Monday, August 3, 2009

the battle of the blue

meetmeg. meethan. sisters. bothbleedblue. butwhatistherealblue.
michiganblue. carolinablue. spentsummertrainingtogether. onlytocompeteinaugust.
gameone. 2009season.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

You Don't Know Me Now

Bold, Fearless, and Determined.
Honest and Pure.
Free of Limitation.
A Dream. Of the Heart.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Art of Losing. . .

This post has been on my mind for days - yet I have been too superstitious to write it, because I didn't want to jinx what I thought would happen - a UNC National Championship. But last night, the Tar Heels won the National Championship. Can I get a heels on three? One. Two. Three. HEELS.

Yes, I am estatic about the victory, but I believe there is a more pertinent point that comes from the story of victory, and that is the art of defeat.

As the final four was approaching, I found myself thinking a lot about Tyler Hansbrough and his journey at the University of North Carolina. I thought about how much he had accomplished and how much more he wanted to accomplish. I wondered how much he craved to capture that illusive National Championship. I thought about how close the Heels were last year; yet how far away they must have felt from the Championship after their performance in the final four against Kansas.

My thoughts progressed from Tyler and basketball, to the lesson of loss in life. I thought about how desperately you can want something; yet how quickly you can lose that thing. I thought about how loss turns your desire to destitution. But how, eventually, you gain a bit of perspective - you realize you have to let go a bit; you have to loosen your grip on the thing you desire - crave it less, pursue it less, and you have to trust that fate will happen.

Think of how many different things you can lose in life. You can lose little things: an earring, a toy, a phone number. You can lose big things: a job, a loved one, meaning and hope. You can lose your temper, or lose your purpose. You can lose your place in a book or you can lose your money; you can lose touch, you can lose games, and you can lose your way.

But from all this losing something greater always comes. As Coldplay so aptly states in their song Lost!, "just because I am losing, doesn't mean I'm are lost." You may feel lost (among other things: purposeless, sad, alone, frustrated and confused) but you aren't lost. Instead, you are on the cusp of finding.

I have a peculiar yet strangely profound memory of loss when I was a child. It falls into the small category of loss, but profound non the less.

The highlight of my five year old life were summer day trips to Absegami Lake with my family. My mom would pack up the Dawson brigade (7 of us at the time, I think) into the Dodge Ram Van, and we would hit the road for the lake. Like any small child, I loved bringing my best friends with me on our trips - so my Barbies were always in tow.

On one particular day trip to Absegami, I was running a bit behind schedule (I must have gotten caught up in an episode of Zoobably Zoo). Everyone else was ready to go; their bags were packed and their suits were on. I was frantically running around getting the essentials for the trip - jelly shoes, beach bag, shovel, and barbies.

"Shoot!" I remember thinking, I could not find my favorite Barbie, my best friend. I needed to find her before we left - she could not miss this trip to the lake - we had been looking forward to it for days. I searched the house up and down; I ravaged through the playroom, my bed room, and my older sister Sarah's stuff (Sarah always stole my things, so I figured she stole my Barbie too - probably as a cruel joke). But Barbie was no where to be found.

The screams started erupting from the van: "Come on, Rachel!!! HURRY UP." Dave, Nat, Drew, Sarah, Meg, Han, Dad and Mom were waiting impatiently for me. Andrew came into the house, slamming the back door to make a point, yelling at me to quit looking; Everyone was ready to go. But I was a stubborn five year and I refused to admit that she wasn't there. I made another search of the house. To no avail.

Finally, after a few minutes of frantic, desperate searching, my Mom came into the house and said, "Rachel, we are leaving." She drug me outside and into the van and since I was the last one, I had to ride on the hump - the worst seat ever. I was crying terribly - I had lost Barbie, my best friend. How could I endure a wonderful trip to the beach without her?

Dave and Drew, like the tough older brothers they are, told me to toughen up and get over it. Natalie was oblivious - she was applying red toe nail polish to her feet. Han started crying because I was crying. And Sarah was giving me an evil snare - I could see she enjoyed my misery.

For my five year old self, it was tragic. I didn't know how I would get over the loss. My mom told me to pray to Saint Anthony, the Patron Saint of Lost Things. She said he would help me find it. I hoped he would, but I strongly doubted it. All I knew was that Barbie was lost - that she wouldn't be accompanying me on this trip (or any trip ever again.) While the tragedy stung deep, I knew I couldn't let the day get away from me; I needed to find a way to enjoy Abesegami Lake. So instead of brooding over Barbie, I focused on enjoying my other toys, and enjoying the time with my siblings and cousins.

With the shifted focus, the thoughts of my lost Barbie eventually left my mind. I had a brilliant day; I swam, sunned, and ran around (Sarah and I even built a sand castle together). The day soon ended and we returned home. I was immediately confronted with the loss of Barbie. My mind started thinking: where was she, was she safe, did she miss me??? I immediately stopped my thinking and instead threw up a prayer to Saint Anthony. Hopefully, he would help me find her.

The days went by - life went on. And I had fun with other friends. I was in the playroom one day and I saw my beach bag (still packed from the trip to Abesegami). I went through it, ripping out all the toys and putting them away in their places. I thought I had cleaned it all out but there was something else inside - in a pocket I had forgotten about. I unzipped the pocket, looked inside, and was thrilled when I saw Barbie. She had been with me all along. In my mind, she had been lost, but Saint Anthony helped me find her. But while she was lost, I realized that I could have fun without her. I realized that Sarah was not all that awful, and my other toys were cool too. I realized that I was strong enough to get over losing something that was really important to me. I realized that life goes on, despite the loss, and often it is when you let go of the thing you lose that you find it, or you find something else to replace it.

Now, here is the beauty of the art of losing - when you lose something, whether big or small, you often end up finding something else. You can find the thing you lost - or you can find something new, or perhaps you re-find something old. Or maybe, you find an inner strength to survive the loss, or you find whats real and important in your life. Perhaps, you find a source of meaning and hope. I believe that the poetry of defeat is heard as the art of losing paints the pathway to victory.

For Tyler Hansbrough and the Tar Heels, last night, things came full circle - from heartbreaking loss came the ultimate victory. It is the power of last year's loss that enriches the beauty of this year's victory.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Humble Me by Nora Jones

This picture collage illustrates some of the views I have scene over the past month. Some of the pictures are from Amsterdam and Den Haag, while others are from Bermuda. The majority of photos came from a biking excursion through the Duins (dunes) in Den Haag. A bike path runs from Schevenigen (the beach in Den Haag) to Utrecht. One day before I leave, I hope to bike the 60 km path. Until then, enjoy these photos. Sorry for the small size of the picture.

xx Rach

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grandpop's Wisdom

Sometimes I wonder, what exactly is the purpose of life? Now, I am not asking this in the philosophical, deep essence of the question - so please don't expect a discussion on religion or philosophy (remember I play sports for a living, I don't think I am even capable of a conversation in those areas). I am simply asking, what the hell are we supposed to do with our short little lives? What is the goal? Is there even a goal?

Some theories I have come across: the purpose of life is to make a lot of money. The purpose of life is to have a lot of kids. The purpose of life is to serve others. The purpose of life is to learn as much as there is to learn. The purpose of life is to find your passion and do it. The purpose of life is to have fun. . . etc. . .

Just call me difficult, but none of these answers really get me. Yea, each theory is meaningful in its own way - but on the whole, they don't do it for me. Ponder this: if you make a lot of money will you feel your life's purpose is fulfilled? Likewise, if you have a lot of fun, have a lot of kids, serve others or learn everything there is to learn, will you have fulfilled your life's purpose? If you answered yes to either of these question, I am jealous. I wish it was that easy for me.

I guess these answers are just too absolute for my liking. They are too action-driven and goal-oriented. There appears to be no continuance once the desired action is achieved. I am seeking a different answer. Perhaps, though, I have already been told the answer.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in early September. I was back in Berlin. I had just got home from the Olympics and I was making arrangements to head to Holland. It was a bit strange at home on this Saturday morning. Mom and Dad had traveled up to Connecticut to watch Hannah play and Melanie was already at hockey practice.

The house was shockingly quiet. I had no plans, no engagements, and no motivation to really do anything. But the sun was shining, the air was crisp, and my body was demanding some caffeine. So I threw on a pair of my my mom's sneakers that were laying by the front door, and I wondered down Hamilton Avenue. My destination: DUNKIN DONUTS.

I ordered the usual - Large Coffee with Cream and Sugar. Then, I stepped back outside into the beautiful day. If Berlin was the type of town where people walked around on nice days, like Chapel Hill or The Hague, then I would have meandered about the town on foot. But for those of you who have driven down the White Horse Pike, you know Btown is not that kind of place. I needed a new destination.

Since being home, I had yet to visit my Aunt Donna and Uncle Joe, my God Parents, who lived on the other side of the railroad tracks. I decided to take advantage of the weather and make the trek. Off I went, coffee in hand, to visit the Beebe's. I didn't know it at the time, but this decision may be one of the most meaningful decisions of my life.

When I arrived at Aunt Donna's, a whole 8 minutes late, I heard some muted chatter coming from the back yard. Naturally I walked around the house to see who it was. To my liking, I discovered my Aunt Donna and Uncle Joe, along with my grandparents sitting in lawn chairs, drinking coffee and enjoying the sun (much like I was). Perfect I thought.

After the customary hugs, and family banter, I sat down and engaged myself in the conversation. I have always enjoyed conversing with my elders - they seem so wise to me. My Uncle is a Deacon at the church, my Aunt works in the courthouse, my Grandmom, well, she seems to know something about everything, and my Grandpop, well, he is just a sage.

So we were talking about everything from A to Z, and then they started to ask me about my recent experiences in Beijing, and about my intentions to travel to Holland. I spoke about these experiences almost apathetically. To compete in the Olympics had been my dream since I was young - I had achieved it, and yet, I didn't really feel any sense of fulfillment. I only felt a little more lost and empty - the dream that once filled my mind and heart was gone. The dream had faded into a reality. I tried to muster up some enthusiasm about where I was headed - I mean come on, rach, EUROPE - pretty cool. But as much as I tried to pretend, they could see through the guise.

Maybe my Grandpop saw the purposelessness in my eyes as I spoke about the happenings of my life, or maybe he just knew that I was pleading for some sort of advice or guidance. So the sage he is, my Grandpop spoke words that continue to resonate in my mind today.

He said, "Rachel, in all I have gone through recently (my Grandfather has been courageously battling and beating cancer) I have come to realize that life is about all the people you meet along the way."

He continued to speak along those same lines talking about all of the people who he had met in his life and the impression they had made upon him. He spoke of how people can make a lasting impact on your life even when they cease to be "in your life". They may enter for the shortest period of time, a day, a week, a year, or a decade, but in that time they can change you and impress upon you some sort of meaning. And all you have to do is simply open up and share yourself with them.

My Grandpop shared his wisdom with me on that beautiful September day: the purpose of life is to share it. No matter what you do, how long you do it, or how successful you are doing it, share the journey. There is no greater purpose than that.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Can We Go Back. . . ?

What was life like before the internet? What was the first thing people did in the morning? Brush their teeth? Well, I don't do that until after I check my email, facebook, myspace, bank account,and news sites; I also sometimes wait until after the odd ichat and/or skype conversation. My teeth can wait. And as they wait, maybe, in the mean time, I'll get an extra dose of my caffeine fix, yummm coffee.

I mean was it seriously possible to keep track of all your friends before facebook? Before the fb, did you have real friends; I mean real relationships that required real conversations? And what was it like to have interaction without an audience (I mean, come on, wall and status posts are a total public display of how cool (or uncool) you think you life is).

But who am I to hate, I am just one of the victims (or am I the abuser?). I am an internet junkie. Come on, HALLO, you are reading my blog.

So for a day, I propose a world with no facebook, no email, and no mobile phones (or blackberries). An internet-free day. If you want to get in touch with someone you have to either pick up the land-line (preferably with a cord) and ring-a-ding 'em, get out the pen and stationary to send a post, or drive, bike, train, or walk to their home.

Furthermore, you must make plans prior to leaving the home and rely on those plans until the plan is executed. Translation: no last minute text-cancellations. And no caller ID to screen that certain someone's call that you said you would meet up with but really don't feel like it anymore.

Ok, so maybe internet free day, should be technology free day - so no GPSs allowed. Before making plans, you need to acquire all the necessary details - you must plan your travel route, write out directions, and agree on a specific location. Do paper maps even still exist?

Seriously, is this even plausible. I like to consider myself an idealist; but in this case I have to be realistic - I probably wouldn't survive.

I have been writing this post uninterrupted for the last 25 minutes. In FB time that is like eons. My home page is going to be abuzz with some serious updates. Please forgive to be the abuser I am. All smiles here...


xx Rach

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pushing Back. Sharing the Load.

Its funny how the simple, often insignificant events in life can become metaphors for life's bigger lessons. Let me give you an example:

On Fridays before training at KZ, our team has core stability training. This is the Dutch alternative to American weightlifting (I prefer the Dutch way - less bulk, more cheese.) Anyhow, core stability is run by our team Physio, Lars. Lars typically runs us thru a few exercises in an attempt to develop core strength.

One of his favorite drills is to have us partner up and squat back to back. The aim is to see which pair can stay squatting longest.Lars likes to pair us off by height - this means I am usually with the tall, extremely thin, 18 year old Marloes. Now, don't get me wrong, Marloes is a total gem - she is an avid watcher of Gossip Girl, my favorite tv show (we often discuss this topic during training) - but when it comes to strength, I sometimes fear I am a bit too weighty for Marloes.

On Friday, we were getting ready to perform the exercise. Round 1: We both squat down, back to back. Marloes is pushing against me, but I am just yielding to her weight, trying to hold her up, afraid she can't handle my force. Bam! We immediately collapse to the floor - I just couldn't carry her weight and my own. Round 2: We get ready to squat down again. And again, I yield to her weight pushing against me - and again we fail - Bam! down we go. Round 3: We squat down into the same position, knowing we were unsuccessful in our first two attempts. Marloes, though, with the wisdom of her youth, says, "Rachel, just push back against me." I figured I ought to take her advice, because the previous method wasn't working. So I pushed back against Marloes who was pushing back against me - these equal and opposite forces pushing against each other gave us balance and strength. We stayed standing. For a long time. And, we won round 3.

Now the fact that we won isn't the important part of the story (eventhough I love winning; and despise losing.) I was thinking about this exercise last night before bed. There is an interesting lesson to be learned here. Sometimes, you have to push back against the world - you have to lean against others even when they are leaning against you - sometimes that gives you the stability to stand. You don't always have to carry other people's weight in addition to your own. Sometimes, your only option isto push back against the world, and, hopefully, the world will share your load.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Easy Silence

The last couple months have been an interesting time for me. Physically, I was here, there and everywhere: USA, Bermuda, Holland, home, NYC, Chula Vista. I was never entirely settled, never comfortable and never completely at ease. It was one of those times when I felt constantly on edge, knowing that I would only be in a spot for a short period of time; anticipating the time when I would have to adjust and adapt and cope again with new surroundings.

But on second thought. Maybe the change I was coping with didn't have to do only with the things around me, but what was going on inside of me. I felt the foreboding sense that something was about to happen to me - that I was listlessly waiting for the proper moment for that change to occur - for life to change course. I was waiting. Not doing.

Before I returned to Holland though, that changed (change changed, interesting). I finally realized after 23 years of just following a path, that I had a choice in the next direction my life headed. I have a hand to play in the course of my life. Sure I have been dealt a certain lot of cards, but those are my cards to play.

With this new perspective, I finally feel free. Free from my own worries, doubts and most of all fears. There is an "easy silence" that surrounds me - a calmness, peace, and stillness that pervades, for at the moment, my being. It feels nice to be back in Holland. I have time to concentrate on me, to enjoy the folks around me and the experience of living and playing in a foreign country. This won't last forever so I might as well live it up now.

Thanks for reading.

xx Rach

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Am


By Rachel Dawson

I am I
As seen by my own eye.
I hear the words of me that be spoken,
But I refuse to let them beat me broken.

I am I
As heard by my own ear.
I taste the salt of your minds distain,
But from my purpose it will not cause restrain.

I am I
As tasted by my own tongue
I feel your judgement upon me cast
But to your verdict I will not hold steadfast.

I am I
As felt by my own heart.
and from myself, I will not depart.

For, I am I,
Seen by mine eye,
Heard by mine ear,
Tasted by my tongue.
Felt by my heart.

I am I
And of the world
I am, but a part.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chew well. . .

Cliche Mom-ism: chew your food before swallowing...Oops, sorry Mom, I forgot to take your advice on this one - I took a big bite, and unfortunately, I choked. Big Time. I missed a sudden death stroke in the Final of the Pan Am Cup that ended our bid for World Cup Qualification and gave the win to Argentina. I could sit here and try to rationalize a meaning from the situation - I could analyse what happened, why it happened, and what I learned from it. But it doesn't change the fact that we lost - and I crumbled under pressure. Oh well. You live, you learn, and sometimes you just have to forget.

Self-doubt and fear crept in. I let a momentary panic attack and fear of missing change my plan of attack - I made a brash, sudden, and unbased decision...funny how our minds can get the best of us. Or do they get the worst of us.

But like I said, I won't analyze. It is what it is. And it is OVER. On to the next phase. Perhaps I won't take so big of a bite this time.

PS: I never got flowers.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Its a day of love. Hugs and Kisses, xoxo. Speaking of X's and O's, game on today - at 2:30 pm, we take the field against Trinidad and Tobago. It will be an interesting semi-final match up. I have never played against T&T, so we are ready for the unexpected.

Speaking of unexpected, I would love a delivery of unexpected flowers. But that is just wishful thinking - highly unlikely, most improbable, although not (pause) impossible. Wink, Wink.

After the game, I intend to indulge in some highly entertaining chick flicks, maybe a stroll on Horse Shoe Beach - ya know, its the usual here in Bermuda. With three days rest since our last game against Mexico (note: we won 6-0), I am a bit bored. Can you sense the ennui in my tone??

Ugh. I can't wait to play. Too much "free" time. I wish you could loan out time. I have a surplus right now. Interest rates are low - I am selling at an attractive price. Any takers?

Ok. Off to occupy my mind till game time. Toodles.

xx Rach

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Pool Play

Quick Recap: In the first two games of the tournament, we have come out victorious beating Jamaica 10-0 and Chile 2-0. These wins put us in a good position as we prepare to play Mexico on Tuesday.

Hockey aside though - I am thoroughly enjoying the serenity of Bermuda. We are staying at a beautiful resort and spa Hotel right next to the water. Today, I explored the majestic beaches that surround our hotel and relaxed in the outdoor hot tub with a few teammates. I feel as though I should be on my honeymoon, not on a hockey trip with 20 girls...Oh well, hopefully that will come in time. As for now I plan on enjoying the peace of this calm island. Personally, a trip like this could not have come at a better time. It is exactly what I needed. Just take a look at the picture.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pit Stop: NYC

We were en route to Bermuda on Tuesday, that is until we took a little pit stop to the bitter cold Big Apple. Our flight to Hamilton was canceled as soon as we deplaned at JFK. So we jumped shipped, booked a hotel in Times Square and spent a couple of days in my favorite city. It seemed like everyone had a friend to catch up with, and it was a great getaway from the monotony of training in Chula Vista. Luckily, we had a couple days to spare and we weren't in a hurry to get to Bermuda. However, attire-wise, we were most unprepared for the winter weather. Imagine traveling from San Diego to Bermuda - would you pack a winter coat??? A few of the girls ate a nice Italian feast down in Little Italy while others stayed in Midtown to catch a comedy show with Lauren Powley's brother. I must admit, I absolutely love the buzz of NYC. It is a city of its own kind; a place where you are free to be who you want to be and do what you want to do - a place where there seems to be no limits, almost to a fault. Oh, New York City, how I love thee.

But regardless of how much I adore the city, I could not wait to get out of that weather and go to a place a little more laid back - a place with a bit more green, blue, and pink (yup, they have pink sand here) - a little island called Bermuda. The little detour to NyC put me in the right frame of mind to enjoy my respite in this beautiful country.

Today, we play our first match of the tournament against Jamaica, who is an unfamiliar foe. However, we are prepared for any sort of battle they throw at us. It should be a fun game to get under our belts . . . it is always a good day when you wear the Red, White and Blue.

A special shout out to Katie R. who gets her first cap* playing for the USA today!!!

*a cap is an official international match

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lesson Learned...the hard way

I hear the east coast is getting hit with some brutal weather - sometimes you have to endure the cold to appreciate the sunshine. Out here in Chula Vista, we were hit by a snowstorm that came in the form of orange; and by orange, I mean the Dutch. In our test series last week against Holland, we learned some lessons the hard way. In the first two matches, we lost 4-0; in the third match we posted an extremely embarrassing 10-0 loss; we enlivened for match four but the dutch brought a barrage of goals near the games end as we lost 7-1; in the final match, we made some improvements and played the Dutch to a 3-1 loss.

As dismal as these results are, they have provided the team with great insight into what it takes to be Olympic Champions. In my estimation, the Dutch are the most technically sound team going around right now - their ability to execute skills and 2v1's, finish plays, synchronize timing, and play pressure defense is almost unmatchable. Opening the new quad with matches against the best in world gave us a bitter taste of reality - but after swallowing that pill, it has focused us for where we are and where we are going. It provided us with great preparation for our tour to Bermuda in 5 days. At the Pan Am Cup, the goal is to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

Well, the Santa Ana winds are starting to blow out here in San Diego, just maybe they will blow a little luck our way. Until luck comes our way, we have to continue to train - so off to the field I go ;0)

xx rache

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Responsibility, Hope and Virtue

I am back in San Diego. I enjoyed an exciting and eventful weekend with my family in North Carolina. We attended a reception for the Patterson Medal, watched a Tar Heel Men's basketball game, and watched an unfortunate Eagle defeat. It was really nice to share a fun weekend with my family in Chapel Hill.

This week we will host the Dutch National Team in a few competitions in Chula Vista. In an unofficial test match, we lost 4-0. We were a bit tentative in our play, and we must be more assertive if we want to give the Dutch a good challenge.

Today is such an exciting, and pivotal day in American History. Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. His inauguration symbolizes hope - hope that we can overcome all the ails of our past and present. For in the depths of our circumstance, we must forge ahead together. We must unite in hope of what we can do now to change our path. The question is how can we purify and further the spirit of Americanism that founded our nation. For while we are what we have been, there is no limit to what we can become.

Personally, I must ask what I can do. I am trying to figure out how I can use hockey as a vehicle for giving back to people. Throughout my career, I do not believe I have served others as much as I could have. I believe I have a responsibility to share my gifts and talents. I need to start serving and giving; I need to start now. My only problem is, I don't know where or how to begin. I want to become a doer of good. If you have any support or guidance, please feel free to share it with me. All the Best.

xx Rache

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Big Hello from "Heaven"

Coach Shelton, the Head Coach of the North Carolina Tar Heel Field Hockey Team calls Chapel Hill heaven. I think she is right. However, my niece Kylie, a four year old future Tar Heel (hopefully) who is helping me write this post, disagrees. She is just too young to understand how incredible this place is. I think the value Chapel Hill holds in your heart appreciates with time; the longer you are away, the more you see how great this place is. Lets just start with the most beautiful color in the world - Carolina blue. It must be God's color because the sky in "heavven" is matches the Tar Heel uniforms. So incredible is this shade of blue, that the Chapel Hill fire department has blue fire trucks (My nephew Will is itching to see a blue truck!!)

I hope that fate goes the way of the Tar Heels today as they face the University of Miami Hurricanes on the basketball court. We will see. Look for me and my fam at the Dean Dome!!!

I will write more about the escapades of the Dawson Family in Chapel Hill later. Right now, I have to go visit all the hotspots on Franklin Street. I cannot wait to get myself a slice of Broccoli and Cheddar from P&P. YUMMMMM.

xx rache

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jumping Back on the Horse

The sun woke me up this morning. Yup - my phone died in the middle of the night leaving me alarm-less; I had to rely on the good ole California sunshine to awaken me from my peaceful slumber. But I'm not complaining - I mean, it could be worse, like New jersey worse.

Anyway, I am pretty excited. We jumped back on the horse today, getting back to business on the hockey pitch (and the weight room, ughhh) with our first official training of the New Year. Following a short training, we had a team meeting about what to expect over the next year. We set a task for ourselves that is achievable in February - QUALIFICATION for the 2010 World Cup. It will be quite a formidable task, nevertheless one we are fully capable of attaining.

So with our preparation underway, we will test ourselves immediately as we host Olympic Champions Holland in Chula Vista next week. It will be a great opportunity to measure up against the best in the world.

Personally, I am incredibly excited about hosting the Dutch on American soil. I have spent the last three months in Den Haag, Netherlands playing with Klein Switzerland (Little Switzerland). I have learned a great deal playing in the Dutch league and I am eager to see if it transfers into my play for the USA. Time will tell.

Speaking of time. It is bed time. As they say in Dutch, Slaap lekker.

xx rache

Sunday, January 11, 2009

And Beyond. . .

Can you believe it is 2009? What happened to 2008? It was a pretty extraordinary year to say the least. But like all things, the year has come and gone, and all we can do is move on. The opening days of 2009 have been interesting, both for me on a personal level and for the nation as a whole. We anticipate the New Year because of the opportunity it offers us to start fresh - we eagerly wait for the hands on the clock to change from 11:59 to 12:00 believing that the passage of a moment will change the hands of our lives, refreshing the spirit by enlivening our hope for things to come. But, when we bade farwell to 2008 - the gloom and misery of our situation did not fade. It seems that the spirit of hope has been undermined by our current predictament - we are in disarray, trying to find our way through the uncertainty as we remain fearful of what is and what is to come.

Perhaps though, this is the best way to start the new year. In the muddle, we can make a lasting new years resolution. We have a task. A task to heal the ails of a faltering economy, a chance to re-access our values, an opportunity to get back to the basics - to work hard, and serve others - a task to enjoy life at this very moment. Since we don't know what tomorrow holds we must embrace today. We must do the things we can do today and cast aside worries about those we cannot. How we act today will determine our tomorrow because at some point, every tomorrow becomes a today, and every today becomes a yesterday. And in this never-ending passage of time, all we have is NOW.

My New Years Resolution is to live simply and to enjoy the moment. I travel a lot these days. Right now I am in California; Carolina on the weekend; Bermuda in February then off to New Jersey and eventually back to Holland. I am constantly packing my bags to a new destination. I hate packing - but it helped me realize how invaluable material possessions are. I used to stress about what I would take with me - whether I would be in want of something I forgot. But I realized that we aren't what we pack in our suitcases; we are what we hold in our hearts. There is no place for anger, fear, or anxiety - we must reserve all of our hearts for love and hope. We must use that love and hope as we serve others and move forward in life.

The muddle that started 2009 offers us an opportunity - opportunity to make it better by focusing on now - where we are, what we are doing, and who we are with. All things will get better in time.

xx rache