Behind the scenes: Selection camp
On Monday, Hilary Knight and 24 other U.S. hockey players were named to the Olympic training roster (the final 21 Olympic team members will be picked at a later date) after a weeklong selection camp. Knight, a forward on the squad and a 2010 Olympian, takes us behind the scenes at camp.
The journey to tryouts. While waiting for my teammates’ flights to arrive, I sat at baggage claim and reflected on this amazing endeavor, excited for a chance to represent the United States in the 2014 Winter Games. After this cut, we would (hopefully) be one step closer to achieving our dreams.
My next thought was, How am I going to carry my bags without breaking a sweat? We sure don’t travel or pack lightly. As you can imagine, it is especially difficult for us to try to avoid extra-baggage charges.
In my room at camp, modeling one of our USA tracksuits. The tracksuit exists in two forms: a lightweight navy blue suit and a heavy-duty insulated one for colder climates. We are always asked to pack both because of the dual climates of many places we travel to. But the suits take up a fair amount of precious luggage space, and we rarely use both of them.
The heavy-duty suit is nicknamed the “snowsuit” because of its weight. After a long travel day, you feel as if you and your snowsuit are intertwined as one, perhaps because your skin is grafting to the comfy material.
The Lake Placid Olympic Training Center hosted our selection camp. Lake Placid is such an incredible place to skate, and there is so much history and tradition -- after the 1980 gold medal, who doesn’t believe in miracles? Apparently our Olympic Team selections put a hold on the local Freaky Friday skate, however. We saw this sign and got a bunch of chuckles in. I’m sure Freaky Friday is a ton of fun, but this sign feels like that scene from the movie “Bridesmaids” when Kristen Wiig’s character retorts, “This is a very strict plane.”
This is called fire cupping, and it looks more painful than it really is...I promise! This is one of my favorite treatments to rejuvenate areas that need a bit more help with recovery. Essentially, each cup is lifting up a layer of tissue called the fascia from around my muscles. By stretching and moving with these cups, blood flow is increased to the area and the “gunk” that builds up is flushed out, making me feel 150% better! It gets easier once I get over the fact that I am doing split squats…in boxers…in the middle of the room. Awkward!
Oh hey! Just your casual cold-tub experience! Do not be fooled by the smiles, or the fact that this giant tub looks like a Jacuzzi: The water is colder than 50 degrees and we do not have fur.
(Left to right: Meghan Duggan, Erika Lawler, Emily Field, Kate Buesser, Jessie Vetter, Haley Skarupa)
This is the scene in the training room after a long day's work. If you're ever looking for someone, you might want to check the training room (after checking the dining hall first, of course). Not only do we receive the best care and attention, but we enjoy one another’s company so much that the training room turns into a hot spot for hangouts.
With our frequent use of foam rollers, we have discovered that they also have a secondary use as pillows. Here are (bottom to top) Jessie Vetter, Bri McLaughlin, Molly Schaus, Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux, Jill Radzinski, Sarah Erickson and Kate Buesser watching the Heat vs. Spurs in Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
Rocking out in the "clubhouse" of our game-day bus. When it pulled up, it looked like a party bus, and we happened to have two birthday celebrations at camp so we joked around that we had rented the bus just for the birthday girls. I like to point at Vetts (Jessie Vetter) in photos. Her poof is famous. You can’t hide that volume. She says, and I quote, “My poof is different than everybody else’s poof because I use Paul Mitchell styling foam.” Zoolander, can you deal with that?
(Left to right: Bri McLaughlin, me, Emily Field, Jessie Vetter, Hannah Brandt)
Monique Lamoureux (center) and me, palling around with our favorite athletic trainer, Jill Radzinski, aka J-Rad. She is awesome and always brings a smile to everyone’s face. We started a “tip” jar for our staff, because popcorn seemed to be a good form of payment. Personally, I paid in sour watermelons and sour worms (there’s a theme here…).
My pre-conditioning-test selfie shot. We all have that one thing that we just really do not like to do. Well, the conditioning test is the most grueling thing I have ever done. I’m at the point where mentioning it causes me to sweat, increases my heart rate and immediately gives me that nauseous feeling. So, a coping mechanism (if you will) is to sit in front of the mirror and smile. By smiling I change my body’s posture and alleviate some of the anxieties that surround testing. Smiling really does work!
Celebrating Bri McLaughlin's sixth -- I mean 26th -- birthday. We had vanilla/chocolate twist frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles…yum! (Left to right: me, Julie Chu, Bri McLaughlin, Jessie Vetter, Molly Schaus. This photo is courtesy of Kate Buesser, a non-sprinkle lover who was willing to take the pic!)