The Ballad of Soccer Sara and Heavy-Metal Brittany
November 29, 2022
At this point in Carterhaugh’s history, many of you know us pretty darn well. You know that Sara’s deeply afraid of space horror movies and that the Lion’s Club once caught ten-year-old Brittany’s ruse of being able to see without glasses at a pumpkin patch. You know that Sara’s favorite fairy tale is “Beauty and the Beast” and Brittany’s is “Sleeping Beauty.” A lot of you even know our incredibly niche dissertation topics!
You’ve probably noticed a lot of the small things we haven’t even explicitly shared too, like the fact that Brittany has a weird habit of putting periods after typed smiley faces (:).), or that Sara chronically mentions salt in her poetry and prose.
So we thought… what if we shared something about each of us that you probably don’t know? Something totally off-brand and unexpected? Something that’s going to make you go “wait, WHAT?”
Welcome to the ballad of Soccer Sara and Heavy-Metal Brittany.
Once in a digital school of lore,
Two teachers spoke of many things,
Of fairies, tales, that one strange door,
Of bad-ass queens (not kings.)
Unknown to all, deep in their hearts,
Two secrets they did hold.
Incongruous, odd, these hidden parts,
Would now today be told.
Okay, that might be enough of that 😂
So, I wear dresses about 99% of the time, and if I’m not wearing earrings, I feel like I’m not properly dressed. This is a lifelong phenomenon. But the thing that might not be immediately obvious is that historically I have also run around, climbed trees, and (mostly importantly) played soccer dressed like this.
I was (in)famous in elementary school for wearing lurid, neon biking shorts under all my dresses so that I could DOMINATE the playground without flashing anyone.
I actually played soccer in a league for 10 years. Over that period, I played pretty much every position on the field. My least favorite (and the reason I wear contacts instead of glasses) was goalie. Midfield and winger were both fun, but my absolute favorite was sweeper. Sweeper is the last defensive player in front of the goal (other than the goalie), so the job is to get the ball away. Ideally, you can steal it from the other team’s forward and pass it to a teammate, but sometimes, you just have to clear the ball out however you can. And there’s something uniquely satisfying (and also kind of evil) about watching the other team work so hard to get the ball all the way down the field, and then just smashing the ball away from them and sending it sailing back down the field the way it came.
I don’t get a chance to play soccer much anymore (although if I happen to see a ball, I will pounce on it), so this part of my history rarely comes up.
When the World Cup or the Summer Olympics roll around.
When I was nine, I was insanely lucky to see the US Women’s National Team win gold at the Olympics. It was the era of Mia Hamm, Briana Scurry, and so many other sensational players. And, every World Cup and Summer Olympics, that nine-year-old version of me emerges like a shrieking, wild harpy consumed with sports-based bloodlust.
I do appalling things, like screaming bloody murder at the TV and watching at terrible hours of the day and night. It’s…a lot.
When Jared and I moved in together, one of the things we talked about, in addition to division of household labor and how we were going to track grocery spending, was the existence of Soccer Sara. He does not care about sports AT ALL, but he has learned what off-sides is, bought me two Megan Rapinoe jerseys, and otherwise enabled the joys and excesses of Soccer Sara. #champion
There is a lot more I could say about why I love the US Women’s National Soccer Team so much (ICONS. WORLD CHAMPIONS. ACTIVISM. EQUALITY FOR WOMEN. ROSE LAVELLE’S GENIUS FEET AND KNIFE-LIKE PRECISION. MEGAN RAPINOE AND HER HAIR.) and why I think soccer is such a brilliant, beautiful game, but for now I will put Soccer Sara back under wraps. Until tonight. When I watch more of the World Cup. Soccer Sara out!
You know how they say that sometimes you’re drawn to the things you’re most afraid of? How people often tiptoe around the edges of a thing that scares them deeply, partly to know it better, partly because – even though it’s not exactly a loving relationship – the fear connects you; it binds you in ways you don’t expect.
A lot of people aren’t surprised when I tell them I was raised Catholic – let’s face it, a lot of people who gravitate toward the Gothic, the pagan, the ostentatious, etc have a Catholic background. Catholicism is all about big rituals, worshiping saints, stained glass windows, lit candles, velvet altar cloths, and swirling incense. Transubstantiation – the actual, physical transformation of a piece of bread into a body and a sip of wine into blood – is pretty hardcore.
Satan, Hell, Damnation, etc? It all terrifies me. Like, really terrifies me. It was drilled in very early on that that stuff was S C A R Y, and it still makes me super uncomfortable and upset. I will generally avoid anything that relies on it too much – even Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s novel Good Omens would have been too much for me had it not been so hilarious, and even then, it was close. The 1976 film The Omen kept me up at night for months. You know how much I love witches? Well, when the witches get linked to Satan worship, I’m super pissed off – 1) I just don’t like whatever media it is anymore, and 2) talk about embracing patriarchal BULLSHIT. Right, of course, the magical, powerful women all actually worship a controlling, manipulative, evil dude. Oh, and all of their magic comes from HIM. Gross!
(Don’t @ me about witch trials either, folks. Accusations of Satan worship were manufactured by misogynists, and it makes me furious that the whole concept of witches is still so often equated with the slander imposed on marginalized people from history.)
Anyway though, in my core, Satan = scary. Hell = scary. Eternal Damnation = scary. BULLSHIT scary, but scary nonetheless.
When I was in high school, I was pretty much a stereotypical, poetry-writing, black-wearing, romantically suffering teenager (I know, so much has changed, right? 😂) I didn’t embrace any of the Satan stuff that sometimes gets wrapped up in all that personally, obviously, but my boyfriend at the time was really into heavy metal and that… that I absolutely fell in love with. The amazing, symphonic music of After Forever or Tristania… the literary lyrics of Theatre of Tragedy or even Cradle of Filth… all of the #goals women in ball gowns and leather with lots of dark eyeshadow (Sharon den Adel, Floor Jansen)… I absolutely love it all.
Now, problematically for me, a lot of the most hardcore stuff talks a LOT about Hell, demons, fiery pits, etc. I veered away from the worst stuff, and mostly I was able to tune the rest out in favor of the things I did love. Screaming and growling? Didn’t bother me (it’s kinda… fun!) Songs about pain and death and darkness? Totally epic. Satan stuff? Hard pass, but I’ll still love the music.
There are moments in some of these songs that give me shivers every single time I hear them (check out when the rhythm changes at around 3:14 in the song “Forlorn Hope” by After Forever… it’s so good.) So my secret little metalhead self will keep screaming alone in her car and delighting over ridiculously over-the-top lyrics like “Lo! The pale moonlight / Weaves a poetic spell of vital death and decline / Of mist and moth and the hunger inside / Kisses took to fever and the fever, demise” 😂
There you have it, two surprising loves we both have! What is something you love that most people wouldn’t expect? Let us know in the comments!