A Mom. A Friend. A Wife. A Woman.
When I was offered an opportunity to speak to Mia Hamm, I was beyond happy. It was that feeling of excitement that made me tremble. Why? Because, Mia is one of the elite sports figures. Because she’s an Olympic Champion. She’s the front person for so many health-driven campaigns. And I am going to speak with her?
Whew, it was true. Mia was reaching out to many women like myself to connect with us and to share her personal life stories, successes and failures. To show us all that she is one of us.
Personally, I wasn’t growing up with Mia’s name on my lips. But I got inspired by the achievements and strides this woman made as a female soccer player, as an advocate for girl’s team sports, and a huge proponent of an active lifestyle for everyone who cares.
This woman belongs to the cohort of leaders who with their actions change the world. One step at a time.
And to make this conversation easy flowing, the major task was to think through my questions to Mia. I didn’t want them to be superficial or trite. I wanted to ask this woman to share with me something she really cared about: her life, her soccer career, and how she did it all.
From the moment the microphone beeped, and Kim, the producer, announced that we are live, I dove into a different unworldly experience. Mia’s voice put me at ease, and the rest of the conversation was like I was talking to a life-long friend.
I would like to list my 5 questions to Mia and the major points she made answering them. Please watch this 12-minute video of this via-phone conversation. I didn’t know that her producer videotaped her answers. It makes it so cool to go back and listen to Mia sharing her life’s experiences with us all.
Here’s what I asked Mia.
Celebrate Woman (CWT) Mia, during your soccer career, you have scored more International Goals than any other player, male or female, in the history of the U.S. soccer. You are also the 2nd most capped female player in soccer. Among all the challenges and sacrifices, and yet so many triumphs, what stands out most in your so vivid life in soccer?
Mia Hamm The victories: 1991 World Cup, 1996 and 2004 Olympics, 1999 World Cup. I look at all these events and the strides the Game of Soccer made. But also just being a part of an incredible group of women. Who every day woke up wanting to create more opportunities for young girls. To be part of that culture and that environment really allowed me and taught me the importance of being a good role model not only for the young girls, but also for my team mates, and now for my daughters.
CWT Mia, you take your professional soccer career seriously and passionately. How would you describe your feelings about The Mia Hamm Foundation you created to support Transplant Patients & Families, and Young Women In Sports?
Mia Hamm Both supported categories of people are very personal to me. Watching my brother and my family going through the process of finding a donor match for him. All the financial strides they had to endure just to get him where he needs to be. Obviously, we want to make such struggles less of a burden to all the families who go through the similar process.
And without sport, I wouldn’t be here with you. Sport taught me how to goal set, it really gave me a voice and identity. Gave me the confidence to step up and talk to you today. And if any girl could find her voice and her confidence in her life through soccer or any sport, it is so important.
CWT Having an incredibly intense career in a professional soccer has led you to your probably most valuable trophy of your life – your family with your husband, your twin girls, and a baby-boy. How are the responsibilities on the family level different from those on the soccer field? Or are they really different?
Mia Hamm I looked at my Team as a family and that my contribution to the Team was first and foremost. Just like my family. Every morning, I wake up trying to be the best mom and the best role model for my kids in a healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Today, I am talking about the importance of whole foods and whole grains in our lives. And I am the one who sets up the table and models healthy eating habits for them.
Now, I am trying to shed the baby weight and making sure I am mentally and physically out there for my kids.
CWT Mia, you’ve been behind the Grain Foods Foundation for some time. I have a lot of readers who are young mothers with little children. How do you overcome a statement that feeding grains to kids is like feeding them starches? And, How do you teach your little kids to eat more of healthy grains?
Mia Hamm Understanding a portion size and that grains are just part of your diet, not your entire diet is important. It’s like in Italy, they love pasta. But it is not their entire diet, it’s just a small part of what they eat.
The importance of grains in our diet in terms of Iron, Folic Acid, Fiber and Vitamins and minerals they offer. Getting kids involved in what they’re eating also plays the role in their understanding of what a healthy diet is. We do it with out kids. We teach them to be proactive in what they eat by asking them what they’d like to eat for breakfast and dinner. They learn to verbalize their choices, thus remembering them for the future.
We offer them healthy options: fruit, pastas, protein, and the kids make their choices. They feel empowered as what they eat is their choice, rather than me telling them what to eat.
CWT After playing professional soccer for so many years, after all the sacrifices you had to make, then after becoming a Mom and an activist for Grain Foods Foundation – you’ve accomplished profoundly so much. What lies ahead for Mia? What do you look forward to accomplishing now?
Mia Hamm Every day I look for ways to be inspired, to learn and to grow. And trying to be the best for my kids, my husband and my family. One thing I really wanna do is being there for my kids, be part of my siblings and my parents.
I am really inspired that I am in the situation where I can sit back and choose what I would like to be involved with, where I want to become active. I take advantage of the time I now have to spend where I am needed most.
Again, you can watch the video during this conversation with Mia Hamm here to get more details out of what she had to share with me.
Did you know some interesting facts from Mia’s life, such as:
- 4-Time winner of NCAA championships
- 3 Olympic Medals (2 gold, 1 silver)
- Outstanding Role Model for young girls athletes
- Supporter of broad Health initiatives
- Founder of Mia Hamm Foundation that supports Young Girls Athletes And Transplant Patients & Families (those going through the process of finding donors for their ailing kids)
- Was the youngest player at the age of 15 to play for the U.S. National Team
- Played 17 years in soccer
- Named to People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” list (1997)
- Mom to twin daughters and one baby-boy
What this conversation with Mia did to me is to reinforce the importance of a positive support system in our lives. Such support can be powerful. And it doesn’t take a lot to create such support either.
Just like this connection with Mia inspired me to be more creative in what I do daily, her deep reach into other people’s lives leavew a permanent impression that is of love and compassion.
Who is your Support System in Your life?
Celebrate That Person Today!