infinite number.”

and yes there will be an infinite number of infinities between any infinity. But that’s what makes our lives interesting right Christen?

I read the Daily Inspirations tab and I found my favorite poem “if” by Rudyard Kipling there. I have that stuck at my office desk cause that poem is what I like to read when I am happy and when I am sad.

Anyhow, that’s not the point. The point is I would like to know how does she feel about infinity now. Cause it was almost 5 years back, and now she has seen many things in life. I am just curious! I am not a crazy fan going through all her stuff and relate to them somehow, but I definitely am amazed about the traits.

I am thankful I watched that first video. I am proud to follow Women’s Soccer and I want to see them go way ahead and I wish for them to inspire next generation and to change the way our society works and how soccer works. She makes our future generation dream big. They make them believe,

” Don’t choose what’s easy, choose what burns your passion, and feeds your enthusiasm.”

I am a Software Engineer who sometimes writes.