I’ve had a few ‘Holy Shit’ moments in my life, and I’m talking about the good kind. Those times when the circumstances unfolding around me, being caused by me, or simply being witnessed by me, created such a level of excitement that the only way my mind could process the emotion was to stop and actually say, ‘Hoooooollllly shit.’

My first Holy Shit moment occurred when I discovered speed. I was five. I’m not sure I actually uttered the phrase. I do know the profane couplet was in my vocabulary by virtue of being the daughter of a Marine, but I probably just thought it. (It still counts though.)

It was a weekend morning and my three-year old brother had woken me up. He wanted to play. There were a few toys scattered about the bedroom we shared; lettered wooded blocks, some Matchbox Cars waiting for my mother’s bare feet…my Princess Leia costume. But apparently none of these met his level of entertainment expectation. So we did what any enterprising toddlers would do: we built a fort.

In the course of stacking pillows and tenting blankets, the mattress slid from its box spring. Maybe I pulled it off, but that detail is lost to pre-nanny cam history. As we worked and reworked just how best the mattress could serve our structural needs, it got pushed closer and closer to the door. Eventually it was out of our room and in the hallway, its nose teetering over the wooden steps. And this is where I have no idea why what happened next, happened at all.

To the best of my knowledge, I had never seen a luge event. I did have a basic understanding of gravity though and had been sledding once or twice. My awareness of sports and physics aside, the next thing I knew my brother and I were prone on our backs atop a foam rocket, careening down the steps. We smashed safely through the screen door at the bottom of the course/staircase, the screen’s twisted mesh providing just enough arresting force before we would have encountered the slightly denser wooden door. And while I can’t say for certain I giggled ‘Holy Shit’, I definitely remember hearing the phrase hollered from the vicinity of my parents’ bedroom.

I’ve been fortunate to have a few more of those moments since that fateful morning: getting into college, seeing the Rocky Mountains (every time,) a few hundred bottomless powder days, etc. One that stands out most though is July 10, 1999.

I was bartending at a restaurant in Connecticut. It was a Saturday and I had had a pretty decent crowd at the bar for most of the afternoon. But something weird happened towards the end of my shift: the flow of the place changed. Normally people had a drink or two at the bar and then headed into the restaurant. But on this Saturday, people began pouring from the restaurant, into the bar. And not just a few people, but the entire restaurant. And what was even stranger was the number of people ordering drinks dropped to a trickle. That was fine by me. I had stopped paying attention to anyone because on the TV mounted above my head six women were in the process of defining of one of the most iconic moments in the history of American sports.

Women with the last names of Overbeck, Fawcett, Lilly, Hamm, and Chastain stood dead in the middle of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Their goalie, a 27-year old whose nickname was “The Rock,” stood downfield. The 90,000+ people who had come to see the final game of the women’s world cup of soccer created such a roar that it disrupted the numerous seismic sensors in the region. After regulation and extra time, the match was tied. Penalty kicks would decide the best soccer team in the world.

One by one, each of the women took their turn at the 12-yard line, alternating tries with their Chinese counterparts. The first two shooters from each team lasered the ball into the back of the net. Liu Ying, the third shooter for the Chinese, unleashed a cannon of a shot on her turn only to have Briana “The Rock” Scurry dive to her left and deflect the ball from crossing the goal line. History would now be decided by the remaining shooters. And it would come down to the very last one.

Brandi Chastain was a “senior” member of the team, eleven days shy of her 31st birthday. After 120 minutes of play, she took less than 15 seconds to change how a nation viewed women’s sports. The last of all of the kickers that day, she strolled to the penalty line, placed the ball on the mark, waited for the whistle, and then blasted a shot into the upper-right corner of the goal. And I, along with several million others, whispered ‘Holy Shit.’

The Women’s World Cup 2015 is underway. After two matches, the United States is at the top of their group. Come July 5th, I hope to be saying ‘Holy Shit’ once more.