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!!!