I think what we did off the field this week was the most beneficial and important to all of us. We were told the story of 3-year old Malia Jusczyk who has been fighting neuroblastoma cancer since April. She is the daughter of a former teammate of and player for our coaches. She is currently undergoing stem cell transplant, so we decided to make a funny video (see below) to try to keep her upbeat and laughing. Her story really puts things in perspective and makes me realize how lucky I am to be healthy and able to play. Sometimes I think we forget that we play soccer because we love and enjoy it. It's a real privilege to get to play in college. We get to travel together and play at all these beautiful schools and represent our own university – and this year it is extra special because we also play for Malia.
We have some real comedians on the team so I knew a funny video wouldn't be too difficult for us. There were pies thrown in faces, balls bounced off of heads, pratfalls, uniquely choreographed dances and even Sam the Minuteman showed up! What we didn't realize, but soon learned, was how many talented dancers we have on the team. I think it's safe to say that a few of us will keep Malia laughing with our dancing alone, not to mention that any appearance of Sam is a welcomed treat. Good luck Malia and remember that the Minutewomen have your back!!!
Like I've said before, everything is better when you win. The victory against Charlotte increased our win streak to 6, and made the next day a lot more relaxed. Being trapped on a plane and in a hotel together after a loss would have been rough. This trip was 4 days long and filled to the brim with soccer and hard work. Still, we always find a way to have fun, whether it be a very competitive game of Taboo or some good fun at the expense of our teammates and coaches, unfortunately this time…I was a victim.
Sometime early in the afternoon, our coach told me (and my roommate Kristen) that we may get interviewed for the A-10. Both of us were secretly wondering, “something must be up, why would they ever want to interview us?” But we didn't want to mess up and were nervous that our performance wouldn’t be adequate. We even asked our much more experienced teammate Julie, who was also getting “interviewed”, for some pointers. We showed up dressed in our official UMass attire and sat up front of the “press” ready to go. As the interview proceeded, the questions began to shift from being soccer related to being completely off topic and bizarre. However, still eager to do a good job and represent UMass well, I continued to answer each question as though it would be made public. (I guess you could say it was, however on twitter and facebook rather than anything formally A-10 soccer related.) It turns out that the interviewer was a stranger found at the hotel lobby and the whole interview was a clever joke (and a tradition). This is probably for the best because our answers needed some work. Maybe Julie’s first act as President: to abolish the tanning tax and then travel the world with me (as her VP) on the taxpayers’ money (sorry America) wouldn’t be so great. However, it was wonderful that Kristen would heroically end all wars. – she would have made Miss Congeniality proud. A few very interesting and funny things came out of our mouths in this faux interview and I’m sure we have supplied the team with weeks of material to joke about.
I write this week’s blog on the plane, flying home from the weekend, and cannot wait to be home. It's funny to me that I now call my dorm room in Emerson “home” and that I missed UMass while I was on the trip. Like I realized back in preseason, new surroundings become comfortable sooner than we can imagine. I can't believe that it was 2 months ago that I arrived in Amherst for preseason. It’s remarkable that I didn’t know most of the girls that sit around me now on this plane. It seems like a lifetime ago and they have become great friends. I of course miss my family and friends back at my “Danvers home” (especially my brother… HI DAN) but the team has definitely become a surrogate family. They have made the transition into college pretty effortless and very entertaining.