Back in the day: Julie Chu
In our new espnW series, pro athletes look back with a memory from their younger days.
In the lead-up to the 2010 Olympics we had a New England travel-game series in which we were on the road for eight or nine days, spending no more than two days in any one place. But all of New England kept getting hit by one storm or another, and on the very first flight, four of us and the coaches didn’t get our bags when we arrived.
From there it was a domino effect, as our bags would get to a destination just after we’d left for the next one, and other players’ bags were getting lost along the way as well. At one point, so many people had clothing missing that we didn’t even have enough to share with them. Mark Johnson, our head coach, had the same green blazer for every single game, and trust me -- it was not an outfit you would usually re-wear.
We all had an excuse to wear the tracksuits that we travel in rather than dressing up, so the bag-less teammates wouldn’t stick out. It was nice at first, but by the end we were calling them our dump suits. Let’s just say we were pretty much peeling them off our bodies.
Then, at the end of the series, we played one last game up in Ottawa. Any time we play Team Canada there’s heightened excitement and anticipation, but this time we flew up there and, once again, not everyone’s bags made it -- and this time it was the equipment.
Gigi Marvin, Meghan Duggan and Monique Lamoureux weren’t able to do pregame training, and when game day rolled around and they still didn’t have equipment, the people of Ottawa pieced together equipment for them to play in.
It was such a nice gesture, but playing in someone else’s skates is still pretty weird. We were lacing up our skates and all giggling about how ridiculous it was that we were about to play this top team in all this mismatched gear.
We got through warm-ups, and as we were stepping off the ice the doors flew open and our team doctor came sprinting in with one of the bags. Just in the nick of time they’d all arrived, so everyone got to change quickly into their own gear. I’ve never seen players so excited to see their own gear!