Saturday, September 13, 2008

Moving Forward

Now that the Olympics have concluded, and the Olympic buzz is slowly starting to wear off - I am beginning to settle down in "normal" (whatever that is) life. I am currently back home in New Jersey, spending time with my family and friends. It is an interesting point in my life, as I sit in a crossroads holding the power to choose the direction of my life. In the past, my decisions have always been guided by my commitment to education - high school, college etc. Then, after I graduated from UNC in December, the opportunity to pursue the Olympics just seemed waiting for me. It was impeccable timing to say the least. Now I sit and wonder where the road should go next - do I pursue hockey further or do I embark upon a new path. But perhaps, the answer is pursue both - use the pursuit of hockey to lead me toward a new path.

I state this with an edge of predictability, because I know where I am headed. I have decided to continue to play hockey for a club team in Holland. I will be heading off to Europe tomorrow for what I anticipate to be the adventure of a lifetime. In the Netherlands, hockey clubs possess both a competitive and social function. It is neat (and quite different from the US model) because members of all ages play the sport. I am looking forward to enjoying hockey in a new way. Not to mention, the incredible cultural experience that awaits.

I will keep you posted on the travails of my travels. All the Best!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Poem Written Before Olympics

Hi all. I wrote this poem on the morning of August 5, before the start of the Olympic Games. I was up entirely too early (still adjusting to the time difference), when I felt compelled from my sleeplessness to write a poem. I hope you enjoy.

TRANQUILITY
by Rachel Dawson

A new day has dawned;
The suns hazy glow has fell upon,
the silken grass and lilly pads
of China's new, rebuilt past.

One Nation has opened itself unto the world;
In this offer, the gleam of an ancient pearl,
as we hope for the herald of peace,
dreaming that what is west will merge with what is east.

It is in the vision that through competition
we will conquer the doomed beast of power,
so that eventually, triumphant our world will sing,
in the glory of unity at dawns tranquil hour.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Final Post From Beijing

Its 6:30 am here in Beijing and I am getting ready to depart the village for the final time. The completion of this tournament marks a great time to reflect on the progress and improvements of this group over the course of the Olympic Games as well as the journey we have taken over the past three years. We have come a long way, and while the 8th place finish is disappointing, we take from it a lesson about playing in big tournaments that could not be learned any other way. Sure we all wish that we could have medaled, but for the moment, we are exactly where we need to be. Nothing this group has ever accomplished has come easy - it is this resilience and persistence that will carry us forward over the next Olympic cycle. With the development of youth hockey in America as it is, the possibilities are limitless - we must only continue on the current course of USA Field Hockey, have belief in what we can accomplish, and the persistence to accomplish it.

My final days at the Olympic Games (since the conclusion of the Spain Game) have been like the rest of the experience, a whirlwind. The team was on the Today show and met Tiki Barber (the other Tiki Barber) and Meredith Veira. We watched the USA Women's soccer team win Gold against Brazil, and I had my picture taken with Vince Vaugn. This experience has been one of the most incredible of my life - one that I feel incredibly fortunate to have been able to have shared with all of you who have read my blog, my famiy, my friends and especially my teammates. There will be more to come from USA Field Hockey. . . just stay tuned. . .as for now, I need to hop on my flight to the States. . . the U.S.A. is the best country in the world - I feel fortunate to have represented our wonderful country . . . GO USA!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One Point Ties

Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose; and three times we tied - and unfortunately, ties didn't give us the point total we needed to go through to the medal rounds. The tie to Great Britain left a bitter taste in my mouth - it was extremely disappointing not to get a result because we feel that we are fully competent of succeeding at this level. I believe we have proved that we can play with the best in the world - the next step is proving that we can beat the best (consistently). Tomorrow, we play Spain in the 7/8th classification match. This game will be a great opportunity to play a highly skilled and talented opponent; it is an opportunity to get a win against a quality side. And it will be our last opportunity to showcase USA Field Hockey in the 2008 Olympic Games.

Go USA.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Game versus Germany

We had an extremely disappointing loss to the Germans today 4-2. In an incredibly even-matched game, Germany got the edge on us by executing their attack penalty corners. With the win, Germany keeps its strong hold atop our pool, while we remain with two points and have to await the outcome of tonight's matches to see where we sit.

Although the defeat is difficult to swallow (I really despise losing), I am very proud of our team for putting forth what I consider to be our best all around game of the tournament. Our forwards and midfields were incredibly tenacious on the press and put the German backfield under considerable pressure. While our backfield and goal keeper maintained a solid defensive structure and minimized their chances.

Unfortunately, we lost. But obviously, we cannot go back and rewrite the outcome of the game - from here we must move forward, taking with us the lessons of the first three matches. Our focus must switch to our next match, New Zealand. Our next two games are must wins - and therefore we must refocus, and put forward a winning performance.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Photos

From our Village Getaway and Opening Ceremonies. . .

Monday, August 11, 2008

Good Morning. . .

Good Morning!! I just pulled back my shade, and the sun is already shining here in Beijing - this is a much appreciated change from the rainy weather of the past couple of days. This evening, we take on Japan, a team who in the past couple years has become a friendly nemesis (if such a thing exists). Since I have joined the National Team in 2005, aside from Argentina, Japan is the team we have met most internationally. In the 2005 World Cup Qualifier in Rome, we lost to the Japanese in the 3-4 match. Again in the World Cup Final, we fell to them in the 5-6 game. Since those meetings we have played in two five game test series, one hosted in the USA and one in Japan. It is nice to meet a familiar foe in competition; however we know this evenings match will be incredibly difficult. The Japanese are quick and disciplined; their defense can absorb a lot of pressure - we will have our work cut out for us, but it is a task we apt to succeed at.

I must admit, it was an incredible relief to finally play in a match the other night. With so much activity going on around us in the village, in the city, in our hometowns (heck, even in my own mind), it was relieving to finally hit turf. At the days end, we are here to perform - sure the environment and the stage has altered; but the game we are playing remains the same. It is the same game, albeit improvements in the level, I played at BCS, Eastern, and UNC. It is the same game I played with my sisters in the backyard; its the same game I watched my sisters play in college; it is the same game I have played for years; so that is why when I hit the turf, I feel comfort - because that is where I have always been and that is where I am meant to be. Now, it doesn't mean it always going to smell like roses on the turf - but being so far away from the USA, the field has become home. . .

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Game One

So before I get to the 2-2 draw against Argentina, I need to give a view shout outs. Happy belated Birthday to my Grandpop, I hope you enjoyed watching me play for the USA. Congratulations, to my little sister Hannah who leaves for college tomorrow - Han, I can't tell you enough how excited I am for you. . . you have worked so hard to get where you are - enjoy every moment of the experience that awaits you! Lastly, thank you to everyone who got up at the crack of dawn to watch our USA Hockey Team compete; we can feel your support over here in Beijing.

So the question of the day, is are we happy with the 2-2 draw with Argentina. In earnest, I think considering the circumstances of the game (we were down a player for 20 minutes in the second half because we received two yellow cards), being able to come back from 2-0 deficit was a huge accomplishment. However, the result is not the outcome we had hoped for but we are pleased to come away with a point.

Well, there is more to come later about the game as for now, I need to put on my swim suit for a pool recovery.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Opening Ceremonies


Amazing. Fantastic. Exhilarating. Beautiful. Nothing I can write will do justice to what was the 2008 Opening Ceremonies. The Chinese have put on an incredible and extraordinary show; one that captivates the mind and enlivens the senses - its magnificence touches the very core of the human heart.

Our opening ceremonies experience started early in the day @ 5:15 - and like most days here in Beijing, it was incredibly hot and humid. Dressed in our Gatsby-esque Polo outfits, the perspiration started immediately as we walked out of our building. Our first stop en route to the Birds Nest was at the Fencing Center where we mingled with other athletes and awaited the arrival of President Bush.

It was amazing to be in a room filled with so many talented athletes. President Bush arrived with an entourage of people including his father President George H.W. Bush, his wife, First Lady Laura Bush, the Secretary of the Treasury, and many others...After making some remarks, the President mingled with the Olympians and took a picture with each team.

As I was standing in the room, I had an incredible thought - I was in the same room with two Presidents of the United States, various high ranking public officials, the Dream Team (including Lebron, Kobe, Chris Paul and other stars), and many other incredible athletes. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming.

After the photo-op with the president, we made a trek to the Gymnasium Hall that served as the staging area for the walk to the Birds Nest. We waited in the hall for what seemed like hours in the sweltering heat until our number 140 was called. We left the gymnasium and made our way toward the main event. We had a long walk in the hot heat - and finally reached the tunnel leading into the National Stadium. TEAM USA started chanting U - S - A as our time to march approached. The sound of U - S - A reverberating in the tunnel sent a cold chill up and done my spine - then they announced our country and our march around the track began.

Now, I never realized how difficult it was to wave for such a long period of time (especially in a sports coat). My right arm ached as I gazed up into the crowd at all of the spectators, but nothing could hinder the enthusiasm I felt as I walked with my teammates around the track. I was extremely thrilled to see numerous American flags being raised with pride in the stands. When our march ended we took our place in the center of the track and awaited the lighting of the Olympic Torch.

With our blazers thoroughly soaked, it finally came time for the lighting of the Torch. Chinese Olympians and star athletes ran the flame around the National Stadium; all minds were wondering how the Torch (which was high above at top of the Stadium) was going to be lit. To our amazement, we watched as the former Chinese gymnast was hoisted into the air, and made his captivating "run on air."

Now, it is night time here in Beijing, and as I write this post and prepare myself for bed, I need to "put to bed" (as our coach always says) all of the excitement and hype of the Opening Ceremonies. It is time to focus in on what is most important, performance on the hockey field. Tomorrow at 6:30 pm (6:30 am Eastern Time) we will play Argentina in our first Olympic match. Go USA!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

8.8.08

The lucky day has finally arrived in China. Today is 8.8.08. Later this evening, the world will gather in The National Stadium (aka The Bird's Nest) to witness the official opening of the 2008 Olympic Games.

But before I delve into the excitement of the opening ceremonies, I need to recount the incredible last couple days. It started with our team getaway from the village. Our coaches decided that a break from the hustle and bustle of village life would be perfect to maintain our focus and enthusiasm.

After training on Wednesday morning, we packed our bags and crammed into a tour bus and made a trek to the Great Wall of China. After a 1.5 hour bus ride, we arrived at a small parking lot, at the base of a hill. The team was looking around, saying, "Where is the Wall." When we set out on our journey, we did not know that we had to climb in order to reach the wall. So after perusing the markets at the base of hill, we began our 40 minute climb. Kelly Doton and Amy Tran led the hike, and after climbing what seemed like 5,000 stairs, we met a fork in the road. Two men were standing there and they suggested we stay to the right toward tower 6; however Amy had a better idea - realizing that we had a choice between Tower 6 and Tower 8, Amy exclaimed, "8.8.08 - we are GOING towards Tower 8!" Amy's proclamation re-enthused the group and we resumed our hike with a renewed fervor.

So, after climbing a while longer, we finally reached a huge clay-brown barricade - THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA. We mounted the wall, and into vision came the seemingly endless structure. The physical exertion and the high heat and humidity left us thoroughly soaked in sweat - so we wiped off our brows and took out our cameras - and the exploration of the Great Wall began. With a length that measures about 4,000 miles, the Great Wall is a magnificent structure to behond. Along the walk, we snapped pics, climbed the guard towers and enjoyed the breathtaking scenery of the rolling green hills.

After traversing the wall, we finally arrived at Tower 6, and instead of descending the wall by foot, we opted for the tobagon slide ride. Now I was just a nervous nelly as I awaited my turn; I watched my teammates basically bob sled (without the ice) down the hill . At last it was my time, and nervous as I was, I freaked out, and held down the accelorator to get the ride over with fast. I soon realized that this wasn't my best course of action, so I finally started braking and slowing. I eventually eased into the flow of the course so when I reached the end, I had calmed and enjoyed the ride.

We all descended safe and sound, and then returned to the bus to head to Leisure City for some relaxation. We stayed in Pagota's - which was a courtyard surrounded with 6 rooms. Exhausted from the days activities, we headed to bed early.

On Thursday morning, we woke up to the sound of music, dancing and celebration in the street. My roommate and I ran out to see what was going on - to our surprise and good fortune, we learned that the Torch Relay was coming thru Leisure City, right outside our rooms. We waited and watched for an hour, until finally, we saw the parade of buses and security cars head down the street - The torch was approaching. Every 40 meters a new torch bearer (or is it barer?) ran with the Olympic flame. We watched as one runner handed the flame to the other and joined hands in unison. The moment was beautiful, and sent a cold chill of inspiration through my body.

Now, my story wouldn't be complete if I didn't tell you what happened next. We headed out to breakfast and while there we met a team of jump ropers, The Bouncin' Bulldogs, who were from no where else, but my home away from home, Chapel Hill. We took a picture with the group and were treated with a simply remarkable performance. These kids are the real athletes. Dina Rizzo and I couldn't pass up the chance to hop (literally) into the double dutch ropes ourselves!!!

The getaway was great fun, but when it came time to leave we were ready to return to the village and focus on the next task - a scrimmage against Korea. We took the field at 10 of 8 and played to a 2 all draw. It felt great to get out on the pitch (the turf field) and get a good, competitive runaround in.

Now that I have brought you up to speed (in this overly long post), next on the agenda are the Opening Ceremonies.

Photos from Team Processing and Around the Village

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Out and About in the Village. . .

Good Evening, or should I say Good Morning. Regardless of the time of day, the news I have to share is exciting. First let me preface you with the fact that the village is thriving as new batches of athletes arrive daily. The chaos in the dining hall is a key indicator of the increase in athlete volume. In order to understand the capacity of the dining hall let me draw you a mental picture . . . combine 6 football fields (3 deep and 2 wide), then line the space with thousands upon thousands of tables, put in buffet style food stands and add one McDonalds café, and there you have the village dining hall. Needless to say, the dining hall is the prime location for socializing, culturizing, and simply people watching. Today, there was extra excitement at meal time as some big time athletes arrived - ehhh, maybe you have heard of Michael Phelps, or perhaps Roger Federer or how about Spanish tennis phenom, Rafael Nadal. Yes indeed, we saw all of them. What is so amazing to me is the idea that all of the athletes here are competing for something greater than themselves; we are competing for the pride, honor and respect of our countries.

Speaking of pride and honor in our country, we celebrated the raising of the USA flag in the village this evening. Members of the USA delegation gathered in the International Zone where the Village Mayor welcomed the USA delegation to 2008 Olympic Games. The flag was raised slowly and steadily in harmony with the national anthem. It was an awe inspiring and breathtaking moment; as the anthem played, I realized it was the first time I had heard the national anthem at the 2008 Olympics.

Monday, August 4, 2008

We Made It. . .

After a long three days of travel, we have landed and settled into the Olympic Village. I cannot explain the eager anticipation I felt as I flew over the Pacific to Beijing. It was thrilling to imagine all of the exciting experiences that await us.

Thus far, the scenery in Beijing is breathtaking. The architecture of the village and the Olympic facilities is indescribeable. We were given a passing glance of the Birds Nest on our ride into the Olympic Village - let me tell you, it is a massive structure whose beauty lies in its intricacy and detail.

We traveled over to the Olympic Green today and had our first training session on the Olympic field. It was nice to get our legs back under us after the long days of traveling.

Well, there will be more to come in the following days about life at the Olympics. For now, its time for bed - so I can hopefully adjust my body to the 15 hour time difference between Pacific Coast time and local Chinese time!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Journey Begins. . .

Wow. Wow. Wow. And the journey to Beijing begins tomorrow. Training in Chula Vista concluded yesterday with a fantastic session in the heat chamber. Our coaches and trainers surprised us with a "special" session - instead of the normal lifting circuit, we were treated to water balloons, water guns, and a slip 'n slide. The team enjoyed the stress-free fun and relief of the newly named "water chamber."

Later in the evening, USA Field Hockey Technical Direction Terry Walsh hosted the team and staff to his beautiful San Diego home for an Olympic Send Off. The highlight of the evening (besides the tour of Terry's home) was the presentation of the Olympic Game Uniform. Under Armour created a new red, white, and blue uniform for the Olympic Games. The uniforms are absolutely incredible - I can't wait to wear it with pride in our first game on August 10th against Argentina.

Tomorrow we head up to San Francisco for team processing. From San Fran, we finally head to Beijing on August 2nd, my birthday. I couldn't think of a better place to be going on the day that marks my 23rd year. The fact that I will be traveling on my birthday is not atypical. Since I can remember I have been on the road for my birthday - whether I was traveling for my sisters AAU Jr Olympics or a National Team tour, it wouldn't be my birthday without a 5 hour drive or perhaps, a 12 hour flight to Beijing!!! How Perfect!!

Well, I ought to start prepping for bed - I have a 5am wake up tomorrow!!! Good night All!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

fri -DAY

Its Friday morning, and you know what that means, almost the weekend. We finished up Thursday with an intense conditioning practice (but our last round of shuttles for a while) and intersquad scrimmage. The scrimmage witnessed moments of brilliance in the level of play, but overall, it was difficult to maintain such a level because of fatigue.

After training we had special visitors join us on the Turf. The kids from Jesse, Kasold, OD's, and Falgo's neighborhood dropped by to take a picture with the team. They also brought cards for each team member. My card had a great quote on it:

"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. And Today? Today is a gift! That's why we call it the the present." - B. Olatunji

On tap for today is a morning training run immediately followed by a session in the heat chamber. Besides a run on Saturday, we have the entire weekend off. I am looking forward to relaxing, perhaps hitting up the beach or Balboa Park.

Unfortunately, my sister Sarah (who is also my roommate and teammate) and I need to begin our preparations for moving out of our apartment (which is a task I am NOT looking forward to). I am not the best planner in terms of moving and I just cannot believe that our 8 month stay here is coming to close. Sarah plans to play hockey in Belgium over the latter part of 08 -09, while my plans are TBD!!!

I have included in this post pictures from the OTC in Chula Vista. I hope you enjoy the beautiful sights of our California home. It is pretty picture-esque!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our New Ice Vests

As we continue our heat training, we are beginning to develop cooling strategies that will help us stabilize our body temp. These strategies include ice baths immediately following training and ice vests. In this short clip, Carrie Lingo shows off our brand new Ice Vests - called the V2 - after a trainer at the OTC, Vinny.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Morning

Good Morning!!! Its Monday morning and I am sitting at my kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee, enjoying a bagel with pb, and gearing up for our last full week of training in Chula Vista. We have a pretty full day ahead of us - a morning training run, a couple of meetings, and then a rendez-vous in the heat chamber. Now the heat chamber is not nearly as sinister as it sounds. It is a tent that is heated and humidified - its purpose is to acclimatize our bodies to the temperture and humidity of Beijing. We perform a 48 minute lifting circuit in the chamber and measure our heartrates during the workout to ensure that our bodies are adapting. Although it isn't always the most enjoyable or comfortable activity, I trust that it will help us once we arrive in Beijing.

Well, I hope everyone has a great start to their weeks - and if not, just remember, its just another maniac monday!!!!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

Its been a while...

So we concluded our European tour with a 2-2 draw with the #1 side in the world, Holland. I was happy the tour ended on a more optimistic note than it got off to in Germany. The tour marked a difficult training phase in our preparation but one that the coaches assure us is pivotal to our performance at the Games.

After the tour, we returned to our home base in sunny San Diego. We train at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista. We surely missed the awesome amenities of the OTC - the great food, awesome training facilities, and not to mention the incredible weather.

In other exciting news, I went to the ESPY Award Show in LA a couple of days ago. The experience was a whirlwind - I have never seen a larger congregation of acclaimed athletes and celebrities in my life. I took my Mom as my guest and we had a wonderful time enjoying the event. Fellow Tar Heel Tyler Hansbrough was also in attendance and I enjoyed having the chance to catch up with him about the happenings in the Hill.

Even though the event was amazing (I mean I saw Jerry Rice, TO, Becks, and JT), I was relieved when it finally came time to return to Chula Vista and to focus on what is most important right now, training for the Olympic Games. It is this hard training, the challenging phases and the persistence through difficulty that makes the journey worthwhile - and it is the journey that is at the very heart of sport.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

European Tour Continued. . .

So we concluded our three game tournament in Germany and have changed our residence to Germany's neighbor, Holland. The German tour did not go exactly as planned - we failed to get a victory as we had a few difficult matches which highlighted areas of our game we need to improve before we head to Beijing. For more information on the matches you can check out usfieldhockey.com. We have a long (yet short in time) road ahead of us. But we have an incredible opportunity this week to play against the #1 team in the world. Holland and Germany play a very similar style so it will be a could opportunity to implement some of the lessons we learned from Holland.

We are staying in Den Haag, Holland. Our hotel is right on the beach - unfortunately summer weather here isn't quite like summer in San Diego! It has been terribly stormy and windy here. Yesterday, we had to go on a 40 minute run on the boardwalk - for 20 minutes we ran dead against the wind and rain and it felt like it was hailing on us!!! Jesse Gey and I had to duck our heads to create a breaker against the wind. I think it was more of resistance training than a recovery!!!

I am totally pumped to be in Holland because two of my best friends from college live here in the Den Haag, and I got to see them last night! It is always fun to catch up with old friends and have a good laugh!!!

Well off to training!!! Take Care and have a splendid day!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

And the games begin. . . tomorrow

So after many days of training in Germany, we will finally start our matches tomorrow. HOORAY. Training has been pretty intense as of late since we are in the final build up phase to the Olympic Games. But enough about Hockey. . . let me tell you about what we have been doing while here in Germany. . . Our hotel is pretty cool because it doubles as a Horse Track and Golf Club. There has yet to be a horse race since we have been here, but I imagine it is pretty amazing. We have been training at a German Club right near our hotel. The club is beautiful - quaint and picturesque. It has clay tennis courts, a pool, an 18 hole golf course, a hockey pitch, a sprawling grassy area and a workout facility. It has many other features including a restaurant and indoor hockey gym - but I am sure we haven't even explored most of the club yet. Yesterday, after lifting, as part of our recovery, we had a pool session. The water was immaculately clean and refreshing. The lining of the pool was actually made of a tin or tin-like material which I had never seen before. Later in the day after our training session, a few of us returned to the pool (we had an hour to veg before eating dinner). The scene was a lot less serene - the pool was crawling with young, boisterous kids who were horsing around. There was no lifeguard on duty and we could not get over how chaotic and wild the scene was. The kids were dunking one another, running around the pool, pushing each other in, and doing crazy dives into crowded areas. It looked like a child's paradise and a mothers nightmare. But I can't lie, I was dying to get in on the game of diving catch !!!

So in my last blog, I tried to post a video of the Cafe we created at the end of the hallway; unfortunately the internet has been a little slow, and the video refuses to properly upload. Drip, Drop, Fizz is the hallway hangout during our downtime. Keli Smith, Kelly Doton and I are the primary coffee drinkers while Sara Silvetti is a constant fixture on the internet scene. Amy Tran is a supplier of gummy sweets while K. Smitty supplies the goods for our chocolate fix. It is a pretty happening spot as many people stop by for a laugh, a chat, or just to say hello. Haha. . .I am actually writing this blog from the Cafe. . .Ok, now back to my coffee. .. .

Oh Yeah, Happy Fourth of JULY - its America's Birthday!!!!!! We will be celebrating abroad, but be sure to think of us as you watch the fireworks because its pretty likely we won't be seeing any. Maybe we ought start some fireworks in our match. . .

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Drip, Drop, Fizz - The Hallway Cafe

Welcome to the Hallway Cafe - DRIP,DROP, FIZZ (trademarked by Kate "Tiki" Barber). This cafe is the "hot" spot in our hotel. It is team-owned and operated - if you happen to be in Bremen drop by and enjoy the fizz. We also offer free wireless internet.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hi From Bremen, Germany

After a long and interesting day of travel, we are finally settling down into our beds for a good nights sleep. The trip to Europe started out relatively smoothly - but chaos erupted about 40 minutes into the trip. The bus driver was whizzing thru traffic when all of sudden we realized he was slowing down and pulling over to the side of Interstate 64. We were all a little confused and thought perhaps he had to use the bathroom. But he soon revealed to us that the alternator belt had broken - just our luck. So stranded on the side of the road, we were given word to unpack our tightly packed suitcases from under the bus. (Now just imagine the amount of luggage that 20 girls have when they are away from home for over a month). In record time the bus was unpacked - and we all had a bit of elbow grease on our travel uniforms. We felt very accomplished at this point until the bus driver emerged and told us to repack the bus. So without hestitation Dingo, Lee and myself hopped in the luggage area and the rest of the girls started handing us the luggage. I think we may have set a new world record for quickest bus pack. So after about an hour of standing on the side of the highway, another bus rescued us. We eventually made it to DC just in time to catch our flight to Amsterdam. We flew for 8 hours, and then hopped on another bus for 5 hours to Bremen. We settled into the hotel, had lunch, and then training at 8pm. Surprisingly, we had a pretty sharp training run. Now its off to bed

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Olympic Selection



Wow. The last few days have been an incredible, emotional whirlwind - filled with joy, heart-ache, and exhilaration. First, the National Championship concluded on Saturday. The New England Team claimed the Gold with a commanding 3-0 victory over the Midwest Team. My New Jersey team fell just short of medaling as we lost in the 3-4 game to CAPA.

While the Championship concluded, a new page in USA Field Hockey was written with the announcement of the 2008 Olympic Team. Selection time is a stressful, trying and emotional time for all players and coaches. For the Olympic Games only 16 players are selected from the squad of 24 who trains together year round. We have become a family and it is unfortunate that all members of the squad cannot be chosen because every teammate is deserving of the honor. But the world of sport is a world of semi-permanent absolutes - you either win or you lose, get selected or not - but regardless of your fortune today, you continue fighting because in time, you can change your fortune.

So it is with these thoughts in mind that I tell you I was selected to represent the USA in the 2008 Olympic Games. I feel incredibly blessed to have received this honor. It has been a dream of mine since I was young to be an Olympian - it is simply amazing to think that this dream is becoming a reality. But the ultimate dream is that of Olympic GOLD .

The Olympic Team was publicly announced on Monday Night at the Olympic celebration Gala. The night featured entertainment by Art Explosion and the Pink Falmingos, as well as short films of the team. Hopefully I can get a hold of some video from the evening to share.

Now this blog has been entirely too long - but I have one more exciting event to share with you. Yesterday, I traveled to Washington D.C. with my University of North Carolina teammates to meet the President of the United States. The President hosted some of the National Champions from the NCAA and celebrated our achievements. It was a great experience - pretty indescribable.

Well, thats it for now. The team leaves for Europe in two days, so please check back for the scoop from our travels.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Game Day

Hi There.  Still here in Virgina Beach at the National Championships.  Day four of matches will take place tonight.  At this point in the tournament, the points table is pretty close - tonight's matches will have a huge impact on who is in best position to take home the title.  We take on the CAPA (California Pennsylvania) team (us and capa both have four points) so its an important match.  Our NJ team is pretty young but extremely talented - it has been exciting to be play with younger kids who have so much energy, enthusiasm, and skill. If you want to follow the tournament, you can get the results at www.usfieldhockey.com.

Well, I ought to get going.  Its about time to take my pre-game shower, and get some pre-game fuel (aka food).  Its going to be a hot one on the turf!  I don't have many pregame "rituals" besides taking a shower and doing my hair.  My logic is that if you look good, you play good.  I'm not sure if these things are exactly correlated, but they seem to give me confidence on game days. . . GO NJ!


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Welcome Hockey Fans!!

Hi All! Rachel Dawson here. Welcome to my new blog that will hopefully give you the inside scoop on the journey of the USA Women's Field Hockey Team. I am really excited to get this blog up and moving as there are a ton of great things happening right now for USA Field Hockey.

Members of the National Team are currently in Virginia Beach competing in the premier Field Hockey competition in the USA - the National Championships. The stakes are high and the competition is fierce, as National Team Members are playing against one another for the acclaim of National Champion and a spot on the Olympic Team. The tournament got underway last night with wins going to the Midwest, the Mid Atlantic and New England. Unfortunately, my team, New Jersey had a disappointing 2-1 loss to the very talented New England team that featured Tiffany Snow's two goal performance. But as I have learned in the past, tournaments are long and the results are often unpredictable, so you have to persist and focus on each game as it comes. Tonight we have a match against the South Team.

Well stay tuned for more info from the National Championships in Virginia Beach. May the best team win!!!