Dancing round the pitch or living room…

It’s not just that they won, but the way that they won.

Pure joy! 

The England women’s football team hugged each other & danced in celebration as they won the Euros 2022 final yesterday. 

Those who had played their part on the pitch embraced those who had trained just as hard, but were on the Subs bench. 

The cameras showed many families with young girls in the crowd, cheering in jubilation as they witnessed a historic victory to inspire future generations.

Watching the Lionesses singing & dancing their way through the press conference afterwards, they seemed so down to earth and full of pure joy at their victory. Just like the rest of us, dancing in our living rooms.

Brought up as a WBA fan, I’m not used to seeing such historic wins!

Talking of history, there used to be 150 women’s teams in the 1920’s, during the first World War they drew crowds of up to 53,000. In 1921 the FA banned their members from letting women’s teams play at their grounds. 

Just over 100 years later the England women’s team win at Wembley, in front of a record breaking crowd of 87,192. 

Change is the only thing that is certain in this life. Sometimes it happens in a blink of an eye, or it can take a century. It’s not always easy.

One of many inspiring stories from the game is that of Chloe Kelly. As a girl she used to get the bus to Wembley to buy a programme and just soak up the atmosphere of the big football games. 

Last year she missed the Olympics due to injury and she had to battle physically & mentally to recover and earn a place in the squad. 

Yesterday the 24yr old Chloe was a substitute, and scored her first international competitive goal. Not just any goal, this was the goal that won the game. With her proud family in the crowd at Wembley, cheering her on.

But just before she scored, she missed an attempt a second earlier. 

If she had let herself get caught up in focusing on the goal she missed, she would not have been able to score when she did.

It’s something the best sports people work hard on in their training. That ‘Letting go’ in the same split second that something happens, to keep your full attention on this second right now, and what is possible. 

In a ninety minute football match, for each player there will be many shots they miss, challenges they don’t win, or goals they don’t score. If they linger on the frustration or self criticism of each tiny human error, they risk losing the opportunity of the next brilliant shot or goal.

A useful Mindfulness habit for us all to try.  The more we can practice ‘Letting go’ of the not so brilliant bits of life, the more we are able to move with the flow of inevitable changes in life. 

Or in football, the more we can pay attention to where the ball is now, rather than where we wish it was.

As spectators in football, we had to keep ‘Letting go’ of the impending doom of a possible penalty shootout in yesterday’s game. The England mens football team have quite a history of those and not with the best results…

For the bigger events in life, this ‘Letting go’ can take much longer. Maybe years. 

But we can practice with the smaller things. ‘Letting go’ of the train delays this morning, or the parcel that should have arrived but didn’t, or the rain forecast for the family barbecue this weekend. 

It’s good to practice ‘Letting go’ of expecting perfection from ourselves & those we share our lives with. We’re all imperfect human beings just bumbling along and trying our best. 

Sometimes we get injured, or worn out by life and have to sit on the sidelines for a while.

Sometimes we’re on the Subs bench, but still cheering others on. 

Sometimes we get a chance to play in extra time & we find the courage to let go of the darker days to be part of something magical, and score.

Letting go of the past we can celebrate today. 

Preferably dancing around our living rooms, sharing the Lioness’s joy with the family and friends who are our ‘team’ in life.

It’s coming home…

Photo thanks to Leonard Von Bibra at Unsplash.