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Postcard from China: Cat Whitehill

Every so often during the Women’s World Cup, a U.S. Women’s National Team player will write an e-postcard, filling in the fans back home on the happenings of the team, off the field activities, and anything else on their mind. Today, Cat Whitehill checks in from Shanghai on her coping with college football withdrawal, her intense Connect Four game with Hope Solo and Team Cat that will be arriving soon.

Hi Cat here from the Far East. I’m sure there are lots of exciting things going on here in China, but I haven’t been a part them. Really, all I’ve doing is practicing, resting and watching Season 5 of “24”. I don’t know if Jack Bauer likes soccer, but he does love his country, so we definitely have that in common.

Today, I’ve been missing my dog Izzy a little bit. I had to put on my “Our Dogs Love Cat” t-shirt that has a picture of Izzy on it. My friends at Kelly’s Pet Care in Los Angeles made it for me. It helps me feel connected with back home.

Speaking of back home, I must say that this World Cup isn’t exactly taking place at the opportune time. Didn’t the organizers know that it’s college football season? Luckily, I have a Slingbox at home and that allows me to watch games. I am definitely going to watch College Gameday. They are originating from Virginia Tech so it will be very emotional. I’m going to try to catch as many games as I can. Primetime on the East Coast is breakfast here so I can get up and watch!

But back to China. We took a fun team walk the other day down by the river. I’d say the skyline looks very New York with a touch of Seattle. It was nice to get out of the hotel, but this city is nuts! When you cross the street you take your life into your own hands as you have to race to beat 1,000 motorbikes (not exaggerating) that don’t really care that you’re in the crosswalk.

I’ve been spending some time in the players’ lounge. It’s pretty awesome. There are tons of snacks and games. My roommate Hope Solo and I had an intense game of Connect Four. I lost when she filled in the very last open slot. I couldn’t believe it. But she knows she got lucky. I had her on the ropes. But the best thing we did in the lounge was watch High School Musical 2. I recorded it off my TIVO onto a DVD because I didn’t have time to watch it at home. Marian Dalmy, Tina Ellertson and I had a blast. We were singing and dancing, and after it was over, we reminisced about our high schools. (Yes, we have a lot of down time here.) I thought the movie was awesome! It was 10 times better than the first one.

Last time we were in China, I also roomed with Hope. We got into quite a few “heated” discussions, some deep, some very superficial. We were bickering like we’d been sisters for 25 years! But truthfully, we have been playing and traveling together for almost 10 years, so I guess we are sort of sisters. We are much more civil this time around. We learned from our mistakes and now we just laugh about it. I would say Hope and I are just about laughing all day long.

It seems like the first game is still a long ways off, but I have a big group coming over to watch so I’ll be super excited when they get here. My mom, dad, sister, best friend and very good family friends are all coming over. They are also going to miss some great SEC football! But hopefully they’ll see some even better futbol over here, so I love them for that. My husband Robert isn’t coming as he just started medical school at UNC and he’s very busy. He passed his first exam the other day. Good job hubby!

Lastly, I just want to say thanks to all the fans who are following our team on and when the games start, on ESPN, even though we are so far away. All the players really do appreciate it and we can’t wait for the group games to start! For now, go Georgia Bulldogs, who open against Oklahoma State! It’s on ESPN2 so I should be able to catch some of it!

See ya’ll on Sept. 11, or hopefully you will see me.