Monday, October 22, 2012
It has been almost 2 months since the close of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The American people have slowly put those breathtaking weeks in the back of their minds for new thoughts, such as MLB playoffs, the NFL season, and the upcoming Presidential Election that looms ever so near. The spirit and pride of the Red, White, and Blue has not been quickly forgotten by those who continue to wear it. Although many Olympic athletes have taken a break to recover their bodies and their minds post-Olympics, there are many others who have continued on their athletic journey, taking all the experiences from the Games with us in hopes of springboarding us to further success.
In all honesty, once the Games end, shortly thereafter, we begin to dream of the next event, the next game, the next Olympics. Whether you won Gold, or had no medals to bring home, our pure drive as elite athletes pushes us to want more, to better ourselves, our teammates, and our country.
USA Field Hockey returned to the pitch just a little over a month after the Games. It’s funny though, how much can change in a month. With a few players retired, a couple at new jobs, and a handful back in classes at various colleges, more than half of our Olympic team was unavailable for our upcoming tournament in Ireland. Fortunately, we have a fantastic pool of athletes to pull from, including multiple players that trained with us throughout the Olympic year and were extremely close contenders for the final Olympic roster. Not to mention, we had a few new players that were just waiting for their chance to step out on the big stage.
With a week of training camp before we headed overseas, I was very curious to see how this new mix of players would come together. Yet, I was extremely excited. There were fresh faces, along with old friends. We were reunited again, as a new team. What happened in London didn’t matter anymore, it was in the past. We had a new focus and a new excitement about us. From the first day, you could tell these were the players that loved the game, that wanted to be out on the field, and that were jumping at the opportunity to prove they were the future of our program.
We arrived just days before the tournament started and disappointingly lost our first game to Scotland. At this point, the tournament could have gone many different ways. We could have given up knowing that we just didn’t have our “full” roster present, or we could fight back and prove that we are Team USA, we’re talented, and we don’t have any excuses. We did just that. We roared back to win our pool, cross-overs, and land ourselves a ticket to the final. Although we fell short, losing to a well-groomed Australian side who had their full Olympic roster present, we were proud at what we proved in such a sort preparation period. There is a lot to be said about where our program is heading in the future. I am proud to be a part of Team USA. Although the road ahead won’t be easy, I know we’re prepared to face each obstacle head on. No excuses.