New Zealand Day # 3
Thousands of years ago, Oracles were worshipped for foretelling the future of their people. On August 13th 2012, we have acquired an improved version of the Oracle’s abilities. Not only can we see the future, we can also travel to the past. As we compose this blog on the 13th of August, viewers will already have read it on the 12th. Some people call us “gods” for having this ability; others just call us the “USA Junior Field Hockey Team.” Puzzled fans often ask us how we came to possess such a rare ability; our response consists of three simple words, International Date Line. For everyone back home in the States, we are living in the future… somewhat at least.
After spending the day site seeing and enjoying our day yesterday, we went to sleep mentally preparing for our first game in New Zealand. 9:00 A.M. the alarm rings and we jump out of our beds. One-person jumps in the shower, one cooks breakfast, while the other one sets up plates and utensils and pours the drinks. The person who was in the shower gets out and finishes cooking breakfast while the chef takes a shower. By the time the second person gets out of the shower breakfast is ready on the table ready to eat. We finish our breakfast ahead of schedule, which gave us plenty of time for the last person to take a shower while the other two washes the dishes. After breakfast we brushed our teeth and relaxed for a bit before walking outside to meet the team. Breakfast eaten, showers taken, teeth brushed, outside ready for a team jog and stretch, a beautiful day ahead. RE-WINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNND!!!!! This is what really happened… 9:00 A.M., alarm goes berserk, takes look at alarm, realizes it’s time to wake up, press snooze button, alarm rings again, picks up alarm and throws it across the room, fall asleep, wake up more than a hour later realizing it’s minutes before team jog and stretch, jump out of bed while yelling “WAAKKKKEEEE UPPPPPP!!!”, throw on whatever clothing is nearest, grab an apple and eat it while sprinting outside to meet the team. Ahhh, that’s more like it. During every tour we go on, a morning jog is in order.
After the jog and stretch we headed to the North Harbour pitch, which is conveniently only 5 minutes away from the Motel we are staying at. We gathered ourselves in the practice working on several pieces of gameplay and then closed it out with penalty corner sequences. We returned to the hotel to cook our own dinners and watched the Olympics.
Game time was soon upon us so we left the Motel around 7:00 P.M. to ensure we have plenty of time to warm up before the game. Our opponents for the night were the North Harbour Selection, a group consisting of New Zealand Premier League players as well as a few lesser-experienced players. Regardless, it was going to be a good first match for us to get the wheels turning again. The game didn’t progress fast but it was clear that we were in dominance. Christian Linney was first to capitalize for the USA as he scored a tip off a threaded pass from the base line. The US went into halftime with a 1-0 lead. The North Harbour team didn’t let up and were skilled enough to win a corner and execute. JaJa Kentwell then put himself in great position to clean up and tuck away a backhand flick shot. Within minutes of the opponents scoring their second goal, Ranjot Sangha put in a backhand shot off the right post. The USA regained some insurance on their lead and soon gained another corner. Johnny Orozco lined up for a drag flick only to be denied by the keeper, however, Ranveer Kundi put the rebound back at goal which was stopped by a defenders foot on the line. Johnny Orozco was once again called up to do the penalty stroke. He put the penalty stroke in and secured the win for the USA. The game ended in a 4-2 victory for the States.
The day progressed smoothly and it was easy to say the players were content with the victory. New Zealand has been great to us thus far and we can only hope that it has more to offer. The level of hockey over here is magnificent…the gameplay, the number of fields, and the competition are all excellent. We feel this is a great step in our preparation for the Pan American Games. Anyways, tomorrow is another day closer to the tournament and we must again rise and do what we came out to do.
Mikey Barminski # 3
JaJa Kentwell # 5
Watch out for a New Zealand tour video coming out soon.