The unbridled show of human emotion following victory has rewarded the world with some of the most indelible images in sports history. As Wide World of Sports so aptly put it decades ago, "the thrill of victory" has provided sports fans with imagery that will remain forever fresh in the scrapbooks of our minds.
Be it Kirk Gibson limping around the bases following his late game heroics in 1988 or Bobby Orr diving across the goal mouth a la a super hero following "The Goal" in the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals, the unrehearsed and unedited show of absolute jubilation following success provides every fan with the forever and ever images that define sports.
There is perhaps no "victory point skyward" more familiar in the world of women's professional soccer than the raw show of emotion when soccer legend Brandi Chastain thrust her undergarments to the world following her game-winning penalty kick against China in the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Chastain later described her celebratory spasm as "momentary insanity, nothing more, nothing less. I wasn’t thinking about anything. I thought, ‘This is the greatest moment of my life on the soccer field.'"
Despite a gold-medal career that spanned better than two decades and included 192 caps for the women's National Team, it is Chastains' bra-baring adrenaline rush that remains amongst the most memorable seconds in sports lore.
Chastain's recent and seemingly unexpected release by the FC Gold Pride represents the opposite end of the spectrum then, as Chastain was given a "don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you" by her WPS employer.
In a brief e-mail exchange via Facebook, Chastain shared her "agony of defeat" in the following statement, "I didn't see it coming, totally blindsided really. Had taken sponsor photos not long before."
The 41-year-old, who was the oldest player in the league last season, added, "It is a bummer and I am not very happy about it to say the least."
Chastain, who appeared in only 10 games last season, while averaging 45 minutes per contest, went into more detail in a subsequent e-mail interview with Charles Cuttone, executive editor of Big Apple Soccer.
"I am disappointed, emotional and upset about being released by the Gold Pride. I have loved and played the game with a passion, honesty, fierceness and enthusiasm that has spanned more than 35 years.”
She continued, "The only thing I ever wanted was to put myself up against those who are being considered and judged accordingly as to who should and shouldn't be on the team."
“This is deja vu from the National Team back in 2004, and once again it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.”
Following the pre-Valentine's Day release of one of the sweethearts of women's soccer, FC Gold Pride General Manager Ilisa Kessler gave Chastain this golden parachute sendoff, "We are grateful to Brandi for the contributions she has made to our team, organization and to the growth of the game."
"She has been an outstanding representation of the Pride and Women's Professional Soccer. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Brandi and her foundation, Bay Area Women's Sports Initiative (BAWSI)."
Pride head coach Albertin Montoya, who will be blessed with a lineup that includes offseason additions Marta and Camille Abily, added, "Brandi has the heart and spirit of a champion."
"This was a tough decision, but one that was necessary for us to construct the roster for the coming season. She is a great leader and we all wish her the best as she moves forward with her career."
Now it should not escape us that sports is business and sometimes cutting a 41-year-old icon is not an easy pill to swallow. Salary caps and team profitability may deem an aging veteran to be superfluous.
But in a league, which needs all the positive publicity it can muster as it heads into it's second season of existence, is the equivalent of sending one of their elders out onto the frozen ice floes the lasting image they want to project? Though the end-result may be the same, would a more fitting release have settled better in Chastains' still ripped mid-section?
After hearing the tone in Chastain's message, one can envision, if Chastain wanted to flash her undergarments one final time as she exited the FC Gold locker room last week, she may be bent forward with her Fruit of the Looms exposed and two big lip prints perched in the middle of her left hind cheek.
Now there's a lasting sports image that would leave fans talking for another score.
Todd Civin is a freelance writer who writes for Bleacher Report, Sports, Then and Now, and Seamheads. He also shares his top stories on his blog The 'xoxo' of Sports. He is a supporter of Team Hoyt, the father/son marathon and triathlon team of Dick and Rick Hoyt. He encourages you to support their movement of "Yes, I Can" by visiting their Web site at www.teamhoyt.com
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