Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks!

The final four weekend ended just like it started, in dramatic fashion. The final game saw the University of Maryland Terrapins come back from a 2-0 deficit with minutes left and finish it off with the 3rd unanswered goal. For those of you that followed the semi-finals, the University of North Carolina had done just the opposite to the UConn Huskies, coming back from a 3-0 deficit, sending it to OT with seconds left of the clock, and putting in the game ending goal minutes later. Very ironic finish to the weekend.

Although these games were exciting to watch, my favorite part of the weekend was our 3PC event on Saturday night. It was so nice to meet up with former National Team members and hear their many stories. Everything from crazy travel experiences, to funny stories about other teammates, to their amazing accomplishments before our time. It was nice to share our Pan Am win with those who pathed the way for our success. Without them, we could not have achieved what we have. A big shout and thanks goes out to Simone Attles, Rachel Dawson, and Maren Langford for setting up the whole event! It was fabulous! :)

THANKSGIVING: My absolutely favorite time of the year! Why? Well, besides the copious amounts of food you get to eat (without too much guilt) and all the football games on television, obviously the most important thing is time spent with my family. As much as I travel and spend time training in California, I always cherish my time at home with my family. I want to give thanks to all of them for supporting me endlessly in my journey to follow my dreams. I definitely couldn't do it without them.

That's not all Thanksgiving has to offer in Chapel Hill though! (Besides Black Friday of course!) Every Friday after Thanksgiving we have an alumni soccer game at my high school. The current men's team will play a period against the alumni, before the alumni play against each other. This always brings out many of my former high school teammates, as well as many others who just want to watch. There were up to 30 or 40 alums from both the men's and women's team. It was really cool to see that many of us back at East (ECHHS). I of course participated in the game and it made my day! I miss playing competitive soccer, and yes, I can keep up with the guys! ;)

Friday evening sees all of these people, plus the rest of our high school meet up at a local bar called Top of the Hill. As an unwritten rule, we always show up there the Friday after Thanksgiving for an unorganized high school reunion. Since I missed it last year while I was playing in Holland, it was awesome to see and catch up with those I had not seen for 2 years (or more). I love coming back to Chapel Hill. Some things never change.

As my time at home came to a close, I was sad to leave. But the journey to London 2012 must begin. There is still a lot of work to be done to reach the podium next summer. This week is basically testing week. Stay tuned for more to come once the week concludes...

(this blog is from a few days ago, but I was having trouble uploading it!)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NCAA Final Four

As I pack my bag for this weekend's trip to the NCAA Final Four, I am reminded of my college days and the pure excitement this final weekend brings. It is the best of the best in college field hockey. I was fortunate enough to be a part of this experience all four years of my career at Wake Forest, and it was just as thrilling every year, even though we never got to bring home the National Title. Returning to the Final Four, now as a college alum and National Team member, I reflect on those amazing memories and I am grateful for all those experiences because they have brought me to where I am today. I look forward to seeing the new talents this years Finals has to offer, as these players are part of the future of USA Field Hockey.

This weekend will also be the inaugural meeting of the US Field Hockey Team Players Club, or as we like to call it, just 3PC. This group encompasses all US National Team players past, present, and future. Our goal is to keep a unified network between this select group of players. We may not have all played together, but we all play for the same team and we all strive for the same goals: to make USA Field Hockey the best it can be and the best in the world. We can learn from those who came before us and continue to teach the ones that will most certainly follow. So I am excited to gather with not only my current teammates, but past teammates, both of which I know and have yet to meet. I can only imagine some of the stories they have from teams past...

All in all, it should be a very fun and eventful weekend for hockey fans across the States. If you get a chance to go to any of the games, look for us in the stands and signing autographs between games! Also, we are playing exhibition games against the Senior All-Star Teams on Saturday, so come check us out! Look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Hobby?

Some people wonder, what do you do with all your down time? Although it is nice being back in my hometown, my parents work, and my friends work or go to grad school, so there aren't a whole lot of people to hang out with during the week. This takes me back to the original question, what do I do with all my down time?

The obvious answer to this question is work out. But even that only takes up a few hours of my day. Oftentimes you will find me watching a movie or a sporting event, but the weather has been amazing this past week and I've wanted to spend all my time outside.

This has brought me to my new hobby... or rather an old one I am rediscovering: GOLF. A little history on this: As a young girl, my dad brought my brother and I out to the golf course a lot. I actually picked up a golf club years before I ever even knew what field hockey was. I was told I was a natural by age 8. I even went to golf camp (yes, it's true). I also won a golf tournament when I was only 12 years old. Some may wonder why I quit (my dad wonders that all the time!), but team sports had a much bigger draw for me.

Anyways, ever since I got into field hockey in middle school, I haven't really had much time to hit the links. In the past 10 years, I have probably golfed once or twice a year. So when a friend invited me to go golfing a few days ago, I said why not?! (Actually he told me he wasn't very good and knowing I am quite out of practice, I felt a little better about the adventure). As I left for the 9-hole outing, I told myself that no matter what happened, I wasn't allowed to get mad and it was just for fun. This can be a difficult task since I am so competitive and I never like to struggle with anything athletic, especially when I used to be pretty good!

I went out and actually did fairly well! In fact, I beat both the guys I was playing with, but to be honest, none of us were really that good. Once my dad got wind that I was out golfing, he jumped on the chance to take me again. He couldn't wait to see for himself how good I was, so he said. Personally, I think he just wanted an excuse to play a round himself! After a rough start, I pulled out a couple pars, almost birdied even. It turned out to be a fun day with the family, highlighted by my dad almost hitting a car and my brother hitting a house! haha.

Although you might think a golf swing is similar to that of field hockey, the swing is in fact very different! I learned that the hard way! As for a new hobby, you might see me out on the course a little more often in the next couple weeks. Well, as long as the weather stays nice! I'm a bit of a wimp when it gets cold! Stay tuned.... maybe one of these days I will actually hit that birdie! (Not the flying kind!)

Friday, November 4, 2011

What a Feeling

It's been exactly one week since the PanAmerican Games Final against Argentina and I still find myself on a high of emotions and disbelief. It's not that I ever questioned the skill and desire of our team because I never doubted that we would win Gold down in Guadalajara, Mexico, but it's a feeling like I've never felt before. Not only are we qualified for the 2012 Olympics in London next summer, but we put out a fantastic performance against the world number one and have a lot to look forward to in the year to come.

With that being said, I have enjoyed the victory and celebrated with my teammates, family, and now friends at home, yet the time to refocus is drawing near. The year leading up to the Olympics is always the most demanding, as it is the peak of any athletes career to represent their country at the Olympic Games. Despite the hard work I know awaits, I am excited for the journey to get there with my amazing teammates. Keep following as it's sure to be a roller coaster ride!

I also want to give a BIG shout out to everyone who has been following and supporting me, as well as US field hockey, before and throughout the PanAm Games. Having the support of family and friends back home has made the journey all that more exciting and enjoyable.

In case you missed it, here is a link to the highlights from the final game:

Here are some pictures from the PanAm Games: