Pensive, that's how I've been feeling lately. I've been thinking about where I am in life right now, and how much I'm enjoying it. At Smith I've found the rare place where I am both wholly content, confident and comfortable, something I've experienced only once before at Shad Valley. I've finally found somewhere that I fit. This post was supposed to happen on Monday, but somehow it's already Friday. Howe cup was an amazing experience (more to follow), and it took a few days to come down from that high. However, now that the season is over, I feel like I have my brain back - I no longer think about squash every moment of the day, and was able to study. I knew life had returned to normal when I woke up Tuesday morning thinking about membrane potentials and ionic gradients...
School pretty much ate me alive this week, I had two physiology exams and a presentation yesterday. Neurophysiology was a tough beast to tackle, but by the time early Thurday morning rolled around, I hit the sweet spot where all the complex, abstract concepts gelled, and I finally got it. That's the moment I love about tough courses - when this happens I want to explain it to everyone around me (this is when one turns to their dog, or James Watson bobble head in order to avoid strange glances from people). It was slightly comical to see my entire class flock to the campus center for hot, caffeinated beverages after Wednesday night's review session...
Monday night I went to see Sarah Harmer perform at the Iron Horse Music Hall. I'm not a close follower of her music, but one of my housemates (who loves Canada and Great Big Sea) asked me to go. Wow. Not only was the venue perfect (an old yet large and cozy resaurant/pub), but her music held me in a trance for the full two hours. Most impressive though is the fact that I conceded to going out on a Monday night during a week that I had a lot of homework - this is really an accomplishment! Those of you who know me will understand this... It also made me suddenly realize that I'm only here for 2.5 more months. That's a scary thought, I don't want to leave this place, and there is so much I haven't done yet!
And now for one final ramble about squash. Howe Cup - it's what we've been working toward since September. Physical training, mental preparation, nothing could have prepared me for the adrenaline of being there. 30 teams, 16 courts (including a really cool free-standing glass one), parents, and some of the best college players in the US made for an intense atmosphere. While I only won one of my matches, the whole experience was great. Some highlights: catching the ball from a match between the #1 from Trinity and Williams (Trinity is the #2 US women's team) - to which my teammate exclaimed "you touched greatness!", meeting a super-cool 8 year old who was the son of the Harvard coach - this kid had loads of personality and mad squash skills that put me to shame, watching a documentary on dinosaurs and the women's olympic figure skating final with a teammate and laughing the whole time, seeing my captin win one of the most prestigeous awards in women's college squash, being in Harvard square on Friday night in a sea of college students (I love Boston!), bonding with my teammates, and oh yeah - seeing a man walking around the squash courts with a Tim Horton's box!!!
When I got back on Sunday my mind was racing from the weekend. Really, who needs drugs? Just play sports and study hard - it will do the same thing to you.
I'd like to end with a little tribute to my teammates: I've never played on a team like this before, where I so fully enjoyed the friendship and company of my teammates. You made me laugh (a lot), you made me always feel welcome and wanted, you made me a better person and a stronger athlete. I learned from you; you exposed me to new ideas and different cultures. You made a good experience great, and I truly value the friendship that you've given me. I love you guys! And so without further adieu, Smith Squash 2005/2006 (photo credits go to my teammates).
One of our many post-match dinners at the campus center
Getting focused at Seven Sisters, Haverford
The infamous squash cake, made out of marzipan (that's supposed to be my coach after a tough match). Someone pointed out that this would be a good place to mention that every time we drove by the pond at Haverford, my coach would open the window and yell to the geese: "Heelllooo.. go Canada!"
Getting coached up between games at Vassar invitatonal
Accepting our non-trophy from the president of the College Squash Association
And a final, lighthearted goodbye to the season:)