Life continues to be busy and exciting here in Barcelona. I have been busy training, coaching, taking Spanish classes, and even finding time to travel with friends.
We are beginning to approach the final few weeks of league play. Only the top 4 teams advance to playoffs and my team is holding on to our 3rd place standing by a thin string. We recently lost a game that was titled an upset against Club Egara and since then, we have proceeded to win by only slight margins. As I mentioned before, our team is stacked with talent but we struggle to connect as a unit. I still have the hope that we will put the pieces together when it matters most.
With four games left in league play, the end of the season is nearing. This also means that summer is approaching the weather is warming. I love this time of year and enjoy spending my time outdoors. Last weekend after our game in the south of Spain, I took a 2 day vacation to Malaga with four teammates. We had a wonderful 48 hours exploring the southern beach city and relaxing in the sun. This city was very different then Barcelona with its relaxed way of life. The people move slower and take the time to smile when you pass them walking.
Malaga, Spain was wonderful, but I am counting the day for our next vacation. The week of Easter is very special here and schools and companies usually give the entire week off. I am fortunate to announce that my club, RC Polo, has given us the week off.
We have booked a four day vacation to the island of Palma de Mallorca. My boyfriend, 5 other friends, and I are flying to the Spanish island and enjoying the sights from land for a day. The next day, we board a sail boat that we rented and we’ll explore the area by sea. I am sure it will be a wonderful experience. With a captain driving and the wish for good weather, my chances of getting sea sick are minimized.
So, whether I am treading water off the coast of an island or kicking hard to simply make the playoffs with my team, I will be sure to write again soon.
Until then, train hard and have fun!
As I wrote to you on the 23rd of Feb., I was feeling a bit tired from spending so many hours traveling. Since my last blog, I can say that my time in the airports has not been minimized.
I had nine days in Barcelona to try and readjust. During the short trip, we played two games. The second match was against the #1 seed in the league, Club de Campo from Madrid. We traveled west to play them on their home turf. It is normally a 5-6 hour drive, but with the low prices of the commuter flights, our club flew us there. I am not sure if they wanted to make the trip more convenient or add to my frequent flier miles. Either way, I was happy to arrive home a few hours earlier, especially because we lost the game. It was a disappointing match because our side played great hockey that day. We had some unfortunate breaks in the circle that allowed them to capitalize on a stroke and a corner making the final score 2-0.
That Sunday, I flew back to Barcelona with my club team. I ran home to pack my bags and grab 5 hours of sleep because it was back to the airport in the A.M. I had to catch a plane to NYC in the morning. I hopped in the taxi as the sun broke over the horizon and looked at my sagging eyes. I had a moment of uncertainty while questioning why I had to get back in a plane. The reality was that I was heading back to my hometown in PA to receive an award; The Adam Smith Award from the Economics Pennsylvania Organization. I was honored to be the recipient! Excited to attend the banquet on Thursday! And, slightly nervous to give a short speech. Nervous? It is no secret that public speaking can give anyone some butterflies, but I was typically pretty calm when asked to speak. The near thought of getting up in front of this crowd gave me some nerves. But, that was the exact reason that I was getting on that plane.
The organization creates educational opportunities for schools to help prepare young people for the ever changing economic world. The opportunity that they provide students is something that I believe in to be so necessary in today’s world. The importance of their work is no secret and that is why so many honorable individuals devote their time to working with EconomicsPA (www.economicsPA.org). For this reason, I was nervous to speak. The room was going to be filled with the likes of Andy Russell (famed Pittsburg Steeler’s Linebacker), Honorable John Gordner (R-27), Honorable Russ Fairchild (R-85), and many others.
The day ended up being wonderful! I was fortunate to meet exceptional individuals, including some of the brightest students and teachers in the region. My family attended and other special people from the community that I otherwise would not have had the time to see on my short trip. You can read more about the awards ceremony at http://www.dailyitem.com/archivesearch/local_story_065003108.html
I am not back in Barcelona, of course via another flight and long day in the airports. But, one thing is for certain, the trip was worth it!
Until next time….
Keli Smith Puzo is a two-time Olympic Field Hockey player, Wife to Inako Puzo, head coach at Miami University, Mother of two young boys and your everyday kind of gal trying to keep it all together.