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