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May 21, 1999

The alarm goes off every morning at 6:30.Reluctantly, I resist the urge to hit the snooze button andI drag myself out of my bed and into the bathroom I sharewith my roommate. I quick splash of cold water andtoothpaste on my teeth is all the preparation I need to goout into the San Diego morning, ready to face anothergrueling day of preparation for competing in field hockeywith the US National Team at the Pan American Games thissummer.

The Pan Am Games function as an Olympic qualifierfor the US field hockey team. If we are able to defeatworld power Argentina and win the gold medal, weautomatically qualify for the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney,Australia. Only the top twelve teams in the world areinvited to the Olympics, and that is a fact we remembereach day as we train our bodies and minds to be at theirpeak come July.

Our daily training out at the Olympic TrainingCenter in San Diego, California, consists usually of two,two-and-a-half hour practices, lifting, conditioning, and thennightly meetings and game tape evaluation. Sometimes,other countries, like Canada, venture to the states to playus in tournament like fashion to help both teams preparefor the Pan Am Games.

Your position on the team is never secure. Youcould be cut at any moment, forcing you to forever belooking over your shoulder and giving it your all at everymoment. It is a mentality that breeds hard work andhealthy competition, but also a mentality that generatesmany nights of worry and wonder, and many days offrustration and tears. But I tell myself that all of thatwill be worth it, to be successful at the Pan Am Games andmake it to Sydney. It is one of my goals; a dream that Ihave harbored for as long as I can remember; one that nowseems to have the possibility of coming true.

For about two weeks out of each month, I leaveCharlottesville, and my classes,and my friends, and my lifebehind and venture to the west coast in search of a dream.It is difficult and stressful, but I wouldn’t have it anyother way. Dreams are meant to be somewhat evasive andhard to attain. It is, I believe, the unique element aboutthem that makes them oh so beautiful to finally capture.

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