Columbus, Ohio May Not be Paradise to You, But It is to Us

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Some of us in the sports information office may not be in Paradise, but for me and members of the women's soccer team, Columbus, Ohio on Thanksgiving Day may as well be Shangri-La.

While Barbara Barnes and women's basketball team is soaking up the sun in the Virgin Islands - and beating Georgia Tech in the tournament opener to boot! - I met the women's soccer team at BWI Airport this morning for an early afternoon flight to Columbus for our game at Ohio State on Friday (check out for a live blog of the game!).

Sure, Columbus, Ohio may not be the destination of destinations for your holiday travel, but with a chance to go to the College Cup - that's what we call the Final Four in soccer - on the line, there's no place this team would rather be.

It's a neat opportunity for me to travel with the team.  During the year, I was only able to make one or two away games - most of them local - because of family obligations or work-related functions, so giving up Thanksgiving to join the team in the Elite Eight wasn't too much for me to do.  That said, when I arrived at the airport, junior Samantha Baker came over to me with a thank you card for giving up my holiday with my family to come with the team.  On top of that, the entire team gave me a card to give to my daughter, who has become a really big fan of this team.

We arrived in rainy Columbus earlier this afternoon.  I went out for a run and then went with the team to practice at 5 p.m., where they worked out for about an honor in the pouring rain at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

And since it's the night before a game, the team stuck to their normal pre-game meal of salad, pasta and chicken parm.

Many people asked if we'd be having a true Thanksgiving meal, but the team had that on Wednesday night at the dining hall, joining about 200 other students for a dinner hosted by University President John J. DeGioia.  The team even got to take a picture with the president, which was pretty cool for them.

Speaking of cool, if you're coming to the game tomorrow, dress warm.  It's not going to be like it was in Minnesota last week, but temperatures are supposed to be in the 30s and there's a chance for snow here overnight.

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