Saturday, July 19, 2008

Winning mentality

A group of reporters were in the Home Depot Center press box when we found out that Abby Wambach was probably out of the Olympics. Since I was covering the Chivas USA/Santos SuperLiga game in LA, I was there instead of San Diego. Billy Witz checked the Internet for the score of the match and read the news.

He told us that Abby had been taken off the field with a serious leg injury (at the time, the fracture wasn't yet confirmed). Heads swiveled - nearly all the soccer reporters keep up the women's game and understood the impact of the news.

Then I piped up, "Did they win?"

"Who cares?" Billy said. "It was a friendly, the game didn't mean anything. Now she's injured and probably out of the Olympics. That's what's really going to hurt the team. The score doesn't matter."

Billy had a point, but part of me resisted that mindset. To me, it always matters who wins, no matter what is at stake. In some ways, it would matter even more if the U.S. fell apart after Wambach's removal, losing confidence and the match.

I joked, "Well, it's bad enough that she's injured - losing would be an extra insult added on to that."

After I looked up the news on my own computer, I had to smile a little at the quote from Wambach that she apparently gave when she still had surgery to worry about and already knew her Olympic dream was dead. I knew I wasn't the only one who thought the result mattered, exhibition or no.

"I want to thank all the fans, the doctors, the players on the team and Tasha Kai for scoring the winning goal," Wambach said while in the emergency room.


OSweet said...

Nice one.

CACuzcatlan said...

I also think winning (or at least not losing) is always important. Which is why I don't understand how some teams rest all their decent players in the game of a tournament if they've clinched a second round spot already (see Portugal in Euro 2008). It seems to me that the loss of momentum from losing the third game hurts the team when they play in their next game.