|Farm Olympic Podium Take 1. Nothing's ever easy. Things aren't always perfect. Cameo:Monty|
|Allie Galoob gets to work.|
Breakfast post chores.
Some players know little or no sign language, can be at a disadvantage in training. This camp was different. This time I saw many players that didn't know a lick of sign language in the previous camp begin to communicate using signs they had learned over the past few months. It helped the quality and the efficiency of practice. Happy hearts recognized they cared enough about their teammates to make a difference; to build a bridge. This wasn't just at the practice field, but everywhere. Naturally, players gravitate to who they can communicate with the easiest. Therefore; players that are more oral tend to stick together while players who use sign language stay nearby. Not this week. There was much less separation as communication grew and relationships developed. A new friend, Michelle, relayed to me that the the no.1 factor in people learning a new language doesn't comes down education, wealth, background or socio economic levels. The number one factor in learning a new language comes down to willingness to take RISK: The ability to not be afraid to go for it. To blurt it out. The feedback is positive even if you botch it. Trying to communicate in another person's language shows that you value that person, you are listening; you care. You are willing to take the risk to be wrong and try to communicate vs. ignoring someone. The response will be appreciation, thankfulness and kindness in return, giving the novice the courage to continue trying. With this barrier crumbling, and ASL isn't known, the real fun begins. Pantomimes, gestures, eye contact, physical contact of pulling one way or another an a smile that says it all, "WE can do this."
During the week the team covered the following topics: possession, finding space, pressing in the attacking half of the field and runs in the box. Defending is an every day thing.. that goes along with the theme of WORKING HARD TOGETHER.
|Mia White tells Nicole Nunez she can turn through visual cues.|
Lessons picked up at training:
RISK = REWARD. Taking risks in the front half of the field and working hard to get by defenders is worth it. Taking a risk to communicate in a language you are not comfortable with is worth it.
We can be tired AND great. With double days on a schedule that began at 3am, it was assumed that the quality of training would take a back seat while Team Building went to the top. This was far from true. While exhausted minds and bodies hit the field, the focus on the game plan & the work ethic to match reached its target. The quality of soccer was as good as I can remember. I am hopeful each player will pull from this memory bank to the next time they are jet lagged, over tired and have no gas in the tank, that they know they can rally, no need to cash it in. It may be more difficult, but you can find your best if it is what you expect. Expect Greatness. Choose Greatness. Tired is often a byproduct of being great. I know that sleep is key to sustained success, but on the off chance you have to pull an all nighter to get the A, finish a job, help a friend... do it. You will survive. You may even thrive.
|Joy Fawcett & Beth Barbiers herding the kids into action.|
Practice should be viewed as one's individual test to see what you worked on while away from the team. It should be a time where you get to show off in front of your teammates the work you have put in. The game is the team's test to see how well you work together.
LUNCH on FARM: Leftovers from last nights dinner, and sandwich fixins on the farm. Fend for yourself.
1:00-4:00 TEAM ACTIVITY. This activity each day was one of the following:
|Syd Andrews enjoys a rare opportunity to take down her coach.|
|Lexie and Ani head to teammate for congratulatory high 5.|
I've learned a lot about the divide in the deaf world between people who use sign language and those that use hearing devices. A good article was passed along to me from a friend that touches upon this.
For those interested: Article Here:
For those that want to see how it CAN work, watch the team in action. It it is about building relationships and putting yourself in someone else's shoes. This team works to close the gap to understand each other and enjoys each other's uniqueness along with the challenges. We all should take a page out of their book. I realize it's my opinion and I am not deaf; an outsider looking in. You have to watch and experience this team before you can come back at me with yours. :) I'm ready.
|Sophie Post and Nicole Nunez take a tumble|
Giving back is necessary & feels awesome. "The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves." - Helen Keller.
You get out of life what you put into it. The more fun, you bring to the table, the more fun it becomes. The more work you put into the task, the better it becomes. It's not rocket science.
|It's really not hard to communicate with the deaf. Give it a try.|
|This smile needs no interpreter.|
Hauling / Stacking 500+bales of straw into the barn as quickly AND neatly as possible. Winner gets to be the best. Two groups formed, the job explained, a truck, hay elevator and tractor rolled in and it was game on. Each group with a slightly different set of circumstances took to the task;.. a stack may be higher, an obstacle in the way, some bales weren't uniform in shape, etc.
|Silvya, Peyton & Faith (before we were aware Silvya has a sever hay allergy.)|
Learn from others: The 2nd group watched with the advantage of not making the same mistakes as the first. This is critical in teamwork and improvement. The combined groups ended up doing more than anticipated due to the efficiency in learning from mistakes. Toughness is a key ingredient in a good life. Little did we know one of the goalkeepers, Silvya, is allergic to hay/straw.... until her body started to swell. Immediately she was hosed off and popped some Benadryl and asked to chill out for the remainder of the day. But... But.... the competition was still going on. Up she bolted in game-like fashion ready to make the 2nd save and trotted with longer sleeves, gloves and every item covering her body to help her team finish the competition. Sport = Life. :)
We (as a team, family, organization, community, country, world) are better together than apart. The amount of work that was accomplished took less time, was easier and more fun together.
|Load #1 Ready for Stacking|
Farm Olympics - In true National Team fashion, Laura and her sister Erin manufactured the best relay race ever! Race consisted of moving bales, wheelbarrows, milking a nippled bottle, hauling grain, filling water buckets and keeping 2 eggs safe while sprinting down the field all the while dodging a basset hound puppy and toddler. It was awesome!
The taunting, screaming, cheering, succeeding, failing, teamwork and laughing inspired every element worthy of the Olympics. LESSON: Don't be afraid to conquer your fears and tackle weaknesses. Meet Annie Kolb.
|Mia Marin ready to assist Annie.|
From the second she saw the leg of the race where one has to lift 2 bales up and over a fence, run 15 meters and stack them, was the moment the doubt knocked on her door. Annie is one of the younger members of the player pool with a string bean stature. She fights for every ball on the field and doesn't back down, but often she is discarded to the ground. It doesn't stop her. Realizing if she keeps at it, the strength will come eventually. She doesn't want to let her teammates down, puts on her game face and hopes she does not have to be the first one to ask for help.
|Nailed it. String beans and all.|
|Mia, Casey, Annie, Paige, Elysia Nick, Ben are ready for Laura to award the "medals"|
|Gold, Silver and Bronze|
River Rafting. A nice reprieve from the farm and playing field. 24 tubes, a couple of kayaks, 2 hours down a river in the cool water and warm sunshine. With our team NOTHING ever goes as planned. Schedule changes, hay allergies, an empty gas tank, a late arrival on a plane, miscommunication, a 3am 1.7 mile drive to farm that collided with a deer, etc. "Go with the flow," is a strength of this team. Adapting is a skill I've learned with this team. For a couple of hours each player was able to go with the flow, not fight the current and enjoy the ride. Sometimes, you just need to breathe
|Newly elected USDSA President, Suzanne Anderson, keeps a watchful eye on the crew.|
5:30-6:30 DINNER on the FARM: BBQ, Burgers, Tacos, Pizza. Beef and Veggies farm fresh.
7:00-8:30 TRAINING: 3-4 more camps until 2020 Deaf World Championship and lost of work to be done.
|McCall Madriago & Mia White facing aerial presence of Ani Khachadourian|
|Holly Hunter, Beth Barbiers make life difficult for Sophie Post|
10:30 PM Lights out if you are awake enough to reach for the switch.
Quotes of camp: "I left my ears in the car." "Did you say Pro Team? or protein?" "She can't hear you. We are deaf." "You have to squeeze the nipple from the top down." A boy at the clinic: "My aunt is a nurse and she used to help me with my 'mindgrains'" "I think Silvya might be allergic..."
|Farm Olympic Podium Take 2: Better Together|
|An accurate depiction of how we roll.|
|Until we meet again.|