Winning in Mexico, missing out on home

U.S. field hockey midfielder Rachel Dawson, a 2008 Olympian, is blogging for espnW throughout the Pan Am Games. After three wins and her 150th cap, she enjoys a rare day off but misses a special family moment.

It's Monday. Finally, with pool play concluded and a spot in the semifinals versus Canada on Wednesday secured, we have earned a day off from hockey, a day to indulge ourselves in all things Pan America: the village pool, a Team USA water polo match, and perhaps an evening serenade by the village mariachi men.

Today is our 11th day in the Pan American village. In total, we had completed four puzzles, eaten 26 meals at the dining hall and finished off approximately 146 bowls of oatmeal squares and four giant jars of peanut butter. But the only number that matters is three -- the number of W's in the results column, including Friday's 2-1 victory over Chile and Sunday's 9-0 thrashing of Cuba.

Friday's match with Chile wasn't pretty, but we were hard-nosed and found a way to secure the victory against a solid, determined opponent. A win is a win, and let's face it, winning matters.

Despite the excitement, my mood was subdued Saturday. Perhaps it was the anticipation of Sunday, and the yearning to share the special day with my family.

On Sunday in Chapel Hill, N.C., my sister Meghan walked across Navy Field arm-in-arm with our two little sisters, Melanie and Hannah, to celebrate Meghan's senior day as a UNC field hockey player. Six of the eight Dawson kids play or played hockey, and Meghan, Melanie and Hannah would all later take the field for the showdown between UNC and Michigan -- Meghan and Melanie in Carolina blue, Hannah in Michigan blue.

Meanwhile, in Mexico, I walked onto the field for my 150th cap for Team USA with longtime friend and teammate Katelyn Falgowski, another North Carolina senior who was missing her celebratory day to compete at Pan Ams. Her parents walked across Navy Field in her honor.

Luckily, family comes in all shapes and forms, and our Team USA family filled the void of those who were unable to make the trek to Guadalajara. Showering us with good food, cake, laughs, hugs and the best gift of all: a 9-0 dub over Cuba.

Now, one step closer to fulfilling our mission, and with all the hoopla of the weekend expired, I hope you will permit me the freedom to indulge in the peace of a day away from the field, and the computer screen. Go, USA.

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