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Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Rachel Dawson meditates on stunning win

By Rachel Dawson

U.S. field hockey midfielder Rachel Dawson, a 2008 Olympian, is blogging for espnW throughout the Pan Am Games. On Friday, the U.S. team shocked world champion Argentina, winning gold and earning a berth in next year's Olympic Games.

We won. They say we stunned them. They say we made history. I guess we did.

I guess it is only fitting that a girl who usually has words for everything is speechless. The reality of our victory has lodged itself in my voice box. I am stuttering with joy. There are no words for that game. No masterpieces to be written.

Our masterpiece was written on the field in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Friday night.

Inspired by the chants of "USA" that overcame the overwhelming "boos" of the Argentine-infused Mexican crowd, we proudly delivered an exceptional piece of disciplined teamwork.

Had we thought about the potential outcome, seeds of doubt may have lodged in our minds and immobilized our efforts. But we made a choice early in our training to control the wanderings of our minds.

It was difficult. The two goals we scored early in the game could have distracted us, but we clung to the powerful lessons learned through hours of torturous meditation with the USOC's man of mindfulness, sports psychologist Peter Haberl. We controlled the proverbial "monkey mind" and focused on the present moment.

Ultimately, the 4-2 win came down to this: We accepted control of the details, focused on our individual roles and trusted that if we did that, the outcome would take care of itself.

And on Friday night, it did. Finally.

We stood atop the podium, wore gold medals around our necks, embraced one another with teary-eyed smiles, and listened to our national anthem vibrate through the stands.

It was only when we returned to the locker room that it hit me: We are going to London!

I feel elated and relieved, but with one lasting thought: We still have a lot of work to do.