In our new espnW series, elite athletes look back with a memory from their rookie days.
The first time I went to tryouts for the Under-16 national team I was really nervous. I was only 14 and I’d never gone to a training camp like that before. We were staying in these dorms in Colorado Springs for four days of tryouts, followed by training camp.
Though we were busy -- we had double sessions, with practice in the morning and then late practice in the evenings -- we had time in the middle to kill! Usually we’d just hang out around the dorms or take naps. But one day instead of napping we started messing around with the rolling chairs in our rooms.
It was pretty much the majority of the team -- me, Elizabeth Williams, Morgan Tuck and Jordan Adams -- and we started racing side by side down the hallways on these rolly chairs. Well, the hallways weren’t that big, and we were all competitive types trying to go faster and faster. It was all good fun until Elizabeth crashed into the side of the wall with her chair and totally wiped out.
I’m pretty sure a video was on Facebook at some point in time. Thankfully she was OK, though the coaches would definitely not have been happy if they’d found out -- obviously we were there to prepare to win a gold medal!
But there’s nothing like some off-the-court teammate shenanigans to help with team bonding. That trip was the first time I ever met Morgan, and now we’re teammates at the University of Connecticut and I consider her one of my closest friends.