US SoccerUS Soccer

w/ U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer Team

7) CAN YOU HAIKU? (U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer Team)

In this new piece for "Center Circle," we're asking fans to express their views about a given topic through some simple and beautiful haiku poetry. Need a quick refresher? So did we. The popular Japanese form is traditionally made up of three lines of separate thoughts that together tell about the same simple subject matter, with the number of syllables restricted to: 5 in the first line, 7 in the second line and 5 in the third line. [Editor’s note: As one reader pointed out, "traditionally, a haiku is a study of (or comparison to) nature, and a serenyu is a study (or comparison to) people." Touche! You may be right. But we’re still calling them haikus.]

Here was our example, albeit a poor one:

"Center Circle" mag
Stories of U.S. Soccer
Fans enjoy mucho?

Man, that was bad. We knew you could do better, so for this first edition, we asked you to write a haiku about the U.S. Women's National Team and their quest for gold at the 2004 Olympics.

The response was overwhelming, with over 200 submissions pouring in over the first 24 hours alone. Thanks to all who took the time to respond; I wish we could print a tenth of the excellent responses we received. Extra credit points for Chris Hass, who further schooled us in the fact that a haiku should "describe a single transcendent moment, usually accompanied by a single sound." before reeling off a dozen haikus ranging in topics from Brandi’s famous PK to how Chinese fans get their drums inside stadiums. Surprisingly, a vast majority of the responses came from kids under the age of 14. I mean, who knew what a haiku was at age 9? It’s good to see schools are teaching poetry other than Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. Here’s a baker’s dozen of the best of our informal amateur soccer poetry contest:

As the summer wanes
U.S. Women go for gold
Soccer era ends
--Margo Seltzer

Eighteen women go
Six nations fall before them
They return heroes
--Terri Hodel / 22 / Allentown, Penn.

Swan songs for many
Wonderful soccer players
We’ll really miss them
--John DiFazio (53) and daughter Alina (12) / Alexandria, Va.

Our five pioneers
Now where the Games first began
Lead one more journey
--Lauren Hyman / 12 / Brooklyn, N.Y.

Quest for gold begins
Ninety-oners shine again
Athens dreams come true
--Rebecca Russell / 30 / Milwaukee, Wis.

Must redeem themselves
Veterans’ last big tourney
Goal: hear anthem play
--Kristin Smyth / 17 / Baltimore, Md.

Soccer in Athens
Seeing one last dream come true
For five superstars
--Steve Davis / 45+ / Pleasanton, Calif.

Three to bid farewell
Legends now in their own time
Red, white, blue and gold
--Angela Sherrill / 32 / Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Service from Mia
Abby Wambach finishes
U.S. wins the gold
--Mitch Brown / 10 / Shelbyville, Ind.

The Mighty Five lead
Teammates in Red, White and Blue
Ready to win GOLD!
--Wendy Farrell / 39 / Ashburn, Va.

Bye-bye vets, Mia
Jules, Brandi, Kristine and Joy
Win gold for their last.
--Sara Hamilton / 13 / Germantown, Tenn.

Eleven women
One team, one goal, one heart
Gold is in the mind
--Dave MacAllister

Hamm and team, I'm told
Armed with cleats very bold, will
Storm Greece to bring gold
--Wieslaw Ptak / Woodinville, Wash.