Written by U.S. Women’s National team athlete, Stefanie Fee
MENDOZA, Argentina - Traveling to Mendoza, Argentina adds another stamp to my scarce passport and marks my fifth time outside the United States. My book looks minuscule compared to my teammates who have had to sew in additional pages to their already bursting booklets. All my excursions outside the country have been done so proudly wearing the red white and blue. It was an honor to be selected to compete in the Pan American Cup and I will achieve my 30th cap of international play later in the week.
Despite my inability to remember any high school Spanish, I have had a wonderful experience thus far in Mendoza. My favorite part to date has been the incredible view from the pitch. The snow-capped mountains really pose as a luxurious background for any playing conditions. Mendoza really is a beautiful place.
Our first match against Mexico was a sight to see. As the national anthem sounded from the speakers and each team member linked in formation, with our right hands proudly against our hearts, the snow seemed to fall with a heightened intensity. The cold wind cut right through our uniforms and the snow fell at just the right angle to leave our eyes in a constant blinking battle with the snow flakes. It was a peaceful moment and an image I will never forget.
Between our demanding schedule, travel and games there is one component stressed on a daily basis. Hydration. Staying hydrated is a necessity for athletes to compete at the highest level for optimal performance. Each morning we are tested for our hydration levels and the team is expected to fall below a certain score. It has been a personal challenge for my roommate, Katie Reinprecht and I. We decided to express our creativity by decorating our hotel room with the empty bottles of water as a reminder of our success.
I am excited to continue our journey here in Mendoza with my field hockey family. We are so thankful for all the support that we have been receiving from home and we are excited for the upcoming matches. Go USA!
Team USA will finish pool play against Uruguay tomorrow, September 24, 3 p.m. ET. The semi-finals are scheduled for Thursday, September 26 and the gold and bronze matches on Saturday, September 28.
To support Team USA’s progress throughout the Pan American Cup follow @usafieldhockey on Twitter for live updates and results.