The United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) will be playing in the semi-final of the Women’s World Cup tomorrow. In the soccer world there is a lot of discussion about how the team has played, coaching decisions and comparisons to their competition. Depending on who reads this post, I may be crucified for my next statement but it is the main point of my post. The USWNT will most likely not raise the Cup this year.
The reason that this could be an inflammatory statement is the expectation that surrounds the USWNT. The fact that they have won the Cup twice before has created an underlying feeling that we should do it again. The casual sports fan can get behind the USWNT because there’s a possibility of a winner.
On the flipside of that equation is the US Men’s National Team. Success is measured by much smaller milestones. It is not that the USMNT is horrible but we enter international competition with hope rather than expectation. A loss in the semi-final of a World Cup for the men is a great success. The same result for the women is a disappointment, even against an opponent like Germany. I haven’t dealt with “Soccer Issues” in a while on the site but this seemed the perfect time to meld this thought with a message.
Expectation and hope are slightly different degrees of the same emotion. The difference lies in the amount of certainty prior to the event. They both have their place in life and should be used in the proper situation. With regards to most things, I would prefer to look at most situations with hope. It is one of the reasons why I support underdog teams. There is a sense of doubt that brings focus and passion. Expectation can bring complacency. Very few things are certain in this life. With expectation, failure is more crushing because you’ve lost something that you thought was yours. With hope, you realize that nothing is inherently yours and the possibility is as exciting as the achievement.
“Hope is a good thing, perhaps the best of things” -Andy Dufresne
Good luck tomorrow ladies!