We have had some fun during preseason, besides being on the soccer field all day. We had two cook-offs at Coach Jodi's house. The freshmen teamed up with the juniors, and the sophomores teamed up with the seniors. I must say we are all good cooks. The 'ju-men' made a home-style dinner, which consisted of meatloaf, chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, corn bread, and plenty of desserts. The 'se-mores' made a Mexican style dinner, consisting of fajitas, quesadillas, queso dip, salsa, and rice. I am still bitter about the 'se-mores' winning, but it was well deserved. Coach also took us out for dinner and a movie one night. Coach Johnny took us to the Pink Palace museum, which was interesting to see. We watched an IMAX movie on dolphins and whales. Just the other day, we spent time with the men's team as we went putt-putting and go-carting. It's always fun getting out of the hotel for a day and hanging out with the guys.
This year is different for me, personally, because I am in a different position on the field. My first two seasons here at Memphis I played outside forward. I love being able to take defenders on and have all the freedom in the world. But, I am now playing the role of a defender. Two of our big name defenders are out for the season, and I know no one can replace Kelsey Bakker or Brittany Hance. There's so much more to being a defender than not letting the opponents score; there is also the communication and leadership role. There is this drill we do in practice where it's the offense vs. defense. This is the time when the defense really comes together as a unit because we don't want the forwards and midfielders to beat us. You see people sacrifice their whole body to stop a shot, and you hear everyone yelling at you to not let the offense score. I believe the defense have won every time.
Being a student-athlete is different compared to a student. You must take into account how much time and energy we spend out there on the soccer field or in the weight room. We are very fortunate to have academic counselors and tutors help us with our school work in CAAS. They make sure we are being responsible and doing our work, because yes school comes first. I didn't think I would ever say this, but I don't like missing college classes due to travel. When we have away games on Friday we usually leave on that Thursday before, and therefore miss classes. Being a student-athlete is stressful at times, and it serves as a job, but I love every minute of it. I get to be with my teammates all the time. Other athletes and students know who we are because they have seen that we are conference champions. And, I love the sport. I wouldn't want to be doing anything else.