We do not do much on our day off, especially during the tournament. We had beautiful weather. Our practice time on Friday morning was 10:00. At the field, the defenders practiced their footwork for defending Kennesaw State’s good dribblers while the midfielders and forwards played a possession game and the goalkeepers got some catches. Then, we lined up the non-starters to look like Kennesaw State and show our players what certain situations might look like in the game.
We did not require ice baths Thursday night, so we were planning on getting ice and making them take ice baths that morning. Kyle suggested the swimming pool. I assumed the pool was heated or it would be covered. When we got back to the hotel, Kyle checked it and said it would be perfect for an ice bath. And it was. However, it was colder than the ice baths the girls are accustomed to in the Rubbermaid tubs at Belmont. I am not sure whose faces were more amusing to watch – the girls as they sat in the pool or the hotel desk clerk when I asked her for towels for the pool. The players were giving Kyle such a hard time about how cold it was that Kyle jumped in the pool, I guess to prove anything they could do he could do better. He made a big splash, and Sari and Morgan would not talk to him the rest of the day.
The swimming pool made me think about my job. If you asked 20 people to get in a 50 degree pool for 10 minutes, would they do it? I have a lot of power over a group of people. It requires respect and trust. I admired those girls for getting in that cold water. The pool was just a small reminder of the mutual trust, respect, and admiration required to be a good team.
We had lunch at Boston Market. I try to eat there as much as possible during the season, but this was the first time we had Boston Market all season. In Jacksonville, I took the team to eat at a Boston Market where we had eaten the last time we were there, 2 years ago. It had turned into a McDonalds. It was pretty funny.
After spending the afternoon at the hotel, we went to Maddie Porter’s house for dinner. There was horseshoes and a bonfire. After dinner, the team played the animal game. (It’s similar to thumper.) Jamie Loftis was the champion. We watched the highlight video with the parents and the players who had not seen it yet. It was great to have the whole team together. Only 22 were in the official travel party, but the other 5 came to Kennesaw on their own. After the video, I thanked all the players for coming, thanked the Porter’s for having us, and thanked my staff. It was a great evening not spent at a long table for 30 in a chain restaurant!
We had a team meeting back at the hotel, and I was exhausted. You would think I would have a hard time falling asleep the night before a championship game, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I was up in the middle of the night going over a list of penalty kickers, so I never fully catch up on my sleep.