We left for Slovakia Friday afternoon. The team met up at the JFK airport to take Austrian Airlines into Vienna which ended up being quite the waiting experience. The JFK airport closed for about an hour around the time we were supposed to board due to weather. No one was too upset since we were witnessing quite the lightening storm outside the windows. Then as we were about to board, the gate attendant decided our duffel bags no longer fulfilled "carry-on" requirements. After ensuing arguments, about half of our bags were checked while the other half were deemed okay. We got onto the plane only to find the rows and rows of seats to be in a Christmas-green shade with red and yellow headrests. If that wasn’t enough to make you nauseated, the blankets ended up being a shade of lime green. Sometimes when I get dressed in the dark really early in the morning, I emerge with a similar assortment of colors. It boggles my mind that someone conscious, sober, and fully aware made these decisions. To make matters worse, we then waited on the runway to take off for four hours. Tack that onto the 7.5 hour flight and Team USA arrived in Europe at 10:30 am sleep-deprived and irritable. Luckily, a McDonald’s was right outside the airport to caffeinate us and thus improve our moods dramatically. If Starbucks or Green Mountain would like to sponsor us for the next World Championships, that would be highly appreciated.
Saturday was our first game against Hungary. We are playing at the same rink that the 2011 IIHF World Championships were just played at and the rink is spectacular. It’s amazing to think that we are now being afforded the same experience of representing our countries in the same environment. The main rink seats over 10,000 spectators and has two smaller rinks where we played our preliminary game yesterday. This tournament was Hungary’s first time fielding a women’s team. They put up a good effort, but Team USA’s experience won out in the end with a 6-0 win. Brittany DelleChiaie picked up MVP and Adele King took home the shutout. It felt good to get our legs moving and the blood flowing and we are all sitting around anxiously waiting for our game today against the Czech Republic. The Czech also played Hungary yesterday after we did and beat them 8-0 so we are expecting a close game.
After the game yesterday, we had opening ceremonies in the main arena. It was an interesting spectacle of different dance renditions including traditional folk dance, break dancing, and…um…some sort of dancing similar to the Lady Marmalade music video. The men’s teams really seemed to enjoy that one. Overall, it was an awesome experience to be able to wear our USA shirts and represent our country amidst so many other countries. This tournament is the largest yet for Street and Ball Hockey and we hope it keeps getting bigger and bigger.
Make sure to keep up with us on www.bratislava2011.com or on twitter at #bh2011
Bring on the Czech.