Knocked for a Loop on the Road

My roommate for Sky Blue F.C.’s trip to Chicago last weekend was Kiersten Dallstream. It’s always nice on away trips to room with someone new who you don’t know well. I feel really fortunate that there’s nobody on the team who I wouldn’t want to room with, so I can’t really go wrong. But I haven’t spent much time with Kiersten, so I was happy that we were paired together. It’s amazing how well you get to know your teammates, being on the road with them so much. I find that each time I sit next to someone on the plane, bus, or at a meal, I learn something new. A professional team is different from a youth club team or college team. Everyone is coming from a different background and are at varying points in their careers and lives. We have women who are just out of college, and some who are married and have children. There are players who have grown up in New Jersey, and some, like the Swede Jessica Landstrom, who had never been to the U.S. before. I’ve learned that Katie Schoepfer used to play the oboe, Rosana was a tae kwon do champion, and Heather O’Reilly and Karen Bardsley recently took up guitar as a hobby.

The trip to Chicago started off fairly typically. We had a good training session, ate dinner and had a team meeting. Then Kiersten and I watched TV and talked for a while before going to sleep early. Everything was going great until I woke up at 12:30 a.m. and felt a little bit nauseous. I thought if I just tried to go back to sleep it would pass. Wrong! I was up pretty much all night, vomiting, until 9 a.m. when I finally went to see our athletic trainer, Paul Kolody. By that time I could barely walk, felt absolutely terrible and was dehydrated. Writing this and reflecting on the experience can’t even begin to accurately relate the state I was in. Paul took me to the emergency room at the local hospital to get me an IV to replace some of my fluids.

When we got to the ER, I was so lightheaded and weak that I couldn’t stand while they checked me in. They had to get me a wheelchair. Two hours later I was still sitting in the waiting room with Paul, and I was feeling a lot better after taking a nap and drinking a couple of Gatorades. I thought, if I could just hurry up and get an IV then I’d feel good enough to possibly play that night. It was taking so long that we were about to just check out and leave, when they finally called my name. After getting two bags of fluid pumped into me, the hospital security guard drove me back to the hotel (Paul had gotten a taxi back earlier to go tape ankles and do other preparation for the game).

Now that I think back on how I felt at the time, it’s pretty comical that I was still planning to play. I got back to the hotel about five minutes after the team had left for the stadium. I felt better, but still weak, and my stomach was uneasy. By the time I was back in my room I had ruled out playing, and thought that I would lay down for a few minutes then get a taxi to the stadium to go watch the game. I woke up two hours later, just before halftime. So much for that plan!

I watched the game on Web site’s MatchTracker (which, for those of you who have never tried it, is an excruciating experience). I stared at the screen, waiting for any information to pop up. It was a terrible feeling not to be able to play, and especially not to even be at the game to watch and support the team. Finally, in the second half, MatchTracker informed me that Tasha Kai had scored for us. I watched the minutes tick away, laying helplessly in bed, hoping that we could hold off Chicago until the end. Finally the game was over … relief! I sent a mass text congratulating the team on our victory (it was pretty much all I could do to contribute).

I eventually began to doze off at a little before 9 p.m. and all I could think was, ‘I hope this never happens again!’ It was a terrible feeling to be so helpless. Not only was I physically incapacitated, but I felt that I had let my team down by not being able to be there. I realize that in the long run, it’s only one game that I missed and I am fortunate that it was not something more serious. I couldn’t help but hate the feeling of being unreliable in that moment. I pride myself on being a reliable person and player, and in this circumstance, my team couldn’t count on me. I know that none of my teammates were upset or felt that way. After all, as they told me later, my face that morning was literally green I looked so sick. They all knocked on my door when they got back to check on me and were only concerned with me getting healthy, which I appreciated. It was still an awful feeling nonetheless.

On a brighter note, I will be back on the field on Saturday, entertaining Marta and F.C. Gold Pride at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. I’m feeling a lot better, why don’t you come and see for yourself!?