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!

No comments: