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    Kickin It With Ella #1
    Former Illini forward Ella Masar is playing on the U.S. U-23 team competing for the Nordic Cup.

    Former Illini forward Ella Masar is playing on the U.S. U-23 team competing for the Nordic Cup.

    July 12, 2008

    FALUN, Sweden - Well folks here we go again, my oh so lovely blogs of the U-23 Nordic Cup have once again commenced and let me tell you what a journey it has already been. No, I have not had the pleasure of missing my flight as I did last year, but instead am fighting every bit of my will power to fall asleep. I have currently been up for the last 19 1/2 hours and have another two hours to wait until we are allowed to eat lunch. I know that if I do fall asleep at this moment in time (as my roommate is snoring next to me) I will be thrown off for the rest of the week. So the Olympic volleyball game between Japan and China in Swedish and this blog are my motivation to stay up ;)

    I do have to say there has already been two major pluses so far of this trip. First and foremost, I just found out that we in fact have four games this year compared to last year of only three. This means that after our scrimmage game against a local boys club team tomorrow, we actually start tournament play on Tuesday against Switzerland. After that we play either England or Norway on Thursday and then the other on Saturday. Depending on how we do in those games will determine whether or not we are in the championship game set for next Monday. Even though we are playing five games in the next 10 days, the anticipation to put that USA jersey back on is killing me. I do not think I will ever be able to describe what it feels like standing in front of a mirror seeing your country's jersey on your body.

    The second highlight of my trip so far has been my purchase of my $6.99 eye shades. With it only getting dark for around three hours a day here and with the plane ride being light most of the time, I do have to say they are quite marvelous. I realize that statement probably sounds straight out of my grandmother's mouth, but trust me once you have them you will forever be thanking me ;)

    I hope all is well at home and I look forward to writing about the boys team that we play tomorrow. I also must thank you for taking the time to read this first blog because it has substantially taken away from my two hours of waiting for food which makes me so happy. As anyone will learn, the number one way to an athletes heart will forever be food ;)

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