01. What will you take with you from the Masters tourney in Tampa, FL? Highs? Lows?
Besides an inflated sense of pride and an even more intense passion for hockey, what I’ve continued to carry with me since leaving Tampa is an almost overwhelming feeling of gratitude for all the folks who made it possible for me to be a part of such an unforgettable experience – Angelo Terrana, a member of the DC-USA Team, who upon learning at the Ocean City (OC) tournament that I wasn’t planning on going to Worlds, convinced me that missing out would be a huge mistake and committed himself to helping me find the means to make it happen; my family and friends for being so generous in their contributions to my fundraising efforts; Jason Kelly, who was willing to add me to the roster at the last minute, and who quickly became both a mentor and a friend; for every single athlete that I played with or against or just had the pleasure of watching or meeting with over those five intense days – each one inspired me and made the experience richer; and of course for all of the organizers who worked for over a year to ensure that everything ran smoothly for us.
02. What was it like to play against teams from all over the world?
Prior to Worlds, I really had no idea that ball hockey was anything more than a niche sport. Meeting and playing against people from other countries was such fun. Nothing creates a sturdier bridge across cultures, boundaries, ideologies, and backgrounds than a shared passion and common goal. Sports have time and again proven to be a powerful unifier, and Worlds gave us all a little taste of just how important it is to create spaces in which we can learn from and about each others’ differences while strengthening our common bonds.
03. What was your mindset going into the game Sunday against Canada for Bronze?
I was dead set on winning. I was anxious, as I am before every big game, but I was also feeling pretty confident. I trusted my teammates and coaches and really believed that we could come out on top. I was proud of us – we’d already exceeded expectations. As always, I’d put a ton of pressure on myself to excel. I had a little bit of fear that my already-battered and bruised body wouldn’t be able to handle any more of a beating, and tried to prepare myself to play through pain. I didn’t want to let myself, my teammates, coaches, or loved ones who were watching the game down.
04. What was your favorite moment of the tournament?
There were so many memorable moments, it’s tough to choose just one. Jason gave me a pep talk after we clinched our spot in the Bronze medal game that made a huge impact on me and will hopefully continue to play through my head whenever I get a little down on myself.
I had a sense that Lisa Lister was a pretty awesome person from the moment I met her, but watching her gear up to play net for Slovakia showed me just how much integrity she has. I don’t know if I could have done it, honestly, and I know it wasn’t easy for her. Being able to set allegiances aside so that everyone gets a fair shot takes a whole lot of humility and grace, and I really admire her for doing so.
Getting recognized as an all-star alongside phenomenal athletes from each woman’s team was a huge surprise and an incredible honor.
Knowing just how hard the DC-USA team men had worked and how much they deserved their moment in the spotlight, seeing the joy and pride on their faces after a win, and watching them sway as one as they lifted their voices to sing the Anthem brought tears to my eyes.
05. What one or two things did you do during your training that was keys to your success?
Since I didn’t know I was going to Worlds until just about 3 weeks prior, I didn’t really train. I play a lot of hockey, though – with three different teams in one league on Sundays, another league on Saturdays, and another on Wednesdays, and I’m always trying to improve my game. I constantly watch and listen to the veteran players around me, and especially to Jamie Cooke and Angelo Terrana, who coach my local women’s team. Had I known I was headed to Masters, I probably would have used the OC tourney as more of a training opportunity and spent a little less time at the Green Turtle. Just a little though.
06. What do you feel that the US has to do more effectively to be able to capture Gold in 2016?
From my perspective as a female player, I’m looking forward to seeing how much better the teams are in 2016. I know interest will increase as a result of Worlds, and I’m hoping that we’ll have a lot of training and tourney opportunities so that more and more women can build confidence in their skills. It will be integral that the women’s teams, like the men’s, are selected early enough to have plenty of time for generating a sense of camaraderie both on and off the rink.
07. How would you rate your experience with ASHI on a scale of 1-10 and why?
Looking back on Worlds, I really don’t have any complaints. Sure, there were things that might have gone more smoothly, but no big event like Worlds can be totally free of glitches. All in all my experience with ASHI and everyone involved has been top notch.
08. If you could change one thing about the process or the actual event what would it be and why?
I would have liked the Closing Ceremony to be a bit more…ceremonial. It ended up being a bit chaotic with people milling about and lots of noise, which made it difficult to really feel engaged. Normally I’m not much for formality, but I think it was warranted and would have been really meaningful in this case.