DISHIN WITH DEVON: Tales from the "Arctic"
I guess it’s that time again to catch you up on how things have been going for us Dolphins. A couple Fridays ago we drove to Gainesville, Fla. to take on the Florida Gators. We stepped out of the bus and were face-to-face with one of the nicest soccer fields I’ve ever seen. It’s not that the surroundings were atheistically pleasing, but the field itself was soft, luscious, green grass that the ball rolled perfectly on like new carpet. We then caught sight of our opponents charging out of a blown up Gator mouth screaming like Braveheart - and that’s just about how the game went.

The Gators are a good team and they know how to attack with speed (to say the least) and take advantage of our mistakes (however big or small). Even though we lost 6-0 to the Gators in front of a crowd of 1,500 people, we played hard and played well. It didn’t seem like a blowout even though the score reflected one. At the end of the game, all coach could say was, “We certainly attract a large crowd don’t we?!”

That Sunday we were able to redeem ourselves by winning our first game at home against Winthrop! It was a sight to see. The crowd was excited and painted with JU colors and the players were thrilled to be at home and playing likes superstars. We walked away from that game with our heads held high and smiles beaming from a 3-0 victory.

The smiles lasted most of the week as we pushed through in preparation for the next set of games. The freshmen kept talking about how excited they were for Friday night’s game under the lights. We’ve played Friday night games before, but there’s always something special about your first Friday night home game under the lights. It’s everything you imagine but better. It doesn’t seem to matter how sore or tired you are from the week’s training. When you step out on the field to warm up with clean polished boots and a bleached white jersey (thanks Kate), knowing this is what you’ve worked towards all week and all preseason, you’re engine roars and the adrenaline rushes through your body pushing you into action. It is one of the best feelings on Earth in every athlete’s mind.

That night the crowds found their ways to the sidelines, cheering loudly for the green and gold, but not the USF green and gold. USF is a fast team with a, as coach says, “bull in a china shop” mentality, which just so happens to be their mascot too.

We played them to a 1-1 game, JU scoring first and holding them out until the last few minutes when they were awarded a penalty kick. This sent us in to overtime for the third time this season. We played a full 110 minutes but neither team could find the back of the net again. The Bulls and the Dolphins put up a fight but neither came out victorious.

We were however able to find a victory in Sunday’s game against Francis Marion. This was quite possibly the hottest game we’ve played yet this season, including preseason! We’ve practiced in hotter weather but for some reason the heat took its toll on our legs but not on our hearts, at least through the first half.

We were up, 2-0, at the end of the first half, about to go into the second when the sky got dark and the air got almost chilly. The whistle blew to begin the second half and the rain followed suit. I’ve always heard that Florida was good for an afternoon thunderstorm and Sunday was no exception. The rain started slowly but it seemed to only get harder as the game progressed. It rained so hard that moving, none the less seeing was nearly impossible. A forward on the other team had her back to me at one point during a goal kick and she spit in front of her, but the wind and rain carried it back my direction. It was blowing so hard that the spit probably hit me, I can’t be sure. She apologized but I told her that at this point in the game, looking like a wet rat, I couldn’t tell the difference.

About 15 minutes into the second half we managed to score one more goal before the lightning struck, thunder boomed and the whistle blew, sending us to the air-conditioned locker rooms for 51 minutes. There was no need to ice bath after the game; we had had enough ice after sitting in the “Arctic” for almost an hour.

The skies eventually cleared and the game resumed for the remaining 30 minutes, both teams scoreless in the last part. The game ended with a 3-0 victory for us.

Wet and tired from a long weekend, we made our way back to our apartments and dorms with enough time to eat and watch some TV (Jersey Shore, the VMA’s and the Redskins/Cowboys game) before getting ready for school the next day.