No Place Like Home

Carol Khorramchahi

I remember the days when I’d speculate

That school from home would simply be great.

I’d only dress up when I’d be meeting on Zoom

Then I’d just have to clean a little part of the room.

But now that it’s happened, my dream hasn’t come true

’Cuz working from home is like life at the zoo.

Oh what a dream it would be

To leave these four walls and flee

The weeks go by, the fourth, the fifth,

And normalcy’s become a myth.

I want to hug, I want to hold,

I want this deadly scourge controlled.

COVID 19 is its name

It knows no boundaries or lanes

No figure can match its fame

Like a roaring flame it engulfs all on its path

Both the poor and the rich feel its wrath

We all have a common enemy, I admit

So, lower your guns and focus on it

The only way of surviving, is by joining heads

For the hate present in the world fuels its hunger for the dead

Gender Inequality Has Reached the Walls of EAB

By: Veronica Streibel-May with the help of EAB staff

In honour of International Women’s Day this month the 8th of March I felt like we needed to remind ourselves of how important it is to acknowledge the differences amongst us and how we may find common ground. How an issue like gender inequality can unite us to fight together for so we may live in a better society. Alone we will accomplish nothing. Together we can raise awareness and initiate a pathway where change is encouraged instead of feared. So where do we look in times of uncertainty? Our role models. Thankfully in our EAB community we have so many. Teachers do everything they can to inspire us and have endless stories and experiences to share. The things they have to say really make you realize that the world can be brutal but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Please let reponses motivate you and trigger a wish for change. So with that being said, here are some questions I posed to them regarding their perspectives on gender equality:

Can you name and describe an event in your life or professional career where you have been treated unfairly because you are a woman/man?

“One event that comes to mind was when Ms. Bree was being treated in a condescending manner by an airline employee. The most glaring example was when the man called her “baby.”  The moment I arrived, the man’s demeanor changed completely and he became much more respectful in his tone and posture.  It was a clear example where a woman is treated a certain way in a stressful situation and the man is treated differently.  I handled the situation by sternly showing my disapproval with the man’s behavior.  I am sure my size helped a bit.  I don’t think there is anything I could have changed in the exchange but the episode did reinforce with clarity the difference in how men and women are treated in society. “ – David Bair 

“In sports, men have always been treated better than women. That is a fact but there have been positive changes. In the United States, there have been advancements since the Educational Amendments of 1972 when Title XI was passed as a federal civil law. The life of an Athletics Director in Mexico for multiple years opened my eyes to situations of ‘machismo’ actions.  Also, here in Brazil, I can see these ‘machismo’ acts sometimes in the culture. I can also see improvements being made in Brazil as opposed to other countries (Women’s Soccer on equal pay). I do not support this ‘machismo’ culture and there is needed room for improvement.” – John Powell 

When I was 18 back in 1998, and only 10 days away from my final Big 4 after a lifetime at Graded, I sustained a severe knee injury in a scrimmage that ruined my soccer career. A defining moment that brought to light the patriarchy in Brazil was when my mom took me to the ER at one of the best hospitals in all of Latin America, and the doctor that saw me told my mom “Well of course she got injured. What were you thinking in allowing her to play a man’s sport?” My mom and I were both furious. She was caught off guard but told him that women were allowed to play soccer too. She later filed a complaint at the hospital. To be honest, I have no idea what came of it, but my mom was always planting showing me how women are powerful.  Another instance was when I coached girls futsal at Graded. My girls futsal team won five gold consecutive medals at Big 4, in the most exhilarating and challenging games. However, after the second victory, I questioned the fact that they only allowed the girls to play on the smaller court (the one used for volleyball) instead of on the big court where the boys played. I also questioned why the boys’ games were always the last games of the tournament. They responded that the girls were unable to run for as long as boys on the big court, and that the boys’ games were more fun and engaging thus should be the final game of the tournament. Luckily, I had several other women coaches who put up a fight with me and for girls in general. We argued that not only were the girls’ games more entertaining, but that girls had the same, if not more, determination and stamina than the boys. Needless to say, we won! We got what we wanted. All futsal teams got to play on the big court and the final game alternated yearly between boys and girls. Mind you, that wasn’t that long ago. I’m talking 2010. But every small victory we get is a step in the right direction.” -Biana Bree 

When he would do “normal” activities with his kids like going to the park or playground, he would be complemented by others who saw him as an amazing dad (not to say that he wasn’t but they would go out of their way to applaud him).They would say things like “you’re such a good dad”. His wife on the other hand never received any comments of the sort. People expect a woman to do motherly things however when a dad does the exact same thing people are surprised and feel the need to almost congratulate this action. -Summary from Andrew Jones

“Yes, in my very early days as a school leader, I applied for a new job while I was on maternity leave with my son. At the interview I was asked multiple questions about how I would “manage my work” now that I was a young mother. They even asked me how I thought it would look to the wider school community, if the Board employed a working mother. I did not get the job and I still believe that the fact that I was a woman and a mother went against me. An older man got the position.

I did actually contact a Women’s Rights representative within the union I belonged to. She guided me through a process, where I made a complaint about the questions I was asked at the interview. The outcome of my complaint was an apology from the interviewers and a commitment to do some gender equity training. It was really hard to do this, as at the time I worked in a small city, and I was criticised by others for complaining. However I am really glad that I did stand up for myself and hopefully other women who might face this situation.” -Lesley Tait 

“Yes I have been treated unfairly because I am a woman. In the previous school I worked in they wanted to decrease the number of physical education teachers, at that time there were 5 male teachers and I was the only woman. When choosing who would be let go, I was the one chosen. Their reason for it is because I had a husband that could financially support me so I didn’t have to work. If I was a man I wouldn’t have been fired.”  – Simone Keller


Do you feel that you have to perform a certain way to meet society’s standards of a man? Are you “allowed/ not allowed” to do certain things. Please give examples.

“I think there is a certain expectation of how a man is supposed to act, especially in Brazil.  I honestly don’t think about it much, however, and go about my life without thinking much about society’s standards for me.” -David Bair 

“I feel that it is my responsibility in my family life to provide. My wife does not currently work, but that is her decision. She will work again someday and then it could be her time to provide for the family and maybe I don’t work. There is an equally shared understanding. There are not many, if any, things that I am “not allowed” to do being a man. This is the truth.” -John Powell 

“Again, I’m thankful that in the different stages of my life, I’ve mostly felt encouraged to be the way I am instead of conforming to gender norms. Actually, I’ve always appreciated the fact that Mr. Jones and I exhibit many traits that might not normally be associated with our gender and I like the example that this sets for our kids. I have to say that I do worry a bit because while we can control the messages they get at home, we’re not in control of the messages they get from the world. I remember when we signed Eliza up for after-school activities and she could choose ballet or futebol, but not both. There were all boys at futebol and all girls at ballet. We signed her up for futebol outside of school, but even there, she’s played for 4 years and never has played with another girl. When she joined in a game at a birthday party once, there were boys who made fun of the way she played or laughed when she made a mistake. She’s a tough kid but I worry that many girls would see all this and just think it wasn’t worth it, that it’s easier to conform instead of challenge a system that’s not set up to do things a certain way.” -Erin Kahle 

“Absolutely. I have felt it numerous times in my lifetime. Walking alone on streets is worrisome because I am a woman. Walking in the dark is worrisome because I am a woman. Paying attention to my surroundings because I am a woman is necessary. Granted, I was raised in a large city, São Paulo, and the violence has always been significantly higher than in other areas. However, I always had to watch my back since I was a young girl. When I was 14 and walking home from school, a man from a construction site began following me up the street.  He began harassing me and saying the most horrendous things to me. I knew that if I tried to outrun him, he would beat me because he was simply built differently than me. I ignored him, never once looked at him, held my backpack ready to swing at him if needed, and once I got in the linesight of the building complex I lived in, I began running. I knew at that point that the guards at the complex would see me and hear me if he continued harassing me. Clearly from that day on, I had to take the long way home instead of the shorter way due to the fear of that man. Once the construction was done and he was gone, I was able to start taking the shortcut again. The fear I felt at the moment, and the anger I felt afterwards were intense.” -Bianca Bree

No, because teaching English is seen more as a female role so he’s a minority as male. They see it as an advantage when they find a guy to teach a humanities based subject. Socially it’s been a mixed bag because he likes sports- like a typical man. It wasn’t cool to like poetry as a male so he stood out but his athleticism balanced it out so he still felt society accepted him. -Summary from Andrew Jones


3. Does your gender have an impact on the relationship between your personal and professional life? If so, in what ways?

“I actually think this has been the most significant challenge of gender in my life, which is navigating the balance of professional duties along with those involved in raising children. Even in a progressive society, the majority of women end up taking on more of the household and child-related duties while also having the same demands in the workplace. I’m not trying to throw Mr. Jones under the bus. I actually think he’s better than most men in terms of contributing to the household and childcare, but I think there are also a lot of unconscious influences that require a lot of work in a relationship to actually make this division equal.” -Erin Kale 

“Yes in some ways. When my children were younger, I still tended to take on more of the domestic chores and parenting  than my husband. This certainly put a lot of pressure on how well I could balance my work and home life.” -Lesley Tait

“Absolutely. I had to give up coaching which was my all time favorite thing to do. Now, in choosing to have kids I knew I would have to give up certain activities at school. I was heavily involved and invested in extracurricular activities. I gave them up willingly in order to spend time with my kids and watch them grow. But I have also been heavily criticized that I should have hired a nanny to watch them so that I could continue coaching. I understand that, but I did not have children for someone else to raise them. I chose to have children so that I could raise them and be involved in their lives. At some point, when they are more self sufficient and maybe not as interested in hanging out with me (in their teenage years) I would like to go back to coaching. I understand men questioning my choice, but several women were also not able to understand why I made that choice.” -Bianca Bree


4. What have you personally done to advance gender equality?

“Throughout my life and my career, I have been aware of gender equality and the need for girls to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that in a school, on a team, or in a community, that their voices are heard and their rights as equal members of society are adhered to.  Though I believe deeply in gender equality, I can’t point to one specific instance when I advanced gender equality.  I hope, however, that my actions over time have shown the women and girls around me and under my leadership that they are valued equally.” -David Bair 

“In my profession thus far I have hired more women coaches each year in the programs I have been in or am involved in. I have fairly allocated practice facilities, game scheduling, equipment requests, and support on tournament trips to make sure gender equality is fulfilled in the athletic program I lead. I have raised my personal education on diversity and gender equality by attending seminars on these topics, reading the latest trends in athletics across the world and simply standing up for what I believe is correct on how to treat women and others.” -John Powell

“I really try to lift up other women within our profession. Women often seem to need someone else to tell them that they should apply for certain positions etc, whereas men tend to have no trouble putting themselves forward for anything going. I try and make it my business to coach and guide other women, so that they build their personal self-confidence.” -Lesley Tait 

“I address gender equality constantly with my children in an attempt to teach them that they have equal rights regardless of their gender. I question and confront situations, oftentimes in front of them, always respectfully, but show them that they can question things and work towards fair treatment. In the class I teach and through service projects, we address human rights, but oftentimes gender issues are addressed too since women are still fighting for equal rights.”  -Bianca Bree

He has high expectations for his daughter and what he wants the world to be for her. In addition to this he feels he has a balanced relationship with his wife where they share duties and responsibilities equally. He also coached turkish girls basketball and these girls were actively disobeying their fathers by playing sports. Being an english teacher it has also allowed him to push people to see different points of view. These initiate conversation which he feels is a crucial step. -Summary from Andrew Jones

“I believe that just by working in this area is already a big step into gender equality. At school I coached boys teams, and at NR I was one the first female coaches in volleyball. When I was a referee I was also one of the only women at the time. When coaching I always tried to reinforce the girls at school to join the teams, I organized tournaments and events for them, and always tried to make sure they were heard and happy when playing a sport. I believe that by being present in this area and showing other women that anything is possible is a big step into gender equality.” -Simone Keller 


5. If you could give advice to young women, what would you tell them?

“As the father of two young girls, I think the advice that we give is not advice per se, but more of giving a constant message that they are valued, equal, and should not take a backseat to any male simply because he is a male.  The more the parents, but especially the fathers, of girls give that message and live that truth, the more society will change towards gender equality.” -David Bair

“I would tell young women to continue to fight for what they feel is fair in life. Fight with the understanding that you are trying to be treated as equal as young men, not better nor worse. Those that understand this movement will be able to have a conversation – use those people as a resource. Those are not able to understand this movement – use your education to open their eyes as best as possible. The world is not man’s or woman’s. It is ours and we need to continue to move in the direction to share it together!” -John Powell 

“Always think of yourself and put yourself forward as an equal to men. Don’t hold back. If you see inequality, speak up!” -Lesley Tait 

“Stand up for yourself and others. Clearly there are moments when we need to back down somewhat in order to avoid serious injuries or situations such as the one when the guy followed me home. However, standing up for ourselves and others is essential in teaching others that we are strong and that we have equal rights.” – Bianca Bree

Both genders need to understand that there is no playbook. Both need to realize that gender doesn’t define anything and you can create your own path. Guys can’t be threatened or feel as if supporting feminism hurts them. The message for men: equality is better for you too- it’s freeing. -Summary from Andrew Jones

Why are there lasers in the desert???

By Austin Monestel

We’ve probably all heard of Newton and his discovery of gravity. Throw an apple up in the air and it will decelerate and then fall back to Earth. However, treating gravity as a force is only good to a limited extent, because that’s not entirely accurate to what gravity is. So then what is gravity? What is LIGO and how does it work? Well that’s exactly what this article is about. 

Gravity and Space-time:

In the early 20th century a physicist named Albert Einstein, who you may or may not have heard of, came up with a theory that changed the way physicists looked at gravity. Before, astronomers were having difficulties explaining certain observations like Mercury’s orbit around the Sun. When normal Newtonian-physics and mathematics was applied to Mercury, it’s orbit made no-sense with what had already been observed and measured by telescopes. What could explain this? Scientists first thought that maybe there was another planet that was in orbit around the Sun that was pulling on Mercury. After all, the same thing had happened with Uranus when we realized that another planet, Neptune, was pulling on its orbit. The problem was, they couldn’t find the planet and began assuming that there was a planet there but the Sun was just too bright to see it. They named this mystery planet Vulcan and it was thought to be there up until the early 20th century. Albert Einstein had published a theory that would later be called “The General Theory of Relativity.” Einstein imagined that if all the mass in the Universe was taken away, space would be a two-dimensional sheet. If you were to then put mass back onto that sheet, called a manifold, it would bend the manifold of space itself. This bending is the reason the Earth orbits the Sun and the Moon orbits the Earth. When astronomers took the General Theory of Relativity’s math and applied it to Mercury’s orbit, the planet Vulcan disappeared in a second and Mercury’s orbit now made sense.

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The manifold of space-time and how the Sun and Earth affect it.

Part of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, the man imagined what would happen if large masses collided with each other and realized that it would form waves in the manifold of space-time much like a stone creates ripples when thrown into water. These would later be called gravitational waves. These gravitational waves actually stretch and move the Earth when hit however it only affects Earth by smaller than the size of an atom so it’s not very noticeable. That is, until LIGO was built.

LIGO: Giant Concrete Tunnels in the Desert?

In the mid-1980’s, funding and building began of a joint project by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Caltech (California Institute of Technology.) This project, named the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (or LIGO for short), would be created for the sole purpose of detecting Gravitational-waves. The observatory works by creating a laser beam that comes into contact with a lens that splits it in two and shoots them at 90° from each other. Those two beams then travel through two, evacuated, 4 km steel tubes and reflect off mirrors at the end of it. Finally those laser beams travel back to their starting point and converge again. This convergence causes a light pattern to be created on an adjacent wall. When gravitational waves hit the Earth it causes interference in the laser beams and this changes the light pattern. The problem is that any vibration could cause an interference pattern. So, they had to build it in a rural area away from cars and in an area with a low-amount of earthquakes. To make sure that no vibration could lead them to a false conclusion, they built two separate observatories in Hanford, Washington and Livingston, Louisiana. Has all this hard work paid off? Yeah. On September 14, 2015 both observatories detected an interference pattern and were able to correlate it with a collision of two, large, black holes. The fellows at Caltech and MIT even created an audible sound that would be what that collision would sound like if there were air. You can search it up on the internet and listen to it. 

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One of the ends of the LIGO facility.

So, ultimately, the importance of LIGO has already been revealed. It will continue “listening” for gravitational waves and the folks at Caltech and MIT hope to detect the collisions of objects like neutron stars and other black hole collisions. It’s just astounding the feats of science humanity has achieved. Just a few hundred years ago, astronomers were barely being able to see Saturn’s rings and now we can detect massive black hole collisions that take place lightyears away.

Sources

https://www.ligo.caltech.edu/page/timeline 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjcS1kRkc6M&t=119s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8PoG3mvqk8&t=922s

https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2018/06/09/ask-ethan-if-mass-curves-spacetime-how-does-it-un-curve-again/?sh=1304df9746a0

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Northern_leg_of_LIGO_interferometer_on_Hanford_Reservation.JPG

Uncertainty

By Carol Khorramchahi

Time is known to heal all wounds
And it would – if only it could
Yet, these wounds you’ve made cannot be healed
With permanent scars they have been sealed

Locked inside is all the pain
That cannot be washed out even with the heaviest rain
If only you could feel how deep I’ve immersed
But I wouldn’t wish that upon even the cursed

A dagger that stabs my heart
And pricks it every second till it tears apart
Like a flower whose petals have died
This love cannot be revived

Though for you my heart weeps a river of blood
You are not to be blamed for this flood
I don’t know what’s worse
Drowning beneath the waves
Or dying from the thirst

We are met each day
By both unwavering belief 
And debilitating fear 
One on each shoulder
And oh do they love to cheer

We often turn away
And close our hearts
To the promise of love,
Led astray

For the past has taught,
Not be caught
In what is not
Worth pursuing

However, if we dare
To jump over the crater of uncertainty 
That lies in our mind
We open the heart
Bare, raw, kind

People tend to ask
Does love have a meaning?
To imprison it, a daunting task
Turns out it doesn’t matter
As long as it doesn’t shatter

What scares us though,
Is that the heart makes no noise,
When it breaks.

Are We Really Alive?

By Pedro Venancio

Deep in my essence, the confusion corroded my lost soul, and strangely; the feeling became part of me.

On that day, the intense sun left me with a languid soul as if every thought slowly danced through my heavy mind and every moment I lived, I could only wish I didn’t. Until I drowned in the own calamitous ocean of my unquiet mind. Although the immense magnitude of heat left a scar on me, when nighttime arose from the dead, I weirdly missed the brightness. The sun hammered people’s essence but at the same time gave purpose to their spirit. At dawn is when people are reborn from the period of unconsciousness. For a couple, rapid hours in the dawn, people feel vivid, feel infinite as their lives are never going to end. But it’s also in the dawn when they most complain about their scar. People complain about the warmth that the greatest star shares with them; people complain when the small stars take place and they feel their bones numb as if they were inside a freezer; why are people that sensitive to nature? Maybe that’s the reason why they destroy it, their own sensitivity; people complain about themselves, others, and life; but when someone’s life end, they cry a river of sadness, impeding them from once again seeing the sun in life and accepting their fate to live scarred. Isn’t that a paradox? When the bright star goes to rest at the other end of the world, people miss the spark and soon are stuck with the white moon which brings the wintry-weather.

As the dusk reigned the world, chilly temperatures knocked on people’s soft skin. Myself, in my compact yet strangely comfy apartment, I felt the wind take my soul on a tour to desolation in isolation. My frightened body approximated to the mirror, scared of what I had to see, alone in my mind but full of people in my life. Usually, the misconfigured reflex would let someone see themselves, but I couldn’t tell what I felt or saw. Deep in my essence, the confusion corroded my lost soul, and strangely; the feeling became part of me as if I was holding the weight of the world in my back even though my head felt as light as paper. Inside the depth of my eyes, the windows to my lost soul, I felt lonely as if the dusk made me realize all the problems, or the dawn made me create all the problems? The girl in the mirror was not the same as me. Somehow the same person in appearance but not the same in essence. I just wanted to change places with the girl inside the mirror, solemn: A life everybody desires. The dusk took my will, the moon was full while I was empty. The wind blowing through my hair and carrying the thoughts away to another day. Physically, I was alone but I knew that despair was sitting by my side. I softly touched the other side of my peculiar identity and woke up to reality confused, wondering, are people only alive to a degree?

Adore

“You know,” I start, my voice failing to hide my hesitation, “Sometimes I like to pretend the moon is there solely to adore me.”

I turn my head to look at her.

“Up there, in the soundless, emotionless void of space, the moon stays, gazing down at me with a total, endless love, as though that is all it is there for. Even in the day, when the moon should be outshined by the sky’s surrounding light, it stays adoring.”

“What about the sun?” She asks.

“Not the sun,” I respond quickly, my voice louder this time. “Never the sun. It is much to harsh to be loved, never mind be capable itself of love.” I crack a small smile in the dark. “The moon, although somewhat cold and distant, is never harsh.”

I sigh.

“I wish to be loved so deeply and so fully that sometimes-”

I raise my hand up to the sky, my fingers grasping for the moon.

“It’s unbearable.”

Top 10 R&B Albums You Should Check Out (Age-Ordered)

By Vitória Arantes

In light of the recent (faulty and unjustly served I might add) Grammy nominations that came out last week, how about we check out some R&B albums that in my opinion, served the music scenario well. These are few from many top notch R&B albums that made history, take a look…

1 – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill by Ms. Lauryn Hill (1998)

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2 – Voodoo by D’angelo (2000)

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3 – Take Care by Drake (2011)

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4 – A Seat At The Table by Solange (2016)

A Seat At The Table by Solange (2016)

5 – Blonde by Frank Ocean (2016)

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6 – Anti by Rihanna (2016)

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7 – CTRL by SZA (2017)

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8 – Sonder Son by Brent Faiyaz (2017)

Sonder Son by Brent Faiyaz (2017)

9 – After Hours by The Weeknd (2020)

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10 – Chilombo Jhené Aiko (2020)

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No Place For The Weak

By Veronica Streibel-May

From the moment she stepped out, a freezing sensation swept over her and it practically consumed her. 

As the sun was creeping up on the chaotic city, and with it the thought of what the day held loomed over like a dark cloud. The single spark of joy that bloomed in her mind was the smell of baked cinnamon rolls that would soon captivate her nostrils. Little did she know that soon enough the scent of gasoline would interrupt the sweet sensation of the freshly baked goods. As she shoved herself out the door, she reached for a jacket before leaving, hoping it would not only protect her from the winter chill, but also the feeling of loneliness living in this overpopulated city. From the moment she stepped out, a freezing sensation swept over her and it practically consumed her. 

Her stride was languid in an attempt to appreciate the contemporary buildings that danced before her eyes, yet still escaping her on days where her thoughts echoed endlessly in her mind. 

The juxtaposition between this hectic city and her hometown is uncanny. The constant tapping and drumming of elephant feet drowned out anything pleasant. The screeching of the hunks of metal flooded her ears like a tsunami. There was no hope of protecting or salvaging her damaged eardrums. Nonetheless this is the place where dreams came true. A place where she could touch the sky just as skyscrapers do. However they have bodies of concrete and cold glass while she has pieces of flesh stuck together.

With this thought swirling around, she needed to ascertain that next time, she would take an alley that didn’t send shivers down her spine or force the need to touch her pockets every two seconds. She knew this city was safe, but like all the buildings constructed here, people wouldn’t rush to help you. They stayed in their own lane, never looking left or right. Only when driving did they break this stereotype. People’s interpretation of the traffic laws as suggestions proved unfamiliar and strange to me.

The USWNT Returns To The Field

By Elisa Uccello

As disorganized and substandard as they were, something was born the day they played their first official match. A grind. A passion. A mentality that was nurtured and strengthened to transform those uncoordinated women into the best soccer team in the world. 

On Friday evening, November 27th, the United States Women’s National Team returned to the field after a record 261 days without a single game. Remarkably, they were able to surpass all expectations. 

The USWNT was precariously founded in 1985 by bringing together a group of girls who played for different college teams, handing down old uniforms from the men’s squad, and assembling them in a field for an amateur tournament in Italy. As disorganized and substandard as they were, something was born the day they played their first official match. A grind. A passion. A mentality that was nurtured and strengthened to transform those uncoordinated women into the best soccer team in the world. 

In 1991, when, at last, FIFA organized an international cup for female soccer (that would later be recognized as the Women’s World Cup), the 23 American girls selected by coach Anthony DiCicco, all still in college, had to sew their uniforms by hand the day before departing to China. After outperforming all opponents and beating Norway 2-1 in the final, the United States lifted the first-ever FIFA women’s trophy and received 500 dollars as a reward. 500 dollars. That’s all they got for winning the freaking World Cup.

The USWNT returns to the field

United States Women’s National Team holding world cup trophy, November 30th, 1991. 

The 1995 World Cup wasn’t as up to scratch. Many vital players had to quit to get “real jobs” since women’s soccer didn’t pay the bills. In 1999, however, the U.S. volunteered to host the World Cup, and the players were ready to make the most out of it. They traveled around the country to every soccer clinic and camp to personally advertise and encourage people to attend their games. Their last matches before the WC had around 1,500 people. No one even knew their names. But it worked. 

As they hopped onto the bus to head for the World Cup opening match, the streets were completely congested. At first, they wondered where all those people were going. Then they started getting worried that they would be late to their own game. But as soon as they looked out the window and realized that all those people, dressed in blue, red, and white, were actually there to support them, the hearts of those 23 young girls, who only played because they loved the game, started beating out of their chests. They won their group, then the quarter and semi-finals, and finally landed in Pasadena for the championship game against China. In a sold-out Rose Bowl stadium, with just over 90 thousand fans, the USWNT won their second star after a thrilling penalty shootout. That day, the 10th of July of 1999, is still marked as the most important date in the history of women’s soccer.

What those women did in that World Cup didn’t just show America the quality of their product. The packed Rose Bowl stadium was filled with young girls that went home that night, grabbed a ball and said, “This is what I want to do.” One of those girls was a 19-year-old Abby Wambach, who would later break the record for most international goals by man or woman. Another was 17-year-old Carli Lloyd, who clinched the USA’s 3rd star with a hattrick in the first half of the 2015 WC final. 14-year-old Megan Rapinoe, who won the Ballon D’or while leading a movement towards equal pay. 11-year-old Tobin Heath, who is considered the most skilled player in history. 10-year-old Alex Morgan, who was named to the All-Time Best XI. The 1999 World Champions inspired a generation of girls that now carry their legacy and the title of best women’s soccer team in history. 

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USWNT defender, Brandi Chastain, after scoring the last penalty kick in the 1999 World Cup final.

With twice as many stars as their heroes conquered, after claiming the trophy in 2015 and 2019, the USWNT started 2020 with high expectations. New coach Vlatko Andonovski led the team to eight wins in the first eight games of the year, winning the She Believes Cup and clinching their spot in the Olympics that were supposed to have happened this summer. However, when the final whistle blew on the 11th of March, 2020, the American players celebrated the 3-1 win without a clue of how long it would be until they could put their National Team jerseys on and step on the field to defend that badge once more. 

COVID year, as we all know, was tragic and burdensome. As the United States watched the number of cases and deaths increase with poor response from the government, the soccer federation affirmed the inviability of uniting the 20-some players, spread around the country, to hold games or even training camps. So for seven months, the 4-star jerseys were stored in the closet. Some players played with the national league, others went abroad to get playing time in Europe, where the pandemic was more efficiently combated. In the end, the players that won the World Cup just last summer were dispersed throughout the globe.

Finally, this month, the US soccer federation arranged a friendly match that would be played after a very strict and controlled camp environment was established, and all the players were able to safely arrive at Utrecht. The game, evidently, was against the Netherlands; a rematch of the 2019 World Cup final. The world champion faced the European champion in a thrilling match this past Friday. 

While expectations are always high for the USWNT, fans and reporters were considering that the team hadn’t been together for eight months while the Netherlands has met month in month out to participate in the European qualifiers. Dutch star, Vivianne Miedema, announced on Tuesday that she would not be a part of the roster due to a hip injury. Other than that, the team that reached the World Cup final and will defend the European title was complete.

As for the USWNT, some vital players were absent due to injuries, such as captains Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe, and young prodigy Mal Pugh. Two university players were called, from Stanford and Florida State. Finally, one “long time, no see” Kristie Mewis got back in the roster after six years without a call-up, the longest interval this US team has ever seen. Mewis joined her younger sister, Sam, in the Netherlands for what would be her 16th appearance if she was to play. When she was taken off the team in 2014, she claims to have lost a lot of confidence and settled for being average. However, after coming back from an ACL injury last year, she made the most out of this abnormal season and helped the Houston Dash take home the Challenge Cup trophy, second place in the league fall series, held the record for most assists, and was elected most valuable player of the team. Her extraordinary performance earned her a call-up and she was able to, once again, defend her nation after almost 2500 days. 

The game was scoreless for over half an hour, with the U.S. having many opportunities while the Dutch had trouble keeping possession. At the 40 minute mark, however, Man United forward Christen Press carried the ball past the midfield and passed it to Rose Lavelle. She took a good look at the goal from the top corner of the penalty area and shot it beautifully to open the score. 25-year-old Lavelle also scored the second goal against the Netherlands in the World Cup final last year, in a 2-0 win. 

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Kristie Mewis celebrating her goal against the Netherlands.

In the 61st minute, Lavelle herself was subbed off for Kristie Mewis. In a heartfelt moment, Mewis stepped on the field with a huge smile on her face. After 2500 days without having the opportunity to defend the badge, it only took 9 minutes for Mewis to receive the ball from Lynn Williams, dribble past the Dutch defense, and put it on the back of the net. As she turned around to celebrate, her sister Sam was the first one to embrace her. The narrator enthusiastically shouted, “WELCOME BACK KRISTIE MEWIS!” And what a comeback that was! In another 2-0 win over the Netherlands, the USWNT finished off the year on a high note. As coach Andonovski said in the post-game interview, “2020 was a tough year in many ways. But one thing that didn’t change and will never change with this team is the heart and the mind.” With that, the mentality that was nurtured since the first match in 1985, continues to serve as the basis of the program that assures the USA women’s soccer team is the very best in the world.