The US Open is a different tournament from anything else Phoenix will experience. The level of play and the 4 day schedule is comparable to Nationals, but it’s only the second tournament of our regular season. Since it’s so early, the pressure is amplified and downplayed at the same time. On one hand, this tournament does not define our season; we will have plenty of opportunities in 2015. On the other hand, this is a time to build a foundation for the rest of the season and to make a first statement about what kind of team we are. No pressure.
As we all walked away from the fields Saturday after being dealt a sixth loss for the weekend there were a lot of feelings. It was hard to find a silver lining in what should have been, statistically, a losing weekend. But we found out a lot about our selves and our team this weekend. This weekend showed that we will stumble. We will go down early. But we will also find our rhythm and make some great comebacks like we did against Schwa and Fusion. We found out that we can hang with and ultimately, challenge a well-tested team like Riot. If that isn’t starting the season on the right foot, then I don’t know what is.
Our captains have done a great job of finding the things we are all good at individually and trying to maximize that potential with our on-field roles. Getting a role is exciting and nerve-wracking. We all love being told we’re good at something, but then once you know you’re good at it, the pressure is on to continue being good. Throughout the season I think we’ll all deal with this pressure in different ways, and it will hopefully challenge us to find new motivation to keep improving.
Off-field we’re still trying to find our voice, fill new roles, and get our footing as well. Have you ever tried to come up with things that rhyme with “Phoenix”?? If so, you’ll understand why our cheers are few and far between. Luckily we’re a creative team, and we had a fair amount of beer and bonding at the US Open to really strengthen our cheering and off-field game.
So now that we’re all back and answering the inevitable questions from friends, family and coworkers about how the weekend went, I find myself taking all of the above into perspective and answering, “Well, good!”