The final three days of our trip to Argentina have arrived. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I am beginning to smell the scents of my house once again. Although, the excitement to get home and see my husband and son continues to increase my pounding heart, I know that we have two more games here in Rosario, Argentina and before packing our bags, we must take care of business here. As the old slogan goes, ‘it’s how you finish that matters.’
The tournament has been a great learning experience for this fairly inexperienced USA Team. We have many players with few caps (international games) under their belt. Playing here, against the world’s top teams, has been a glimpse at what it’s like to be in this company game after game and not just play, but compete with the first, third, and fifth placed teams in the world.
We started off the four-nation tournament in Mendoza with a little dust on our sticks and nerves in our spines.After the first thirty-five minutes against Argentina, we had a nice eye-opening experience. We started the second half five goals down but finally began to play like we are capable of and finished the second half tied (of course, losing the game due to our poor first half performance).
The next two games were tough battles with Australia and Germany. Statistically, we outplayed our opponents but couldn’t find the back of the net. This reality sent us to the final game battling for third place. Our final game in western Argentina ended with a win and many smiles as we finally put goals in the back of the net and won in a stroke competition against a quality team, Germany.
The second phase of this trip sent us to Rosario. We have started the final four-nation tournament and so far the experience here has been wonderful. The accommodations are an A+ in my book. It is not too often that I find myself in the hotel spa for an hour massage or lounging by the rooftop pool in our off time. These little perks help to keep your mind at ease and balance during these team experiences. It can sometimes be hard to find time to yourself on tour. Most activities are spent with a group of 17 other women, all great and special in their own individual way. But like every humans, you need to find time to be alone.
My alone time has been spent on skype with my family or shopping in every kids store in town. I had to put an end to the gifts because last time I checked, Santa just visited 7 weeks ago and the next big holiday is not for many months. Looks like I might have to spoil Xavi…..just this one time J
Good night from Argentina! Game 7 tomorrow, USA vs. Australia.
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.