Monday, August 22, 2011

And it beings…Preseason 2011

One of our nightly scrimmages was sadly cut short, but it was almost worth it for this awesome view of our field!

Meg Jarrell in the Dunk Tank at Fan Day
My name is Meg Jarrell and I am a senior on the Davidson Field Hockey Team. With the season underway, it’s time to bring the DCFH blog back to life. Hopefully DCFH alumni and the original blog-writer Courtney Tobe left if in good hands…

Check back here for updates on how our season is going, interviews with players, and pictures of our team throughout the season. We are going to be out on the road together a lot this season, literally going coast to coast (Albany, NY and Stanford, CA!), so I expect there to be plenty of DCFH memories to record.

The first challenge our team faces is preseason. Preseason is a time before class starts when the team is able to get together and really jump start our season. We have over 15 practices in a little over a week to prepare ourselves for the season.  That many practices might seem like a lot, but that is because it takes a lot of time, effort, and dedication to push our team to the level we want to reach. Coming off one of the most successful seasons in DCFH history, we all have a lot of expectations for the upcoming season. It’s hard, but we all know how much it can pay off, so we’re excited to be back out on the field.

Freshmen and seniors alike have some pretty bad nerves at breakfast the first day. We all wonder how we’ll do in the conditioning tests, how our team will look on the field, and how our bodies will survive the physical challenge we will put them through.  But, that’s one of the good things about having 3 practices a day I guess. By the end of the first day, you’re too tired to be nervous. You just eat, sleep, and play field hockey. Our coaches give us a summer running program to prepare us the best way possible, but there’s nothing quite like playing for over 5 hours a day. However, after a few days your muscles begin to adapt to all the running and playing and you get into what we call “field hockey shape.”  Once we all reach that point, our playing really takes off and we begin to fine-tune our individual skills and team play.

Sore muscles, bumps, and bruises are inevitable as well, but our athletic trainer, Pam Stephens, keeps us in pretty good shape. Every night we’re required to take ice baths that cool down our muscles and repair them for practice the next day. Sitting in a tank of ice water after a long day out on the field might sound nice, but the water is usually less than 55 degrees! Despite the shivers, everyone still jumps right in after we shower because we can’t imagine how sore our muscles would feel if we didn’t take them.

Wildcats signing autographs for their fans at Fan Day
The best part of preseason is that you finally get to train with all of your teammates. Conditioning, even if it’s a never-ending series of sprints, is much more enjoyable when you have your teammates running next to you.  We also get to do things together off the field. The second day of preseason we had a short break in the afternoon to meet with and sign autographs for our fans. There are games for all the kids to play, including a dunk tank. This year I was put in the dunk tank. Luckily for me the water was pretty nice because I was dunked by every kid there it seems like. 

On Wednesday we scrimmaged Appalachian State. It was nice to be able to all play together against another team instead of the inter-squad scrimmages we have every night. We tied 2-2, but it was really great to see how well our team is coming together. Everyone is contributing and I was amazed to see how poised and confident the freshmen played in their first college game. I think it means some very good things are in store for our team down the road!

Next up we scrimmage Limestone before heading to Washington, D.C. for our opening weekend against Georgetown and LaSalle. Wish us luck!

-Meg #10

Monday, August 1, 2011

We're home!

We didn’t realize until after we left how much we’d miss all the people that made our trip an incredible experience!  Hasta Luego (see you again soon) meant something different with each good bye, so we refused to say Adios (bye) hoping it won’t ever be true!

Volleyball Friends: Throughout our weeks in Cádiz, we had the opportunity to play beach volleyball a few times each week with some native gaditanos (citizens in Cádiz).  Our host mother, María, always encouraged us to make new friends from Cádiz, and this group was the closest that we got to her goal. We skipped a few intercambios (language exchange student classes) to play with them by claiming that we were still getting Spanish speaking experience, but mainly they just taught us new slang expressions.  By the last week, we actually felt like we knew the guys and one girl, Marta, on a personal basis, so they invited us to celebrate the last night playing with them! Lina got to play with them until we saw a gorgeous sunset but left to finish her final paper, and Tindall got the chance to stay out with them playing until midnight then enjoying an American burger and hanging out with them into the late night.  We got everyone’s Facebook information, so hopefully we will be able to keep in touch with them! Appeasing María, we really did become friends with them, who are truly genuine people that we will dearly miss!

Pepe (María’s soon to be husband) and Abuela Loca:  Whenever these two characters joined us for lunch, we knew that we were in for a good time.  We spent the majority of our time laughing at Abuela for ridiculous things like her yoga moves at the dinner table or on the other hand, trying to crack a joke with Pepe.  Our last lunch together, we got the best of both of them- Pepe, who always speaks the truth, declared that Abuela is the main part of María’s crazy family meanwhile she refused to stop feeding Poncho, our dog, like a little kid.  No wonder María refers to her mom as hija (daughter)!  By the last lunch, we figured out a few cues to our meal- the blender noise equaled gazpacho, Pepe wearing the apron hinted at fried fish, and the Abuela Loca wore the same dress every lunch.  We always enjoyed their company throughout the week!

María (our mom):
Claaarrrro.  This soothing word coming from María’s mouth always put us at ease.  We could say so much about this amazing woman, and she ultimately made it the experience of our lifetime!   Chatting for an extra hour at the lunch table every weekday, we learned about her life, compared Spain and the USA, or pondered about our ideal place to relax.  She always encouraged us to go out, but we rarely made it back later than her staying up to watch Supervivientes (Spain’s version of Survivor) until 2:30AM, which is too late for our American standards on a school night.  She’s such a free spirit, who has a sense of joy for all aspects of life!  For example, she told us the solution to ending world hunger was selling one of the Pope’s sinks made of gold. Giving her the last besito was the hardest part of leaving Cádiz!

She went out of her way to make sure we were always happy and comfortable and without a doubt treated us like real daughters!  Although she always joked about us needing to find friends, with her we always had a friend at our side. From visiting her store, watching movies with her, treating her to a dinner on the town, listening to her sing as she cooked our lunch, feeding us like giants, enjoying beverages in the Plaza, and Skyping our families with her (impressed with the Brown’s Spanish skills and thought my dad was guapo plus loved that he’s a political man), we will miss every laugh, language misunderstanding, joke, or smile together!

Davidson Group: Although we only knew about half of the people in this group before arriving in Spain, we have new friendships that we’ll keep forever.  We spent the first week together touring Barcelona and Madrid, but we kept growing closer throughout our weeks in Cádiz.  Whether it was a required Salsa class, playing with Profesora Willis’ adorable daughters, spending a day at the beach on Playa Victoria, eating ice cream in Plaza Mina, or starting the night out together at Nahu, we made many memories together along the journey!  We’ll see y’all at Davidson soon!

Looking back on our experience, we had THE TIME OF OUR LIVES and built unforgettable relationships!  As for us, it is a summer that we will be able to share together for the rest of our lives, and we know that these memories will remain with us forever.  God has really blessed us with this opportunity, and we couldn’t have asked for a better journey together!

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