Maria McLeod, a junior captain on the Bemidji State soccer team, has invited all of Beaver Nation along with the team as it travels around the world for a soccer, sightseeing and service trip Aug. 6-14. In her final trip post, she describes highlights from the last two days in Costa Rica and recaps the trip, the impact it has had on her and what it has meant to the 2013 team.
BSUBeavers.com would like to thank Maria for giving us an inside look at the travels of the team.
There is so much to be said about this trip yet somehow it is difficult to find the words to express my feelings after finally returning home. All I can say is that this trip was a once in a life time experience. The chance we got to go to a foreign country together as a team to play competitively and experience a new culture was outstanding. The set up of the trip was beyond organized and this trip is one that I would do again in a heart beat.
On the second night that we were there a few of us girls met two soccer college coaches from a school in California who had done this tour before. When we were discussing the trip and what to expect they said that the hot springs and white water rafting would be activities that we would remember. They were right. The second to last day was a day for the books and, by far, my favorite day. I was a bit nervous for the white water rafting because it was something that I, as well as most of the other girls, had never done before. When going through the tutorial of what to do in the rapids I was starting to get a little nervous because of what they said could happen while going down the river. However, that completely changed once getting in the raft. I felt comfortable and my boats guide, Chicho, was an excellent leader. We quickly became comfortable with what to do and how to move about in the raft. The white water rafting took about two hours and we were even able to stop half way and jump off some of the shorter cliffs. The group that lead our guide brought pineapples and cookies for us and the taste was so amazing that some of the girls even bought the cookies to bring home to the states.
Following the white water rafting we had the chance to experience one of my favorite places on the trip, the Hot Springs. There really is no way to describe this place except for unbelievable. We had the chance to go to a five star hotel and swim in different pools of different temperatures of fresh water from the mountain. All of the pools were warm water and each pool was unique in its' own way. Even pictures don't do justice to how amazing and pretty this place is. Assistant coach Andy Jannsen did make a comment that if this trip was done again, he would want to stay at the Hot Springs resort for a couple of days. The whole day as a whole was so much fun and personally, I thought, that it was one of the best days of food too. We had a traditional lunch after rafting and had a high quality buffet for dinner at the resort. Monday was a day of smiles.
Ending the trip was bittersweet for most. We ended going back to the children's center to play with the kids for a final time. Even though we were there for only an hour, it was an hour that left tattoos on our hearts. So many of the girls connected with a child that made them appreciate things that they will never have. These children make us see that there is so much in this world that we may never experience and that thought is scary and motivating at the same time. I want to help these children so bad and it makes me think what I can do to accomplish that goal. I hope that I made a difference in these kids life, even if it is just for a quick thought or a hidden smile that made them glad they got the chance to meet me.
By definition Dictionary.com states that opportunity is, "a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal." According to Dictionary.com, I would have to agree. We had a goal of playing three competitive teams, bonding as a team and getting a cultural experience that we will always remember. For an action that I will keep secret, because it doesn't need praise, I was so proud of our team and so grateful and proud to be a Beaver. We have one talented and special group of girls that I am honored to be a family of. For any of you 2013 soccer ladies reading this blog, I cannot thank you enough for making this experience a once in a life time chance. We were able to teach each other about ourselves and about the world far better than any classroom could do. To conclude our trip there is only two words left to say, "PURA VIDA!"
Final days of the trip from the team's voices on Twitter, Vine and other social media outlets: