JMU’s Loes Stijntjes reflects on volunteering at the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup

jmu logoThis summer, junior back Loes Stijntjes (Steenokkerzeel, Belgium/Heilig Hartcollege) had the opportunity to volunteer at the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup, hosted in The Netherlands May 31-June 15, 2014. Check out what she had to say about the event and what she learned from the experience.

When spring semester ended, I knew it was time for me to go back to Europe. I didn’t have any plans other than working out and valuing the little time I would have with my family. But, when I come home in May, everyone is still in school or working. So coming home is always exciting the first day, but the next day is back to business for everyone but me.

My first day home, I found myself accompanied by my two friends who never fail to disappoint me: my running shoes and hockey stick.Time to go do something for me, I thought. While I was out, I saw an advertisement for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague and I knew that it was something that I wanted to be a part of. The hockey world in The Netherlands cannot be compared to anywhere else and to have something as big as a world cup organized there could only mean one thing: a big success.

I signed up to be a volunteer and worked over 120 hours during the event. While I was there, I helped people find their seats, I got the kids that walked out with the teams dressed and I generally filled in positions where they needed more staff.

Just being a part of this whole experiences and being able to see teams from all over the world play in front of your eyes is amazing. The amount of people that showed up to every single game was something I had never seen before and the atmosphere was fantastic each and every single day.

The fact that this was the very first hockey field inside a big football (as in soccer) stadium was unheard of.

Overall, the experience was unforgettable! I am so thrilled to have been a part of this. But more than being a great experience, It taught me not to wait around; I have to get everything out of the moment itself, which I can use both on and off the field. Giving it your all every second of practice and every second of the game will make your experience so much more enjoyable. The whole experience has really made me want to become a more well-rounded and better player as well.

When I wake up now to do my workouts, I think about how this is the way the world cup athletes started too. It’s about discipline – even when you don’t want to wake up, you have to find the power within you to continue, get it done and be better because of it the next day.

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