Blakeslee, Killmer, Stone Return from Scotland Tour
FREDERICK, Md.--Three Hood College field hockey players, Amanda Blakeslee '12, Nicole Killmer '14 and Miriah Stone '13 represented USA Athletes International on the USA College team during a 10-day tour of Scotland June 1-10.
Below are personal accounts from Blakeslee, Killmer and Stone on their experiences in Scotland.
Amanda Blakeslee '12
"The trip to Scotland was absolutely amazing. Not only just to be there and see all the sights, tour the monuments and castles, or roam the cities but to get the chance to play against the Scottish women was an experience that I will never forget.
"Field hockey over there, while still competitive, is viewed as more of a social thing; compared to the pretty much strictly competitive hockey that we play here in the USA. After games, the teams usually head up to their clubhouses to just hang out. That is so entirely different from hockey here in the States. Sometimes some of the men's teams would come stop by our games and watch us play. It was pretty cool to have guys who actually understood the game calling out advice and cheering on particular good plays or saves our team had. We had the opportunity after some of our games to share a meal with the team and used that time to socialize and swap gear with the girls.
"The history of Scotland is amazing and I found it hard to believe that some of the castles that we toured were centuries old and are still as sturdy as ever despite the wear and tear from different wars that were fought around them. The trip to Scotland has really interested me to look into my family's history some more because the ancient Campbell family split into three or four factions so I am interested to see where my grandmother's family falls into the history.
"The girls that we played with on the USA team were all from different schools and a couple of them play for MAC schools as well. So it was in a sense kind of like scouting out the enemy (just kidding!). Everyone was really nice and we got along and spent a lot of time together. Memories were made and friendships forged as we explored the Scottish ruins of castles and cathedrals. And even though we all had never really met or played together before we began the trip across Scotland, by the second half of the first game we were connecting on the field and working hard as a team. Many of the Scottish girls were astounded to know that we had only known each other for a matter of days, and I was too after watching the team work during one of my breaks on the sidelines. It was amazing to watch. One of the girls from Oneonta State brought her parents along and her mom took a lot of pictures from the sidelines just like Charlie (Covell) or Mrs. Althouse do for Hood."
Nicole Killmer '14
"My Scotland experience was everything I wanted and more, from amazing sights to meeting new friends, it couldn't have been any better. I got the chance to play for the USA and that is an amazing experience. All the years that I have been playing field hockey, it felt amazing to go to another country and see what field hockey is like there. Scotland field hockey was great! The girls were friendly, great to talk to and we also got to exchange gifts with each other. The competition was competitive, but fun all at the same time. My experience playing against the Scottish teams has helped me with my skills and also taught me new ones.
"The sights that we got to experience while in Scotland were amazing. From the Edinburgh Castle to Saint Andrews were just a couple of amazing places that we all got to experience while in Scotland. Every sight had a lot of history that was inspiring to hear and learn about throughout our trip. This was my first trip out of the country and I was very excited for it and have no regrets about going. I met some amazing people who also love the game of field hockey and had some great memories that will last a lifetime. If anyone gets the chance to go to another country and play a sport that they love, I would definitely recommend it because you will not regret it."
Miriah Stone '13
"I am extremely thankful for the opportunity USAAI gave us, it was a once in a lifetime experience. The country was beautiful, the field hockey was extremely competitive and the people were tremendously kind and friendly. I was so impressed by Scotland's rich culture and history that I wouldn't mind going back there later in life.
"I was intrigued by how different their field hockey culture was compared to ours. The USA is always so competitive. When we step on the field we see the other team as the enemy and we want nothing more than to beat them. Not once did I get that vibe from the players of these Scottish teams.
"They really seemed to see our games as friendly matches. The wake-up call for us came the first game when we were told not to expect a lot of warm-up time. They're just not really big on that. Many of these girls would show up right from work or about 10-20 minutes before the start of the game to only do some simple partner passing before starting. It was refreshing to see that they weren't consumed with a 'we need to be ready because we need to win' attitude. They just came out to play because they love to.
Team USA vs. Stewart's Melville F.P. Hockey Club
Team USA at Stirling Castle
Team USA Field Hockey, Women's Lacrosse and Men's Lacrosse Teams at National William Wallace Monument