Chesterton girls soccer coach David Galloway hasn't just been watching the Women's World Cup purely for its entertainment value
He's used the tournament as teaching device for his players.
During a break from Monday's workout in 91-degree sweltering conditions, Galloway spent time talking about the U.S. team's fitness level -- which was on display in thrilling shootout win over Brazil in Sunday's quarterfinals.
"It's been a source of inspiration," Galloway said. "I told the girls this is why we work up our fitness level.
"Those are the results we are looking for."
Galloway does allow his players to take water breaks when they need, and he also wants his players to be as fit as possible. He believes it's a reason why the Trojans advanced to semistate last fall.
"We had a conversation at the end of last year," Galloway said, "and the girls fully recognized how important it was for them to maintain their fitness level for the entire season."
Members of this year's squad were also given some homework. Galloway instructed his players to break down the U.S. team and another personal favorite and describe their systems.
"The girls have been able to talk about the matchups," Galloway said. "I try to encourage them to take something away from this."
Former Wheeler girls coach Todd Syren has watched the matches with his family: Hobart graduate Taylor -- who is continuing her soccer career at Calumet College -- 12-year-old daughter Riley and 8-year-old son Jackson.
"I've have been waking up (Taylor) for some of the matches," Todd Syren said. "At 18, she seems to sleep a lot."
Outside of joking about his children, Syren also uses match time as an instructional tool.
"Oh sure, there are conversations," he said. "We talked about the heart of the U.S. team (being down a player) in the Brazil win. "We've also talked strategy, bring up the importance of ball control."
Unlike Galloway and Syren, I'm more about watching the games for the entertainment value.
I still remember talking with a co-worker in the wee hours of the morning for the men's 2002 tourney. At least this time around, I haven't totally had to alter my sleeping schedule to watch the matches.
While I'm not going to get into a debate on whether or or not this year's tournament will spike popularity for the sport, it's still appointment television for me. I'll find a way to slip away for two hours and watch Sunday's final against Japan.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.