CWRU Women's Soccer Trip to South Africa Blog - Day 5

CWRU Women's Soccer Trip to South Africa Blog - Day 5

Previous Entries:

Day 1: Marley Praprost | Day 2: Elle Zadina | Day 3: Isabel Kazour/Mary Kate Ford | Day 4: Neha Cheemalavgu

2017 Women's Soccer Trip to South Africa
Day 5 Blog
Anne Backlund
Senior· Midfielder

Rochester, Minn. / Mayo

Happy Monday!!! Unlike traditional Mondays, today our team was in for a super fun adventure. On the schedule today was zip lining, followed by our third and final game in Cape Town. Our day began with another 5:30am wake up call. We boarded our coach bus and had our quietest car ride to date, the silence only being interrupted by sporadic snoring, Tiff's SA history questions for Cabello, and the exchange of breakfast box components. My bus dreams were on the scary side due to my uneasiness about heights and trusting a couple carabiners to transport me at high speeds between small wooden platforms.

We arrived at the Cape Canopy Tour and filled out our personal information, including what type of pot pie we would like when we finished zip lining. I really appreciated this question, because it reassured me that the Cape Canopy staff believed I would make it out alive. Who would make a chicken pot pie for someone if they weren't sure if they would survive to eat it?? Small sigh of relief. One bathroom visit and one too-sarcastic safety briefing later, we were fitted with snug full body harnesses, cable friction resistant gloves, a helmet, oh and a hair net because obviously. I was in the first group with my fellow seniors, and we were getting pretty energized with a few chants. We took a 30 minute 4x4 truck ride to our launch point.

After arriving, I wobbled out of the truck and made my way 250 meters to the first platform. Our guides, Noah and Lee, went over the safety rules again. Those were probably helpful but I was too entranced by the deep, deep gorge below us. Before I knew it, Noah clipped himself onto the cable and leaped off the mountain like a monkey with wings. But he didn't have wings and he was not a monkey and I didn't trust the carabiners. So a little (not little) scream came out of me. Next Lee attached Mahya to the cable. I felt sick. What if Mahya fell into the gorge!!! What about her pot pie!! She needs to make it to the end so that she gets to eat her pot pie!! I thought maybe I would shed a few tears before my first leap but these tears came out when Mahya went off the edge. I watched her through wet eyes as she effortlessly flew through the sky. Seconds later she was at the next platform and very much on her way to her pot pie. When my turn arrived, my stomach was in all sorts of knots. I channeled by inner monkey with wings and when I got the go ahead from Lee, I ever so slowly lifted my left foot, and then my right foot, off the platform. I stared at the cable and my carabiners the whole time, making sure everything was doing what they needed to do. But doing this caused me to pick up some speed, and when I finally looked towards the platform, Noah was getting close, fast. I hastily applied friction with my gloves, too much friction. I stopped two yards short of the platform and Noah, dangling. I classify this as a near death experience. I monkey crawled my way across the cable to safety. It was exhilarating. My heart was pumping so fast, my eyes were dry and teary at the same time, and I was standing on a different mountainside than I was 20 seconds ago.

Over the next 10 zip lines and suspension bridge, we sang and we chanted and we joked and we took awesome go pro footage. I felt so alive and I think my fellow seniors did too. This experience was memorable in itself, but to be with the women that have been there for me for four years on and off the field... I will never forget it. We have supported each other endlessly and today was no different.

Mahya, Amy, Mads, Emma, Christine, Marley, Pauline. Thank you.They are the reason I was able to conquer any fears I had today. They are also the reason I enjoyed the best chicken pot pie today.

After a few rounds of charades and more bad chanting, we left Cape Canopy Tours all smiles. I don't know if I'll be zip lining again in the near future, but this adventure was truly unforgettable.

I'm running out of space and jokes but the other half of our day was devoted to playing Santos Soccer Club. They were the most organized and challenging team we had played in South Africa, and the final game with this group and senior, so the win was even more sweet! We had awesome goals by Marley, Neha, and Maggie. This game was very representative of the transition to Team 33 and the future of CWRU Women's Soccer, and I couldn't be more excited for my teammates. They are ready for what's next and have the drive, passion, and gut to get it done. I also have no doubt there will be more epic pre-game dance parties. I'll be dancing with them in spirit. Poorly, but dancing nonetheless.

Three wins and another adventure conquered, we lathered up in lotion, aloe, and hugs, and dozed off.