Blogs from Holland

April 23, 2011, 6:34 p.m. (ET)

The Journey Begins

The USA field hockey squad is on their way to Holland. So, today was quite the long day. We got up around 8 AM, ate some breakfast at the hotel (our last bit of American food) and headed to training for two hours. After that we quickly went back to the hotel and crammed 18 girls into 3 hotel rooms. It was stressful because we only had 45 minutes for all of us to shower, get ready, and eat. Let's just say it was absolutely CRAZY! Finally, we depart and arrive at the airport an hour later.

This experience was not one of the best... First, We had to wait SO long with all of our bags for the coaches to get back from returning the rental cars. Then, when the coaches got back, we had to stand in line for over an hour just to try and get our bags checked. (All 37 of them...) This was taking so long that Shellie had to take control and allow us to cut over and get them checked quicker! Thank God for Shellie! And Pam and Char and Yuko of course :)

After this process, we took the escalator down to the security line which just so happened to be about miles long. Once again, we are waiting in line and we get the news from Shellie that our plane would be closing the door in five minutes. Can you say PANIC?! Yes. That's exactly what we did. We got through security as quick as possible and then hurried to the shuttle which would take us to our terminal. With seconds to spare on the shuttle clock, the last bit of our team made it on. Once we arrived at the other part of the airport we literally all SPRINTED as fast as we could to the gate. (We were all sweating by the time we got on the plane, no exaggeration.) We even beat Shellie in the foot race :) ... Luckily Char had tons of little snacks for us to grab before getting on the plane because we didn't have any time to stop and get some for ourselves. The plane ride was good for the most part accept for the food was tasty but the portions were very small, and the intense terbulance towards the middle of the flight. 8 hours later... WE ARRIVE IN HOLLAND!!!

The time difference is very strange because it's six hours behind back home! Let's just say we were pretty darn tired. So, we claim our baggage and head outside to get on our bus that would take us to our first hotel. Accept the only issue was the bus driver was missing for 45 minutes or so. We stood around outside and ate some snacks until he finally showed up. Then we were on our way! The drive was about two hours and we finally got to our hotel. It is REALLY nice here, it's HUGE and almost like an entire Dutch village.

The rooms are smaller to what we're used to at home, especially the beds, but other than that it's very good! Lunch time came around and it was our first experience with the Dutch food... There were platters of just plain cheese sandwiches, plain ham sandwiches, plain goat cheese spread sandwiches, plain turkey sandwiches, and croquettes. We all decided we wanted to combine either the ham or turkey with the cheese sandwiches. So we took them apart and mixed them together.  

After lunch we were so tired that we all passed out on random couches in the Sports Center here. There's a nice picture of it on Twitter!  A few hours later we have a game against Eindoven, yes we played with barely any sleep... We won this match 7-1!!! GO USA! The girls on this team were SOOOOOO nice :) They hosted dinner for us after the game which was very nice! We had lasagna, salad, bread, and and melon. It was yummy! We added lots of them on facebook already! They took us for a long walk to ice cream after dinner as well!

It was a little bit strenuous on our feet and legs but it was worth it because the icecream was DELICIOUS! Once we got back from ice cream with them we headed back to our hotel where we would get a lot of some MUCH needed sleep. Overall, it was an AWESOME, fun filled day and a great start to our trip here in Holland :)

Hallo from Holland!

This morning the team woke up and had breakfast in our hotel. We are staying at the NH Koningshof Hotel, which served a surprisingly good breakfast. Here in Holland yogurt and breads are very popular. We chose from a variety of different breads ranging from regular sliced bread to croissants and other rolls, tart yogurt, breakfast meats, eggs, and cereals. The team especially liked the croissants and eggs.

After breakfast we packed our bags and headed to Amsterdam! It was about a 2 hour bus trip, but it was well worth it. We started off having lunch at the Pannenkoeken Carousel--it was the best meal so far! Pannenkoeken are similar to a crepe/pancake and are served either sweet or savory. Most of us ordered sweet, which included a lot of fruit, chocolate, and powdered sugar. They cover an entire plate so in order to eat it we had to cut it like a pizza. Once we finished eating, we went to center city and did some shopping! We split up into groups and went out on our own to explore. We bought clothes, souvenirs, and candy - plenty to take home and share with friends and family.

Later on we left the city and took our bus to a suburb for today’s game. We went to the Pinoke hockey club. Hockey clubs here are much different than at home, they are very family oriented and host dinner socials after matches. Most members of a family play at the club, regardless of their age.

Although we lost today’s game 5-3, we are making progress as a team. We’re learning to overcome our fatigue, mental and physical, while touring. Following the game, our opponents hosted us for dinner in their clubhouse. Its great getting to know the other girls and a little bit about their culture. Dinner consisted of some delicious French fries or “frites” accompanied by some ribs. For dessert we had stroopwafels and yogurt, both of which we enjoyed!

Overall, it was a fun-filled day! The team is now looking forward to tomorrow’s match against Ireland.


Kelley Stump & Kelcie Hromisin

Day Three in Holland
Day  three in Holland began with a practice on the pitch followed by film to prepare us for our match against Ireland. Although we wore our USA uniforms for the first time yesterday against a Dutch club team, for most of us today was the first day we wore our uniforms to represent our country in an international match (or as Shellie says “a Jr. Cap”).
Some may say the “Luck of the Irish” but today it was the luck of the Americans. We finished the game with a 4 to 1 victory. The day was concluded with a big Italian dinner to fill up on carbs before the tournament for the weekend! GO  USA!
Toasties and Break Dancing  

After waking up with a mosquito free room, thanks to Paul Vicars killing five, we went to breakfast for our tenth turkey and cheese sandwich of the trip. The arrangement of eggs and breads fueled our bodies for a very eventful day, to say the least. The day began with packing and loading up a coach bus for transportation to the hostel at the club in Valkenswaard, Holland. We finally made it to the family-run “accommodations” and prepared sandwiches for the bus ride into town for some shopping.

The first item that we eagerly grabbed to buy cost ninety eight Euros! When we continued to shop, we found some more reasonable items, however. By 3 o’clock we assembled at town center in Bulles for a “ten” minute bus ride that ended up taking thirty minutes longer than we were told.

Anyhow, we eventually arrived at ‘S-Hertogenvosch, the venue for the highest level club hockey in all of Europe! We watched in amazement and awe for one and a half games. When our stomachs’ began to growl, which happened every hour or so, we ran into the club house for a quick toasty snack. The new food of the day was a tosti, a popular food of the Netherlands that consists of a slice of cheese (and ham is preferred) between two perfectly toasted slices of bread. 

After an intense three hours of watching hockey, we piled back into the bus for one last trip back to the StayOkay for the day; only this time we had to count to eighteen in three languages (English, Spanish, and Japanese) before doing so. The trip back to the hostel was a quick and fun one, due to the intense break dancing in the back of the bus. Before we knew it we were back into our rooms showering and getting ready for our next team meeting. This time in our team get-together, we focused primarily on tactics for the two-day tournament that lay ahead. Reiterating such concepts as forward leads, defensive organization and communication, I can confidently say that our game plan for the next few matches is on point. After this we went to our rooms and got ready for bed. We fell asleep soon after writing this blog. Goodnight!

Alyssa (Chilli), Emma Bozek, Megan Anstontz, Teresa Benvenuti, Tara Vittese, Paul Vicars, Sammy Zeiders