“Experience tells you what to do - Confidence allows you to do it - But real strength is being knocked down and having the determination to get back up and keep on going -NEVER GIVE UP! Play Strong - Hit'em hard - GOOD LUCK - GO SHARKS!! I believe in you! Love you lots – Mom”
New York Sharks linebacker Amy Deal (#59) received the above from her mother, Julia, known as “Indiana Mom”. It was placed in her shoe and carried around during the playoff game against the Boston Militia. I don’t think that she’s the only team player wearing it as they are copied and given to her teammates. Some whose parents were a distance away; some whose parents were no longer living and an inspiration for all.
“I started doing this when Amy first started in competitive sports in school in the 6th grade”, said Julia. “ I was a single Mom at that time and I would send she & her little sis off to school in the morning and leave work & race to what ever event she was in, but wouldn't get to actually talk to her until it was over most times. I just wanted to let her know that I loved her and wished her good luck & if she tried her best that was all that anyone could ask of her, so I would write a little note and while she was getting ready for school, I would tuck it inside her shoe in her duffle so that when she was getting dressed for her event, that she would find it. Amy liked them so I did the same for her sister when she started competing.
“Sometimes the notes were nothing more than - Run hard... run fast..I know you can do this! Or winning is 99% mental. Anything I could think of, or other times I would search through inspirational quotes and adapt them to fit the situation. Mostly I just wanted them to feel loved and supported.
“It wasn't until several years later that I found out that Amy & her sis would read the note & put it back in their shoe for good luck, so the note was with them while they ran, played basketball, soccer or what ever. Then when she graduated high school I found out that she had saved them all in a shoe box. Lots of them then went into a scrapbook she made.
“ I think I can count on one hand the times that I missed an event she was in during high school, and that was usually only because her sister was in an event at the same time, so my hubby and I would split up and one of us would go to Amy's event and the other to her sister Erin's. So when she started playing football in LA for the Amazons, I couldn't stand that I wasn't going to be there to see all of her games. So the good luck shoe notes were back. Then after a game or two, she said... you know mom Christina or Gina or Chandra or whomever doesn't have anyone to support them, do you think you could send notes for them too? And so began the multiple shoe notes for her team mates for the Amazons and then the San Diego Surge and now for the Shark's.
“I've had the privilege of meeting lots of her football team mates over the years and I can say that they are all an amazing group of women. The dedication and love for the game that they all show is truly inspiring. They all work, or go to school or take care of their families and then give up valuable time and sacrifice their bodies to attend multiple practices and meetings each week and show up and give 110% out on that field. I won't even mention the monetary sacrifices they each make to play and travel with the teams. I just wish some sponsors and the sports world would take notice and give these ladies the attention they deserve.
“I always told my girls - get involved in something...I don't care what it is, sports, music, theater, art - just get involved in something you love. My girls chose sports and I couldn't think of anything better. It taught them sportsmanship, leadership, organizational skills and helped to turn them into the wonderful young women they are today. And really, what else could a parent ask for.... I knew where they were, who they were with, they were being supervised by some wonderful dedicated coaches and they got to meet some people from all walks of life through the years and travel and make some wonderful memories.
“I am so proud of Amy and all of the women of the Sharks and all of the other teams around the league for the strength they show and the leadership they provide to the next generation of young ladies coming up.”
This was Amy’s first season as a “Sharkie”, also having been a teammate on Team USA in the first International Women’s Tackle Football Tournament and bringing home the gold. Notes were brought to the venue in Sweden.
Here is a sampling of notes given to Amy: “Don't just wait for the moment, bring the moment to you. Excellence is not an act, but a habit. Show em what you've got! Play hard. Good luck go sharks Love you lots, Mom”. “Champions keep playing until they get it right. Do your best, don't give up, take one play at a time and move on. Good lil, go sharks. Love you lots, Mom ps I'm so proud of you.” “Victory isn't defined by wins or losses. It is defined by effort. Give it your all, play with heart. I am so proud of you. Good luck, go sharks. Love you lots, Mom”
And her personal FAVORITE: “Somewhere behind the athlete you've become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back... Play for Her. Good luck, go sharks. Love you lots, Mom”
Julia Rubinstein is an inspiration to all of us women!