Thomas Campbell Blog #13: Still dancing ...
Thomas Campbell is a senior forward on the UNC Greensboro men's soccer team. This year will be different for the three-year starter, however. Campbell, UNCG's leading scorer last season, will be sitting out his redshirt season while recovering from a knee injury he suffered last spring. Each Friday, Campbell will blog about the Spartans' soccer season, his teammates, his classes and his journey back to the soccer pitch in the rehab process.
I am writing this week's blog from a hotel room in Tampa, FL. I was not able to go home for Thanksgiving because we have had a successful week. (More about Boston Market later.)
Last Friday – when I last left all of you – we played in the first round of the NCAA tournament on the road at Duke. It was about 33 degrees with some ridiculously cold winds. We came out flying and the boys really wanted to win, they weren't going home that night as losers. We ended up winning 2-1 with Tebatso Manyama getting the game winner. It was a great win on the road especially at the hands of an ACC school.
The bus ride home was even better. As I said in one of my previous blogs, Jokull has an amazing voice and started the winning bus ride singing. He had planned for me to sing a Brittany Spears song if we won so I told him if we won that I would do it. So I sang a Brittany Spears song and started a bus ride full of some terrible singing voices. We passed the microphone around the bus and let everyone sing a song, it was terrible.
Saturday was a day to reflect on the great win and let "the boys" recover. We spent a good amount of time stretching, getting treatments, and foam rolling. Other then that it was a pretty slow day and I didn't do much.
Sunday was time for me to get back into somewhat of a hectic rehab schedule. Because of all the traveling lately, I haven't been able to stick to a regular schedule. So I got myself back into the gym and enjoyed a hard work out.
Monday was a travel day. We are the only team in the NCAA tournament with a losing record, therefore we are on the road. We left Greensboro at 2:30 pm and arrived in Baltimore, MD at about 8 pm. We stayed in a nice hotel downtown along the inner harbor. We went to PF Changs for dinner and then had some time to walk the inner harbor; some people went to the ESPN Zone for a little "site-seeing" and others just went back to the hotel and went to bed to get some sleep for our game Tuesday against Loyola.
Tuesday morning we had breakfast in the hotel at 9am and then went on a tour at 12. This year, we have a new sponsorship. We now are sponsored by Under Armour and their main offices are Baltimore. So we were lucky enough to take a tour of their entire offices, their product development, and all the operations behind the rapid growth. It was a very cool tour and a very relaxing work atmosphere. The founder is a young guy and has done a very good job at relaying his message to his workers. At the end of our tour we got to view some future soccer products that aren't scheduled for release until mid 2009, so that was kind of cool to see.
That night we played Loyola on their field turf. It was actually the first time UNCG has played on turf since I have been here, I think. The first half was ugly and we went into halftime down 1-0. It didn't look good at halftime because we have not had one comeback the entire year.
As the second half started the game seemed to change and we just took over. We ended up tying the game the 76th minute on a goal by Nirav Kadam and won it in overtime on a tally by Corey Maret.
It was a great win for this team because everyone wrote us off mid-season. We knew at the beginning of the year that the team had talent, we just knew we had to get it out of them (ok, I sounded like a coach there!!!) and we are finally starting to click. We left after the game and didn't get home until 3:30am. A long night on the on the bus, but a good ride after a big win.
Wednesday morning we had a similar day to Saturday. It was a recovery day for the guys and a rehab day for me. It was also a crazy day as we had to plan our traveling arrangements for Tampa. We would have liked to leave on Friday so we could have relaxed on Thanksgiving but that was not to be.
This morning (Thursday) we left Greensboro at 6am. Got to Tampa around noon and had a nice team Thanksgiving meal at Boston Market. (Yeah, Boston Market for Turkey Day. LOL) It was almost impossible to find a formal meal because every place was closed. But, it was still good.
After lunch we went and trained for an hour in this nice 60-degree weather. It had been a long day so far and the traveling was starting to catch up to me. We will be here until Sunday afternoon.
We play South Florida on Saturday night at 7:30pm. I hope the boys are up for this one because it's very important for UNCG; we have never been to an Elite 8 in the history of the program since moving to Division I in 1991 – despite how successful our program has been over the years. If we win on Saturday, not only will we go down in history as the only team in NCAA history to enter the tournament under .500 and make it to the Elite 8 (we are already the first one to win two games), but we will go from the worst team in UNCG's history to the best team in UNCG's history.
Hope the guys are ready to play.
Happy Thanksgiving. Till next time ...
Thomas Campbell, #7, UNCG Men's Soccer
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