LONDON - As the U.S. Olympic Field Hockey Team took the pitch, another U.S. Field Hockey team stood in the stands.
Hailing from Newport News, Va., the Christopher Newport University Field Hockey Team shared a common goal with the U.S. Olympic Team – to go to London.
CNU spent four years planning an array of fundraising events to reach their 2012 Olympic goal. Their relentless efforts paid off. Twenty-five members of the CNU Field Hockey Team earned the opportunity to go abroad on a 10-day trip. As the various countries chased their golden-driven dreams on the pitch, they provided tangible inspiration for those on the bleachers.
“The most inspiring moment I witnessed was the playing of the national anthem before the match,” CNU athlete Meghan Sullivan says. “Being able to represent your country on an international level must have been monumental for the athletes, as it was inspiring and pride-inducing for every person in the stands.”
The CNU Field Hockey Team saw two Olympic matches. The girls were in the stands for the Japan vs. Korea match as well as the U.S. vs. Australia match.
“We were grateful to see both games, but especially proud to support the U.S. women's team,” CNU athlete Sarah Smith says. “We were outnumbered by Aussie fans, but that didn't stop us from starting a wave and none of us had voices from screaming the whole entire game.”
While abroad, the CNU Team also competed in three games. They played against three club teams from England and Scotland – Bolton, Kelburn and West Harts. Afterwards a social was held to ask questions and talk about hockey from different perspectives. The immersive experience only added to their Olympic journey and created lifetime memories. Whether on the field or in the stands, the London Olympic energy was high.
“To say the atmosphere was overwhelming, would be an understatement - it was unimaginable in so many degrees,” CNU athlete Lauren Cherry says. “The patriotism between ordinary civilians and the representing athletes, some unknown until these games and others names reverberated across Olympics, was uplifting and inspiring.”
The CNU Team learned not all moments can be captured with a camera lens and not all souvenirs can be packed away in a luggage bag.
“I can say it was awesome, amazing, and experience of a lifetime, but until you hold that ticket in your hand, marking your seat among the thousands in the erupting stadium, London and the Olympics are a lasting dream that can only be fulfilled in person,” Cherry says.
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