Thursday, October 20, 2011

Finding Our Way In Mexico

Greetings from the PanAmerican Village in Guadalajara, Mexico! We have now called this place our home for almost a week and although we’ve had to make a few adaptations, everything is running quite smoothly. Despite having almost the same meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we have found a way to mix the foods up a bit and have created a snack room back in the dorms for back-up. We have also had to make some adjustments with regards to the internet. We must go outside or down in the athlete center to pick up any kind of signal, which may still be questionable at times, but we’ll do just about anything to keep in touch with all our friends and family back home!!

Although our biggest task so far has been finding different ways to deal with all the down time! (I know what a terrible problem to have!) We are so used to having packed schedules, constantly practicing, having meetings, etc. that we aren’t used to quite this much down time in between games and practices. This is one of the most spread out tournaments we’ve played in. Don’t worry though, we are very creative and have found lots of fun games to play. We have completed two 1,000 piece puzzles, played a fair bit of cards, and definitely have had our books out and movies on throughout our week here. But the game that has become everyone’s favorite (ok it’s my favorite at least) is Pictionary!! We have played every night since we’ve gotten here, and the men’s team joins in the fun as well. It gets pretty crazy, but it’s really entertaining to see what people come up with.

Although we are having a great time off the pitch, we know when it is time to focus and that this is a very important tournament. As most of you probably already know, we played Mexico yesterday and won 5-0. It was a good start for us, with a very loud and rowdy Mexican crowd supporting the home team. We did a lot of things well and it was a good first game to build towards our ultimate goal: winning the PanAms. We have to continue to take it one game at a time and keep progressing forward. There is still a lot of tournament left to play!

Keep following our journey and supporting us along the way! We appreciate all the cheers we got from back home, keep ‘em coming!!

As always, GO USA!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One Week Until PAN AMS

I know it has been a while since I last blogged. The last month we have been training hard in our final preparation phase before the Pan Am Games, which happens to be our Olympic Qualifier. It has been a stressful and exciting time, with a series against New Zealand, the naming of the team and everything coming together from all the hard work we have put in this past year.

Just a week after we all returned back to San Diego, the New Zealand hockey team, also known as the Black Sticks, came to town. I was very excited about this because two of my fellow teammates in the Netherlands at HGC were amongst the Kiwi squad (Emily Naylor and Krystal Forgesson). I also knew a few of the other Kiwis from my time in the Netherlands since quite a few of them were playing on different teams. Anyways, the series did not turn out exactly how we had envisioned. New Zealand is a very good side and came to challenge us in top form. Most impressive was their speed. The Kiwis are by far the fastest team we have ever played, and by that I mean their entire team had some "wheels"! haha... We learned a lot from this series, which definitely helped point out the areas we needed to tweak before heading into the Pan Am Games.

After another week of training under our belts, we headed to the training center in Colorado Springs for some altitude training. Guadalajara is at approximately 5200ft and the OTC in Colorado Springs is around 6200ft, so it was a good opportunity for us to get acclimated to the Pam Am Games conditions. We were all excited to experience the life at a different training center, but I must say the food was definitely a highlight of the trip. Shout out to the cooks! The field was sport turf instead of water based, so that on the other hand took some getting used to. We definitely had to be alert and ready for any kind of bounce! We also got to spend a weekend in Breckenridge. Another big highlight of the trip!! Lots of team bonding time with no cell phones or computer! We even had a little "Top Chef" cook off... little did we know, we have some amazing cooks on our team!! My favorite part of this trip was the smores by the bonfire! Nothing better than a little fire and a delicious snack. Overall, the trip was a success! We got to get away from San Diego for a bit, do some hard training, get acclimated to altitude, and really bond as a team.

We missed our training center though. We missed the routine of our normal schedule, our homes, and the warm weather of San Diego. As much as we enjoyed Colorado and all that it had to offer, everyone was ecstatic to be coming home!

With less than a week until we depart of Mexico, the team will have a few more hard training sessions to put the final touches on our preparations. I know I am so ready to get down there and show everyone just what the RED WHITE AND BLUE can do!! We are in a really good position and have a great opportunity to take home the GOLD!! I hope you follow us in our journey to the 2012 OLYMPIC GAMES in LONDON.

GO USA!!!!