Auburn Soccer Road Trippin' in Hawai'i

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Day One

Auburn Soccer Road Trippin' In Hawai'i: Day 1

Junior Allison Whitworth looks back at Thursday's trip to Hawai'i from Auburn where the Tigers will play Kansas and Hawai'i this weekend

Aug. 31, 2007

Day One Gallery

WAIKIKI, Hawai'i - As I sit here tonight and think about my first day in Hawaii, I cannot help thinking I have been awake for 22 hours. All week was spent preparing for this trip: telling friends we would miss the first football game, getting excuses for class, making new friends quickly in class to borrow notes from, and always these activities are paired with jealous looks from everyone who knew we were missing class for Hawaii.

On Wednesday after practice all the girls headed to run errands, wash clothes, get snacks and magazines for the plane, and of course pack. I was nervous as usual that I would forget that one little shirt or shoe that I would need for the games and went over everything I would need many times. I had to remember to pack Luau clothes and all thing things I might need for the beach, sightseeing, and of course soccer!

I know many of the girls set several alarms to make sure we didn't miss the bus that left at 5:30 AM!! I woke up several times excited like a kid on Christmas morning thinking that it was time to go and that I slept through my alarm, but finally it was time to get up and carpool with Carolyn, Kasey, and Liz to campus. We finally packed the bus up and left Auburn for Atlanta.

Solving the Atlanta airports many quirks did not delay the team too much. The whole team and all our luggage got on the plane and most people got a little breakfast. This flight was nice because we all were sitting together. In the past when we are dispersed, none of our neighbors enjoy the over-seat chatter.

A NINE hour flight is always tedious. Most of the girls passed the time sleeping, reading magazines, or listening to Ipods. (Chelsea had a nice nap next to me.) I was a bit of a nerd and did several sudoku puzzles. We all shared snacks and trail mix because most of us were not satisfied with flight food. Every couple hours someone would ask what time it was in Auburn and we would all count the time we had been flying and it never seemed to slip by fast enough. Finally the pilot told us that the left side of the plane would have a view of the islands. They were beautiful. The plane circled around to the airport and both sides had amazing views. It was so surreal to say to each other we were in Hawaii for a soccer tournament.

After navigating to the hotel where we had views of the mountains and scenery we arrived at our beachside (almost) hotel. From my balcony the beaches, sand, trees, and ocean are easily visible. But also the famous Diamond Head volcano mountain is just visible from behind another hotel. It is really cool.

The team had a "practice" session and afterwards we all got to play in the ocean. The waves were wonderful and there were surfers everywhere. Most of the team hopped in the water in our running clothes and wadded out to a seawall where we sat and let the waves splash and push us around. The customary team pictures and goofy pictures always follow and we gradually headed back to the hotel to shower and call friends and family.

For dinner the coaches let us loose on the beachfront in large groups to eat, walk, and take more pictures. I ate with Kara, Caitlin, Summer, Jen, and Kori; while Skylar, Addie, Kim, Lindsey, Moni, Jessi, Mary and several others were at tables nearby. At dinner we were all noticeably tired. It was only 6:45 in Hawaii, but it was almost midnight in Auburn. Needless to say we were not our customary animated selves, but we still had fun conversations in delirium.

More customary pictures on the beach till we finally decided that it was time to get to be sometime before 8PM. My crew meandered back to the hotel and we went our separate ways. This brings me back to describing my first day in Hawaii... It was beautiful for this amazing location, I am blessed to be a part of a team that I love, and thankful for the opportunity to play soccer at this level... but the most of all TIRED : )


Day Two

Auburn Soccer Road Trippin' In Hawai'i: Day 2

Junior Kara Kasten recaps Friday in Hawai'i as the team prepared for Saturday's game against #26 Kansas

Sept. 1, 2007

Day Two

WAIKIKI, Hawai'i - Day two in Hawaii started with a much better morning than the former. After an amazing night of catch-up sleep in our big and fluffy white beds, we leisurely awoke to an ocean-view of tons of surfers riding the waves as well as many people already on the beaches. Following this amazing view came an even more amazing buffet breakfast. We ate tons of eggs, bacon, potatoes, cereal, bagels, and pretty much everything else you can think of. And the best part about this morning was that it did not start at 5:30 am.

Following breakfast we got ready for practice and left the hotel. It took a little time to find the field, but once we arrived we got right to it. Since it was our last practice before our first game, we had a lot to cover in a little time. Everything went really well. On the way back to the bus a couple of University of Hawaii guys caught us off guard and threw an "aloha" at us. Startled, we shakily replied "aloha" sounding as out of place as "a surfboard in the mountains" (Jaime Wheeler, Freshman, Room 1570).

Next we were given lots of free time, which needless to say we were soooo excited about!!! Some of us headed to sushi, while others of us headed to Subway and WolfGang. Some of the girls were super excited about the homemade cookie station that was connected to Subway. Supposedly, the snickerdoodle samples were to die for.

Finally it was time for the beach!!! We loaded up on the sunscreen and laid out for all of about a minute before the photo shoots began. The freshman had to take their rookie pics - piggy back style, the sophomores had to take their roomie pics - out of control style, pyramid style, and laying in the sand style, so the juniors joined in and took a basic junior pic. We all took a jumping pic, a team pic, an action pic, a model pic, and a thousand other pics.

Imagine over 20 girls laying on the beach using their not so quiet voices and you can probably guess how many outrageous looks we received. One lady even said "Where did ya'll escape from?" Without hesitation, the majority of the group responded with "Auburn, Alabama."

Three o'clock came around and we all rushed up to our rooms to primp ourselves for the long awaited Hawaiian Luau. The bus ride took over an hour, but we entertained ourselves with sightseeing, singing, and yup, you guessed it, pictures. Upon arrival, the Hawaiian waiters gave us our long-anticipated leis while asking us if we were part of the Miss USA Pageant. We all laughed and of course went along with it. We ate an assortment of Hawaiian food before heading to another photo shoot on stage. After another hundred pictures, it was time for the show.

For the show, we got nearly front row seats that gave us a great view of everything. There was hula dancing, fire twirling, Hawaiian chanting, and pineapple ice cream, overall a great experience.

After a long day of activities, we were more than ready to get back to the hotel to sink into our almost overly comfortable beds, which is were I lie right now with Jaime in the bed beside me as we reflect on our great day. And to say goodnight, in the words of the Hawaiians, "aloha and war eagle."


Day Three

Auburn Soccer Road Trippin' In Hawai'i: Day 3

Junior Lauren Stewart recaps Saturday - Game Day - in Hawai'i

Sept. 2, 2007

Day Three Gallery

WAIKIKI, Hawai'i - Aloha Auburn Fans!

Day three in Hawaii and it's our most important one so far, Game Day! We started the day off with the usual team breakfast and team meeting. The food was amazing once again. After breakfast and the meeting it was straight to business with two hours of study hall. Yes, we are in Hawaii buts it's important to keep with our studies! After study hall we were able to watch most of the football game and support our fellow Auburn Tigers! Thankfully we came out with the win! War Eagle! It also gave us some motivation to play hard in our game; seeing that we were playing for the same University.

We had our pre-game lunch while watching the game. After lunch we had some more down time to relax and mentally prepare for the nights game. After watching some more Auburn football it was time to concentrate on our own game and have out pre-game meeting.

At 5:00pm it was time to load up the bus and head for the field. On the bus our team was individually preparing ourselves to play. Some of us listened to our Ipods, while others listened to the bus radio. When we got to the field we started warming up making sure that when 7:00pm rolled around we were ready to play!

The game started out a little rough for our team, but we came back from being down a goal to tie the game up. After two well fought overtimes from both teams, the game ended in a tie (1-1). Not the result we were looking for, but I and everyone is proud of the effort we gave in the second half and two overtimes.

A wonderful dinner was prepared for both teams after the game. After everyone finished eating it was time to head back to the hotel. With everyone being exhausted from the game we had a nice quiet ride back.

We are all looking forward to a great day tomorrow visiting Pearl Harbor and taking a mini-cruise to Diamond Head. Thank you all for reading about our trip and War Eagle!


Day Four

Auburn Soccer Road Trippin' In Hawai'i: Day 4

Junior Jenn Johnson looks back at Sunday's team trip to Pearl Harbor, a sunset cruise and other assorted activities on the final free day of the trip.

Sept. 3, 2007

Day Four Gallery

WAIKIKI, Hawai'i - Before reading...I apologize for the length, usually I am a very short winded person, but today is a day I feel deserves a little length.

Our fourth day in Hawaii started bright and early with a 6:30 (or earlier if you are Stephanie and had to fix your hair until every strand was perfect) wake up in order to try and beat the crowd to see Pearl Harbor. After meeting in the lobby, all of us preceded to wait in line for some overpriced (but well worth it) $5 coffee and doughnuts. We then boarded bus #505, looking forward to a quick nap before we got to Pearl Harbor. This wish was soon shot down when we met our enthusiastic and entertaining bus driver Ronda (not Brooks), who proceeded to give us a narrated tour on our drive. We learned that first time visitors to Hawaii are given a Hawaiian name meaning those who carry maps, H1 is the name of their interstate (which doesn't connect to any other states, I don't think), and most importantly that she was available (as is Ronda Brooks).

As we pulled up to Pearl Harbor we all gasped. It was only 7:30 and there was already a huge line that wound around an even bigger field. Ronda quickly settled us down and assured us that this was not at all unusual. The line actually moved incredibly fast, forcing me to chug the rest of my coffee....and even tempting Carolyn to try a little (she didn't approve). So now hyped up on caffeine, we entered the memorial.

With some time to kill before our tour began, we all walked around to view the museum, browse the bookstore, and look at the shoreside exhibits. Finally our ticket numbers were called out and we proceeded to the theater. We then saw a short, but emotional and striking film about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Those who know me well know that I have a deep and profound respect for military personnel. However, today affected me in ways I haven't felt since visiting New York City after September 11th. While watching the film, I went from feeling respect for those who experienced Pearl Harbor, to shock at seeing the USS Arizona blow up, to incredible grief for those who lost their lives. Walking to the boat to go out to the Arizona, I had tears running down my face and was visibly shaking, as I began to fully understand the sacrifices and courage of those who were and are dedicated to the defense of freedom. A short boat ride took us out to the USS Arizona memorial, a white structure built over the sunken ship. It was quite an experience for all of us to look down at the Arizona, knowing there were many bodies still aboard, still serving their country. This was a site I am extremely glad I got to see and experience.

After a late Sunday brunch after returning to the hotel, we all ran (some ran faster than I believe they ran the cooper...) to the beach to enjoy our free time in the sun. Many girls bought cheap floats, and we all played in the water and enjoyed the sun. Heather and Ashley had a bit of a scare, getting caught up in a riptide and losing their $.99 floats in the process, but I think it might just have been a ploy to get saved by one of the surfer guys. I, after getting bored with laying out, resorted to people watching.

After our afternoon of fun, we got ready to go on our nice relaxing sunset cruise. The mile walk through sand and water should have prepared us for what was to come, but it was less relaxing and not so much sunset as it was a wild roller coaster party boat ride. We were soon bombarded with huge waves, soaking those daring enough to brave the hammock-like front of the boat (Caitlin, Chelsea, Jenni, Moni, among others), and hitting even Coach Hoppa, the one person trying really hard to avoid getting wet (shame on you Gabi for laughing). The waves soon caused some of us to fear for our lives and one by one we stopped trying to be brave and resorted to sitting down and holding onto whatever we could find. Our amazing boat ride was filled with entertainment. This was our site for our first official rookie review, where our freshmen have to dance and make fools of themselves. While Addie gave a somewhat disappointing showing, I have faith that she will step it up next time. On the other hand, Jessi threw it all on the line and even with ACL tear #4, dropped it like it's hot. The best showing had to be from Keidane and Nancy though, who blew us all away with their dancing skills even as huge waves hit the boat, all the while threatening to capsize at any second. One woman, who had taken advantage of the "party" aspect of the ride, assured Gabi, Kristi and me that if we came back around Christmas we would be able to find Rudolph the red nosed dolphin. Hmmm...

After finally making it back to land with everyone still alive (although we did have one loss, Addie's shoe flew overboard), we got to go to a delicious dinner. My table had Kristi, Summer, Stew, Skyler, Caroline and Becca. Needless to say we had an entertaining dinner (my apologies to Skyler, who will probably never sit with us again) that included Christmas carols by the singers who came to our table and reliving our fun times together. The food was delicious! I ate the teriyaki sirloin, salad bar, bread, and then proceeded to sample Kristi's shrimp, Summer's ribs, and anything else left on people's plates.

When I finally thought my amazing day in Hawaii was finished, I somehow ended up shopping with my group. We all spent too much money....some of whom conned their sleeping parents into paying for things over text-messaging (Lizzie). We even dared to enter Louis Vuitton and Dior, pretending we had the money to buy one sock.

Realizing we were about to miss curfew, we walked quickly back to the hotel, pausing shortly to check out the weird show along the way. A dancing robot, a man trying to con people into paying for a massage alongside the road, tarot card readers, bongo drums, a man with tattoos covering his face and the omniscient sign that said we could ask him anything, J-Pro's shorter twin brother playing banjo, and much more. As the best day ever is coming to a close, I leave you with the words of Kristi "Thank God for this crunkness".


Day Five

Auburn Soccer Road Trippin' In Hawai'i: Day 5

Junior Kori Hoelscher looks back on Auburn's final gameday in Hawai'i and all of the preparations that went into it

Sept. 4, 2007

Day Five Gallery

WAIKIKI, Hawai'i - Waking up to another day in paradise was nothing to complain about. Some may think by Jenn's write up on our day yesterday that nothing could compare to it, but today was GAME DAY! This was round two for the Auburn Tigers. Today may sound very similar to Saturday's write up starting with breakfast. Nothings better then fresh fruit (unlimited pineapple), an assortment of cereals, hot eggs and bacon, and not to mention the freshest bagels you will ever have while looking over the beaches of Hawai'i. For those who thought a 10:30 am breakfast wasn't late enough, there was plenty of coffee available. Once everyone seemed to be satisfied and full we went straight into our team pre-game meeting and game film. Like the good students we are and also because coach told us to, we went right into our 2 hours of study hall. Thanks to our coaching stuff and the Auburn University Athletic Department, I would have to say that was the best study hall I have ever been in. I spend my two hours reading on our balcony on the 14th floor over looking the pacific. It doesn't get much better then that. Once study hall was over, that pretty much wrapped up our morning for day five.

Before we knew it, it was time to head to room # 1654 for get out pre-game meal. After devouring our food we had about an hour to get focused on the game before the preparations started. Our wonderful trainer Haley gave us "specific" times to meet for treatment and taping so things could move smoothly, oh and Ronda helped as well (she was on door patrol). Then we had to be dressed and ready at 5 pm Hawai'i time for one last meeting before departing for the field.

Just like any other away games you get to see the home crowd of your opponent and their game traditions. One thing about this game that was different then any other game we have played in was that after the National Anthem, Hawaii played their very own Hawaiian Anthem. But when it came to there crowd, Hawai'i was no different. The game drew a great crowd who were energetic and very much into the game.

Unfortunately, bad things can and do happen in Paradise as well. After a hard battle we lost 2-1 in overtime.

At the end, the tournament listed a tournament team and four of our very own represented Auburn University on this team. Congratulations to Lauren, Jenni, Becca, and Caitlin. Well done ladies and definitely earned.

Before wrapping this up and going to bed, I just wanted to give a shout out to all of the parents and fans who got up at 2 or 3 in the morning to check and see how we did. Thanks you all for your support. War Eagle!


Day Six

Auburn Soccer Road Trippin' In Hawai'i: Day 6

Junior Summer Ragsdale talks about the soccer team's final day in Hawai'i and the flight back to Atlanta

Sept. 5, 2007

Day Six Gallery

HONOLULU, Hawaii - Tuesday afternoon has finally arrived and simply put it means no more Luaus, catamaran tours around the island, or picking our own pearls to make jewelry for our family and ourselves. We wait at the airport for the dreaded 9 hour flight back to the "mainland" where we will be forced back into the real world having to go straight to class when we get back. And as we wait I realize what an excellent last day in paradise we had.

For our final day we were left to do whatever it was that we wanted. Being in Hawai'i and being girls we set our alarm clocks for 7:45 am so we could get up and soak up some last minute rays at the beach or poolside. The only instructions for the morning were to be wearing something Auburn with our packed bags in the lobby at 11:00 am. After lounging all morning and then loading the bus we were once again released to go do some good old fashion shopping. The team split in several directions and we all did what girls do best. . .we spent money (by the way, thanks Mom and Dad!) Several girls went and picked pearls from different venders and had them made into jewelry; a wonderful idea for remembering our trip to Hawai'i if you ask me. While I have learned to be reserved in Auburn about shopping, something about being in Hawai'i led me to believe that I could spend more than I know I should have.

2:45 pm arrived and it was time to meet the rest of the team and load the bus and head to the airport. Like every day here we had to wait a little while in traffic because Hawai'i has a major automobile problem. We finally arrived, early as always and realized that our shopping spree didn't have to end because there were several duty free shops waiting for us in the airport. Everyone purchased last minute souvenirs and Kara and I decided it would be fun to lug 3 pineapples each around the airport for an hour. We quickly decided the best thing would be to find the gate and wait to board the plane. And now here I sit about an hour into the flight thinking about all the classes I need to study for and realizing that in a blink of an eye I'm going to be back home to the loveliest village on the plains. As I sit here and think about the last five days and the amazing things I got to do and see with 24 of my closest friends I realize it really is great to be an Auburn Tiger. So for the last time, Aloha and as always War Eagle !!!