Are you kidding me, talk about belief! It felt like any other morning this morning. I rolled out of bed early, showered up and headed out for the day. I was on my buddies porch by 6:00 A, an hour before kick-off for the “must win” game for the USA. I have to admit, I am not much of a soccer fan. Like many boys growing up, I played “under 8” to “under 16” and then went on to other sports for high school. However, when you combine country, sporting event and a group of people rallying around something bigger than self, I am all in.
We arrived at Atlantic Crossing at 6:15. The place was packed. We didn’t know this was the one pub in the country that ESPN would be highlighting throughout the game, we just went there b/c it was walking distance from my buddies place. The scene was epic! Fans had been there for hours and were anticipating what was being heralded as “The biggest USA game in WC history.” We settled in (standing room of course) and the game began. Chants and cheers were flowing, people were excited and nervous, it was intense!
With 10 minutes left in the game my mind went to belief. Do these guys, these players, believe that this can happen? 0-0 score, time is running out, do they believe? At some level they must have. In fact, my guess is that belief is a big part of the mental game that playing at that level requires. Those guys want the ball, they want the shot, and they believe that a win is possible. When the keeper threw the ball to the mid-fielder in the 91st minute, the energy at Altlantic Crossing was mounting. (I am getting chills even now!) The cross was perfect and Donavan, considered by many to be the best player to ever where a USA jersey, was the appropriate one to finish the task. (Seriously, still chills as I recap). When the back of the net moved Atlantic Crossing went ape! I could not find my friend in the mayhem so I just instinctively started jumping up and down hugging random people. ESPN immediately panned to the Atlantic, cheers were flying, my friend and I reunited and we embraced, it was crazy fun!
So I learned a little something more about belief today. Those players really do believe.