700,000,000 people watched the World Cup finals all around the globe, and I was one of those lucky enough to be in Spain when their futbol team won the finals for the first time this past Sunday night.
This was a lucky coincidence, since I’d planned the trip to see family here in San Sebastian, Spain months ago, and had no idea then that the World Cup finals would be happening now. Of course, there would have been no way to predict months ago that Spain would be the winner, although that was accurately predicted in the past week by Paul the Octopus (“El Pulpo Paul”).
Spain had waited 76 years for this victory. European champions in 2008, they were co-favorites to win the tournament, but lost their opening match to Switzerland.
They got it back together in time to qualify and went on to become the first European team to win a World Cup match outside of Europe.
They worked hard for it. They earned it.
La Furia Roja is known for their elegant and intricate passing game, for their ability to orchestrate plays by working beautifully as a team. Their ball control is legendary.
In the final match against the Netherlands, the game got rough, with red and yellow flags flying. By the end of the first official 90 minutes of the game, the length of a conventional soccer match, no one had scored.
Spain finally scored 116 minutes into the game during overtime. My Australian friends and I and dozens of Spanish strangers packed around us jumped up and down and screamed and hugged in the small bar where we’d crammed in for a few hours, pressed body to body, breathing each other’s air.
Beer flew up into the air. I was soaked and happy.
Who knows why this was Spain’s time to win, but some might say it had something to do with confidence. in May, Spain’s Secretary of State for Sports Jaime Lissavetzky said the team had “shrugged off self-doubt that had previously affected them.”
“We’ve lost the fear of losing,“ Lissavetzky said.
I really love this an explanation of why Spain went on to win. Of course, the team had trained hard together for years, and all are top athletes in prime shape to be able to compete in a grueling match at this level.
Yet there is something to be said as well for dispensing with the fear of losing, and simply playing your heart out. I like this as a philosophy, a way to live a life.
For me, living life this way is relatively new. I lived my life for years plagued by self-doubts, although this may not have been obvious to others, except perhaps those closest to me.
Somehow I have always managed to seem fearless, even when terrified. I have had high school friends say to me when I talked about all the crippling neuroses of my teen years, “I had no idea you were so insecure.”
All the years when I had panic attacks, after being stalked in college, I never let anyone know. But the fears were there, and the doubts were there – would I ever be good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, driven enough, to create what I want in the world.
Learning As I Go!
The crazy part is that the further I go along the path of my dreams, the more I realize that sometimes all I really need to do is to relax and flow with life. To just let go and let life guide me.
Of course, there is all the work spent preparing, the years that led up to the now: in my case, I’ve taken writing workshops ever since I was a young girl, attended classes on publishing your first book, done enough “writing exercises” to fill a few books, and just now after years of “training” as a writer, including publishing dozens of articles as a freelance journalist since college, am writing my first book.
Yet what will make my book great is, I think, the same thing that will make my life great: that is, letting go of the fear about what others think, letting go of any attachment to outcome of how it will map out, and simply pursuing my dreams and living with great gusto.
If I give it my all, my heart and soul, what more can I possibly do?
Spain did that, they deserved to win, and they still could have easily lost the match – the Netherlands had a few close chances at a goal, and Spain missed several attempted shots. There are no guarantees.
Living La Vida Loca…
Still, I want to live my life like “The Red Fury.” I read an interview with handsome midfielder Xavi on the plane ride to Spain.
He talked about how lucky he was to be doing what he wants with his life, to be living his dreams, to be part of such an incredible team.
He talked about how to loves to live life with great intensity.
And so many now are talking about how this Spanish victory is so important for the country of Spain, that it has implications well beyond winning a World Cup match. It is a victory to unite all of Spain, a country fractured sometimes by separatists and nationalists and struggling economically, and to give its people hope.
Living our dreams often means that we make a difference beyond what we ever could have originally imagined or intended.
I know how blessed I am to be part of 8 Women Dream and to be surrounded by friends and family, globally, who support me in living my dreams. I know how lucky I am to be living this life I love, every day.
For example, I will spend the next few days here in San Sebastian, Spain with family and with two dancer friends from NYC who are also visiting, eating more tapas, drinking more red wine, going out dancing, going sunbathing topless at La Playa de la Concha, and just loving every minute of this life.
I have had so many perfect moments here already in the past few weeks – mouthwatering meals, breathtaking sunsets, laughs and silly mini-adventures with my 18-month-old niece, time just spent bonding with family. I am so grateful to be here now.
Just being alive is a gift. I intend to live like La Furia Roja, without the fear of losing, because just because being here in this body and having the chance to live at all is a gift.
What is there to lose when you live life fully? That, my friends, is winning.
Can you pursue your dreams without the fear of losing?