Books: “When Nobody Was Watching” by Carli Lloyd

A few weeks ago, I read Carli Lloyd’s “When Nobody Was Watching,” which chronicles the 2015 FIFA Player of the Year’s playing career from some of her earliest days up until her recent accolades and the wage discrimination suit brought by the U.S. Women’s National Team against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF).

For me, it was intriguing to read as someone who hasn’t grown up as a “full-time” athlete. I’ve always played random sports. Little League and Senior League baseball, a random stint at Tae Kwon Do, a ton of beach and indoor volleyball, hockey, and pickup games of basketball, soccer, football, et al, were typically my speed. Until this year, I’d really never regularly played competitive soccer at any level beyond a bit of rec in college, so it was amusing to have those mental delusions of “oh yeah, I know what that’s like” when reading Lloyd’s frustrations with a particular on-field moment. As someone who grew up in New Jersey, it’s had the extra “catch” of reading about the towns she traveled to and trained in, her time playing at Rutgers University, and even the spot she was engaged, as I’m somewhat familiar with all of them.

What I thought was refreshing to read in her book was that she was confident in her abilities as a player (with one notable exception I won’t give away), all the while actually having goals in mind. She worked her way through injuries, challenging travel, and “life stuff” that bogs down almost all of us to get where she is today. You know, two-time Olympic gold medalist, World Cup champion, and well-respected athlete on the world stage.

Also of note were Lloyd’s takes on embattled goalkeeper Hope Solo, who has had her share of run-ins with the law and U.S. Soccer, and all the while she’s described as a “best friend” by the author. She paints a bit of a different picture of some of Solo’s perceived shortcomings, but doesn’t pull any punches or pretend that any of the publicly-known incidents didn’t happen.

Perhaps most important is how Lloyd has taken her self-confidence (and the ever-present words and training of coach James Galanis) to continue to push herself, on and off the field. She continues to be at the forefront of the aforementioned legal action against USSF, but it doesn’t appear to be a distraction to her play on the field.

Whether you like (or love) soccer or not, this is a solid read. It’s not preachy, nor is it self-aggrandizing for Lloyd, and doesn’t appear to have simply been a “let’s cash in on my (and my team’s) recent successes” play, in my opinion. If you’re 15 or 50, give it a whirl.

When Nobody Was Watching Book Cover When Nobody Was Watching
Carli Lloyd
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
September 26, 2016

Tonight, I voted to not send our country back decades

In 2009, I moved from New Jersey to Washington State, for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons wasn’t that you vote via mail (or you can drop your ballot off in person), although it’s turned out to be a pretty cool “perk” of living here. Tonight, I filled out my ballot, and tomorrow I’ll walk it up to the county ballot box. I’m not here to provide conversation filler about voting methods, however.

Tonight, I voted for Hillary Clinton.

I’m not a one-topic voter, nor am I always a “straight down the ticket” voter. While I typically vote for a Democrat, that’s not always the case.

This year, however, I might be a one-topic voter when it comes to who is in the Oval Office for the next four years. That topic is ensuring someone I consider abhorrent – as a businessperson, prospective politician, and honestly, as a person – is never given the keys to the United States of America. Ever.

You see, I’m no stranger to Mr. Trump and his shenanigans. Growing up on the Jersey Shore, “The Donald” was a regular fixture in the local newspaper, the Asbury Park Press. I remember seeing his name and face emblazoned on the front and inside pages of the paper throughout most of my life living in the area. It wasn’t usually good, either.

In the 1990s, this was the type of story that many of us were reading on the regular about Trump. For every story like that, imagine 10-20 smaller ones in local or regional publications. I guess you’ve got to give the guy credit, for this bit from a 1992 Bloomberg piece has turned out to be fairly prescient and could be in a story today.

Trump’s capacious ego also remains largely intact. With typical bravado, he says: “You’ll never see me sitting in the corner sucking my thumb. The name Trump will be hotter than ever.”

Seeing Donald Trump rise through the ranks with voters has genuinely made me sad for America. You see, Atlantic City had problems of its own that Trump could have done something about. But he didn’t. AC was, for him, a gamble. One he lost. He’s not alone in failing Atlantic City over the long term, but he is most certainly the poster child, mostly because of that ego that put his name on his properties. He rode the wave that was gambling and hospitality, just as any businessperson might do in any industry. He was not any sort of “for the people” employer, in my opinion, at any point. There are probably hundreds of stories like this one where he “renegotiated” a deal on the fly, just because he could be a bully. That business owner reported almost going out of business because of it. Is that who should be running this country?

This isn’t to say you don’t want someone as President who can push around an opponent. You do. You want a direct, focused individual who’s smart enough to hire people smarter than them to do various jobs within the government. At face value, sure, Donald Trump brings that to the table. But are we just going to leverage this country to a point where he thinks he can hit the do-over button if we fall into financial disaster? I’m not trying to be base about it, but he hasn’t shown that he thinks otherwise.

Let’s forget about business for a second, however, as that’s not even the worst of it.

Donald Trump is, by many, many, (many) accounts, either actually racist, or simply an complete and total idiot when it comes to interacting with anyone that doesn’t look like him. Err, aren’t white. That is, unfortunately, apparently appealing to a lot of people who live in the US of A.

Before you say “Tom, it’s not appealing to some people in this country, they are behind him for his other policies,” I’ll just stop you. White nationalists aren’t supporting Trump “just because.” He has gained so much momentum by leaning on some people’s fears. By simply stating he wanted a “total and complete shutdown” on immigration of Muslims to the United States, he reached a segment of Americans he knew would go all-in on that. At a rally in South Carolina the day that announcement came out, he said, “I have friends that are Muslims. They are great people — but they know we have a problem.” Apparently, “I have Muslim friends” is The Donald’s “I have black friends.”

No. Just no.

This isn’t about saying I voted for Hillary Clinton while not saying anything positive about her or engaging in “the lesser of two evils” trash conversation. This is about voting for someone who isn’t going to be an abject embarrassment on America across the world.

The Dallas Morning News published an editorial in September about how Donald Trump “is no Republican” and “has displayed an authoritarian streak that should horrify limited-government advocates.” That newspaper has not recommended a Democrat for President for more than 75 years. The opening line to “part two” of their recommendation says it all:

There is only one serious candidate on the presidential ballot in November. We recommend Hillary Clinton.

And with that, I will leave you to your own devices. Literally.