Thursday, June 16, 2011

The one and only Michelle Vitesse

One of the funniest things I have ever seen on the hockey pitch... she is going to make history... Watch and enjoy!

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or watch it (and share it) on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nvhDN3_VJE



GO STATES!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

DUBLIN

Greetings from Dublin, Ireland!!! We made it here safe and sound yesterday morning after a fairly uneventful day of traveling. Everyone and all of theirs bags arrived on time bright and early at 8:30am Irish time. Running on few to no hours of sleep, we checked into our dorm rooms on the campus of University College Dublin.

Of course one of the first things we want to do is sleep and eat! Sleeping mid-day when you are trying to adjust to a new time zone is always a bad idea, so we went to eat! We are eating in the dorm cafeteria, but the food is pretty similar to what we would find at home in the States which is always good! After lunch, we had a little down time to settle in before practice. Power naps of less than an hour were all that were allowed. I got a good 45 minute one in! Practice was our usual travel day practice: get a good run around and stretch, get used to the turf, and always have a little fun. Day 1 concluded after dinner, as we all pretty much showered and were in bed around 8!

Day 2 began with an early morning practice. We did some short and sharp drills to get our touch going on the new surface and ended with a few corners. Nothing too straining as we had another practice planned for the afternoon, which was a bit more intense with quite a bit of game situation play and scrimmaging. The highlight of the day was without a doubt getting bicycles! That's right, bikes! The field is about a mile away from our dorm, so our coaches decided that is way too much walking that will take away unnecessary energy from us which we need as this important tournament moves forward. Their solution was to rent the whole team bicycles for the week! Personally, I love riding bikes (maybe it's all that time spent in Holland...), but a few girls are not as comfortable on them and were a little unsure of the new adventures and obstacles riding a bike might bring. Oh yeah, and they drive on the left side of the rode, so we have to remember to ride on the left as well! So far so good, no mishaps or casualties... yet! haha...





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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Off to Ireland

As I finish up my packing for our departure tomorrow to Ireland, I am happy that the Champions Challenge has final arrived! This past week of training was only a week and a half long, but it seemed to be one of the longest weeks ever!

With one of our shortest preparations ever before a big tournament, we had to fit a lot into a short period of time. Most of our team were returning players, but with a few new additions, we had to quickly catch them up to speed tactically. This included quite a few scrimmages and full practice games. We also focused a lot on corners because it is a very important part of scoring in today's game.

What this week really made me realize though, was just how important rest is my success. I always have known this fact and often when we are not in training, you can find me watching movies or even taking a nap. But every detail with regards to rest, hydration, and nutrition is highlighted in such a short, sharp preparation. Even one night's sleep (or lack thereof) can affect multiple day's of performance. Although it may seem like we are lazy or wasting our down time, for us, resting is a huge part of our recovery and is a necessary to success. It comes as part of the job.

So although it would be nice to get a job on the side or further my studies, the energy those things would take out of me physically and mentally would detract from my successes on the field. It may sound strange, I know, but to be the best at something, you have to put all your time and energy into that (on and off the field). So if anyone wants any movie reviews or has a good book suggestion to keep me occupied, just let me know!

Anyways... time to leave California and the great USA once again. With a full day of travel ahead of us, I'm sure there will be some funny stories of our adventures- there always are.

See you in Dublin!!
GO STATES!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Everyone was ready and geared up to go for the final game of National Championships 2011. The South had returned to the final to see the defending champs from the previous year. We came out strong, taking the momentum from the first whistle. With multiple chances early, including two 1v1’s with the goalie (which we failed to finish) we knew our goals would come. Then against the run of play, New Jersey found the back of the goal. We were down 1-0 after dominating the 15 minutes. We kept fighting and got the equalizer shortly after. With the continuing momentum into halftime, we knew the game was without a doubt within our grasp. We added another goal off a corner to take the lead midway through the second half. We could see the championship within sight. New Jersey wouldn’t give up though and again found a way to put the ball in the back of the goal despite our strong play. With a few more chances before the final whistle, we found ourselves headed into overtime. We remained confident that our momentum and dominance would surely give us the golden goal in the following minutes of extra play. Just minutes into the first overtime, New Jersey found a shot, and as it hit the backboard, we all stood in disbelief. None of us could believe that we just lost the game. We all had an empty reaction. Confused more than we were hurt by the loss. Disappointment set in because we had the chances to win and we played the game exactly how we had wanted to. Those losses are the most frustrating: the games where you were the better team, but somehow managed to let it slip away.





Despite this feeling of let down, many of us were quickly picked up with the announcements of the National Squad and Developmental Squad for 2011. We had 5 players make the National Squad (Jakie Kintzer, Katelyn Falgowski, Mel Brill, Jesse Gey, and myself) as well as 5 players make the Developmental Squad (Meg Dawson, Caitlin Van Sickle, Steph Fee, Marta Malmberg, and Kelsey Kolejejick). This was pretty much our entire starting line up!! Obviously, we proved ourselves throughout the tournament. I want to give a big CONGRATULATION to all of those on team South, as well as all others that made selections this past week. The level at the tournament was much higher this year, and I am very excited for the rest of this year and the future of US Field Hockey!

It was a long week and a long tournament and we all left exhausted. I was fortunate enough to head down to the little town of Arapahoe (right outside New Bern, on the North Carolina coast) to visit my parents at their beach house. My brother, my best friend from home- Sterling, and our good family friends (the Henry’s)- Nat, his mom Mareth, and her boyfriend Drew, all made the trip for Memorial Day weekend as well. It was absolutely an amazing weekend with even more amazing people.

On Saturday morning we got a little hot tub time before Sterling and I took the kayaks out amongst the dolphins that had swam into our creek. It is pretty unreal to be within 5 feet of dolphins in the wild. There were approximately 30 that came into the creek that morning, and they weren’t fazed by our presence in the kayaks. Only when the motor boats came for a visit did they decide to head back out to the river. Some of the others were out on the jetski at this time and we decided to let Mareth and Drew take a turn on the kayaks. Shortly thereafter, it was time to take the motor boat out for some wakeboarding and tubing! Nat and I took our turns on the wakeboard, but a storm began to roll in before we could throw some people off the tube! It was perfect timing though because we headed in for lunch just in time for the FC Barcelona vs. Manchester United UEFA Champions League Final. Sterling and I enjoyed the buttkicking Barca and our favorite player, Messi, gave to ManU! After this we squeezed in a little tubing time before dinner. Our neighbors Drew and Kathy joined us for kabobs and a lovely Saturday evening catching up with old friends. But the night wasn’t over yet! In nearby Oriental, the band was playing and the people were dancing. We headed over to join the fun. Under the star covered night, with a Corona in hand, the band played some oldies and for one night, I forgot all about the crazy whirlwind of travel and training that is my life.





As Sunday morning rolled around, I anticipated the many options that the day could bring! With fresh blueberry muffins in my stomach, I headed out on the water. Although the dolphins did not make another appearance this morning, we decided to make a little trip in the dinghy across the creek to the little beach in which we rightfully named “Shell Beach” since they cover the entire beach. We laid out for a bit and did some shell hunting as well. Yet again, a few stormy clouds rolled in and we headed inside for lunch and movie time. We watched Hall Pass which was hilarious! When the storm finally cleared, we went out for another trip on the boat! Everyone took a turn on the tube and my dad proceeded to throw each and every challenger off! Exhausted from the sun and water sports, we retired in for dinner. My dad made his AMAZING ribs in honor of Memorial Day with brownies and ice cream for dessert, and a belated birthday celebration for me. (My birthday was on Thursday, the 26th at National Championship). We sat on the couch again for another movie, this time Limitless. A very good movie, I recommend it if you haven’t seen it!



Finally Monday arrived, our departure day and Memorial Day. Sitting down by the water in the morning, while checking the crab pots (which sadly only had two baby crabs), I saw a Bald Eagle fly over head. I have never seen one in real life and it only seemed fitting for it to happen on Memorial Day. After spending a a long morning riding up and down the Neuse River on the boat along with a little jetskiing, it was time to head home.

This past weekend was one of the best weekends I have had in a long time. It was just perfect. A nice blend of fun and relaxation, with amazing food!, and even more amazing company. To be with my family and good friends whom I haven’t seen in ages made it an ideal couple of days. Especially with the hard week before and the definite tough weeks to come. It is a weekend like this that really makes me appreciate all that I have. How lucky I am to have these people in my life that support me no matter how little they get to see me, but enjoy every second we do get to spend together.





So a big thank you to them for everything they do and such a wonderful weekend.
But now, back to CALI and preparing for DUBLIN!!!

As always, GO STATES!!