Karissa Hampton From San Jose

Nov. 30, 2000

Hello everyone. Yes, yes, we found our way to San Jose. We left today andbegan our trip to the supposed 'unknown'. We met around 1:30 to get ouruniforms and the new gear - you know all the perks that come along withgoing to the Final Four. We received a new fleece, a t-shirt, and a littlebackpack/sack. Everyone is thrilled. As we were getting ready to departfor the airport, I got on the bus and yelled, 'Are you guys ready???!!'Everyone just kind of turned to me and smiled. But it was the kind of smilethat said, you better believe it!

While walking through the airport, people were stopping me and asking, Whatsport do you play? Who are you going to play? Where are you going?? Asthe words Final Four rolled off my tongue, I realized that I am heading to atournament that I always wanted to be a part of.

Once we got off the plane in San Jose, our host family was there to greetus. They are so nice! Can you believe they actually took the time to lookeach of us up on the web before we arrived? They were excited to meet us,and I loved it. I think we all loved it. After that, we collected ourbags and got on the bus to travel to our hotel. As we were nearing thehotel people began to notice the banners hanging from the street poles thatread, 'Women's NCAA College Cup'. Everyone was amazed and looking at allthe different signs. Immediately, it brought me back to a speech UCLAsoftball coach Sue Enquist gave us the night before. She talked about notgetting too carried away with all the 'riff-raff' that comes with being inthe NCAAs. As soon as I was getting ready to say to the girls, 'Hey, getback on track,' someone else blurts out, 'Ignore the riff-raff!' Peoplestarted to laugh.

When I think about it, Sue's talk was amazing. It was one of the best talksI think I've had in a while. She was so real about everything. I thoughtto myself, I have to stay on track and stay focused, and I need to take itupon myself that the rest of the team does the same. I mean, it is obviousthat being in the Final Four can be an overwhelming experience. The way inwhich you deal with it will pretty much determine your success. Sue saidsomething that most people probably don't think about. She said, 'Youcannot expect to be able to turn it on as soon as you walk on the field ifyou have not prepared during the week.' If anything sticks with me it willbe that because preparation has everything to do with performance. I knowmy team has the talent and the ability to take this tournament and go allthe way, but what can break us, along with any other team, is lack ofpreparation. But I know us, and I believe in us, and we will be ready. Isaw it in their eyes on the way to the airport. I saw it in their eyes onthe plane. I feel what they are feeling, which is the hunger and confidencethat every individual will do their part no matter what.

As the night began to wind down, we walked a few blocks to dinner at thisplace called Original Joe's. It had a pretty lively atmosphere. We ate andlaughed together. Basically we were the same crazy bunch we've always been.We took pictures with the waiter, who just happened to love UCLA.

After dinner, we walked back to the hotel to wind down. Everyone settledinto their rooms. Some did homework, some watched their weekly shows (likemyself), and those that are from San Jose met with friends and caught up onold times. I spent most of the night with my roommate, Staci Duncan. Butthen again, Katie Greenwood has been in my room the whole time, so it getskind of confusing. Is Staci my roommate or is Katie? Maybe it's both, whoknows?

I cannot wait for tomorrow to come and go so that game day will be here. Ithink tomorrow will be a fun-filled day, but it will not be game day, andthat is why we are here. Staci was saying to me that she wishes today wereThursday so that tomorrow we would be playing. I hate the waiting, but Iguess I should be patient. After all, this is the last 180 minutes of mycollegiate career - why am I trying to rush it? I guess it's just thehunger to accomplish something great because we have worked so hard thisyear.

One final thing I wanted to add before I go to bed. Yesterday on my way toweights, Bethany Bogart said to me, 'Do you know that 99% of the time peopleend their soccer careers with a loss??' I was like, why would you say that?She explained to me that I have the opportunity to not be a part of thatstatistic. She was like, 'You can be one of those people who finishes theircareer with a win.' That really hit me. I thought to myself, I am notgoing to be a part of that 99%. Things are going to end a little differentfor me.

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