The 2015 Pan American Games… What an experience!
41 Countries represented at 1 event with only 1 thing on our mind… Qualify.
Take all of the hard work you have plugged in day after day leading up to this point and perform to the very best of your ability. There are only 12 slots in the Olympic games and a gold medal in this tournament punches your ticket for the big dance in 2016.
Nerves are high, butterflies are unwelcome and unsettled, and quality performances are demanded.
Many ask how I prepare myself for these moments and I am reminded of a quote by my childhood hero, Mia Hamm –
I was reminded of that “little girl” just recently when I met Rosie. She was playing in a tournament at our training center and I connected with her through her club coach and my dear friend/college teammate. What was meant to be a favor for this young player to meet a National Team member, quickly turned into mutual admiration for both of us. Her passion for the sport is refreshing, and her drive to do the best she can is electric. Simply put, her eyes light up at the words of “Field Hockey.” I was very honest with myself after I met Rosie. I asked myself, “When was the last time my eyes lit up when I stepped onto the field to play?” And to be honest, I couldn’t remember. Trust me, there is no doubt that I love the game, or else I wouldn’t be able to endure these endless hours of training. But there is something more that Rosie currently has that I lost between now and when I first stepped on the field. I play to perform and Rosie plays to… play. Yes, this is my job and there is a lot on the line, but it is important for me to understand that when the innocence of playing is lost then my ability to perform is compromised.
So… I packed Rosie’s light for the game in my bag this tournament, and I promised myself that I would play for the “little girl” who started field hockey in 7th grade with nothing more than a bowl cut and a desire to play the game. I will enjoy each moment of these Pan American Games with that light and that promise, and I will never look back.