Uh, BRB?

I always hate when bloggers write posts that basically say "hey everyone, sorry but I'm super busy right now so I'm going to be MIA for a little bit! Please stick with me!" Because a) if we're being honest, there are maybe a handful of blogs I'd even notice if they were off their posting schedule or quieter than usual, and b) do you really think people are going to unfollow your blog because you don't post for a week? Really? Please.

But... this is one of those posts.

I'm sorry. I repent. But holy poop, guys, do I NOT have time to blog right now.

Basically, I got a new job doing what I used to be doing (so I got an old job?) back in early 2014, during the Sochi Olympics. If you were around back then, remember how I was working all sorts of weird hours? Well, right now it's the third day of the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, and it may not be an Olympics and the time difference may not be as severe, but I'm right back in Games mode.

Opening Ceremony = the calm before the storm.

You know that feeling when you're sprinting flat out, as hard and as fast as you can, and you're right at the brink of your limit and your form is going so you might injure yourself and you know that soon your body won't be able to keep up this pace anymore so you'll probably end up crashing face-first into the ground? Yeah, that's how I feel at work right now. Occasionally I might slow to a jog for, like, 15 minutes, but I'm never walking and I'm certainly never standing still. There's ALWAYS stuff that needs to get done. Also, I don't have a day off again until August, so there's that.

I'm not complaining, though. I love this job and I love being useful and I love Games times! Buuutttt it means I'm working eight-plus hours every single day for the rest of the month, so I just don't have time to keep up with any of the posts I had planned for this month. I'm hoping to fall into some sort of rhythm by the end of this week, though, and use my non-working morning hours for blogging... but I can't make any promises. I can promise that I'm going to try, though! (But I'm also using my personal laptop for work right now -- long story -- so at this rate I'll have to have it surgically removed from my hands at the end of the month.)

Anyway, I need to go eat and do some pre-work work before my work hours start (lol, hope you don't think I'm kidding). But check out TeamUSA.org and TeamUSA.org/Toronto2015 if you ever get to wondering what I'm doing on any given day. A good chunk of what you see there passes through my hands before it reaches your eyeballs. ;) Go Team USA!

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The Best Offense is a Good Defense

The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup ends tonight. But you already know this, right? You've been watching, right? Tell me you've been watching. *glares threateningly in your direction*

If you've been watching casually, you might not be aware of the real stars of the U.S. team. But if you're like me, you're hearing the merits of the USWNT defense trumpeted from every major sports news outlet in the world.

I love defense. When I played soccer as a kid, defense was my preferred position. I've always gravitated to athletes who may not light up the stat sheets but work quietly to make things happen. Good defense makes me feel some type of way, man. So to see all these people complaining about the USWNT's anemic offense and saying things like "the defense is good enough to win the U.S. the World Cup on its own" has me feeling a teensy little bit beside myself.

Most people know all about players like Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach and Hope Solo, but not a whole lot about the badass ladies on the back line. (Myself included, until very recently.) But once I started doing some digging, I discovered that the four starting defenders have some of the most compelling stories on the team. So, with just a few hours left before kickoff, let's chat about the most awesome unit at the World Cup.

Meghan Klingenberg
Kling is the smallest member of the USWNT, which automatically makes her my girl. She's been referred to as the team's "pixie-sized ray of sunshine," but don't let her tininess and easy smile fool you; it doesn't get more badass than this chick. If you watched the group stage game against Sweden, you probably had a heart attack when Kling deflected a shot from the goal line to preserve the 0-0 shutout. But it's also important to note that she's a third-degree black belt in taekwondo, and for her fifth grade talent show she did a nunchuck demonstration and broke boards. In other words, Kling is a TOUGH COOKIE and will beat you every. single. time.

Julie Johnston
Julie's gotten most of her attention recently for getting called for a yellow card in the box against Germany, which led to a penalty kick and could've very well cost the USWNT the game. But the German kicker missed the net, making this just a minor blip in Julie's absolutely stellar World Cup performance. She's the second-youngest member of the team, with only 12 caps (games played for the national team) before the World Cup, and wasn't even on the roster for the qualifying tournament last year. So in about eight months she went from not making the team, to becoming one of the starting center backs for a U.S. defense that hasn't given up a goal in over 500 minutes of play. Not only that, but she's one of the eight finalists for the Golden Ball, given to the most outstanding player in the World Cup. Girlfriend has just been an absolute beast. Just ask Tom Hanks.

Becky Sauerbrunn
Can we be real for a second? If I were to buy a USWNT jersey right now, it would probably say Sauerbrunn on the back. She's the definition of an unsung hero; locking it down on defense with basically zero mistakes, but not being named a Golden Ball finalist. It's a tragedy, honestly. But anyway, let's talk about Becky. She's always in the right place at the right time, always times her tackles flawlessly, and always diffuses any pressure situation near the U.S. net. She's so good that you almost don't even notice that she's there. Mostly this is because she's an incredibly cerebral player; she knew she wasn't the most physically talented, so she had to up her mental game. She's an unashamed nerd and will be the first to tell you she's always reading, and when she travels with the USWNT she and the rest of the "nerd squad" will be sure to take day trips to experience the culture of wherever they are. (Hey Becky? Call me. Let's be friends.)

Ali Krieger
Soccer aside, Ali is lucky to even be alive right now. When she was 21 she broke her leg, and not long after her surgery she noticed that she was out of breath all the time. When she went back to the hospital they found that she had a pulmonary embolism (blood clots in her legs that traveled to her lungs) and told her that if she'd gone to sleep that night, she probably wouldn't have woken up. Uh, yikes? She also tore her ACL in 2012, and wears a headband to protect herself after suffering a concussion in April. So this chick is a complete warrior, and has been absolutely impenetrable during the World Cup.

In conclusion: there's a reason the USWNT is winning games despite not scoring many goals. It's because these ladies have only let Hope Solo face 14 shots in six games. (I know, right?)

Love your defenders, friends. Thank your goalie and cherish your defense. And when you're watching the final tonight (because you WILL be watching, right?), take note of this amazing back line on which our World Cup hopes rest. #IBelieve

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