Michelle Kasold- "Make the Most of it!"

Sept. 23, 2010, 6:28 p.m. (ET)

Make the most of it!

Things have been so busy here, sometimes I wonder when do I stop and think! It has been a really nice change to the lack of activities I find for myself to do when I am out in California training full time with the National Team. It's also nice to have the option of relaxing every now and again, but for right now I am enjoying all the new experiences I have been having all over the great country of the Netherlands!!

This past weekend, we had what we call a "team weekend" meaning simply that we spend the weekend together bonding with each other and building on our goals. Friday we had practice, then went downtown Den Haag for a bit before having somewhat of a "sleep over" at the house in Den Haag where a few of the girls live. On Saturday, we spent the morning working out our strengths and weaknesses, goals, and did a few team bonding exercises. All in all it was a very productive morning. The fun stuff came in the afternoon though!! Two of the girls created a scavenger hunt. Split into 4 teams, we had to do a list of tasks and video ourselves doing them to show the rest of the team. With items such as: drive around a round-a-bout 25 times, drive backwards for 1km, teach 5 people how to do the moonwalk, sell 3 cucumbers for a profit, everyone switch clothes, and eat a container of cat food as a group... just to name a few! It was pretty funny to watch the videos afterwards at dinner!

Sunday we traveled all the way to Den Bosch which is in more of the Southern part of Holland about an hour and half away. Den Bosch has won the Hoofdklasse Championship around 12 of the last 15 years. In other words, they are consistently one of the best teams. Unfortunately I think we gave them a bit too much respect in the first half and found ourselves down 3-0. Although a good side, we knew if we challenged them a bit more and put them under more pressure, we could be successful. The second half resulted in a 1-1 tie, but left us with a 4-1 loss. It was frustrating to take such a big blow for our first loss, even though these matches don't count yet. I do think we took a lot out of that game and know now that we can play with anyone in this league if we take risks and play to our strengths.

Just one more practice match this coming weekend before the season starts October 3rd. I'm pretty excited for the season, even though we still have a few things to work out on the field.

"Enjoy it. Nothing good lasts forever. Make the most of it." - good advice from my mom!


A Day in Town

Imagine you are riding you bike down a cobblestone road through the line of trees on your way into town. You are in your normal attire (as opposed to athletic wear often worn when biking) and you pull into town to see the line of 30 bikes already parked and locked about the racks. As you venture into the rows of streets lined with shops, foreign signs of unfamiliarity seem to encompass the area. You slowly take in all the sights and sounds: signs in Dutch, new types of fashion, food stands selling what look like hard waffles (better known as stroopwafels), people in every direction speaking even more Dutch. Without hesitation you begin to journey through the unfamiliar into what surprisingly reminds you of home. Around the corner is a McDonalds and around the other is a coffee shop. Brightly colored signs indicate the shoe store is having a sale. Groups of girls with shopping bags laugh together as they make their way into another shop. You even see someone wearing a USA t-shirt. You decide to try one of these waffle creations and find out just how delicious they are! You walk into a couple shops and fall in love with a stylish new jacket. You even begin to recognize what some Dutch words you hear. After an afternoon of adventure, you decide to head home. As you pedal, you think about the day and…

You quickly realize that things aren’t so different here. And even when they are, differences aren’t always bad things. In fact, it is these new experiences that allow you to not only appreciate what you have, but allow you to learn and accept why others do things differently. In time, you learn to embrace the new way of living and might even learn a few things about yourself that you never knew!