Saturday, September 22, 2007

Back to Shanghai

We left Hangzhou Friday morning headed back to Shanghai via train. We arrived in Shanghai around 1pm. We were notified of the quarterfinal assignments. Jen would be the 4th official for the match in Wuhan on Sunday – Norway vs. China. Jen will work with Gyongii Gaal (Hun), Marisa Villa Gutierrez (Esp) and Cristina Cini (Ita). At 3pm, we had our post-match training. The post-match training typically consists of a warm-up on the stationary bike followed by stretching. Jen decided to take the opportunity to swim in the pool in lieu of the typical post-match training. At 4:30pm, we had our match debriefings as usual and dinner later in the evening.

We officially started our referee ping-pong tournament. Jen’s first opponent is Janie Frampton, FIFA instructor from England. We played our match after dinner with Janie commenting that this was a precursor to the USA vs. England match the following night. Janie put up a good fight, but Jen was able to defeat Janie in two matches and moves on to her next opponent, Fu Hongjue (China). Of course, ping-pong is the national sport in China, so the odds are certainly in favor of Fu, but Jen has been doing some serious mental preparation and visualization to get ready.  Meanwhile, Kari’s first opponent is Jerome, our electronic communication expert from France. Both have been doing their fair share of trash talking, but we’ll see who comes out on top. The prospects are not good however; whoever wins will face Alejo, our fitness trainer from Argentina/New Zealand who is arguably one of the better players in the tournament.

Saturday morning, we had three different groups at the morning training session. For Jen’s crew, they had their -1 preparation (one day prior to a match) and for Kari’s crew, they had their +2 preparation. Both physical and practical training continue through the play-offs. At lunch, Jen and her crew departed for Wuhan while the remainder of the referees had their regular meeting to discuss match preparation for the quarterfinals.