BY JULIE CHU
|Kacey Bellamy and me before taking our headshots|
|"Team First" before our Switzerland game|
“Does it ever get old?” I get asked this all the time. And the simple answer is: “Never!” I’ve been blessed to be a part of the U.S. Women’s National Team since 2000. In that time, I have participated in three Olympic Winter Games, 12 Four Nations Cups, nine World Championships and countless training camps/tryouts. It has been an unbelievable journey in which most days I do not know how I became so lucky to live the life I do.
And so, I say to all those asking, “No. This never gets old.” Each day I get to live my dream and share it with people I care deeply about.
So, in the midst of my ninth world championship, I am embracing every moment I have and trying to do the best I can to help my team be successful. On our team, we carry this mentality of Team First. Our team culture is built around this concept, in which I as an individual do everything I can to make sure that WE as a TEAM are successful. The focus is on the team and when a group of strong individuals can find a way to care more about the whole than the self, great things will come.
A quick recap so far of worlds: We have now played our three preliminary games of the tournament. We kicked off the week with a tough 2-3 shootout loss against our northern rivals, Team Canada. It was a great game, but still hard to lose such a close match. Thankfully, early games allow us to make adjustments and improve the next time we step on the ice. So, after a quick turnaround, we were able to bounce back the day after our Canada game and win 4-2 against a gritty Team Finland. With two games under our belts, we then had a practice day before we would face Switzerland in our third and final prelim game.
Although game days are the BEST, the practice day proved to be much needed for our team. In our first two games, we had moments of solid play, but our whole game was not as complete as we wanted it to be. We set high standards for ourselves and are always striving to “Become Better.” An extra day of practices refocused our team on the simple plays that we need to execute for a full 60-minute game. Therefore, when we took the ice against Switzerland, we were re-energized and ready to compete hard. With a great team effort, we were able to come away with a solid 5-0 victory!
With preliminary games over, we will now face Team Finland in the semifinals on Monday. Yesterday, Finland won a close 1-0 game over Germany in the quarterfinals in order to earn a spot in the semis. Exciting times coming up. PREPARATION is KEY and that begins…NOW!