Eve Of A Big Game

July 06, 2011, 4:16 p.m. (ET)
From Tom Sheridan, USA Goalkeeper:
I thought I would put together a little blog about the night before a big game.  Tomorrow we face off against Ireland (5.30pm local time) for a place in the semi finals of the Champions Challenge 2.  Without a doubt the biggest game of the tournament for us so far as a win secures a top-four finish and something tangible to represent the not-insignificant progress we have made as a group over the last 6 months and more.  
To be honest, writing something like this probably makes me think a little more about the bigger picture, but in all honestly, personally, this evening and usually the night before a game, I spend very little time concentrating on anything other than the next day.  Very cliche i know, but one game at a time, and there is more than enough to keep my focus on tomorrow with our opponent. We have had our preliminary team meetings and watched game film on specific areas of play, ours and theirs, so I have to say at this stage I am feeling pretty prepared.  That is a big deal for me, it definitely helps me relax and keep any nerves about the next day away (at least for now).  And just in case that wasn't enough I took a short walk outside and got myself a McFlurry, always good to get out of the hotel!
Being around the rest of the team also helps.  You definitely get pretty close, especially when you are away as a group, and thankfully there are no shortage of personalities among us so things never get boring or stale, and if they do there is always youtube to keep your mind off of things (something about a baby monkey riding a pig, I don't know... LJ [Jon Ginolfi] knows more about these things).
Before turning in for the evening Joe (our awesome manager) will hand out the schedules for the next day.  I certainly like knowing whats on tap for the next 24 hrs, especially with a late game, it can be a long day waiting to play so knowing how I am going to manage my time helps.  I will do some final checks on video for corner defense, one of the areas I better be on top of as goalie, and check all my gear is ready for the morning.  Then, for me, it is time to totally turn off and go chill out with a movie, book or anything not hockey related!  Going over things too many times just gets me more worked up and that will affect my sleep which is VERY important to me.  Besides, at this stage I feel really comfortable with where we are as a team and what we are going to do tomorrow.  All that is left now is final preparations in the morning and afternoon and to go out and enjoy the experience, but most importantly take the opportunity that we have given ourselves.