Monday, March 1, 2010

The Cliche American

The USA Women’s Field Hockey Team resumed training today in Chula Vista having enjoyed a short respite after our tour to Argentina. Unfortunately, much to my dismay, I am not with my teammates at the moment. Instead, I am a few thousand miles away, in a small European country called Holland (also known as the Netherlands).

Before I delve into this blog post, I need to preface you with a bit of my personal story. Post 2008 Olympics, I pursued an opportunity to live and compete overseas at the Hockey Club Klein Switzerland in Den Haag, Netherlands. So the past year and a half, or so, I have been living between America and Holland. I joke that I am 1/3 feline, seeing as I live three lives; one in Holland, one at home in New Jersey, and one wherever the National Team requires.

Anyhow, after the tour to Argentina (and a 25 hour trip back to America), I spent 2 nights in my former life (in North Carolina), and then hopped a plane over the Atlantic to my Dutch life. The second half of the Dutch season resumed yesterday, and I arranged to be here for the first two matches of the competition.

So now you know why I am here.

Now comes the exciting part of this post.

When I first arrived in Holland, the team called me the cheerleader (it was even written on my water bottle). You see, the Dutch have this clichéd idea that all Americans are the spirited, jumpy, cheerleading type. In my time here, they have learned that I am far from that.

So anyways, in Holland, I have developed a simple weekly routine. Monday mornings are reserved for recovery at the gym. The gym, called The Max (think Saved by Bell) overlooks the Hockey Club Klein Switzerland. In a way, it has become my home, away from home, away from home.

So this morning, out of ritual, I found myself wondering op de fiets (on the bike) toward the Max. I landed at my destination swiped my Max card through the reader, listened to the Body Jam Class rock out in the Dance Hall, watched a couple men play squash, then with a smile on my face, made my way to locker room to prepare for my workout. After discarding my winter coat (yes my body is in temperature shock) I made my way upstairs to the second floor workout rooms.

As per usual, I say my hello’s to the friendly trainers (who always ask if we won on Sunday) and then I go about my tasks – I warm up, stretch, run, lift some weights, etc.

Today, I was going about my business, doing some hamstring exercises in the open room (where people do core workouts, jump rope etc) and in walks this lady. She starts setting up her workout station, and then, she turns to me, and asks, “Do you mind if I put on my Ipod.”

Without looking up, I say, “Oh yeah, no problem.” And then a light bulb flashes in my mind - she just spoke English to me, with an American accent. Now, I am intrigued, so I finish my set, and look up.

As I do so, I catch a glimpse of her cut-off Arizona Rugby T-shirt. Yup, she’s straight up American, I thought to myself.

Naturally, excited as I was to run into a fellow American, I strike up a convo, and asked if she was from the states? Indeed she was, she replied with a big smile. Then after offering a few niceties, I continued with my workout, and she went to put on her Ipod. Since we were BFF’s by that point, she yelled with a bubbly grin from the other side of the room, “I need some bouncy music for this workout.”

That’s when I saw it. Yup. The mini-trampoline.

Oh man. This ought to be good, I thought, as I threw myself into another set of hamstring curls. I didn’t realize how good it would be.

That’s when I heard it. Oh yes. Simple Minds had returned.

“On the Catwalk, gonna do my little dance on the catwalk.”

The music is blaring; the trampoline is making melodies like its on the catwalk strutting its stuff, and Arizona Rugby Lady is jamming out, springing around, little dumbbells in hand making Y’s, T’s, and L’s with her arms. The whole time she is staring in the mirror smiling the happiest, most free, childish smile I have ever seen.

Immediately, I pick up on her American groove and I start curling my hamstrings and rocking my hips like I am on the catwalk. I lose myself in the dance. Then, suddenly, the song cuts off. The room goes quiet; awkward silence ensues.

“Whooooo let the dawgs out? Who Who?”

Not uh, no she didn’t, I think. This is my jam!!! But obviously, this song was too 1990s for her, because she switched it to some 80’s melody. And since Flash Dance isn’t quite my style (it was the era before me), I knew it was my cue to get back to my workout.

So again, I went about my business. But I constantly found myself looking into the room to reassure myself that the bouncing American on her trampoline, grin in place, was real.

And sure enough, there she was, The Cliché American.

And here I am now, writing about the Cliché American with a grin on my face and a laugh in my soul.

Maybe the Cheerleader nickname wasn’t so far off.

I cannot wait to rejoin my teammates in California and RAH RAH SISH BOOM BAH the USA all the way to the World Cup.

1 comment:

UNC Fieldhockey tailgates said...

Hey the story is great...I envisioned every moment and also laughed.. at us..well written and enlightening..go usa