Friday, August 1, 2008

Departure...

The last week of training was a bit short for those of us who aren't going to the Olympics. We played one final full game on Monday to help the team get back into full game competition. Monday afternoon we lifted in the heat chamber on what would be our final training session with the team before they left for China. Tuesday and Wednesday they proceeded with their final practices, and had Thursday off from practice to prepare for their departure on this morning! It was a very hectic couple days and were quite emotional for a few us, as most of us were organizing to move out in our final days in California.

This was probably the hardest part for our house. As all of us (Katelyn Falgowski, Jesse, Gey, Katie O'Donnell, and I) are all returning to school at the end of August for the fall semester, we had to pack our entire house (and sell lots of it too). What was even harder though was saying goodbye to our neighbors who have been like family to us during our 7 months away from home and during our rigorous training. The Gominiack's (Aubyn, Jack, little Jack, and Joe) were more than generous in their support and friendship. We not only had numerous dinner's (our only home cooked meals) at their house, but whenever we had a rough day, the boys could always put a smile on our face!

We will truly miss all of the people we met in California! We all made some great friends that will not be forgotten. I want to thank everyone for the support they have not only given me, but my team and teammates. It has meant the world to me and I know I wouldn't have been able to go through everything I have this year without these people.

As for me, I will continue to blog throughout the Olympics. But my plans for now are to head home and see my family! I will be home for about a week or so before I head back to school (Wake Forest University) where I will be picking up my field hockey stick again for the start of preseason! Let's just say... you gotta love a sport if you play it as much as I do!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Last week

So this past week was our last full week of training before the team departs! Kind of crazy how close it's getting! It was a hard week. We did a lot of scrimmaging and continued with our running workouts and heat chamber sessions. Thursdays running, in my opinion, was one of the hardest of the entire year. No doubt our team will be in shape and ready for these games. Our last Friday practice consisted of our end of the week soccer warm-up which we love because it's not only different and fun, but also because even though a lot of us used to play soccer, we still make a fool of ourselves and it's a good laugh at the end of the week! It was a tough week that took a toll on our bodies, and with the heat chamber getting up to 100 degrees (not including the humidity), surviving that should hopefully make Beijing and the games feel at least a little more comfortable!

This was also the last weekend in California as the team is set to leave on Friday. I really enjoyed it because I got to spend Saturday at my cousin Billy's all day. He lives a half hour away with his wife Rachel and 4-year old daughter Makeala. It was really nice having family out here in California when most of my family and friends are all back on the east coast. It's definitely going to be hard to not see them for a while, but that's how life can be sometimes when you're an athlete.

Anyways, Sunday topped off the weekend when my roommates (3 of my teammates: Jesse Gey, Katelyn Falgowski, and Katie O'Donnell) and I went to the water park here in Chula Vista (Knott's Soak City) with our neighbors and their little boys! It was a lot of fun and a great way to spend one of our last days here.

As the rest of this week should pan out, we are scrimmaging/playing full inter-squad games in the final preparation for the games! Should be some good competition!! More updates to come pre-Olympic departure!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Meeting Arnold

What a busy, exciting week! Thursday afternoon came quickly and proved quite challenging as we ran 6 300-yard shuttles before practice. After, we scrimmaged for two 15 minutes. We didn't play long so that we could keep our intensity high, especially after just running. Overall, it went pretty well, and everyone was beginning to connect again. The final score was 1-1, with the white team (our opposing team) scoring in the final minute! Even though practice was a bit shorter than normal, we just as tired, if not more from it's intensity.

You could feel the excitement upon arrival to practice Friday morning. We got to sleep in a little bit and started our warm up 45 minutes later than usual (8:45 instead of 8). Although we all knew we had a session in the heat chamber directly following the conclusion of practice, all of our minds were elsewhere. We were all anticipating the arrival of the GOVERNOR- that's right, Arnold Schwarzenegger! He came to the training center to meet our team, as well as the other Olympic athletes that train in Chula Vista at the OTC. It was very exciting for us all!! A few even got him to sign some old movies! Needless to say he was very nice and wished us well at the games. Check out the picture of him with our team!



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Supporting Team USA

So finally, the whole team is back together. Everyone was back in California on Sunday, and we had a light lift of Monday as a recovery. Tuesday morning we had off from our normal training session, but we got back into Tuesday afternoon with a little running and practice. It was obvious that the those who returned from Europe were still a little jet lagged and finding their legs. Overall, practice went pretty well considering everything that has been going on lately.

Today was pretty exciting because we got to test out our heat chamber. From now until the team leaves for the games, we are doing all of our lifting sessions in the heat chamber. Since there are 24 of us still training, it is a pretty tight area for a workout. With a few modifications and the heat level + humidity making it feel around 95 degrees, it got pretty hot in there. Needless to say we were all DRENCHED by the time we got done our approximately 45 minute workout. The whole point of this "heat chamber" is to help us practice acclimatization to the very hot temperatures we will have to play in while in China. So far (day one) we did pretty well!

One of the most exciting parts of today came later though. We have the priviledge of working with Colleen Hacker, a sports psychologist who also works frequently with the US Women's National Soccer Team. Tonight they were playing a game in San Diego verse Brazil- always a great matchup! Colleen was very generous and hooked us up with tickets. Our team was lucky enough to be able to sit (stand rather) down on the side of the field for the game. We all had a great time cheering on our fellow Americans and Olympians. It was great to see the US come out with a 1-0 victory as well, off of a spectacular goal by Natasha Kai. We all wish their team the best of luck as they finish up their training and head off to Beijing!

We were missing one today though. Rachel Dawson, also a blogger (make sure you check out her site if you haven't already!) headed up to LA to attend the ESPY's today! It will not be aired until Sunday at 9pm, but make sure you turn it on and watch for her! She is up for Best Female College Athlete! :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Staying Busy

Well, it's been another week out here in California. We had training and lifting on Monday, running and training on Tuesday, lifting on Wednesday, running and training on Thursday, and ended the week on a practice a lifting Friday. It was a pretty intense week despite our limited numbers. Trainings consisted of some competitive flow through drills and numbers up compitions, along with small games. Small games always seem to bring out our true competitive sides, but we always manage a few good laughs along the way. The week actually proved to be a lot tougher physically then I had imagined it to be, but a mid-week massage eased some of the tension my body was feeling.

My roommate, Katie O'Donnell and I had been waiting for Friday to come all week long. Not only because it would be the start of the weekend, but because we had tickets to a Toby Keith concert!! We got ticket vouchers through the training center last week and we couldn't wait! So, last night, we had dinner with our neighbors and a few of their friends (who also all had tickets to the concert) and then headed over to the Ampitheatre. This was my roommates first real concert and we had a BLAST! Montgomery Gentry opened for Toby Keith, and both of them great!! I'm posting a video from the concert- check it out!

The rest of the team returns to Chula Vista tomorrow and on Monday we begin our final preparation for the Olympics.


video

Sunday, July 6, 2008

4th of July Weekend


Heyyy all! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend celebrating the birth of our country! :) After training, lifting, and running this past week, my roommate, Katie O'Donnell, and I had a pretty relaxing weekend. We were going to head up to Los Angeles to check out all that it has to offer, but we decided it would be better enjoyed when it wasn't a holiday weekend. Instead we just stayed in Chula Vista, lounged at the pool, hung out with our neighbors, and made a beautiful cake to celebrate the 4th! We even went to the training center for their low-scale, but still entertaining set of FIREWORKS!! We meet a few of the archers who happened to still be on site for the weekend and enjoyed spending time with fellow athletes.

Tomorrow, we get back into training. It's our last week before the team returns from their tests matches in Europe! GO US!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Back in Cali

For those of us on the National Squad that did not make the Olympic team, we are now back in Chula Vista, California beginning our training again. This afternoon we have running and practice with a few of the players from the men's team. Their coach, Nick Conway, generously gives his time to us as well during this time when the rest of our team is away. It should be an interesting first day back with a lot of mixed emotions still going around. We all know that it is important for us to stay in shape and continue to work hard because we need to keep the whole team's competition high, and we never know if one of us might be pulled up and we need to prepared for anything.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Moment of Truth

We finished up our games Saturday after a very long and tiring week. My team (the South) was playing in the 5th/6th place game against the Maryland team (who we tied earlier in the tournament). Going into the game we were quite confident that we could pull out a win, but once again the game ended in a draw. The game would now be determined by golden goal (first team to score wins) in a 7 and a half minute overtime period. Both teams fought through the extra time, but no one prevailed. With no goals scored, another overtime period would need to be played. With multiple chances and near misses by both teams, the game drew to a close still knotted at 3. To determine the game, we would have to battle it out in the ever exciting penalty strokes (for those of you that are unfamiliar, they are similar to penalty kicks in soccer in which a player gets a chance to push the ball past the opposing side's goalkeeper from 7 yards out). Our goalie made 2 amazing saves, but with their goalie's save, a miss, and a hit post, we narrowly lost out 3-2. Overall though, it was a great tournament, with our young team learning and growing a lot. It was fun to see our team improve and evolve as the tournament went on. Hopefully this is just a glimse of the positive direction the future of our sport is going in the United States!


With fatigue finally setting in and nerves running high, I had a post-game meeting with our head coach (the head coach of the National Team, Lee Bodimeade) in order to find out whether I had made the Olympic team or not. One after one, players filed in and out of the office, some with good news, while others disappointment. As I walked into my meeting just about every emotion swept over me, this was the moment I'd been waiting for. In what seemed like an all-too-sudden turn of events, I was informed that unfortunately I had not been picked for this years Olympic team. After much trial and consideration, a difficult decision was made by the coaches that was no doubt hard for me to swallow.

After a few days of great deliberation and a re-evaluation of my goals and achievements thus far in my career at the ripe age of 21, I must remind myself that although I am disappointed at this stage, it is by no means the end of the road. As the Olympic team heads off to Europe for their last few test matches before the games, those of us who missed the cut will continue to train and will welcome the team when they arrive back in California for their final preparation. The entire squad (of 24) will continue to train up until the team leaves for the Olympics, not only to help prepare the team and keep the competition strong, but also in case there are any injuries.

Even though words can explain how much I have been through not only this year but throughout my years of training, it is important to understand why I am playing: for the love of game. Not only that, but for the friendships I have made along the way. I would love nothing more than to see my teammates, who I have grown with as a player and as a person, to succeed in their endeavors; and what better challenge than the Olympic games. The journey is not over. More updates to come soon!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hello World!

Welcome field hockey fans! This is the first post of many. My name is Michelle Kasold and I am excited to be introducing you all to my journey towards the Olympic Games. One of my teammates, Rachel Dawson, is also blogging about her experiences through this exciting time, so don't forget to check out her blog as well!

Currently, our National Squad is competing in our National Championships (in which we are all split up onto six different regional teams alongside an abundance of skilled players from around the country). We are in Virginia Beach where our National Training Center was previously located, so it's nice to be back in town for a while. At the conclusion of this tournament, the Olympic team will be selected. Needless to say, the competition is fierce and all the teams have been putting up a fight. It will be an interesting finish, where any team could pull out on top! My team is looking for a strong come-back in the final days...... GO SOUTH! :)