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Childrearing

How Megan Rapinoe, Abby Wambach And Women’s World Cup Soccer Can Help You Parent Better

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My brother is visiting us this week with his wife and two daughters. They live in Colorado and are big sports enthusiasts, both in terms of playing and watching sports. My brother plays in indoor and outdoor league soccer. His girls play recreational outdoor soccer. My brother was captain of the soccer team in high school and continued to play in college. Last night he asked us to DVR the World Cup match between USA and Brazil. My husband made some snarky comment about soccer being boring. And, well, if you heard how the match ended up going, you know the joke’s on him.

The video here shows one of the most exciting results in World Cup soccer play. Megan Rapinoe centered the ball for Abby Wambach‘s header goal in the 122nd minute. The last shot in this video might show it best as a Brazilian defender and the Brazilian goalie are unable to stop this perfectly placed ball and Abby brilliantly heads it in. The game ended in a shootout victory by the U.S. USA! USA!

So now that my husband is eating Brazilian toucan, I asked my brother how he got into watching soccer with his girls. He says it’s actually one of the better spectator sports for parents. I asked him why. He gave three main reasons:

Ubiquity
“Soccer is a sport routinely played by kids. They learn the rules at a pretty young age and can make the jump to understanding the game as they see it on the field. Football might be exciting, but not many girls play it and not even that many boys, compared to soccer. While they might see a lot of amateur soccer played, they don’t get to see it very often at the professional level. Watching soccer played well is inspiring as well as instructional. Which is why it’s known as the beautiful game.”

Beautiful game

“It’s a truly athletic sport with only one break at half, not one break every ten seconds. There are no timeouts. Endurance is rewarded. So is intelligence. Creative play is what scores goals. You can show the same move to a defender again and again but when you do something unique, that’s when you get your goal scored. This is why the huge stretches of time without scoring are as fundamental as the actual goal. It’s almost like a boxing match where you tire out your opponent and seize any moment when their guard is down.”

Teaches Life Lessons
“When nothing is happening, watching a match is a great calming agent for kids. When something exciting happens it’s a great release. You never know the outcome, which is metaphorical for life. It teaches patience and dedication. And as a fan, you get rewarded for your allegiance eventually. The longer your team goes without winning, the greater the glory when they finally do. And, to be honest, you can learn some pretty good acting skills (which will get you a yellow card on the field but can be good practice for Broadway).”

He also likes watching World Cup soccer with his girls because it provides a meaningful demonstration of his support for their athletic endeavours. Now if it could only help them with their chores.

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