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It's Not About the Bra    by Brandi Chastain & Gloria Averbuch order for
It's Not About the Bra
by Brandi Chastain
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The title comes from the day in 1999 when Brandi 'Hollywood' Chastain pulled off her jersey to celebrate her World Cup-winning penalty kick ... and show a black sports bra (she tells us that she likes 'to play the game with flair'). In the book, she shares her passion for soccer and tells us it's not about the bra, but about 'competitiveness, confidence, risk, sportsmanship, competence, and compassion.'

In her Introduction, Chastain speaks about the newspaper article on violence in youth sports that triggered this book. She warns us that though 'In a culture of ambition and rewards, things have simply spiraled out of control', the good should not be tossed out with the bad, and talks of how sport strengthened her own family's bonds in tough times. She advocates 'playing within the rules' on and off the field, and shares her own youthful, shaming experience of 'sports rage'. She reminds us of the importance of being willing to 'accept and conquer a flaw' and that 'In sports, as in life, the learning never ends.'

Chastain shares many life experiences exemplifying life lessons, including those she learned parenting a younger athlete, her stepson Cameron. Her book is part bio and part advice on good practices for athletes, parents and coaches, based on soccer experiences in all these positions. Topics include what leadership takes, being part of team, setting personal goals, and dealing with defeat as well as victory. Chastain makes an inspiring role model for young athletes. I especially appreciated her discussion of how to light a fire for learning (not only in sports). Her answer, 'legitimate praise for legitimate improvement', is sound common sense.

Chastain talks about the enormous worldwide popularity of soccer, and the phenomenon of growing U.S. fandom. She includes a quote that inspired her - Francis Bacon's 'We rise to great heights by a winding staircase.' It's Not About the Bra tells the impressive story of Brandi Chastain's own winding staircase, one that's still ascending.

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