after the game





to do

is scream

about the patriarchy

but I know I’d just


a stereotype

what am I supposed to do

when I score a goal on you

and you act like I’m a tree

whose branch luckily swayed

in the right direction

what am I supposed to do

when I tackle you

as well as some dude

but my lack of maleness

makes you stutter

I’m not sorry

that girls can do

what you can do;

I am not sorry

that, sometimes,

we do it better, too.


I am 24 years old,

playing a game I love

more than men

for 20 and have been playing

with them, side by side,

for the same.


I’ve always loved being the underdog.


but why can’t you

just put your head down like you do

when your friend nails a freakin maradona

these things are not so hard to do

when we treat this sport like a drug

admit that it’s mine, too;

that just because your body

can lift 200 pounds doesn’t mean

mine can’t kick your ass

with a soccer ball

that’s all I want:

the chance to come to a game,

ponytail in tow,

and still feel like I belong

to something that was here

long before I called it my own,

long before I learned

that girls aren’t supposed to do

what boys do.


all the friends and teams,

games and sprains, fields

and nails to the head,

bruised knees and toes,

championships and titles later


and these guys still insist

I need to prove myself.


I am not a tree

standing in the wind.


I am a woman–

and a pretty damn good soccer player.


March 4, 2016

4 thoughts on “after the game

  1. I loved this, RJ! Soccer was my life until my early twenties. My favorite times in college were going down to a patch of grass, setting up some Coke bottles as goals, and playing pick-up games until we could hardly walk. I’ll admit they were testosterone-based affairs largely. My sisters both played, and my younger sister won some state titles. I wish our Women’s World Cup Team got more press… They are amazing. I love to watch them play and think in some ways the women’s game is a more flowing rendition of the sport… I also remember once being at regionals when I was twelve or thirteen, and we went to the girl’s U-18 final. Those players were amazing… I would say just play! Love it! Dip a shoulder and go the other way! Shepherd them into a touchline calamity! Make them earn every inch of grass!


    • Thanks so much for your comment, Michael! I’ve had a jammed packed schedule and didn’t get around to responding. That’s really awesome you played pick up like that in college/that you played in general. I was on a couple of pretty successful teams growing up, and now my friend is on the National Team/World Cup Team! If it wasn’t for me looking up a lot of information on her, I probably wouldn’t hear much about them– they really do deserve more press. And you’re totally right! I always bring my A game, and I will continue to do so whoever is on the field 🙂 RJ

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