after the game

when

all

I

want

to do

is scream

about the patriarchy

but I know I’d just

perpetuate

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

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Surrender

When I was younger
my doubt came in the form of a size 4
black and white
soccer ball
“Can I win,
can I beat the player
these coaches have formed inside of my head?”
I wrote
and I wrote
and finally I forgave

I created a new reality of real-life-results
and they stuck.

Today I read words that reminded me of that time
“Everything is to be nurtured,”
and I cannot think literally about this.

We must think clearly,
sharply,
simply
about what the nurtured soul is to begin with.

Asking myself,
“How do I feel?”
Without judgement,
without delay
is most likely the most important question
I will have asked myself in four years
the last time I stepped on the field
that I believed scarred me

It had given me strength.

Beauty is to be nurtured
Simplicity is to be nurtured
Love is to be nurtured.

For buried under all that nasty doubt,
my final enemy,
is a white flag
I know as freedom.