Episode 110: Fun in France! The French Open, World Cup + Canadian Soccer Star Erin Mcleod

All the fun seems to be in France this week as Amira, Lindsay, and Brenda chat about the French Open and the start of the Women's World Cup! Plus Shireen interviews Canadian Soccer Star Erin McLeod!


Amira: Welcome to Burn It All Down. It may not be the feminist sports podcast you want, but it's definitely the feminist sports podcast you need. I'm Amira Rose Davis, assistant professor of History and African American studies at Penn State University.

I am joined by my co-host this week, my fellow historian, Brenda Elsey, associate professor of History at Hofstra University, and Lindsay Gibbs, my fellow Gemini, sports reporter at ThinkProgress in Washington, D.C. And it's here. The World Cup is finally here and we are all so excited!

If you haven't checked out our big, mega World Cup preview show that aired last week, go ahead, do that, plus we have a Hot Take that breaks down every group but the games have started, so you can bet we're going to break some of those down today on the show.

We're also going to be chatting about the French Open that wrapped up this past weekend, plus Shireen talks to Erin McLeod, former Canadian Women's goalkeeper, soccer legend, and I should add, Penn State alum.

But before we start the show, we have to shout out both the NBA and the NHL which are going into the final part of their best of seven series. At time of recording, the Bruins are playing right now. It's killing me slightly, and that's happening. Then also, shout out to Shireen and her Raptors who are now one win away from being NBA champs.

Brenda, Linds, have you been watching the games?

Brenda: Heck no!

Lindsay: I'm very excited. I've not been watching NHL. I don't have time for that right now, but I do have to say that by the time y'all are listening to this, there's a possibility that Shireen's son is going to be an NBA champion with the Raptors. I'm hoping for Shireen that her family will get that joy.

Amira: And Brenda's dropped all pretense. She cares about nothing else except for the World Cup.

Brenda: Look at my house, look at the dishes piling up. Look at the laundry. It's not for lack of love, it's just the bandwidth is only so wide.

Amira: True, and this is a very hectic time of year. This weekend alone, we had the French Open and we have the NBA, we have NHL, we have the WNBA, we have baseball still chugging along and it's just-

Brenda: I forgot baseball existed.

Lindsay: I have to tell you, still looking forward to when the NBA finals are done. I can't wait for all the leaks about all this Kevin Durant drama. I'm just dying to know all of the gossip because it's just coming out. Will he play, won't he play? How mad are his teammates? What's going on behind the scenes?

I always love when seasons end and you get all the juicy stuff, just leaks out from whoever lost in heartbreaking fashion. That's what I'm looking forward to.

Amira: And the NBA is so good for that. They do it so publicly on Twitter.

Lindsay: It's SO fun. I adore it and yeah, that's all I have to say.

Amira: All right, now let's get into the show.

So, the French Open just concluded this weekend. It was topsy and turvy, a little bit on the women's side. On the men's side, it featured old staples to the game and the king of the play. Lindsay, take it away. What are your observations on the French Open?

Lindsay: Yeah, well, okay, Rafael Nadal won the men's which is 12 French Opens. 18 slams overall. It's ridiculous and I know I should not be bored by greatness ever, I do know that from the bottom of my soul. At the same time, I have to say that the continuity in men's tennis over the last eight years has worn me out a little bit.

Let's mainly talk about the women here. This was Ashleigh Barty's coming out party. The 23 year old Australian won her first major on her least favorite surface, which is lovely. She's going to her best surface now in grass, so who knows what's next, but she has a remarkable story.

She was a teen phenom in Australia, a country that puts a lot of pressure on its teen phenoms and she really after breaking out on the WTA tour in her teens, she needed a little bit of time away and she started playing cricket in Australia. She quit tennis, played cricket and was very good at cricket but then after a few years of that, she decided to come back to tennis.

I believe it was three years ago she came back to the sport without a ranking and has worked her way up and here we are. This is the potential that people saw in her when she was this 15, 16 year old and I just love seeing players reach their potential. I love seeing these stories come to life.

Ashleigh Barty, if you've been paying attention to women's tennis, this is something you've been expecting. It just was a matter of time, it felt like. Like you said, it was a weird tournament. I would say the quarter finals, I thought... Up until the quarter finals, I thought that while there had been some surprises, there were a lot of understandable surprises to me.

You ended up with three Americans in the quarter finals, Madison Keys, Amanda Anisimova who is 17, 18.

Amira: 17, yeah.

Lindsay: 17, just so young, and then you have Sloane Stephens and if you had asked which three of those were going to make it to the quarters, Amanda Anisimova would've been ranked less on that list for sure. Especially because she was playing the defending champion, number three, Simona Halep, but she's the only one who advanced.

Keys lost to Barty, Sloane Stephens had an awful match and just got hit off the court by Johanna Konta and all of the sudden, you're here and Anisimova is in the semis against Barty and she plays really well to take it to three sets. Ended up losing that third set, six-three.

She was really the breakout star of this tournament along with another semifinalist, Marketa Vondrousova, a Czech player who's only 19 years old who ended up making it all the way to the final. She beat Konta in the semifinals, 7-5 7-6, and then it was a disappointing showing in the final.

She really never found her game, it was a little bit... She was a little flat footed and her shots just weren't falling and Barty played what she called the perfect game. I don't really think you can argue against that. But I love seeing these teenagers come up. I love the youth on the tour, I love that there's so many faces that are so competitive at all times.

We'll have to see. I wanted to ask you, Amira, because you wrote a piece for NBC THINK that kind of touched a little bit on how there's so much attention, especially from American media, on Serena at these majors. Oftentimes, that amount of attention is both detrimental to Serena and to the rest of women's tennis because it sucks up all the energy and it keeps you from getting to know a lot of the names.

It puts just an unbearable amount of pressure on Serena's shoulders. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on that.

Amira: Yeah, so I wrote this piece because the first and only alert I felt like I got from the French Open up until the finals was when Serena lost. She's been injured, she hasn't had a lot of tournament play. I also got a notification when Naomi Osaka lost and it reminded me of this kind of feverish, I felt, desire by sports media and sponsors and what not to crown Naomi Osaka as Serena's heir.

I paid a lot of attention to how articles responded or media responded to both Serena and Naomi being out in the third round fairly early in the first week of play. One of the things I noticed was it felt like people just then tuned out, which as you said, Linds, I think is a disservice to the depth of the rest of the field.

But it also reignited a lot of these arguments that... You can find an article... While I was writing this, I found an article, one every year going back eight years basically arguing that without its stars, women's tennis was going to go away. It's going to crumble up and dry.

I do think it puts this kind of burden on the stars to carry the sport in a way that we don't make these kind of expectations in men's sports. There's this idea that men's sports can solve itself because it's men playing sport and yeah, the stars help but even if Nadal wasn't in the finals, even if we didn't get the Nadal Fed matchup, even if we didn't have that, there would be a basic assumption that it was worthy of being watched and consumed.

There's a way that I feel that the stars, the crowned media stars, are really great for people who tend to parachute in to pay attention to the Grand Slams, but they obfuscate in many ways these other really great talents with compelling stories like Ash Barty like you mentioned.

That was what I was trying to do with that piece is say we have a whole generation and depth here, which actually shows the growth of the game, not that it's lacking because we haven't found the next dominant player. It's about depth, not dominance.

Lindsay: Yeah, absolutely and it always infuriates me and I feel like most of my friends are only interested in Serena and I understand that being casual fans and they get mad at me sometimes when I say, "Well, I don't think she's a favorite here" or "No, you should watch this match instead" or "Watch this player".

I think sometimes it plays into our ability to want to protect Serena and make sure that she is given the love and adoration that she deserves and that oftentimes, the media hasn't given her because of her race and her gender and all of these things.

But at the same time, in tennis, since she is such a sensation, she does take up most of the attention. She is the star that drives it and it oftentimes really frustrates me because in order to understand how good Serena is, you have to have respect for her opponents, you know?

You cannot... Part of the reason why it is going to be so hard for Serena to win another major after giving birth and at this age is because the tour has gotten better thanks to her!

Amira: Right.

Lindsay: That's part of it! So yeah, there's a lot here.

Amira: It's something I see across other women's sport. I think about this with women's college basketball and everyone who doesn't watch who's like, "Ugh, who even cares? Yukon's going to win it all every year." I'm like, "Have you checked the last few years?" That's not the point. Appreciate their dominance because of how hard it is to do, but also understand that the parity is telling you how much competition is out there.

Yeah, I feel like that actually, Brenda, perhaps you agree or disagree, I don't know, with the Women's World Cup this year is what we're seeing with people who are, again, kind of parachuting in now and saying, "Oh, the US is going to dominate. I’ve seen so many brackets crowning Brazil."

And I'm like, yeah, they're traditional powers but if you're just looking at those teams right now because name recognition, you're missing how much talent there is in the Women's World Cup and how hard it actually is for a lot of these squads to get back on top because the field is closing. It's closing across all of women's sports generally in my opinion and I think sometimes we lose sight of that. Brenda?

Brenda: That's really interesting. I guess what that prompts for me and the parachuting question we could do a whole show on, what does that mean? On the one hand, it's really exciting to have people care about women's sports and come to it kind of new and excited. And on the other hand, there's of course an inner part of me that's like, "Doh!" You know?

That's not cool. That's not cool of me, but it's true. It kicks up some of these push backs which that's just not right. But my question would be, because I don't follow tennis as closely as the both of you... As I listen to you talk, my question is...

Okay, Serena's made this tournament better. She's made women's tennis better, but is there a kind of defining style of play or advance of this generation? Is there something that you're seeing in this younger generation that is new and different?

Lindsay: Yeah, I think it's more just the all around game. We talk about power when we talk about Serena and Venus and look, rightly so. Their power is a big part of their game and it's really transformed a lot of tennis and Serena especially has such a phenomenal all-around game that...

Serena, one of my favorite things about Serena, is that she was really, really small growing up and she was always playing up with Venus and Venus's friends. As this really small, young player, she developed a really great return game in order to be able to play with the bigger kids. She didn't develop her strength until much later after she developed the roots of her game.

I think what we're seeing now is players who really can do it all. The serving is much better even than it was just a few years ago. You're seeing players like Angelique Kerber who's not young by any means but you've got Kerber, even Halep who has much more power than people give her credit for.

But also, just this craftiness because that's another thing. The Williams sisters are so good and Serena in particular, that in order to beat them, you have to be able to do a little bit of everything. I think what I love most about the women's game right now is how many great all-around games we're seeing and how we're seeing this great combination of movement and quickness and crafty shots like slices and volleys and the kind of more traditional...

As Mary Carillo, our friend Mary Carillo always calls it, "big big tennis", the big forehands and big backhands. I love watching women's tennis so much right now and to go back to a thing that you were saying earlier, Amira... I know we need to move on, but it always irks me when you're later in tournaments and people are like, "Oh, we're missing the stars" because the great thing about being later in these tournaments is that a stage itself is a star, right?

You are watching someone try to get into the finals of a Grand Slam. That is so high stakes. That is drama within itself. You don't need a Serena Williams to sell that. I understand if it's the first round match that might not be tough, but these stages should be the stars themselves and then you get to know the stories within it.

Amira: Yeah. I think that's a great point and we can kind of conclude by meditating on Brenda's point about the parachuters as well which is, for me, it's not necessarily the individuals but it's the media apparatus and it's really indictment on the lack of exposure to women's sports outside of these big stages, outside of these moments so that when we get to a Grand Slam, we don't have the idea of the fact that it's a stage as grandiose as it is because we haven't seen the whole circuit.

When we get to the Women's World Cup, we don't have a sense of the... We get it because of the pomp and circumstance but because we don't have the NWSL, we don't have the kind of... We don't have the media infrastructure in the same way. To me, that's really…a lot of it is that we get these snapshots and we all know how hard sometimes it is to dig for women's sports year round when it's not on center stage in the bright lights and that's few and far between.

But I think one of the offshoots of that is this tunnel vision that it can create. All right, well, if you are looking for more tennis, don't worry. We're in my favorite part of the tennis season and we have more tournaments coming your way and then another slam in just under a month. Be on the lookout for that.

And now, we are back to the Women's World Cup. Brenda? It's here!

Brenda: It's here! It's so much. It's so much. It's already been fantastic and there's a ton to talk about. I guess there's a lot of ways to structure this conversation but for one thing, I don't think that we should do anything about the Women's World Cup without acknowledging the fact that the tickets are completely messed up.

Amira: Oh my gosh.

Brenda: FIFA, what is wrong with you?

Amira: What are you doing?

Brenda: What are you doing? The local playhouse has it covered. People aren't sitting together, when their tickets have been reissued so they're sitting together, then that ticket doesn't work. It's been wild in terms of that and really, really disappointing. This just shouldn't happen. It shouldn't happen at all.

I just want to throw out there some shade before I start with all the super, super fun stuff. We can talk about the opener, France versus South Korea. France looked amazing. For the first time in my entire sports career, I've been predicting things that sure to come to an end.

Wendie Renard who we previewed-

Amira: Wendie! Renard!

Brenda: Channeling Shireen's proper French pronunciation. Wendie Renard was increíble. It had a brace and I predicted it, trés bien. I'm not even... That's literally me trying to pronounce French and they're laughing at me right now.

Amira: I'm worse, it's okay.

Brenda: I thought Norway was fantastic. Just absolutely clinical. We could talk Brazil versus Jamaica, I have a ton to say about that. I guess the other thing has been the use of the VAR, the V-A-R technology.

Amira: Oh, oh, I do not like.

Brenda: Do you not? See, I'm really happy about it.

Amira: You like it? No. I feel like... Ugh, no.

Brenda: Like it, I don’t. But there's a way in which it straightens the immoral arc of the universe.

Amira: Okay, you tell me why you like it and I tell you why I think it's so horrific.

Brenda: Because there were many, many goals that were not allowed that were in. There's just no way to see that.

Amira: True, but my thing, Bren... Okay.

Brenda: No, I'm listening to you.

Amira: But part of this is that because of the VAR, they're told to hold their offside flag and let the play continue and then bring it back because you have to see the... You can't use it until the ball hits the back of the net. So, I feel that it's not actually a true representation of how many goals would have been called and allowed to stand.

Because when some of those are obviously offside, then the flag would've gone up. But because of the VAR they're trained now to not hold it. What happens is you get this swell of emotion, especially, I feel like watching at home where you might not always have the angles, where you see it go in and you cheer, the crowd's cheering, the player's cheering and then they're like, "No, sorry, you're offside."

It happened so often that I just was like... It made the game feel choppy to me. It made it feel choppy when they were reviewing hand ball. It just felt like it was more choppy than I wanted it to be and maybe that's just because it's getting off and running. But there were moments where I was just like, "Ugh, let them fricking play."

There's a way in which we have all this technology to make things all equitable and whatnot, and what not and I get that and I think it's a great tool to have on hand for particular decisive moments that the referees would have huddled up anyways.

Brenda: Well, especially if there's a goal differential. It's just got to be. It just has to be. I know, it's like... I agree with you and it's a little bit halting and stilted, but today I don't think Christiane's third goal would've counted in the Brazil versus Jamaica match. I looked at it, I was watching it with my eyeballs as peeled as the next person and-

Amira: Yeah, no, see, that's a goal I can understand but I'm saying in the Italy-Australia match, there was two Italy goals brought back that, on second sight, it was very clear that they were offsides.

Brenda: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Amira: But in how the plays unfolded as a person watching from home, I couldn't see that either time.

Brenda: Yeah.

Amira: I was like, "Ugh, there's a second one called back", then I saw it and I was like, "Oh yeah, okay" but I also feel like those are two incidents where on the field, they would've just blown it offsides and they wouldn't have even got that far. We would've been like, "Oh, it was called back!” Just stop playing with my emotions.

Brenda: Well, welcome to the Women's World Cup. I mean, it's going to be a wild ride. I wanted to ask either of you, there was a couple of games that were interesting and I do think we should come to Italy-Australia as the biggest upset thus far.

Lindsay: Yes.

Brenda: Yeah. But before we do, maybe we should talk South Africa, Spain. Did you watch that match? How'd you feel about those penalties?

Amira: Not great, not great, not great. Not great, Bren. I don't know, I didn't like the refereeing super much in that match, I have to say. I don't know. I felt like they're very fast with the whistle at times. Did you feel like it was on?

Brenda: No. Not that particular game. I remember we were texting back and forth. The way in which they were talking about the South African team had a lot to do with focusing on their physicality.

Amira: Yeah.

Brenda: I did feel like that was racially coded.

Lindsay: Code words!

Amira: Exactly.

Brenda: I felt like that was really racially coded. I thought they did it again in the case of Nigeria, the calling that I was listening to but in the case of Nigeria, I thought it was accurate.

Amira: They were... Yeah. You do bring up this point that Lindsay just mentioned too when she said coded where it took me approximately 30 seconds into the World Cup to remember how much I hate all these coded colonial languages, from the match commentary to the pre-game and post-game packages. It's like the Olympics. It's so apparent and so deeply ingrained to how they view the sport and how they police particularly bodies of color, black bodies especially, in terms of their physicality.

Then even with South Africa, oh my gosh, it was irritating me so much because there was all of this stuff. Janine van Wyk, their captain, who's one of the only white people on the South African team and she's, don't get me wrong, phenomenal players, the captain, the leader of the team.

But there was all of this ways that so many commentators said, "Well, she's going to have to get them under control" or "She's going to have to get them to be disciplined and not emotional and reel in their play and control their effort". It was all of this stuff like they were so boisterous and fun and dancing and singing and all of this minstrel-y shit and they just needed this white captain to control their energy to have a chance. I was just like, "Oh, fucking spare me."

Brenda: Yeah, fair enough. I mean, I think that game was called not well and I think it was a Chilean ref. So, I'm kind of bummed because go Chile.

Amira: But generally I haven't had... That's the other beef of it is sometimes I feel like women's sports are called tighter in terms of physicality and I am fully admitting the fact that I get super triggered by this because it sends me back to all of my sporting days where I was always in foul trouble, right?

I have so much terrible, I would even say in the case of one particular incident, really bad trauma around calls and what is thrown onto your body when you're just playing in a way that feels natural and feels like how everybody else is playing and the cards come faster and the screams…It’s just a lot. To see it even at the highest level, I think I'm particularly like "Ahh" to it.

Brenda: And they're called so differently. Some of these games are just called so tightly and-

Amira: Yeah, England-Scotland, they were just letting those girls play.

Brenda: Yeah.

Amira: They were just like, "Oh, look, they're English and Scottish. Hello!"

Brenda: Maybe that also wasn't great for Scotland. I'm not really sure. It is really interesting. I actually thought... I can't even believe the words are coming out of my mouth right now but I also thought the Brazil game... If we talk about racial coding, I didn't think Formiga deserved that yellow whatsoever and the fact that at that particular moment she was the Afro-Brazilian player on the field, I couldn't help but question it.

Because she's not nervous and confused. She's been there seven freaking times. She's in control of her body. That tackle looked to me like... Well, anyway, whatever. We can talk but I don't think you're wrong to point that out at all. I think you're absolutely right that that's going on. It's just a very hard thing to parse out.

It's hard to know when it's happening, but we know we see the patterns over time. I'll be interested to see as the tournament goes on because there's things to be written about this and to draw attention to it. To a certain extent, the VAR was supposed to help with some of those decisions that maybe went against the African teams that weren't as familiar to the refs or something like that.

But I don't know that that's really happening. Did either of you see the big upset, Australia? Australia being upset by Italy?

Amira: I did. Linds, did you watch that?

Lindsay: I did not, but I'm dying to know what you guys thought of that and also I'm dying to know Bren's... I really want the two minute Brazilian run down. First of all, Italy... I mean, Australia... Just, what happened? What happened?

Amira: Oh my goodness. This, to me, was the best game so far of the tournament. It was exhilarating. Everything about it was exhilarating and it felt like as the game went on, Italy gained confidence that was palpable. You could see chances were there on both sides, there were so many chances for both teams.

Like I said, those two goals from Italy called back on VAR once they were offsides, but I think that it gave them confidence and watching a team build confidence and possess the ball coming down the stretch is magical. And then to have in stoppage time, goal with 10 seconds left in stoppage time to pull off the upset was just... I screamed.

It was early as hell and I was screaming in my house and waking all my damn kids up. Bren?

Brenda: Yeah, I mean, I was too nervous about the Brazil game to pay that much attention. I would like to say that Burn It All Down, we did on our preview and definitely me and the others said Italy is underrated.

Amira: Yes.

Brenda: But Australia got caught.

Lindsay: We are so smart.

Brenda: We're good! We’re good at this one. As soon as I say it, I'm usually the kiss of death, so as soon as I say someone's going to have a good tournament, it almost never happens. This is very rare and I'm sure it'll stop soon.

Lindsay: Okay, Brenda, can you talk about Christiane now please?

Brenda: First of all, I agree with Vadão’s decision for once to leave Marta off. I didn't think there was any point to having her go out versus Jamaica when she wasn't 100% because it's going to be a tough group for them. Italy beating Australia really throws a lot into question about that group. That is not what most people predicted.

Now, here's some highlights here. I always have disagreed with putting Debinha behind Marta. Debinha should play at the top of the pitch as she did today and she's so fast. She didn't get on there and she got shut down a little bit because Jamaican defenders are also very fast and were very ready for her.

However, the through pass is that she was dishing to Christiane that all the plays she made happen were insane. The fact that she didn't get a goal is really just luck, you know? I'd like to just say that, for me, was really important because Vadão’s been playing her behind Marta and I don't think that should be the case.

I thought it worked out for them today. I'd also like to say that I'm historically a huge complainer about Bárbara, the goalkeeper that was on today and thought he should've put Aline, in and my God, the world is a new basket each and every day because she did an incredible job!

From the very first minutes, where she came so far out of her goal line and was like hell no. This is not how it's going. I am not here to just bump your volleys out of the net. She was like-

Amira: Yes.

Brenda: "I am in control here," and I thought she did a fantastic job!

Amira: Really, the goal play for both teams was phenomenal.

Brenda: Ohh yeah. All hail Schneider.

Amira: Right because Christiane, the hat trick obfuscates that but Schneider, Sydney was amazing. When she saved that penalty, ooh!

Brenda: Right. Great. She was fantastic. To a certain extent, you have to wonder, is the fact that you're-

Lindsay: The tweeting. I was going to say, Usain Bolt's tweet about that was really great and then what was really bad were the American announcers trying to read Usain Bolt's tweet and making fun of his Jamaican lingo. That was very bad. But his tweet was great and it was fun to see him watching, Tweeting.

Brenda: You mean people from the US who are calling games shouldn't mock the Jamaican accent?

Amira: Oh my god, how many times-

Lindsay: Yeah, I'm saying maybe-

Amira: If you were to take a shot every time they said, "Yeah, mon." You would be drunk by halftime-

Brenda: Good lord. Is it shticky all up in there. People might want to tune into Telemundo. I know I've already gone on too long about Brazil. There's no surprise with Christiane. She ended 2015 horribly, she missed a penalty, it broke her heart. It is absolutely so wonderful to see her get that hat trick. Her headers are clinical. They always have been.

I'm not surprised, but I am worried that nobody else got on the board to a certain extent just in terms of confidence and just one last thing for listeners, if they haven't heard this. One story about Christiane constantly and constantly is she retired in 2017 to protest the conditions of the Brazilian team in an emotional and important Instagram post.

The federation promised her things, they never came through, she came back in and just, I am so thrilled for her. There's just not a harder worker out there.

Amira: Wonderful. At the time of listening of this, we'll have already seen Argentina and Japan as well as Canada and Cameroon play. Then, when this airs on Tuesday, we'll be wrapping up replay with New Zealand and the Netherlands, Chile in their debut versus Sweden, and I don't know if you've heard this because they say it literally every five minutes during the broadcast, that the US will play Thailand at 3:00 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, June 11th.

Literally Brenda, I almost broke my TV. At one point, it was within... I think it was a time, it might've been the Australian-Italian game. There was a corner kick with a minute left to play. During this corner that could decide a game, they said, "Oh, and the big game's coming up on..." It's the World Cup, they're all big games. What the hell are you talking about?

Brenda: But Amira, Thailand has such a good shot…

Amira: Oh my gosh I literally cannot-

Brenda: On the edge of our seats!

Amira: Anywho.

Lindsay: All right…I’m excited! I know I shouldn't be, but I'm excited.

Amira: I'm excited too. I just-

Brenda: I am too, I am too.

Amira: You don't have to remind people every five minutes. Nobody forgot in the five minutes that you told us that they're playing on Tuesday. Nobody forgot. Anywho, the World Cup has started. As you can tell, we here at Burn It All Down are so very excited. We can't wait to continue to watch group play.

Next up, Shireen talks to Erin McLeod.

Shireen: Hello, flamethrowers. It's Shireen here and I am so absolutely excited and honored to have Canadian legend, Erin McLeod, on Burn It All Down to talk to us about the Women's World Cup, her journey, her experiences, and maybe some prediction? Erin is joining me from Sweden where she plays professionally. Erin, you need no introduction but I will introduce you.

Erin McLeod is an incredible goalkeeper, she has been the staunch defender of our net and our country's pride for a great number of years. She is not only an Olympian, she is a World Cup attendee as well, and not only that, she is an incredible advocate for the players. She has helped formulate one of the most positive and important, impactful contracts for the Canadian national women's team.

She's an amazing advocate for LGBTQI and she's just a phenomenal, phenomenal human being. Erin, thank you so much for being on Burn It All Down.

Erin: Wow, thank you. What an introduction. Very nice.

Shireen: Can you tell me, and I'm sure you answer these questions all the time, what was your journey to soccer like? When did you fall in love with the beautiful game?

Erin: That's funny. I started really young. I started playing when I was about four years old and I wasn't totally sold on it. Peanut league is kind of unorganized and it's like bumblebees, everyone following the ball everywhere. But I do remember the next year, we moved as a family to Calgary and again, playing in a peanut league and I always referred to myself as a tomboy.

The color pink was like the enemy, so there was that and we were playing in this peanut league and there were so many boys and just a handful of girls, so they put all the girls on one team and they called us "The Pink Panthers" and we were pink head-to-toe.

Shireen: Oh wow.

Erin: We got annihilated every game. Every game. It wasn't even fair and at the end of that season, I was like, "I want to do this.” So…

Shireen: Oh wow.

Erin: Which is kind of funny, but that's kind of how my soccer journey started. To be honest, I fell in love with sport. I think we had this conversation before but in my family, we're just obsessed with the Olympics and Elizabeth Manley in 1998 had an incredible performance. She was bawling at the end of it and she, I think, was surprised by her own performance because it was so wonderful.

I'm looking around the room and I've got two sisters and my mom and dad and everyone's bawling. That moment for me, I was like, "I am going to go to the Olympics." It took me a while to figure out how I was going to get there, but I knew then and the Pink Panthers, I think, was my starting point.

Shireen: That's amazing. The Pink Panthers. You were a Canada starter in 2011, in the 2015 World Cup, 118 international caps and 114 as a starter. The question that a lot of people might have is that you’re just legendary and I think one of the myths for women's soccer is that it came easy for you.

I love that you laugh about that because we know that's not the case. So, can you tell me a little bit about that? Your sheet speaks for itself, your resume speaks for itself. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Erin: Absolutely. I actually, I want to say in the 2007 World Cup? I played as well as a starter, but this is how it happened. In 2003, I was the third option for the goalkeepers and Karina LeBlanc was number one. Within that tournament, Even Pellerud who was our coach at the time, the Norwegian, put Taryn Swiatek in for the rest of the tournament.

She had a wonderful tournament and I was the number three. I was kind of a young, naïve kid because I had just finished playing this under-19 tournament in Canada and that was, I think, the beginning of women's soccer. I can't really say that in a humble way but I think it was kind of a starting point where a lot of people started paying attention anyway to women's soccer.

From there, I was the number one so I just thought, "I'll just be a number one on the national team." It didn't go that way. I thought maybe I'd be the second choice for that World Cup and then I was quite clearly the third choice and looking back, I obviously was. But what it taught me is just how hard I wanted to work to get there.

I remember doing... I remember for six months, I was so mad that I wasn't even considered the number two that I woke up at 5:00 every morning with Sian Bagshawe. We played together for the Whitecaps, he's a good friend of my still, and we'd wake up before the sun came up, we'd go to the gym.

Come back, then we'd have an afternoon workout and then we'd go train with the Whitecaps in the evening and I did that for six months. Then, after that, I just became totally dedicated to learning the strengths and weaknesses of my competition and making their weaknesses my strengths and then also working on my own weaknesses.

It's fair to say that I was pretty obsessed for awhile and then in 2007, Karina LeBlanc was still the starting goalkeeper but she got hurt. She hurt her shoulder literally, I want to say, four or five days before the World Cup started in 2007. Then I kind of was the starter ever since. It was kind of back and forth and Karina will say the same.

When John came in, he was testing both of us and it did kind of go back and forth for awhile but yeah, that's all the big tournaments from that point on, I started. It was interesting because I just always remember being like, "I'm going to work my hardest, I'm going to try my best and when I get my chance, I'm going to seize my opportunity."

We didn't do very well in the 2007 World Cup, but I personally felt like that was one of the better tournaments I had at that point and yeah, from then, I just continued working which is probably why I've had a lot of injuries is knowing when to push myself and when to take it easy. It hasn't been a strength of mine, that I am now learning because I have to.

But I do think that obsession, you see it in a lot of athletes like Conor McGregor, who I have a lot of respect for. He's a lot of hoopla but what is cool about him is he kind of... When he was 16, there was this YouTube video of him being like, "I'm going to be the best in the world and I'm going to do this, this and this." He has three or four things he was obsessed with doing and he's done them all.

I mean, I'm not Conor McGregor but similar, I was like, "I'm going to do this, I'm going to be this starter, I'm going to be one of the best keepers in the world." I had this list and I was pretty obsessed with that, or have been.

Shireen: You're a far better person than Conor McGregor but to recognize that work ethic is really-

Erin: I can't comment on that. I don’t know.

Shireen: Is really, really important. That work ethic and that grit and it's something that I've been following the Canadian women's team for a long time and I've seen that dedication to getting better and that humility. For those that don't know, I wrote about Erin for The Athletic and I remember thinking, "Wow, why is she so humble?" This is irritating, this is Erin McLeod. I really respect that and thank you for that.

Your World Cup experiences and for a lot of people, the 2012 Olympic Games, as somebody who takes in and as a supporter, was really a momentous moment and we talked about this in a previous interview that I did with you that it really became a catalyst for this type of movement to support the women's team in Canada.

For those that are listening that don't know what happened, Canada was playing the United States at the Olympics in London and it was a really incredible match, just back-and-forth, a lot of physicality, an incredibly intense match. It's the most memorable match I've ever seen, and I've taken in a lot of soccer.

What ended up happening was Erin was called on a rule that was sort of obscure and not really a lot of referees call on holding the ball for longer than six seconds. That awarded the United States a kick which, to I think the entire country, unified in its being outraged by that and it changed the tone of the game.

Canada ended up losing that match and then the US went on, but at that moment and through that game and through the emotion of the players and in that moment, Erin, was that something that also motivated you?

Erin: Yeah. First of all, I was extremely proud of that US game. Obviously, you're always more proud of things when they're done and some of the emotion has subsided but the really cool thing about that US game is as far as TV ratings and viewership, we were equal to the men's Olympic hockey final.

Shireen: Wow.

Erin: In Vancouver. Which is unbelievable I think. I think what I'll never forget, I had this conversation with Sonia Bompastor who plays for France. Yes, that game was hard to take in but what I am so proud of is our team's reaction to that game. Sinky, in the locker room, Sinky doesn't say very much but when she says something, it's normally extremely impactful.

She said, "I don't know about you guys, but I'm not leaving here without an effing medal." And you know what, it was kind of cool because John was going to come in and say something and he heard that and he walked out because nothing else needed to be said. That conversation I had with Sonia Bompastor, it was after the game.

France annihilated us, statistically, possession-wise, shots, everything and we won. Sonia comes to me and she said, "You know what, you guys have," she's like, "You have this connection. You will not give up on one another." And it's even true of the French team now. They have an incredible amount of talent, but the connection, the glue that we had won us that game.

For me, that's what's most important because we built that losing that US game. We needed that and the moment we lost that game, ever since then, we know as Canadians how important it is to have one another's back and just work your ass off and never let the person down beside you.

That's why we're always harping on being a good Canadian and being a good human being because the reality is if you like the person that you're playing for, you want to fight for them. If you think they're a dick, you're kind of like, well... I've really valued that and I think, as a team, we held on to that.

Shireen: Definitely. I mean, that win was spectacular. It wasn't the result we wanted with the US game but that sort of determination and indomitable spirit is something that really, really is thematic with the Canadian women's team's journey. You are currently in general not named to the World Cup squad, but you are still intrinsically involved in influencing this team.

Very recently, it had been announced in media so incredibly that the Canadian women's team followed your lead to sign up with an organization called Common Goal, which is an organization that helps football developing grassroots organizations around the world. Can you tell us why this is so important?

Erin: I think it's so important for a number of reasons. What I really valued when John Herdman was on board with our team is he was always... Kind of what I was just talking about, he's always been like, "It's really important to be a good Canadian and leave a legacy on the field, but also off the field."

Recently, we have come to an agreement with our contracts. It's better than any contract that probably most female team players have ever had in Canada and I think, for me, and I was talking to Sinky about it. I'm like, "Wouldn't it be cool if one of the first things that we did after signing that contract is give some of that back?"

We've got Jordyn who's 19? 18? 18 years old and she's just about to sign a big contract and that's the first thing she does. 18 years old and that's the future of our Canadian national team. For me, the reality of women's soccer now is we are becoming more and more popular and there's more eyes on us, so I think it's important to be leaders. I'm going to say it, more so than the men.

Shireen: Please say it!

Erin: Because the men are making a million times more than we are and we have already a national team who has agreed to put 1% of their salary towards Common Goal, which basically means you have a bunch of these different organizations you can put your money towards.

The one I've chosen is Canada Scores which is based out of Vancouver. There's a couple in Canada, there's some all over the world. They're wonderful organizations and I knew it would be an easy sell because I know the type of human beings I'm dealing with, with the national team and we were the first team at the World Cup to do it.

I think for me, if I'm done with the national team or if I only have a year left or whatever the case, what I really value, what Karina LeBlanc said when she left is you always want to leave the team better than when you got there. I believe in my heart that we're already on the right track and I'm excited to see what this team is going to do but also, they're already an inspiration.

Shireen: Definitely and your impact and your influence cannot be understated. It is so important-

Erin: Thank you.

Shireen: And I say this as someone, when we were talking, you had mentioned that you used to watch Craig Forrest, a Canadian goalkeeper who actually, the only time the Canadian men's team has ever qualified or attended the World Cup is in 1986, so that's just something that as you were saying the contracts are significantly different in payment amount for the men who have actually not represented on the stage the way women have.

So, your influence and also what you're doing off the pitch completely affects other young players in this country. I have a daughter who's a goalkeeper who shakes when she hears your name because she's so excited and just, your influence and who you are is so crucial for the development in this country for soccer.

Some fun questions in that sense. What is your most memorable World Cup experience? And have you ever been starstruck yourself? Like you're Erin McLeod but have you ever been starstruck when someone walked on the pitch?

Erin: Oh, players that I played against, yeah. I remember actually I was... I can't remember what year it was but I remember watching the 1999 World Cup. We went as a family, we were traveling around the US and I think it was in Portland and I watched... I think we were there for a Germany game or something but regardless, that's when Mia Hamm and Shannon MacMillan, that group, that incredible group.

I remember watching them and watching that World Cup and being like, "This is unbelievable" and then a couple years later, playing against Mia Hamm and Shannon MacMillan. I think Shannon MacMillan may have chipped me from half or she tried to. I'm not sure if that went in but she was phenomenal and Mia Hamm was phenomenal.

I think we lost six nothing or something, but for me that moment was cool because in life in general, you always have a goal. You're like, "I really want to make the national team" and I remember making the national team and how cool that was. And then, once you get there, then you make new goals. Then I remember playing them and I was like, "I want to be able to hang with these guys."

But I just remember how good they were. Specifically, Shannon MacMillan and Mia Hamm and so many players on that team, they really changed women's soccer and the expectation they had on female players. I was starstruck in that moment and I think probably my favorite World Cup moment was probably in 2015.

There was a lot because we were playing in Canada. It was just unbelievable but I remember I was actually married seven days after that tournament or the next day or something. It was cool. I remember I got player of the game and then my whole family was there and Ella, my wife, was there. It was just this moment where you have all your hard work and all your passion.

It's your career, right? Just the whole stadium was full. It was more than 50,000 people in BC Place and all the people that got me there. You never get to the top or anywhere without a team of good human beings behind you, I don't think anyway, and all my human beings were there.

Shireen: Good people.

Erin: Yeah, yeah. That was an incredible thing because I really just got to share it with the people I hold so dear to my heart.

Shireen: Amazing. Any predictions for this tournament, the Women's World Cup?

Erin: Oh, yeah. God, you know what? This tournament is going to be, I think, incredible, first of all. I think the women's game in the last couple years has just totally exploded. England, I think, is going to be an exciting game to watch. Obviously the US is always exciting to watch. I think the Netherlands is going to be interesting because I feel like they were just on fire during the Euros and they kind of went down a little bit, but I think they're kind of amping back up.

Obviously, Canada will be a team to watch. I don't even have to say that and Australia, too. I just feel like there might be a lot of dark horses, but I am really, really excited to watch France mostly because, for two reasons. I think they're absolutely incredible. There's so much talent. Le Sommer I think has got to be one of the best players in the world right now.

Just to name one, there's quite a few on that team, but the second thing is I'm really interested to see how they're going to handle the pressure of playing at home because that'll either make them or break them. I know it was a lot for us when we played in Canada, but I know the French men obviously did really well playing at home in their World Cup. I don't know how many years ago that was.

That'll be interesting. I don't know if I have... Obviously, I would like Canada to win. I think we actually have a very good chance of winning, but I do really want to see how France does as well.

Shireen: Coming from someone who was part of the host country team, do you think there's added pressure on France because they're hosting and their counterparts won in 2018? The men won at home in 2018. Do you think that's an added amount of pressure and can Canada capitalize maybe on that?

Erin: What I remember is just being, literally, I was nervous for days. I didn't know how to calm down. I felt like I had had 18 cups of coffee everyday when I had had one. I think that it's going to come down to that. It's really going to come down to how they handle the pressure and we had a lot of... We had the mental side of the game. We did a lot of work on that side of the game to really prepare for the pressure.

I think it's going to be there. I think it's going to be about their mental preparation to be honest. If France is going to be like, "Okay, this is coming. This is coming." All the what-ifs, all the worst case scenarios, all the pressure. If they've really dealt with it, I think they'll be able to do quite well.

I know a lot of players on that team play for Lyon, for example. Some are PSG, some are Montpellier, and I think they could be potentially used to some of the pressure with Champions League Finals, et cetera but this is kind of a different beast, I think. I do think teams like us and a lot of other teams could definitely capitalize.

I can't wait to see how they're going to handle it because I definitely think that they have the talent on that team. It's unbelievable. Unbelievable. I cannot say enough good things about the players on that team, so I think it'll really come down to that.

Shireen: You're absolutely right. It's going to be a phenomenal tournament. I wanted to thank you so much for giving us some insight, thank you for everything you do not just for what you've done for the Canadian women's team but what you do for the women's game in general. Your contributions, your impact, just your passion for it and like you said, as you quoted Karina LeBlanc, to leave it better than you came. It's definitely growing.

It's a joy to watch and very interesting to see that process and how you contributed to it. Do you see yourself whenever retirement comes or if it comes, do you see yourself still involved in the game? Coaching or maybe, I don't know, owning a team maybe in Canada, professional women's team which would be super cool.

Erin: Owning a team, oh my goodness. Yeah, if I win the lottery. No, I actually just finished... I think we talked about this a little about it's not great to be injured but what injury often enables you to do is focus on everything in life. I've been working my arse off on this project with Rachel Lindvall who's my business partner in this.

We've created a mindfulness program for children ages six to twelve. I literally finished it this week, we're going to start promoting it at the end of July. My heart and soul has gone into this because... We talked about this a little bit last time about just your mindset and you start at six years old to develop whether you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

That's from Carol Dweck, if the listeners are familiar with that. Anyway, just basically how do you deal with mistakes and how do you see yourself, your self awareness and how you judge yourself and how you grow and learn. The aim of the project is to start this process for these kids so they basically have just a better life.

I am so harsh. I look back at my career and I've always been so, sometimes borderline cruel to myself after making mistakes or not having the performance I wanted. What I've come to realize is that if you read anything about successful people, they fail four or five times more than the average human being.

It's absolutely essential for growth, so this is a whole point of the project is to teach these kids to have just a more fulfilling, happier life, realizing that mistakes are totally necessary and if you push your limits and can lose the emotional baggage, you can have just an awesome life.

That is where I'm going to put a lot of my energy and I cannot see myself not coaching. I was coaching already this week. I was wearing khaki pants and have grass stains to my hips because I can't help but get in there and do demos. But yeah, soccer, I just love the game so much.

I hope in the bottom of my heart I still have a couple of years left, but I just can't, I just love it so much, I can't see myself ever stopping in one way or another.

Shireen: Awesome. We hope you never leave. Again, I want to thank you so much for chatting with us and Burn It All Down absolutely loves you.

Erin: Thank you.

Shireen: We can't wait to see what you do next.

Erin: Thank you very much for having me on.

Amira: All right, folks. It's time for our favorite part of the show, the burn pile. There was no shortage of things to burn this week. Lindsay, what are you burning?

Lindsay: Yeah, I'm actually going to burn something that's happening in women's sports right now which is the deal with Riquna Williams of the Los Angeles Sparks who was arrested for assaulting her ex-girlfriend during the off season and this all became public in April and she was scheduled to have court hearings this week.

Throughout this all, the WNBA and the Sparks themselves have just kind of said, "Yes, we're aware of this and we're monitoring the situation. We don't have any comment about anything until legal process is completed." It was believed that Williams wasn't going to be with the team this week, so she made the roster. She was one of the last players, but she did make the roster.

She's very good and scored 25 points the other night and they have said they are just not commenting on this. She was supposed to be away from the team for a couple days this week for her court hearings. However, they got a waiver so she doesn't have to be in court and the Sparks are literally not allowing anyone to ask questions about this to the coach, Derek Fisher, to anyone within the organization.

I just think it's setting a really bad precedent. There needs to be more transparency about what's going on here, there needs to be a little bit more openness and the allegations against her are really serious. Women's leagues need to take this stuff seriously too.

Not saying that she should definitely be off the team, but the fact that nobody's even allowed to ask about it or talk about it and people are getting cut off in pressers if they even try and bring it up, to me it's just a really, really awful, awful look. Nobody has been proactive about this from the WNBA to the Sparks.

Luckily, some media at the WNBA is starting to speak out but I just had to throw this silence around all this onto the burn pile because women's leagues need to take domestic abuse seriously too. Burn.

Amira: Burn. I'll go next. This past Wednesday, there was rain at the French Open, which we were all very thankful for, for Jess who had ridiculous travel to get there, so that helped here but the other thing it did was push the women's semi-finals up into the same day as the men's. The French federation decided that the women would play, well I guess this was afternoon there, but not on the center courts anymore.

Both matches took place on the outside courts and not only did the WTA blast this for regulating the women to exterior position out of center court but also if you watch the broadcast, there was twice during a match point where the broadcast cut away from the women's semis so that we could see Rafa and Fed walk in to center court.

Then cut away again during match point so that we can see them warm up. It was the most infuriating thing and I just feel like another reminder of the second fiddle that the women's side plays at the French Open. To kind of put icing on that, it was also the second year in a row, I believe, that the women's final didn't have a set start time because they were waiting for the men's final to finish.

It might seem like a minor thing, but it's just reinforcing the idea that the main attraction are the men and the women should be relegated to outside court or cut away from the matches or saying, "Oh, they'll play whenever" after the rain delay and after the men go, whatever, because they just don't matter as much. That's the message that they're sending when these decisions are made.

There's other ways you can put your head together and figure out what you're going to do because of weather or what you're going to do because of timing or whatever the hell it is. These are decisions that people are making and the decisions send messages that reinforce the notion that women athletes are not as worthy of our time or our attention or center stage and that is bullshit and I want to burn it.

Lindsay: Burn.

Brenda: Burn.

Amira: All right, Bren. Bring this home. What are you burning?

Brenda: I'm burning the way in which Alexi Lalas talks about Ada Hegerberg. I can't even believe these are words coming out of my mouth, like he should have an opinion on Ada Hegerberg. The first time winner of the Ballon d’Or, Norwegian player Ada Hegerberg is not playing in this Women's World Cup because of unequal conditions from her federation.

In a round table on Fox which was very disappointing to me because I do like Heather O'Reilly, so I was disappointed to hear her criticism of Ada Hegerberg. At the same time, I was absolutely needlessly subjected to the opinion of Alexi Lalas who is a former men's player who was overpaid or whatever, overpaid on a mediocre team and whatever. Shade, at me about all that, okay? I don't care. That's true. I studied the global soccer.

People who are going to be all up in my business about “that was a great US men's team”, whatever. Go read something. He wasn't. So, she's a phenom, she's amazing, she loves her country. She doesn't not love her country. She's making a freaking point and Alexi Lalas is someone who doesn't read Norwegian, speak Norwegian, nor has ever followed, I'm sure, Ada Hegerberg in his entire life, has the gall to say that she has not been clear about her reasons for not playing.

What? What the hell are you talking about? She's been so specific as to say the very cafeterias in which we eat in are not as good. How do you get more specific? She said pitches, she used to say salary, and then Norway changed to having equal pay. Well, maybe that had something to do with her drawing attention to this.

But she doesn't get credit for any of that. All she gets is a bunch of shit from this guy who needs to preach to her about her feminist practice and gender equity. Alexi Lalas is the person that Ada Hegerberg needs to win respect back from because he said he would just ‘respect her more.’ How about you respect the fact that she might understand how to make her own political protest and do it while sacrificing something that really, obviously she would want to be doing?

She's a tremendous football player, better than Alexi Lalas ever was and is clearly a better human being. I would like to burn all of his ignorant commentary about Ada Hegerberg. Can you tell I'm mad?

Amira: Burn. I just feel like Alexi Lalas has a permanent burn spot through this whole World Cup because I feel like it's not the last time we'll be burning something asinine that comes out of his mouth.

Brenda: Probably not, but this one was a doozy for me. This was special. I didn't deal with... I can deal with a lot of Alexi Lalas, but this one went too far for me.

Amira: After all that burning, it's time to shed out some badass women of the week. Let's start back on the pitch. Shouting out Brazilian soccer legend, Formiga, who's not playing in her first, second, third, fourth, fifth, or sixth World Cup but her seventh.

That's right. At 41 years of age, Formiga became the oldest player to ever play in this tournament and if you watch her play, you'll know she has not lost a step. Formiga, congratulations to you on your seventh World Cup.

Also want to shout out friend of the pod, Lauren Silver, Sydney Schneider, and the rest of the Reggae Girlz becoming the first Caribbean nation to represent and play in the Women's World Cup. Also along those lines, wanting to shout out South Africa, Chile, and Scotland who are all making their World Cup debuts.

Over to the tennis courts we go to shout out Marketa Vondrousova for her second place finish at the French Open. The unranked teen was a phenom these last two weeks. Congrats to you. And Tímea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic, who are your French Open women's doubles champions.

Last but certainly not least, we have to give a huge, huge shoutout to the UCLA softball team who are now national champions and a special shout out to their pitcher, Rachel Garcia. UCLA was in the championship for the last four years without winning it, so this year, the fifth try, they finally broke through, defeating Oklahoma on a walkoff hit.

Rachel Garcia was a pitching phenom through the whole thing, earned the accolade of Most Outstanding Player. It's UCLA's 13th national championship and although it's their first since 2010, so this in, in many ways, a reviving of a dynasty. Congrats to you.

And now, a drum roll please. Our badass woman of the week is Ashleigh Barty who won 6-1 6-3 at the French Open this weekend gave her her first Grand Slam title. Afterwards, the 23 year old said, "Listen, it's just been an incredible journey. The way we've tried to work and develop and grow this game that I have, this game style and Ash Barty brand of tennis, I suppose, it's amazing."

Yes, it's amazing and so are you. Congratulations, Ashleigh. You are our badass woman of the week. Now it's time to hear about what's good in your world and I'll actually go first and thank you all for the birthday wishes, I had a wonderful time in Bermuda on my birthday and mostly just slept, which is fine. I've decided that's what 31 looks like for me is reading books and sleeping.

It was a wonderful time and I felt very blessed and surrounded by love of friends and family, so thank you for that. I got a new tattoo. That was my birthday present from my husband. I'm so excited. It has books, it's so nerdy. I love it. I love it so much.

I also want to just shout out everybody who... Writing is hard. It's terrible and awful and yet, we do it and I just had a minor writing breakthrough and victory this week. I'm trying to celebrate the little things, so it was a baby step but I'm celebrating the hell out of it.

Brenda, what's good in your world?

Brenda: What's good in my world is Brazil won their first match and Christiane got three goals, but I've already talked about that a lot on this show. I wish Jamaica would've gotten on the board, but I think they are going to make it happen.

What else is good is that I'm going to Paris on Friday with my three daughters. They're super excited. We taped up our jerseys so that they have women's names on them because you can't buy them in South America. We're absolutely excited to go to Paris. I'm going to get to meet up with Jess for one day. I'm going to miss Lindsay and Shireen and Amira, but at least I'll get to see one of my co-hosts.

I'm thrilled about that. I don't know. Life's good in that sense. Very, very good and all of you indulging all of my women's soccer stuff all the time, that's also very good.

Amira: Awesome, Bren. Lindsay, what's good with you?

Lindsay: I've got to be honest, this is kind of a crazy time in life. It's one of those little down times but what's good is all the wonderful people around me. My birthday is here and I'm just blessed to have so many friends and family members, so many flamethrowers and of course, my cohosts. As I am going through this little spell, I'm just feeling at the same time very, very grateful and just extremely blessed.

Made it through another year with just the best people around me. Must be doing something right.

Amira: That's it for this week's episode of Burn It All Down. You can listen and subscribe to Burn It All Down on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Google Play, wherever you listen to your podcasts. Please rate this show wherever you listen to it. We're also on Facebook and Instagram @burnitalldownpod and on Twitter @burnitdownpod. We love to hear from you guys, so keep those tweets, those messages to us on all social media platforms coming.

For more information about the show and links as well as transcripts for each episode, you can check out our website: burnitalldownpod.com. There, you can also shoot us an email directly from the site as well as link to our merchandise store, as well as our Patreon.

A huge shout out to all of our Patreon supporters. Without you, this wouldn't be what it is. We want to give a special shout out to you all and as always, keep an eye on the Patreon campaign for special behind-the-scenes interviews, newsletters, chance to ask questions to be submitted for a show, and our last Patreon-only episode.

For me, Amira Rose Davis, along with Lindsay and Brenda, that's it for this week, flamethrowers. As Brenda says, "Burn on, not out."

Shelby Weldon