Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Game Day's

Throughout our playing days, we all have developed routines and rituals that we find work best for us before games. Over the years, these often change and evolve until they are right for each individual.

These rituals vary from what sock or shoe is put on first, listening to a specific song or playlist, or even sitting in a certain seat on the bus to the field. Whatever it may be, these rituals and routines often have a calming effect, helping us feel fully prepared, with every minute detail and factor in our control taken care of before the game.

The morning of a game, you may find some of the players reading or doing a crossword to keep their minds active, yet not overly stressing the game. As the game begins to approach and we start to get physically prepared, many of us have to do our hair a certain way. (We are girls after all!) During this trip, Jackie Kintzer has become the braider of choice, even coordinating times to do Sarah Dawson and Katie O'Donnell's hair.

Once our hair is done, our uniforms are on, and our stick bags packed, we load up the bus and begin our journey to the field where really start to focus into the task at hand: taking care of business on the field and winning the game. At this point, many of us have our headphones in listening to anything from alternative (to stay relaxed) to hip-hop (to get pumped up). Upon arrival, we usually have close to 30 minutes before our actual warm-up on the field starts. This is where one of my favorite rituals takes place: The Hacky Sack game. About half the team participates, standing in a circle, hacking until everyone gets a touch. The rest of us usually spectate and get a few good laughs in along the way.

As we head to the field, our focus narrows. With a jog, stretch, and some touches on the ball, we are physically prepared for battle. After one last word from Lee, we finally take the field, hear the line-ups and the anthems, and we're ready to go. Personally, my favorite part is the anthem. Every time it gives me chills to know I am wearing my countries colors and representing not only myself and my team, but my country. It always puts things into perspective on how very lucky I am, how many people would love to be in my position, but how hard I've worked to get here. I know that every time I hear the Star Spangled Banner, I am about to embark on a once in a lifetime opportunity that fuels my passion for the game.

Despite our differences in rituals before each game, once the whistle blows we are all on the same page, working together for the same goal: a win for the USA.

Photo 1 & 2 taken by Michelle Kasold
Phtoto 3 Taken by Jackie Kintzer

No comments: