Friday, February 12, 2010

Training Center Departed; Mission Argentina Started

Life was swell. The ease of routine seemed to have resettled upon the members of the team as the return of Tuesday training was welcomed by the shining California sun. The rays of that sun peaked through the 8 am morning haze as the hockeyers ascended the hockey hill (the hockey field sits in the valley below the hill). And it seemed that all was well in the world; the entire squad was reunited for a competitive game of powerball and training.

But we knew, in the back of our minds, our impending fate. The fate of untimely, teamly separation – the fate of tiresome travel to a foreign land in the lower hemisphere – the fate belonging to the pinnie, tanned hides of those who would endure the hot, humid temperatures of long Argentine days. A fate (un)welcomed by the return of swollen, plane-cramped legs.

It was Wednesday, February 11. The day that the training center was departed – and a new journey started. We met at the San Diego airport at midday. The number one topic of conversation - the variety of the new Asics Tiger travel shoes – they came in all shapes, all sizes, and all colors. Everyone was quite pleased, except for one minor glich. Barb Weinberg was paranoid about the off-white of her shoes clashing with the pure white stripe on the Navy travel polo. But Barb persisted and found a way to manage despite the severe nausea of the clash. She diverted her focus from the color of her shoes to the white-snowcapped peaks of the Andes.

And so it was, we journeyed 22 hours through the sky, from San Diego to LA to Santiago to Mendoza, until we landed upon the bumpy, dry green of the hockey pitch. And then, we found ourselves at home again, in the routine of hitting a hockey ball. Trap, pass…bump bump….trap, bobble, bump, settle pass.

Training number one wasn’t a beauty. But we survived, and in the words of Coach Lee Bodimeade, we will be better for it. Now, with the setting of the summer sun, the time comes to tuck our beet-filled tummies into bed. Good night.

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