Former Duke Teammates Reunited on U.S. National Team
Duke redshirt senior goalkeeper Lauren Blazing is in Toronto with the U.S. women’s national field hockey team for the 2015 Pan American Games. The squad secured qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games this week and will face Argentina in Friday evening’s gold medal match. In this blog post from Toronto, Blazing talks about the experience of being on the national team along with former Blue Devil teammate Stefanie Fee, a defender on Team USA.
Jack Katz Stadium is one of my favorite places in the world. Every time I see the turf, I feel a sense of pride (and maybe a little bit of nausea on Howser days, but mostly pride). It might be because I’m heading into my fifth year at Duke and I’m starting to get nostalgic. Not an “oh no, it’s almost over” nostalgic, more like a “this is the most amazing experience ever” nostalgic. While the hockey is awesome, and I can’t wait to play another year for the school I love, it’s the people that have really made – and continue to make – Duke field hockey so amazing.
I’ve had so many incredible teammates at Duke over the last four years, but Fee was something special. I met her for the first time when she was coaching me in high school futures, and I was star struck. As far as I was concerned, Fee was possibly the coolest person ever. Now that I’ve had the privilege of being her friend and teammate for five years, I can confirm: coolest person ever.
If you’re an athlete, you might have been lucky enough to have played with someone like Fee. The one who is all in it for the team, who makes freshmen feel as much like a part of the team as fifth years, who inspires and motivates as naturally as she breathes. Yep, that’s Fee. As a freshman, I watched her and the rest of her senior class – also amazing people – take a young team that wasn’t even on the radar in preseason to the NCAA quarterfinals. I remember standing in the huddle after our last game not thinking about the result, but about how sad I was that those seniors were done with Duke field hockey. I’ve always loved hockey, but that class made the sport into something greater than a game – they made our team into a family, and started cultivating the culture that still grounds DUFH today.
That culture and sense of family stretch beyond Jack Katz Stadium to wherever DUFH kids are. This summer, it’s reaching all the way up to Toronto, Canada, where Fee and I are playing with USA Field Hockey at the Pan American games. I mean, the game field at University of Toronto is right next to a mini-version of the Duke Chapel! Duke is with us in the land of the moose. And thank goodness, because training with the U.S. team is tough. It’s incredibly fun and we have a great group of girls, but if you’re off, you’re going to get schooled. On days like that, I’m glad I’ve got Fee around to pick me up and remind me that she’s got my back. Now, in Toronto, it’s my turn to support her as she tackles speeding Chilean attackers, knocks down Canadian aerials and scores goals against the Dominicans! That’s right, goals! Who says scoring is for forwards?
I’m proud to be here, and I can’t wait to watch the team take on Argentina tonight for the gold. We’ve qualified for the 2016 Olympics but now it’s time to finish this tournament out the right way. Anyone who wants to follow can watch the game here: http://tycsportsplay.com (Just wait for the first ad to close then close the rest using the little x in the corner.) We appreciate all of your Duke love and support as we represent the red, white and blue!
…. And we Got the Gold!