I’ve fallen in love. Every couple of years I fall head over heels in love with soccer again. Each time the Olympics or the World Cup roll around, I’m smitten. I try to keep up with the Women’s Professional Soccer league and watch men’s games from time to time, but it’s the national teams that always steal my heart. I love the teams. I love the personalities. I love the coaching. I love the fans. I love the games.
And this year in the World Cup, what a ride the USA Women’s National Team took us on. From the epic win against Brazil in the quarterfinals, to being outplayed by France in the semifinals and still finding a way to win, to playing better than I’ve ever seen them play before in the final against Japan. But they didn’t bring home the World Cup.
Sometimes how you conduct yourself in the face of defeat is more important than how you conduct yourself after a triumph. For this team to demonstrate such perseverance, strength, and unity is a testament to each player individually and the team as a whole. And to lose with dignity and pride exemplifies not only the spirit of the players, but the very spirit of the game. One team has to win, one team has to lose- that doesn’t necessarily mean that one team is better than the other- it’s just the nature of the game and the spirit of competition. After this world cup, both teams should walk away with their heads held high.
This US team has personality and spirit and integrity. They are positive and driven. They are a team in the greatest sense of the word. They acknowledge that it takes each and every player, even those on the bench, to win a game and to play a game well. They have every reason to be proud of what they accomplished in the Women’s World Cup this year and they are absolutely heroes in my book.
This Cashew Cardamom smoothie was just the thing to help me relax after a few action-packed weeks of soccer. The calming flavor of cardamom is blended with protein-rich cashews, frozen bananas, and a hint of vanilla. It is a vegan shake to fall in love with — if you’re not already in love with the Women’s National Soccer Team, that is. Go USA!!!
1/2 cup raw cashews
1 cup soy milk or other dairy free milk
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 medium sized ripe banana, peeled, cut into chunks and frozen
In a blender, using the pulse button, carefully grind the cashews into a powder. You’re not making cashew butter, here, so be careful! Add all other ingredients except the banana and process until smooth. Add the banana and blend until think. Serve immediately.