INTIMIDATION

We had another weekend off.  Minus snowing, it was a low-key week, and very relaxing. Yet, don’t you worry, I always find some way to make a fool of myself –

Telling you folks, I do these things for you. So… pretty much you are welcome (It’s just what I tell myself so I can enjoy these moments that much more) ha

THURSDAY:

Like usual, we had practice in the evening, and our practice attire was our all black kit. Here in Norway, we have three different practice uniforms. Each day, we have a different combination to wear and if we do not get it right, we receive something called a Prikk (a fine)! We also get fined for leaving anything behind or forgetting things to practice (i.e. water bottle)

One attire aka one of dad’s “action shots” ha

This Thursday, my black practice jersey was dirty, and my only option was a Nike dri fit underneath my jacket.  Meaning, I was practicing in pants and a jacket, and my body was covered from neck to toe = SMALTERING! Luckily for me, it was ALSO the hardest practice to date . . . . . . . . NOT

I know the reasonable thing would have been to flip a black shirt inside out, wear a smelly one, or take the fine.  . . . . nope, can’t do it – reasons being:

1)    I take pride in not being fined yet.

2)   One of my biggest pet peeves is having BO. Not saying that it has EVER happened to me. Literally the thought of that smell makes me gag!

3)   I did not think it was going to be such a hard practice. Should of figured with us having the weekend off… ooooops

At one point I literally had steam coming from my head. The girls later informed me that they were actually contemplating throwing some water on me. Gosh am I happy they did not. Walking in 20 degrees weather with your hair wet is NOT fun.

After an eternity, practice was finished, and I ripped (exaggeration, like usual) off my jacket.

Side Note: My dri fit was actually a cut off AND contrary to belief, cut offs are actually made specifically for women playing soccer in foreign countries! It’s like an written rule, ya know. Like washing your hands after you go the bathroom ;p

Come on, when else am I going to wear it?!? Needless to say, all the girls started laughing and making fun as I cooled down.

Tool bagish, maybe……… necessary, ABSOLUTELY

FRIDAY:

Have any of you heard about Zumba (Click below for an idea)?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-myAVlxWBGs&feature=related

With us having the weekend off, one of my teammates and I thought it would be the perfect chance to try it.

We had to get there a half n hour early, other wise we wouldn’t have gotten a spot, which put us in perfect time for the 30 minutes abs class aka the class of immense pain!!!

As we walk in, we think that we will fly through both workouts; man were we wrong. The abs were some of the hardest things I have done in my life (Red Stars – it was even harder than our Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Fears workout. Not kidding).

I still do not know what was more embarrassing, getting shown up by a handful of 50 plus year old women with the abs or the next hour of Zumba ;/

Before I admit what happened in the following dreadful hour, you have to remember they speak a DIFFERENT language here!

The class begins (takes me about 10 minutes to be able to stand up straight from the abs) and I am slowly finding my grooooooove. The steps are pretty easy and I can follow the teacher by just watching her. I am feeling the beat, you know, nodding my head, bouncing the shoulders, maybe a couple kicks here an there.

Yet, two songs in we start to pick up the pace. We literally went from Frank Sinatra speed to Shakira. I was so bad! By the time I got one dance move down, la maestra (teacher) was already onto the next. What the heck!!

For example:

Just as I begin to master the side-to-side shuffle/spin step, the instructor would say something. I think she is saying, “good job” or “move your hands/feet one-way.” However, of course, she is giving them directions to change in one or two side shuffles. There I am, trying to stay in sync and as I side shuffle right, everyone immediately comes left, and I ultimately end up running into the 3 elderly women around me. Every time I managed to hit all three women besides me, still not sure how I did it.

I not only stuck out for repeatedly disturbing the routines of the dances but also because my teammate and I were a good 30 years younger than everyone else.

I am still laughing at some of the expressions and eye rolling I received from the 60 older women. I mean holy cow, seriously?!?! I got served….

Good news: This Friday is a new day!!! Ha

My buddies

SUNDAY:

“I use these for acid indigestion” Jake

“So what are we gonna use these for?!?”  Teammate

“INTIMIDATION” Jake

Everyone has to remember this part of Little Giants. It takes place moments before they are about to take on the Cowboys, the best team in the league.

Well that scene is exactly how I felt this Sunday.

I don’t know how I exactly ended up in a room with 2o of the best grown, grown men club coaches in the area, yet there I was.  Sunday morning, 8 am, trying to smush myself into the back corner so they would not eat me alive (dramatization, duh) ha

Okay, I do remember agreeing to help out one of the Academy coach’s with identifying some “local” talent, but that’s it. I did not understand that I was about to get taught a lesson on just how important soccer is here.

Like I mentioned above, I not only found myself in the room with 20 of the best coaches/scouts around Lillestrom but was the only girl and significantly younger. To make matters worse, I even raised my hand at one point because I thought the main guy was introducing me. He was really just saying that I was going to walking around scouting. Lets just say, I was happy that I did not understand Norwegian that day.

For the next two hours I sat on top of freezing cold bleachers writing down who I thought the best 12-year boy soccer players were. I proceeded to find out that this is something that only happens once a year. That the “good ones” would get called into the different professional team academies and literally change their life!

12 years old, seriously?!? When I was 12 I was still learning how to put my hair in other ways than a ponytail. Granted, I did not know how to put my hair up until I was 11 and another two years after that to figure out I did NOT have to violently flip my whole upper body upside down to do it ha.

No wonder, the Norwegians and every other foreign country is a step ahead of us with footy. Just look at the Academy boys. As soon as they get noticed, they are moved to a special “athletic” high school where there practice time is schedule into their class schedule.

To think a practice or going to the gym could be in a high school curriculum?!? So cool ha, I know, I can only dream. Can you imagine how good we would be at different sports if that were the case for us?

Mind baffling huh?!  That’s not even mentioning that their best athletes are soccer players. Imagine if we had the Hester’s as forwards or  wingers? Or better yet, the Urlacher’s as a center backs? Think about the possibilities of our World Cup outcome! My bet is that we would have gotten that last bit of luck to move onto the next round.

Summary:

Anyone want to send me some indigestion tablets?!? Think  I am signed up to do the same thing this weekend. (Gulp)

Have a great week folks, HAPPY HALLOWEEN from all of the Masar’s. Especially the cutest darn Monkey in the world!!! 😀

Lights, Camera, Action.

LIGHTS:

Last Friday was a cold and damp day here in Norway. A lovely 38 degrees to be exact. My dad and I had just returned from having an interesting workout in the hall. (See below)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNcrWbsYSUc

I don’t think I have laughed so hard in a long time – bless his heart, he was trying so hard.

Anyways, after he got done showing me where I got my skills from, ha. We headed back to my place. As we walked inside, I tried to turn on the lights, and nothing happened.

At first we thought a fuse had blown, yet after switching them on and off, we realized we had no power. For the next 10 hours …. we continued to have no power. Even after we went to practice and came home around 8, when it drops to easily below 0, we had ….. No power!

The fact that Dad and I went shopping earlier in the day for the ingredients to my favorite dinner dish, Gorgonzola spaghetti, did not help the situation. Can I also add that the next day we were playing the best team in our league!!!

To say the steam was coming from my ears is an understatement.  Thankfully one of my friends lives close and we were invited to go cook there. The power finally came back on around 11pm and let me tell ya, a warm shower never felt so goooooooooood.

CAMERA:

The 2nd night of my father’s visit, we decided to head bowling with one of my roommates (Mari) and her two little nephews.

Don’t let the picture fool you! The kids might seem small but professional bowlers they are.

All I can say is that we got officially hustled….

Warning signs #1 (I should really start to pay attention to these). As we head to pick up Mari’s nephews – she comes up with the great idea; we should play for a Flax card.

Flax Card– A lottery card where you scratch off different areas of it to see if you can win amounts ranging from 25 to 1,000,000 kroner. If you ever want to see a Norwegian get serious about a game, just play for this card.

For example:

Once a week, we play for one of these cards. The nice/sweet Norwegians instantly turn into a blood bath sucking creatures, no exaggeration. They do whatever it takes to win.  That includes ripping a pair of my shorts last week in practice!

Side note: Have I ever won scratching off this card?!? Absolutely not!!!

Warning sign #2 – After further discussion, Mari convinced us that the winner should get a flax card from not one, but both of the people below them. (warning, warning, warning). Of course, I thought this was a great idea. I have never seen my dad bowl, but I mean he is 60; he has to have some experience ……  ha good thought.

Yep, Me 72, Dad 69. We not only got last but lost to a 6 and 9-year-old! I know the evidence seems over powering on portraying how bad of a bowler I am. Yet, I give you my word I have NEVER bowled two gutter balls in a row!

I am by no means a professional, but I do average a solid 110 or so. No way in heck a 72! And come on dad, a 69. Least I know I was not the worst ha

Still laughing at this one.

ACTION:

Opera Huset (Opera House) –

Akershus Festing (Old fortress) –

Frognerparken (Famous Statue Park) –

Holmekollen (Huge Ski Jump aka Norwegians are nuts):

National gallery museum (welcome mom), kings castle  – you name it, we saw it.

The time with him was amazing. Like I mentioned in my last post, I do not remember the time it was just the two of us. You could even say I was a bit nervous. Yet, it went better than I ever expected. I could even say perfect if we would have won our game. . .

I do not remember the last time I cried after a game.

As a competitor it always hurts to lose, especially when you feel you should have put some chances away. Unfortunately, that is something that I have experienced in the last two years. Don’t get me wrong, it is never fun to lose, but usually tears do not follow.

I have to be honest and say, that after netting some goals for Chicago, I was ready for more success to follow. I imagined coming here, killing it, and going home to get called back into National team camp. I was going to do so well here that Pia would not have a choice (positive thinking right) but to call me in.

Lofty hopes, maybe.  However, when you play thirty minutes away from the USWNT assistant coach (Hege Riise) hometown, you know if you do well she will hear about it.

Turns out I was right! Hege was coming to our game on Saturday. Not necessarily because I was doing well, but with her coaching this team two years ago, she still comes to support them when she is here.

I had been playing well the last couple of weeks and felt like I had done everything I could to be prepared for this game. I always knew with coming here, there was a good chance she would be at one of our games. The extra workouts, training with the boys, and watching footy every chance I could, made me ready for this moment.

That does not even include the fact that my number one supporter (my dad) had flown across the world to watch me play! The stage was set and all I needed to do was show up. I needed to show up and prove that I am a goal scorer. That I can contribute to any team that I am on and I had not stopped fighting to wear the US jersey again.

It’s still hard to say what went wrong. Whether it was the fact that we came out in a 4-5-1 (a defending formation) or if they really were that much better, I am not sure. After they scored late in the 1st half, we just could not find our rhythm again.

I needed to play to change a coach’s mind: I didn’t.

I admit I probably put pressure on myself when it was not needed. However, when you want something so much, when you know you have done everything in your power – you feel it should all fall into place.

Wish life was that easy . . .

So as I walked out of the locker room, saw my dad standing there smiling, and looking like the most proud father in the world: I lost it.

The feeling of letting him and myself down was overwhelming. I know I could never do that with him, however, that feeling was suffocating. As soon as my head hit his chest, I could not stop the tears.

They always say you need a good cry every once in a while, right. Ha

For the last week I got caught up in the things I could not control. I wanted to impress so much that I lost sight, once again, the joy of playing this beautiful sport. I focused on what I couldn’t control instead of what I could. In the end, I know I do not do the “extra” work to be able to put the US jersey back on.

I do it because it’s what my family taught me. I do it because it’s the player I want to be remembered as. Everything I am, everything I achieve is because I put in the blood, sweat, and tears to attain it. When my career is over, I want to know I did everything in my power to make it, and that I never wasted an opportunity.

I just have to keep reminding myself of the truth; that God is control.  He has already blessed me in ways I could never imagine. I am so thankful for everything, however, until he tells me to walk away, I will continue to glorify him with all my strength and try to make my family proud.

The rest is in his hands; all I can do is trust…

Isaiah 40:29-31 “ He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint ”

 

Mount Everest…

This picture pretty much sums up my week. Don’t worry (Grams) my leg is fine. Klepp’s (team we played on Saturday) center back just wanted to officially welcome me to Norway, ha. The good news is that we won 2-1 and I had the game winner. Bad news, I do not think I have played a worse game in two years, aghhh, thank heavens I scored! Not kidding

That is actually one of the bonuses and downfalls of being a striker. I mean, in what other sport can you have an absolute nightmare of a game and then it’s forgotten with a moment of brilliance?! However, on the other side, if you have too many games without the golden boot, you can easily find yourself on the bench keeping your coach nice and warm.

Any hoo, I wish I could pinpoint a reason why this week has been such a struggle. The only thing I could think of was that this was my “hump week.” I have now been here for four weeks, which I know is nothing, but lets face it – I am not exactly a season veteran with being away from home.

I mean come on guys, I went to the University in my hometown, and play pro two hours north. lol I will defend myself with stating, it was not my primero eleccion (choice) to stay home for all those years.  I can still remember collecting all my high school VHS tapes and sitting in front of my TV trying to make a highlight reel. Gosh, did I think I was the best thaaaanng since sliced bread. Yep, said it…. and I am also admitting that I only sent my tapes to all the big dogs  – Portland, UCLA, San Diego, Penn State (I know, my bad), etc.

You know how many I heard back from?!? A big fat zero, zilch … ha

After many years of bitterness (exaggeration) I have realized this was the best thing that could have happened to me. Thank heavens for good old Saint Jan (Janet Rayfield) and THE Marcia McD (GM) taking a chance on me! Lord knows where I would be today if those two did not get their hands on me.  Tusen Takk. Tusen takk. Tusen Takk.

Don’t get me wrong; the girls have been amazing here. They have all gone out of their way to make me feel comfortable and a part of the team. When you only have practice so many hours of the day, you’re at a clear disadvantage ha. Also, it does not help that I grew up in a family of 3. “Me” time has simply never been a priority or specialty of mine.

Can’t even really believe I am complaining right now. Hopefully you just skimmed over that. Ha On the positive side in less than 48 hours my dad is getting on a plane to come visit me! Mark your calendar, stop the clocks, pinch yourself to make it real – the old man is coming to Oslo!!!!

When I say a couple of days, I literally mean 4 days ha. His flight back to the states leaves at the staggering hour of 6 in the morning on Sunday. Makes me shiver thinking about having to get up at 3 am to take him back to the airport. Oh well, even with the early wake up, I am still so excited for him to come and see this part of my life. He has always been such a huge supporter of me and it will be good for us to hang out for a bit. I don’t remember the last time it was just Dad and I.

Again, don’t you worry; the funny stories and pictures will be coming in ten folds. With him turning 60 last year, the fam decided to buy him a nice camera for his b-day – what a mistake! We all know how dad’s can be with being proud fathers and capturing “all” the great moments, right!?!

Well my father is THAT man on steroids. He has gotten so bad that he doesn’t even look through the camera anymore; he just puts his finger on the button, and takes it from his chest. He calls it the “action shots” ha, oh Pop. . .

So wish us luck. Hopefully Wednesday we won’t get too lost in downtown Oslo with all of our sight-seeing.

We also take on the number one team, Stabek, this weekend. We should almost sell out our stadium, which will be cool for him to experience. If he had the choice he would eat, breathe, and live footy.

Enjoying my roommate’s brother’s studly, national team keeper, professional soccer game!

Funny story:

With our game being an hour plane ride away this Saturday, we did not get home til pretty late. This was also the night we were having a “reunion” with two of my teammates from my first time here.

Literally, as soon as we got off the plane we were on the jog to change and meet everyone at one of the girl’s (Hege) apartments. The reason I am informing you of this minuet detail is because through this “rushing” process we forgot to plan how I was going to get home later that night.

At times, with not having a car here, getting from point A to point B can be a bit of a hindrance  (i.e. TUNNEL incident). Anyways, we were so pressed with time that we simply did not think about it. So as 3 rolled around, yes 3 am, we were in a little bit of a pickle.

Now, I am of age, however I did not drink that night. Regardless, that did not help out one bit with finding a way home. I could of course stayed there, yet Hege has a beautiful 14-month-old son that you cannot push snooze on after 6 am. Hmmmmm,  no thank you ha

Two choices:

1)    Call for a cab

2) Ride Hege’s bike home.

I know this seems like a pretty easy decision for most of you, but when the cab costs 250 kroner aka 80 dollars for 2 miles – I think this changes your decision!!! Just so we are clear on the math, that averages out to about 20 dollars for every half-mile!

Biking it was! The only itsy bitsy issue was that the shortest way home was cutting through the darkest, scariest woods you can imagine, and relying on a slightly inebriated young woman’s directions for the rest of the way.

Even though my legs were burning (remember we had a game only a couple of hours earlier) I have NEVER rode a bike so fast. Whether it was my own imagination or something watching me, Lance Armstrong would have had some competition! You can’t even begin to imagine the scary movie scenes that were running through my head!

That’s not even the best part, after I finally made it through Jason’s home territory (swear I saw a glimpse of his mask, definitely screamed at one point.) I found myself on top of Mount Everest. You literally could look out, see ALL of Norway, and touch the stars.

Okay, maybe not touch them, but it was breath taking nonetheless. I than proceeded to gleefully shout like a little schoolgirl, thrust my feet off the pedals, and fly down the mountain. Lance Armstrong meet Evil Kenvial.

To summarize – I am 110% happy with my decision of biking even if it entailed a near death experience with Jason and descending down Mt. Everest.

My question to you:

What did you accomplish Saturday night ?!?! 😀

Start the blog with beauty,  gotta end it with the same – not a bad pict huh, taken by yours truly 😀

Videos…

No matter how badly you want to explain something, sometimes words are not enough.

So this week I have decide to share three videos with you. I unfortunately could not get them to load to my blog but if you click on each link below – you can go straight to Youtube to watch them – don’t worry they are short and sweet.

1) This is the “inside” view of our training facility. With it being in the 30s and raining almost everyday – being inside is a massive plus. It doesn’t hurt either that I have the key and can go in whenever I want. Heaven?!? 😀

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiNUUhp9Mu4

2) When I came over here two years ago, I had the privilege of taking Norwegian lessons with one of the girl’s father on the team…. Yet, two years later, I still suffer from the same issues; the Norwegians darn extra 3 letters …. agghhhh The name we are trying to say is spelled Lene (e is pronounced like an a) and is, of course, the father’s daughter. If you literally DO NOT want to pull your hair out by the end of it – I am not sure what’s wrong with you ha Makes me frustrated even watching it …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VziTvkdcJfE

As you can see from above, I am OBVIOUSLY saying it right!  Norwegians just need their hearing checked…

3) With us playing Tuesday against Roa, unfortunately lost 2-1 – I scored but not was not enough, we had this weekend off. So on Friday I got invited,  by one of my old teammates, to  join her for gym for a “friendly” competition.

Suppose to be posing

Somehow that turned into a 40 minute fitness/dance routine (kind of like Zumba) and a series of physical draining “events.” What I thought was going to be a leisurely workout, turned into me sprinting on a treadmill for FOUR minutes, caring 45 pound plates through an obstacle course, rowing with my team for 8 minutes, doing as many dips as possible, and finishing with long jump.

No likey!!!

I am still sore from the dips and still shaking my head to how I even got myself into that mess.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nKQxslVHZU

AND to my defense on my lack of dancing, I did NOT know she was filming – was just getting warmed up ya dig. . .  ha