carli lloyd on legacy

Source: The New York Times

She could have created a legacy for herself in the WWC in any number of ways. She told herself that she was going to leave a legacy, and when she saw her opportunity to quite literally take a shot, she did.

Listen to me read the below here:


I’m not a sports fan. I’ve never been athletic. In middle-school Gym, I was hit in the face with a ball during indoor soccer and had my lower jaw shoved backward by the impact. (Crunch.)

I did, however, like many others Stateside during this Women’s World Cup summer, get sucked into the game. Mind you, I was late; I only came in to watch the U.S. vs. Germany game, the England vs. Japan game, and finally, the U.S. vs. Japan game in which 32-year-old Carli Lloyd shattered records of all kinds by achieving a hat trick (scoring three goals) in the first fifteen minutes of the game, with that final goal scored from midfield.

Deadspin sportswriter Greg Howard wrote, a day or so later: “Here’s a confesssion: Before last night, I had never even considered the possibility that a woman could score from midfield.”

But she did. Carli Lloyd finished her hat trick from a distance of 60 yards to the goal.

Someone tweeted a quote from Lloyd during the game, which I’ll paraphrase here. A reporter had asked her, after the U.S. victory over Germany, “What’s your secret?” And her response, which I thought was perfect: “I’ve just been training my butt off for the last 12 years.”

No magic wand. No litany of positive affirmations. She put in her ten thousand hours—I’m sure, as someone who’s also won two Olympic gold medals for U.S. soccer, that Lloyd’s put in more than ten thousand hours—and came out of that final WWC game looking like a superhero.

I later came across the above New York Times graphic. “I don’t just want to be a participant in the World Cup,” she said. “I want to have a legacy. I want to have people remember me.”

on learning about legacy-building from 15 minutes that rocked the sports world

One might have the knee-jerk reaction of: what, being in the World Cup isn’t enough for you? Being chosen out of scores of women from the best teams around the country to represent your country isn’t enough? There is no “I” in “Team,” Carli Lloyd. Who are you to want to create a legacy separate from that of your teammates?

And though I am no soccer expert, and though I’ve only barely begun to learn the ins and outs of its strategy and the skills involved, I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Lloyd is no glory hog. In watching archived games, I’ve seen her set up shots for her teammates; I know that she’s a team player because you can’t succeed on the world stage in a team sport without being committed to teamwork.

C passed this article to me, which was written in early July before the World Cup final. Titled “Carli Lloyd Is the Weirdest World Class Professional Athlete Ever,” it has this quote in it: “I don’t want to insult Lloyd, who has brought me so much joy as a sports fan, but there isn’t any better way to put it. She doesn’t look like she knows how to play soccer. It’s not clear if it comes from a lack of a understanding or a lack of ability, but the difference between Lloyd and Brian–again, a 22-year-old with no major tournament experience–is mind-melting.” Which is also to say that it’s possible to blow people’s expectations out of the water (the article now has an addendum).

She could have created a legacy for herself in the WWC in any number of ways. She told herself that she was going to leave a legacy, and when she saw her opportunity to quite literally take a shot, she did. It just so happens that she did so by achieving the fastest three goals for a single player in any (including both Men’s and Women’s) World Cup game.

While watching archived Houston Dash games on our family desktop, I mused about the following:

  • Where in your life could you invest more time toward honing your craft, a la “training [your] butt off”? I’ve realized that I haven’t taken a writing seminar in years—perhaps that should be remedied by a class taught at the Grotto, or an online course from Poynter News University. It’s true that I write near-daily, and with focus, but in order to stretch myself, I need to be constantly learning. No to stagnation.
  • Where can you develop something new? I’ve been forgoing creating something new because I’ve been hard at work at finishing up edits for my novel, but soon enough I’ll be in that long, odd period of time between “turning in final edits” and “waiting until marketing begins.” It’s going to be the perfect time to really get going on my next book, which I’m thinking will be a collection of personal essays about schizophrenia—a time to sort through the research I’ve accumulated, to pitch publications, to brainstorm and make notes and scribble.
  • Where is your creative legacy currently taking you? It’s so easy to become lost “in the weeds” of the day-to-day, especially if you’re also freelancing, full-timing, and/or running a small business, that the big picture of your story as a writer can get lost. Are the things that you’re creating, connecting? (And if not, grab yourself a copy of my Creative Legacy Check-In, about which it’s been said, “I want to create a body of work, not just individual pieces of randomness. But how? Then I found Esmé Weijun Wang… Now, I think I’m onto something. I see a pattern… a path.”)