Georgia Tech junior Jennifer Yee and 2007 graduate Caitlin Lever are members of the Canadian National Softball Team that will participate in the Olympic Games, Aug. 12-21 in Beijing, China. Yee will be keeping a blog of her experience and give fans an inside look at an Olympian’s life preparing for the games and then while she is in China. Check back frequently for Jen’s entries throughout the summer and www.ramblinwreck.com will provide daily updates from Beijing on both Yee and Lever as they compete against the best of the world.
last updated August 21, 2008
Aug. 21, 2008
It’s finally over. It was a good run I guess, but I really wish I was wearing something around my neck right now. It’s funny how you can always have that perfect picture in your mind of what’s going to happen, but it never seems to work out that way. Sometimes you forget things often don’t go your way and there’s another team out there that wants to beat you just as bad.
There really is no history once you get to the Olympics. It doesn’t matter who beat who in the past, how good you think you are, or how good others think you are. It really comes down to who plays best during this particular week and a half, and which team handles the pressure. I didn’t even know what pressure was until I came here, and it makes me think everything else in life will be easy. Here we were, for 3 weeks, living in a bubble with one objective in mind, to get on the podium. It consumes you, it brings out the best and worse in you. Things that never mattered before, matter so much. Emotions are running high, and it felt like I was a see-saw in balance. Any little touch would send me tipping one way or the other. Normal things that would happen would get to me, and I would try so hard to get myself in balance again. It’s a tough thing to do, and maintain, after all you’ve got to play in front of the world every day, it’s not like there weren’t a million other things on my mind.
Anyways I’m glad it’s over none the less. Now I get to spend some time with my family before they leave, and maybe get to experience some other aspects of the Olympics before closing ceremonies. Before I know it I’ll be back in Atlanta hitting the books hard. No big deal, I’m just going to miss a week and a half of school, with a whole lot of jet lag I’ll be trying to get over.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this, it was good fun for me too!
Aug. 15, 2008
Well after an emotional day yesterday I’m glad we’ve got all of today off until our night game against Venezuela. We had China at 9:30 in the morning yesterday and it was one heck of a trip. It was already our biggest game in that it was a must win, but on top of that it was China. Playing China in China is not an easy task. People were lined up outside the gate before we even got to the field to warm up. The stands were packed, and I could barely hear the umpire or my teammates on the field. Those are the times when you have to resort to hand signals to communicate.
We took the lead in the 6th inning, but China came back with a double in the bottom of the 7th. Then proceeded to load the bases with none out. Let me tell you the place was going nuts. So stressful, I just kept telling myself breathe, just breathe, stay in control. It was probably the happiest moment of my life when we made that last out, and I was still shaking when I got thrown into the media for interviews.
After that emotional game we had to wait around for the Japan vs USA game so we could finish our game against the US that got rained out. I don’t know if it was the fact that we had to get up at 5am, the lack of coffee, or the emotional drainage of the first game, but I was exhausted by the time we had to warm up again. It was definitely not the same feeling of our first game going into the second one, nor the same one from the day before against the US. Needless to say we lost, but what can you do right?
Now we’re just waiting around until our game tonight, probably going to take a nap, watch the games, maybe watch some video. On the whole keeping pretty low key. We’ve got a big 3 days ahead of us. Wish us luck!
Aug. 12, 2008
Hey guys, today was opening day for softball. It was like Christmas Eve yesterday in that I couldn’t wait to go to bed. Ok I’ll admit it, I took a Gravol at 9 so I would sleep, but I had to get up at 4:30, I couldn’t risk it.
We had the first game of the day and of the tournament at 9:30 against Chinese Taipei. I’m glad to say we opened up with a win. I think the game was everything I could have imagined, the Team Canada section of 100+, the organized Chinese crowds, the media, and the security, our bus even had a police escort from the village to the field. To say the least I was nervous. I’m pretty sure my legs were shaking for my first 2 at bats. It was so awesome playing with my family there too, I don’t remember the last time my whole family watched me play.
The rest of the day was supposed to be our free time to watch other events, but that never ended up happening. Our whole team was glued to the TV watching the rest of the games that day. And I think it would be a fair prediction to say that that’s the way we’re going to spend the rest of our week.
Next up’s the Netherlands at 7:30 tomorrow. I’ll keep you all posted as best I can.
Aug. 9, 2008
The Olympic Games have finally begun! Last night were opening ceremonies, and walking around that track was the most amazing experience of my life. After a long time waiting all day 6 o’clock rolls around and we’re all ready in our spiffy outfits, which consisted of a white skirt, tank top, and short sleeve wind jacket, always keeping mind of the heat. Although you wouldn’t know by how much we sweat last night.
At 6 they bused all of us to the gymnastics building beside the bird’s nest (track). This is where all the countries waited until it was their turn to walk. Canada was number 63 based on the Chinese alphabet. So we waited there for about an hour until it was time to go. It was a pretty long process to get into the stadium but as we got closer the anticipation mounted more and more, until we got into the tunnel. It was so loud, people were cheering, yelling, and just so excited waiting to be presented. Our team even sang two renditions of “O Canada” in the tunnel with our flag bearer waving the flag so proud. That was the best part of opening ceremonies in my opinion.
But the whole event was awesome, don’t get me wrong. I have never been in a stadium so big, and it was packed. I couldn’t stop looking at the crowd in awe and tripped on the track about 3 times in the process. After we did our lap we gathered in the middle of the track and waited until the rest of the world walked in. The athletes don’t get to see what you all saw on tv but the fireworks we did see were pretty cool. That and the lighting of the torch was so creatively done with the guy suspended to the roof of the track to do a lap and light the giant torch over the bird’s nest.
We don’t start playing until the 12th so we’ll spend our time practicing until then. Everyday there’s a 2 hour slot for practice so that’s what we’ve been doing with our time. There’s really not much to do in the village, and we don’t have time to watch other events, nor is it easy to get tickets. The word on the street is that all of our games are sold out, and looking at the stadium the other day, that place is going to be so loud. They really mean it when they say the you’re on the world stage at the Olympics.
I can’t wait until we start our games, it seems like I’ve been waiting for this forever. I will try to keep you all posted as best I can.
Aug. 4, 2008
Hello again. We’re getting down to it guys, we leave for Beijing tomorrow. We just played our last game today against a Japanese pro team, now it’s off to the big show. It’s getting exciting now, and I feel really good, I’m definitely ready to get started.
The last couple days here have been pretty fun. We’ve since moved out of the city of Sendai and now we’re outside the city of Chiba. I don’t know the name of the town but we’re pretty much staying on a mountain in the rainforest. I’m just waiting for some sort of wild carnivorous animal to jump out of the bamboo one day on the walk back from the internet room to our cabins we’re staying in. At first I was annoyed at the fact we were staying in cabins instead of the hotel down the street, but after another earthquake a couple days ago at 5am, I’m not so annoyed.
The other day we went into Chiba to watch a professional baseball game. Baseball is like a religion here, and I’ve never had so much fun watching a game before, not to mention we got to go on the field before the game and meet Bobby Valentine who manages the Chiba Marines. Watching baseball isn’t the same here, it’s not like in the states where you just sit there and drink beer, there’s organized cheering going on in which you’re expected to participate in. We were all given a cheer flag to wave around, only when our team was on offence though, no cheering allowed when your team is on defence. There was a guy in the middle of us with a microphone and he would yell out which cheer we were to do. The cheers didn’t vary much so they were easy to learn, usually it would consist of the hitter’s name combined with “Let’s go!” or “Katabasi!” which means hit it hard in Japanese. There was also a team song that everyone knew and they gave us balloons to let go when the song was finished. Check it out
We’ve also made a trip into Tokyo. On our last day off the team took the train from our hotel into the city. Some went to go see the temples, and waterfront and others hung out in the city. Tokyo kind of reminded me of New York City with all the billboards and flashing lights. It was a fun and tiring day, and a good day getting away from our hotel on the mountain.
Well, Japan’s been great, but it’s time to say goodbye. It’s been a long 8 months coming, but I think we’re more prepared than ever. I can’t wait!
July 27, 2008
Hello again. So here’s the awesome thing about jet lag, you’re always up early enough to talk to family at home. I can’t seem to make the body sleep in past 5am these days. The downside to it is the fact that when you have a 6pm game that night, you have all day to sit around, twiddle your thumbs, watch Japanese tv, attempt to nap, check your email for the 5th time that day, go to Starbucks, or roam the streets of Sendai, which gets kind of old once you finish your latte and discover the ATM which takes your form of credit card.
We’ve played 2 games so far since being here, one against the Netherlands and one against a university team. We played the Netherlands on this artificial turf field which doubles as a baseball stadium. They just shave off the mound and let us go. It’s really weird playing with these dirt patches all around and sliding into second base is much like that slip and slide toy you had as a kid in the summer. Given it hasn’t stopped raining here since we’ve arrived I can see why they wouldn’t want grass.
One funny thing I’ve noticed since being here is how the crowd treats us all. I’ll just state the fact that Japanese people are probably the nicest and most friendly people in the world. Wherever we go, riding the bus, walking to the field, people are always waving and saying hello. And before and after the game, people are always wanting autographs and pictures. However, the Japanese public doesn’t seem to be interested in my picture or autograph. Yesterday these two girls found a teammate and I in the bathroom looking for autographs. So there I am, waiting for a stall and waiting for my teammate to finish signing these girls’ bags. When she finally finishes, the girls turn around and I naturally think it’s my turn to sign the bags. Oh no, they wanted nothing to do with me, they walked right past looking for other Canada players. I was a little hurt, but just laughed to myself. Those girls watched our game and got some autographs afterwards as well, no not mine though. It’s because I’m Asian isn’t it?
Anyways, these are probably the longest days ever and the highlight to it is eating and getting ready for the game, and of course playing the game. We got Japan tonight, should be a good one. Time for my nap, I’ve only been up since 5 after all. To close, a word from Caitlin Lever: Peace up A-town down. A true thug life playa from the ATL.
July 25, 2008
Hey guys, I’m in Sendai Japan! We flew out earlier this week from Vancouver, and after a 10 hour plane ride and a 6 hour bus ride, we’re finally here. Oh how I’ve missed being in a foreign country. Who doesn’t like language barriers, funny money, no English TV and outlets that don’t fit your plugs.
Now, it wouldn’t be a Team Canada travel day without some “adversity,” as we like to call it. So we checked into our hotel around 11:30pm, and after getting unpacked a little and settled in, it’s time for bed. There I was, half asleep when I hear banging on the ceiling. Surely I thought people were just being rude having a party upstairs. No, of course not, it was a freaking earthquake, just like the movies, the floor was shaking, pitch black, couldn’t find the light, I was going to cry. And to top it off, we were on the 7th floor! How on earth were we going to escape this one? All those earthquake drills in school did nothing for me. What good would hiding under the desk, or standing in the doorway on the 7th floor do anything for me anyways? I think our whole team ran out into the hallway at once, half naked and panicking at the same time. But, by then the shaking had stopped, and looking off the balcony, people were carrying on with life as normal. I guess something as small as a little shaking was nothing to worry about here. We find out the next morning, the earthquake was 200km away and that our hotel is perfectly earthquake-proof…or so they say.
Our last days in Canada were very short lived. After the Canada Cup ended we had 1 precious day off to be at home to repack, and buy your favorite westernized food which isn’t available in Asia. Then before we knew it, it was back to the airport for our last leg of the journey. We’ll be in Japan for about a week and a half, then it’s off to Beijing. It’s hard to believe it’s almost over, these 7 months sure went by quickly. Pretty soon I’ll be back at school and back to reality. Well, until next time, or the next earthquake perhaps.
July 16, 2008
Hey! I’m at home in beautiful BC for the Canada Cup. I’ve been waiting for this trip all tour. There’s nothing like playing at home in front of all my friends and family. I’ve been watching this tournament for as long as I can remember, and it’s probably one of the best annual international tournaments in the world. This year, all the Olympic teams are here aside from the US, China and the Netherlands. The rest of the field consists of club teams from around Canada and the US.
The Canada Cup also includes 2 other tournaments for 16 and 18 and unders. It gives college coaches a chance to come up and recruit, and watch some international softball as well. The other day I got to meet incoming freshman Danielle Dike who’s playing in the 18 and under tournament here. It was a pleasant surprise to see a ramblin wreck sweater in the crowd, only to find out she was going to be a future teammate of mine.
I’ll be sure to enjoy my last couple days at home, as this is our last tournament in North America. Next week we’re off to Japan, and then China. How time flies, only 23 more days!
July 3, 2008
Happy belated Canada Day and happy 4th of July! Right now, I’m in Kitchener Ontario for the Team Canada Tri Nations Cup going on this weekend. We got in last Sunday and played an exhibition game on Tuesday against Venezuela for Canada Day. There was a great turnout and a great start to our Canadian tour with a win on our home soil.
I spent the last 2 days in Niagara Falls visiting some friends from school. It was definitely a well deserved couple days off. I think everyone is a little burned out from playing and traveling.
After being in Canada for a few days now, I’ve come to realize how much I love it. I don’t even live here, but just that feeling of being in your home country is awesome and surreal. I don’t know what it is, and granted the US isn’t that much different, the fact that wherever we go people recognize us and are so supportive, feels so good. After traveling around the world and living in the US for school, it’s just not the same as coming home. Being around familiar things and people just gives me a reminder of what and who we’re representing everyday.
Well, I just wanted to check in briefly before our tournament starts on Sunday, and I hope everyone haves a fun 4th of July!
June 29, 2008
Hey there, I’m writing from the rubber capital of the world, Akron, Ohio. This is our last stop of the American part of our tour, as we’re flying to Toronto this morning. Finally, back to Canada, how I’ve missed the comfort of my home country, the home crowds, the Canadian accents and of course the Tim Horton’s coffee and donuts.
Well, to make up for the uneventful series we had in Rockford, this series was full of surprises. On the day we were supposed to leave Rockford, our bus that was supposed to take us to Akron decided not to show up.
We ended up borrowing the Rockford bus and our nice bus driver Dave’s Tahoe to shuttle us back and forth from Panera so we didn’t starve waiting for our real bus. Two hours later than the scheduled departure the bus shows up and we finally made it to Akron at 1am only to find out there’s drug testing at our hotel.
Probably the one and only time I don’t get picked, my roommate does which conveniently kept me awake until about 2am. Great start…we only had practice at 9am the next day!
We were actually supposed to have two practices that day, but when we wake up and got all ready, we looked out the window and it’s POURING. In other words, the morning practice was canceled. To put it lightly, I wasn’t impressed sleeping for about 6 hours when it could have easily been 9. I was also not impressed that we had to wait around for so long trying to find a place to hit since I had only a limited amount of time to hang out with the one and only Brittany Barnes.
Misfortunes actually happened daily for us on this trip so I’ll just tell them in the order they went. The next day was our first game against the Akron Racers at 7pm, so we worked out at Unique Fitness down the road in the morning.
I said the specific name of this gym so if by any chance anyone reading this is in Akron WON’T go there. It was in a basement, it smelled, the free weights were rusty and I’m sure drug deals went on down there. To top it off, later that day as we’re driving to Olive Garden for our pre-game meal we get royally lost, driving through rural areas, no where near civilization. That was the first, but not the last time we got lost going somewhere, let’s just say our driver Bruce wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.
The next day we get up to go hit in the morning. However, as we get on the bus there is this distinct odor inside. Bruce was in the bathroom cleaning it, saying it was out of order, accusing one of us for getting sick in there. I’m still skeptical of this since I sit in the back and would know if someone were to run back there looking nauseous. Regardless, it smelled like something awful and I was gagging as I tried to run off the bus. That was probably the longest bus ride ever to the batting cages trying to breathe only through my mouth.
We split our series with Akron 2-2, avoiding the rain and thunderstorms as best we could. I swear the storms follow us everywhere, maybe it’s a sign we need to get back to Canada. Our game for day 3 was even moved up to the next day so day 4 was a double header. I definitely haven’t played one of those in a while because I was sure tired going into the second game of the day, I even had to get someone to make a coffee run for me just to get through it. After our double header there was a team bbq at a teammate’s house. And just our luck something bad would happen right? Five minutes down the road our bus starts spewing black smoke out the back and we’re forced to go back to the hotel, at 30 MPH. Thankfully, enough parents and friends were in town to drive us to the bbq.
Anyways, hopefully our Canadian portion of our tour goes better than this one. We’re about to board the plane now, I can’t wait to get to our layover in Chicago and wait around for 3 hours. Talk to you later!
June 22, 2008
Hey everyone, I’m writing from Rockford, Illinois. Well actually we’re staying in Beloit, Illinois, pronounced “bloyt.” I can actually say I’ve been to Wisconsin now since Beloit is one of those limbo cities sitting right on the border.
This series was pretty uneventful, nothing really exciting happened. But it was nice to see Savannah [Brown] again. However, bad weather seems to follow us and we had to get through some rain delays on day 2. I guess they’re used to the rain here in Rockford because somehow the dirt on the field was surprisingly rain resistant, and it was ready to go in 45min after the rain stopped.
We’re leaving tomorrow to go to Akron, and that will be our last series in the US. Then we’re off the Kitchener Ontario for the start of our Canadian tour. Anyways, I’m out, gotta repack that bag again. This is definitely getting old. Until next time.
June 15, 2008
Happy Father’s Day, and happy birthday to me…yesterday. I’m in Chicago right now, and we’re in the middle of a series with the Chicago Bandits, with former yellow jackets Jesse Sallinger and Aileen Morales. We’re only staying in each location for about a week on average, so after a week in Oklahoma City, we’re a week here in Chicago, then a week in Rockford and Akron to play all the pro teams.
Oklahoma City went well, we played China and the US, somehow avoiding all the storms which stopped our game with the NPF after 2 innings. Our game against Team USA will be on ESPN on July 5. The game was themed as breast cancer awareness day in support of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Central Oklahoma. Team USA wore pink jerseys for the occasion, and we wore pink hats to support a Canadian dragon boat team made entirely up of breast cancer survivors. It’s a great cause and a great medium to showcase it. The crowd was also there in full force wearing their pink shirts, but not to be fooled by the pretty color, the 10 year old girls had their game faces on and cheering voices ready. The cheers ranged from, “WE LOVE JENNIE FINCH” to, “GO USA, KILL CANADA.” At least goodwill between neighboring countries is still alive these days.
Anyways, we’ve only got a couple more days here until we’re off to Rockford. By the sounds of it we’re going to be going to a White Sox game one of these days. What’s a better release from playing softball, than going to a baseball game right? But just by coincidence Jason Bay and the Pirates are in town, so we’re going to cheer him on. His sister Lauren Bay is one of our pitchers. Well I’ll be sure to enjoy the windy city for the next couple days, and I’ll write again from Rockford. Oh yeah, I’ll be accepting birthday gifts in the mail from now until we leave for Beijing, thanks!
June 5, 2008
Hey everyone, I’m writing from Oklahoma City. I’ve actually been here for about a week but forgot to write. There’s been a lot of stuff going on around here, with the College World Series and everything. You know its really a softball city when the big screen at Buffalo Wild Wings is devoted to the REPLAY of the final of the WCWS and the signs usually used for construction work are used to direct traffic to Hall of Fame Stadium.
Coming from someone who’s never been here, let alone even knew there was a World Series for Softball until I went away to Tech, I just want to say this place is amazing. People coming from all over the country to sit in 100 degree weather just to watch softball is just awesome. Even now, after the tournament is over, there are still kids around our hotel asking for autographs and we’re not even playing in a tournament.
Tonight we’re supposed to play the NPF All-Stars and fellow Yellow Jacket Savannah Brown but that depends on weather. Tornadoes are forcast for tonight, and it’s been ridiculously windy for the past day and a half. I hope we get to play tonight, but I’d rather not play in tornado force winds. The dugout doesn’t seem like a very good tornado shelter!
The plan is to play 3 games here, again depending on weather. Tonight is the NPF, tomorrow is China and Saturday is Team USA. The USA game will be shown on ESPN in July. This should be a good gauge for us to see where we’re at for the start of our tour.
Well, after 5 days of practice we’re already at game day, and it’s not going to slow down from here. These next 3 months are going to fly by and pretty soon we’ll be in Beijing. I’ll keep you all posted!
April 27, 2008
Wow it’s been an eventful last couple of days, but I made it, however painful it was. I’m at Tech again and it sure feels good to see the team and especially the seniors for their senior weekend.
I spent last week in Lincoln NE for training camp with Canada. Since Coach Sippel is the associate head coach for the University of Nebraska, training camps are often held there. We did some fitness testing and practiced a bit on the field, and it was really good to touch base with everyone at the halfway marker to our little break before the second tour.
However I always seem to have the worst luck with travel days. From bladder infections to hives, none would have topped how stressful it was to come to Atlanta. Upon checking in to our flight they told us that Chicago O’Hare had a “Ground Stop” issued throughout the day due to tornado warnings, which first caused our flight from Lincoln to be delayed for 5 hours, and second caused our flight from Chicago to Atlanta to be canceled. So then began the process of rerouting. As we were trying to find some new flights to Atlanta, it seemed easy enough to just save a seat on the 6:30am flight the next morning, since Caitlin got on the flight easily. Not so easy apparently, it was easy to save A SEAT, by the time I came up the flight was full. I think my heart, stomach and all major internal organs dropped to the floor. But my smart techy friends saved the day and found me a flight on a different airline at 7am.
It doesn’t all end there though. Caitlin and I had to take the flight to Chicago that night in order to fly out the next day. So after realizing all the hotels by the O’Hare airport were sold out we were fortunate enough to crash at a teammate’s house for a couple hours before heading back to the airport. Upon checking in AGAIN, Caitlin has to take some bus across the airport because Delta is no where near the United terminal, and I realize United didn’t actually buy me a ticket for Delta, they just put me on the stand-by list for a flight that was overbooked by 7. There goes the internal organs again. It was probably the longest hour of my life watching that stand-by monitor for my name to come up. I managed to squeak the last available seat as the plane was starting to board. I don’t think I slept at all on that flight because I was still so stressed out, and relieved at the same time.
So the moral of the story is, avoid connections in Chicago at all costs, Papa Johns will deliver pizza to the Lincoln Airport, and pretending to not understand the concept of stand-by and almost crying to a Delta agent really might get you on that flight.
Well I’m going to enjoy my days back in Atlanta and before we know it I’ll be traveling the world again on the second part of the Olympic tour. Bye everyone, come out and support the Yellow Jackets for their final home game this weekend!
April 3, 2008
Hey guys! After a long two months of travel, I’m finally home. I gotta say Australia was amazing, but I was about ready to come home. After being to all the places I’ve been, it makes me appreciate home that much more.
I spent my last week in Australia on Hamilton Island, a resort island by the Great Barrier Reef, and in Melbourne where I have family. Snorkeling on the reef was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done, swimming among giant schools of fish, and being able to get right up close to all the plant and animal life. It was definitely worth wearing the funny looking wet suits, and the hour long boat ride of terrible nausea. I knew all that mental training would come in handy someday.
I have an aunt and cousins in Melbourne, so i spent a couple days with them before I came home. It’s nice having family close to where you travel, sure beats a hotel or a hostel for that matter.
I’ll be home for about 2 weeks, then I’ll report to training camp in Nebraska.After that, I’ll have another month at home before I’ll be leaving again for the second tour. Just enough time to work some kinks out and get back in shape.
We’re almost there folks!
March 18, 2008
Hey everyone, the first tour is officially over! Last night was championship day for our final tournament. Rightly so it was our longest day at the ballpark with 2 epic games, an 11 inning game in the morning and an 8 inning game for the final. We didn’t get out of there until 11:30 at night, but it was worth the gold medal we’re taking home! That’s right, I said gold medal.
Not to brag or anything, we just beat Japan in extra innings to win it, no big deal. All jokes aside, I think we deserve this week off in Australia, team bonding is what they call it. We’re staying at Lake Tabouri to do some surfing, kayaking, and hiking as a team. Then on Monday, most of the team goes home, but me and a couple other girls are taking a couple extra days to go up to the Gold Coast. Then I head off to Melbourne to visit some family before I go back to BC. Two week vacation before I’m back at it again, I’ll be sure to enjoy it.
March 10, 2008
Hey everyone, I’m writing to you from Sydney Australia. It sounds so weird to say that since it doesn’t seem that different being here, other than people talk with an accent. The internet situation has been quite expensive lately, so I haven’t been able to submit a blog, let alone check my email more than once or twice. So here’s the rundown, a Cole’s Notes version if you will, of what I’ve learned about Australia without precious internet. 1.Before entering the country, it’s a good idea to clean the dirt off your cleats, in order to avoid a hefty fine, as well as a grumpy custom’s officer who has just disinfected them for you. 2. The dogs at the airport aren’t really there to search for drugs, but trail mix and granola bars instead. 3. The ozone really is thinner here. Ask my face. 4. Aussie toilets have 2 flushes, a half flush and a full flush. Don’t press the full one while sitting down, you will get wet. 5. The Australian accent is probably the hardest accent to imitate.
As far as what we’ve done this week, it has basically consisted of playing ball. We are staying in Rooty Hill, just outside the city of Sydney, and about a 10 minute drive to the park. We are playing in two tournaments while we’re here, both held at the Olympic stadium from 2000, and there are 3 other international teams participating, Australia, China and Japan. It’s so great having the opportunity to play these international teams this early, it really gives us the experience we need going into the Olympics.
Today was a day off, so we made a trip to the local zoo, and took a walk on the beach before a nice dinner at Outback. Kind of cliché I know. It was pretty cool seeing all the animals native to Australia, as well as the others. However, I still hope to see a kangaroo on the side of the road one of these days.
Wow, it’s already March 10th, which means only 2 more weeks left of this tour, and 150 days until opening ceremonies. The countdown is on ladies and gentlemen.
March 3, 2008
Well, today is my last day in North America for a whole month. Tonight at 10:30 we’re leaving from LAX to Sydney Australia. By the end of this 16 hour flight we’ll have bypassed all of Monday and it will magically be Tuesday. The wonders of trans-Pacific air travel. I’ve been on some long flights before but never as long as this, so Caitlin and I walked down to the Borders across the street in order to find some forms of entertainment to keep our sanity, in between the bouts of chemically induced sleep. Said in the words of Caitlin Lever, “I’m going to be so pilled up on Gravol, I won’t be able to read these 3 books I just bought!” And unfortunately we have practice right when we get there, this should be interesting.
We only played one game here in LA against Cal State Northridge. This trip was more meant to revisit with our sports psychologist Ken Ravizza, who works at Cal State Fullerton, as well as make it easier to fly out of LAX. Yesterday was our day off to just lounge around and do nothing, those days are very much appreciated. Today we’re going to a local high school to do our monthly fitness testing then coming back to the hotel to clean up before we head off to the airport.
That pretty much sums up my LA experience, sorry for not doing anything more exciting. Talk to you again soon!
February 28, 2008
Hey there. I said I’d write from Arizona and I intended to do that, but it’s already our last day here! It was only a 4 day trip, to play 2 double headers against ASU and the University of Arizona. It was definitely nice to play some top competition before we start playing international teams in Australia. The weather has been so nice here, it seems to get better and better wherever we go! It’s about 26 Celsius outside, like summer in February. All this warm weather is making me excited for LA and Australia, hanging around the beach and doing a little surfing. Sorry, I mean, I’m excited for some hard fought softball games against great competition.
Our last week in Vegas was pretty laid back. Our coach was nice enough to give us a couple days off from practice to give us a break. We attended another karate session as well, this time with a little more activity, hitting things, playing with wooden swords and the like. Another highlight of the week was our team costume/guitar hero party. Everyone came to our house in their costumes, food in hand, and fingers ready for some serious guitar hero. It made for some good team bonding.
Anyways, it’s 6:30am and I have a plane to catch. Good luck to my GT softball girls this weekend, and I’ll write again when I’m in California.
February 19, 2008
Hey everyone! Time sure flies by when you’re having fun. It feels like we just got here, and now we’ve got one week left until we’re off to Arizona. Things have been really busy around here, over the last 9 days we’ve played 11 games. Last Saturday we opened with Washington and Texas Tech, then we traveled to St George, Utah to play Dixie State and Southern Utah University. This weekend we played Wisconsin, Portland State, Seton Hall, UTEP and CSU-Bakersfield, all of which participated in the Las Vegas Desert Classic here at UNLV. It’s convenient training here in Vegas because they host so many tournaments, there are always teams around to play. Yesterday was our last game here, and we’ll finish off our last week with some light practice.
On a different note, I have gotten to experience some different means of training, all thanks to the Canadian Olympic program. The first was our team karate class at the local dojo. Believe me, karate is not all about punching and kicking, but instead being able to focus your mind and tap in to your inner “chi”. Unfortunately I had trouble grasping this concept and was unable to put out the candle with a punch. I was able to blow it out just once all night, with the help of my bat. Maybe that’s where my “chi” lies.
Today, we got to do some vision training with some certified sport scientists and sports vision trainers. They gave us some tools as eye “work outs” so our eye muscles can work most efficiently in picking up spin from a pitcher, or seeing the bounces from a ground ball. These workouts were indeed that, and I definitely had a headache afterwards.
Well I will try and enjoy my last week in Vegas as much as I can, and will write again when I’m in Arizona!
February 4, 2008
Well, after a day of reconciliation pending the disappointing game yesterday I decided to write in my blog again. I made it past the first week! It should be all downhill from here right? Probably not, but the first couple days of agonizing soreness is over, which is a feat in itself.
Our first week included lots of practice, working out and sleeping. It seemed like that’s all I did, a lot of the time we didn’t have time to eat, and I managed to lose 3 pounds inadvertently (all of which I gained back during the Super Bowl). Our mental trainer Ken Ravizza was also here to check in on us this last weekend, and this week our nutritionist is here. Today she took us on a grocery shopping tour and walked us through cooking dinner for the team, as well as gave us some tips for meal planning and snacking during long days at the field. Softball Canada gives us a food allowance for the time we’re in Vegas, so this is actually the first time I’ve had to shop and cook meals for myself.
It has definitely given me a new appreciation for the AA’s wonderful meals. Well it’s bedtime now, once again I’ve failed to stay up past 10:30. Until next time readers.
January 29, 2008
Hey everyone, I’m writing to you from the glamorous Las Vegas Nevada. I flew in yesterday from Vancouver and was happy to get away from the 6 inches of snow to say the least. I had a relaxing time at home in between the training I was doing with my hitting instructor, Dave Paetkau, and his clinics I was helping to run.
Right now I’m living in a house with the one and only Caitlin Lever and 4 other teammates, and I’ve spent most my day getting settled in, unpacking and the like. Practice starts tomorrow, and our days will usually consist of a practice in the morning, workout or conditioning in the afternoon and meetings in the evening. Not much time for gambling or shopping, nor much energy for it, but I’m sure an evening talk on Skype with my GT teammates will make me feel so much better!
I will write again in a week or so to let you all know what’s going on, and how I’m doing.
Cya in a week!
January 8, 2008
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and relaxing holiday. It’s that time of year again when everyone’s getting ready, looking forward to the spring season. As many of you may know, I won’t be joining the Yellow Jackets for this upcoming season, but instead will be joining the Canadian National Team en route to the Olympic Games in Beijing. Right now we’re all around the country training individually, but at the end of January we will be centralizing in Las Vegas.
I’m really excited for this opportunity to represent my country, and I’m doing all I can to be ready for camp. Over the next eight months, I will be providing updates with where I am in the world, and giving you an inside look at my “Olympic Journey”.
I am going to enjoy the rest of my time here at home and will check back in later this month from beautiful Las Vegas!