Myself, Alex Grassi, and my teammate Liam Walsh are long standing fixtures on the US Junior Team. We have finally settled into our lavish home away from home at the Castle de la Whitehead, and training is now in full swing.
Its safe to say that the twenty-one athletes who were selected for the Pan American training squad enjoyed their weekend of rest after a grueling five-day selection camp at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego, we know we did. The rest was sweet, but few, if any of us were innocent enough to believe it would last very long. The coaching staff made it clear from the outset that this twelve week summer of training, tours and hockey could be fun, rewarding and challenging, but if we really wanted to win it all, it would not be easy.
The first week of training was a testament to this philosophy of hard work. The daily training and running tested our mental and physical fortitude and on one or two occasions the levels of fatigue and frustration caused some voices to be raised, fingers to be pointed and even a water bottle or two to be worse for wear. Fortunately, as the coaches explained, this was all part of “the master plan” and we soon calmed down and got back to the job at hand. As a group, we understand that pushing ourselves now will help us realize when stress has taken over our decision making process and ultimately will make us a stronger, smarter team.
For many of our players this summer is their first exposure to the life of a full time athlete. The weeks are long and the training hard, constantly reminding us that we may have made the team, but we still have a long way to becoming Pan American Champions.
Stay Classy San Diego
Liam Walsh #7
Alex Grassi #10