Hope swings eternal


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If you were surprised by US Women’s National Team soccer goalkeeper Hope Solo’s latest vitriolic outburst, where she took a swing (several of them actually) at the Swedish women’s na tional soccer team after they unceremoniously dumped the US team out of the Olympics, suggesting that they were "cowards" because of their style of play, then you’ve not been paying attention.

Solo’s latest hissy-fit is one in a litany of toddler-esque meltdowns spanning her career. For such a seasoned campaigner, Solo being a veteran of multiple Olympics and World Cups, an inability to rein in one’s temper at 35-years-old either suggests anger management issues, straight up ignorance, or that she knows what she’s saying is highly inflammatory but simply doesn’t care. I suspect it’s a combination of all three.

It’s not worth me running through Solo’s verbal rap sheet. Anyone with access to the internet can easily find a list of her indiscretions; from her slating both her former and fellow team mates, as well as hers and other teams' coaches. What makes this latest rage so egregious, though, is that it targets an entire national team. Way to raise the bar, Hope!

It’s troubling to lovers of "the beautiful game" that not only do her comments reflect poorly on herself, her federation and her nation, but also that they are just plain wrong. And by wrong I don’t mean her opinion isn’t valid, I mean that her statement is 100% inaccurate. When you call someone a coward, your characterization better fit the definition. Solo’s did not.

Sweden beat the US with better tactics, and better execution of THEIR game plan. Sweden demonstrated discipline, togetherness and the ability to carry out their coaches wishes to a tee. The US, for all their attempts to play a different, albeit ‘prettier’ type of game, were unable to do so successfully.

One of the things that makes soccer such a wonderful sport is that there is no one way to score a goal. There is no one way to win. Tactics, strategy, technique, mentality, physicality, opportunity, luck; they all come into play during every game to some degree. A game can be won in the first few minutes, or in the dying seconds. It can be won via a monumental team effort, or by a moment of individual genius.

Though it hurts to lose, desperately so one would imagine when competing in a tournament that you are favorites to win, acting like an infant in a post-game interview does nothing to enhance your reputation, or your team's, nor is it representative of the Olympic spirit. It’s not the way the USWNT team wants to present itself either, according to fellow veteran Megan Rapinoe.

Characterizing Solo’s comments as “very disappointing,” Rapinoe went on to say, "Let's inspire, let's be badass, let's be fierce, let's be competitive. But we're gracious and we're humble, and we play the game a certain way, whether we win or lose. We've been on the winning side quite a bit, and when we find ourselves on the other side, we need to handle that graciously, and unfortunately that wasn't the case."

Why is that so hard for Hope Solo to understand?

Mark Turner is formerly of Oxford, England, but has lived in America for over 15 years, the majority of that time in Colorado. Mark enjoys playing soccer (football!), hiking and biking when the weathers good, and when the weathers rotten writing blog entries that he hopes will amuse and entertain. Mark can be followed on Twitter @melchett, or the Back Chat show on KCMJ 93.9.

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