When Marc Greenberg saw the complex of the national Olympic TrainingCamp at Lake Placid last month, he had to swallow hard to believe itwas true.
After more than one failure to make a county ice hockeyteam, the 15-year-old had succeeded -- he'd been chosen to attend the camp as one of 36 goalies in the country picked as young Olympic hopefuls.
"If you don't succeed, you just try harder, beyond your capability. And you'll succeed," said Greenberg, who returned home to Crownsville last week from the New York camp.
The teen-ager tried out for the training camp in March, competing against goalies from four states. He was one of two Marylanders chosen.
During the last week in August, the players went to New York to be scouted for the Olympics byscouts from the National Hockey League.
"We got to play with and against the Russian Olympic team and the Russian National Team (a pre-Olympic team of 16-year-olds)," Greenberg said.
"We were on the ice three hours a day. We had the Russian Olympic team shooting on us,and coaches evaluated us to see how good we were, to see if we couldbe on an Olympic team or the World Cup Team."
The rest of the camp hours were spent meeting athletes such as the U.S. Olympic bobsled team, working out and meeting with a nutritionist.
"They told us what we need to work on. For example, it's not a good idea to gain weight. They told us to stay away from high-calorie foods and work out regularly," said Greenberg, an exuberant redhead.
Rules were strict. The trainees had to be in their rooms by 10 p.m. and up at 6 a.m. They were not permitted to talk to their parents for the entire week. Drug tests were administered randomly.
"It was kind of military," said Greenberg. "You had to be in bed on time or you were sent home. But it was a lot of fun."
The highlight for the Severn School sophomore was "the Russians shooting on us. They had good placement on their shots, just fabulous."
The coaching staff, with members from teams at North Dakota and Alaska, was also excellent, Greenberg said.
His invitation to the training camp -- an all-expense-paid trip, except for the air fare -- means the youngster has a good chance of making the U.S. National Team next year, coaches told him.
"I have apretty good shot. They told us already we have an excellent chance making the 16-year-old team next year," he said. Tryouts will be next spring.
While Greenberg says he loves playing all kinds of sports,icehockey, which he's been playing for 10 years, is a favorite.
"It's a very challenging thing. You learn a lot of teamwork from playing," he said.
Because Greenberg's school doesn't have an ice hockey team, he's played for Howard County for the last three years. This year, he's trying out for a team in Washington.
"Eighty percent ofthe game is mental," he said. "I just psych myself up. Once you get everything down in your mind, you only have 20 percent to go."
While he wants to increase his work-outs and play hockey almost every day between now and March, Greenberg isn't planning any major strategy changes.
"I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. You just do the best you can."