The locker room after a crucial loss is a tough place to be.
After a hard-fought defeat in the NWSL semifinal, we all sat in the locker room in Portland and shed tears. Even though, due to illness, I only minimally traveled with the team and appeared in just one game this season, I felt the connection. And I wondered to myself, “Why do I feel so sad?”
Yes, we were all disappointed and angry to have lost. We wanted so desperately to play in the Championship game the following weekend.
Everyone, from our owner’s daughter to the coaching staff, had tears in their eyes. It got me thinking how lucky we all are to care so much about something that it could make us feel so s**tty.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I have a number of things and people in my life that I’m privileged to feel that way about. Looking around that locker room, it struck me that ironically, life is for sure easier if you don’t care so much.
As backwards as it may seem, I realized that this is the greatest privilege: to love something or someone so much that it hurts.
I have a vivid memory of my last game with my youth club team. Although I had an upcoming college career to look forward to, and although I’m not ordinarily much of a crier, I sat with my sweatshirt over my head in my family’s car as we drove home from Regionals, literally bawling uncontrollably.
With the Seattle Reign this year, I again felt that sadness of not wanting it to be over when and how it turned out. We arrived in Seattle for preseason in February. Many of us hadn’t ever played together or been coached by this staff. From the “outside” looking in (I was an observer much of the season), I witnessed a group not only buy in and become a true team, but bond over loving and wanting the same goals. We are not all best friends off the field. But love in a team sense doesn’t necessarily mean that. It means that in a deep and powerful way, we all want the absolute best for one another and the group.
And so in not achieving that ultimate best, we cried together. We met in our lowest moment, and experienced the pain together.
What a privilege it is to be surrounded by people who care about what I care about so much that it hurts. The greatest privilege.