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!!

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