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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Hockey Mania!

So, I went from not wanting to play hockey cos I was so unfit and friend-less, to playing 4 matches and 2 training sessions a week and meeting some of the nicest people I've ever met.
I threw myself into PreSeason training, and the enthusiasm continued into the Winter Season, which started in April.

Previous to this I was invited to go to "Ocean Grove" with some of the Premier League players. I was absolutely overjoyed, as someone at my level was never asked to go to this fitness weekend! We headed off on the road-trip with JD, Skittles and MJ on the Friday night, and arrived in the dark. It took us about 20 mins to realise that we were in the right place and the others turned up after their pit-stops for food. Anne Cerche (Club President) greeted us with food and all was going fine until I felt something looking at me...
Queue Ciara looking up at the ceiling and seeing a MASSIVE Huntsman spider staring back down at her. This led to Ciara almost dropping her dinner plate on the floor, followed by a phone-call asking Paul to come pick her up and the came the shaking and the tears. Talk about embarrassing - first time meeting most of these people and I'm a quivering wreck outside in the dark, facing the corner wall and begging to go home.

Anyone who doesn't have a phobia can't possibly understand what it's like to have one. Whether you've a fear of buttons, feathers, snakes or spiders, the feeling that takes hold of you is the same. I have jumped out of a plane at 14,000ft, have dived with Great White Sharks, have held a 60kg Burmese Python with no issues; but put me in a room with a spider the size of a 5 cent coin and I lose all reason. I can't describe the feeling that comes over you; it's like you can't catch your breath, your mind is racing, you lose all rationale and feel like you want to scrape your own skin off. I even have a "thing" that I or anyone else can't kill the spider, as I believe it's family will come after me! And on top of all that, when the person who disposes of the spider comes back towards me, I have a uncontrollable reaction to getting myself as far away from them as possible! I believe they are going to come after me with the I know where I get this from - thanks Dad! Dad used to run after the three of us with the tops of tomatoes in his hands, pretending they were spiders, and throwing them at us! When that thing is flying through the air at you, it most definitely looks like my worst fear!

Mr. Huntsman was captured and released outside and all was saved. I wiped up my tears and eventually stopped shaking and looking around me, and went back inside. After eating some of Anne's lasagne, we headed to bed - I was sharing with MJ and JD.
6am next morning we were up and running down on the beach. Such a scenic setting, but I wasn't taking in the view as I was too busy trying not to die of exhaustion at our 200m sprints and drills! Into the sea after our running was done and back home for breakfast.

A couple of hours later we were back down on the beach "playing" Flags - some people were so competitive they nearly took out one of the kids while playing! This then progressed into our having to drills running up and down stairs...and as if this wasn't bad enough, we had to do it in the blazing sunshine (30 degrees) and CARRYING BRICKS! Talk about Boot Camp!

A game of beach football was then played, where the coach Jim booted the ball once and kicked some poor old man's dog!! It's very difficult to look concerned when you're laughing your head off!

Back in the sea to cool off the legs and home for dinner. Finally we were back out for a 5km run and more beach activities before heading home for drinks and some games. I had organised the games (with 5 days notice) using some "Ann Summers" ideas and cleaning them up a bit! Lots of fun was had by all, and everyone went to bed and slept well.

Another 6am start brought more running and finally some sprints and fitness drills. We were well and truly destroyed by the time home-time came in the afternoon. Most of us couldn't train for 2 weeks afterwards!

I went home, picked up a few bottles of "Rekorderlig" (Strawberry and Lime of course!) and headed off to Lara's house to sit back and relax and play silly games! (see below photo!) It was a lovely ending to a big weekend.

After this I setup and managed a Facebook group for our Hockey Club and that then followed into a few Whatsapp group threads. I was asked to be Powerhouse St. Kilda's Women's Club Secretary, and so the fun began.

I played with the Metro 1 North West team in PHSK and our group of players soon turned into a close group of friends. We bonded quicker and better than any of the other teams, and it started to show on and off the pitch; we were winning...

Metro 1 NW went on to win most of the games we played in - admittedly the common theme in our players were that we were usually hungover the morning of the matches! I think that was what stood out?! Perhaps it made us forget any fear, or perhaps the other teams were put off by the stale alcohol fumes coming from us - who knows?! We socialised together and became very close. I have some life-friends from my team.

We became renowned for the partying aspect of our team more than the hockey skills and fitness side...not sure whether to be insulted by that or not?! Our team was always at the organised social events or organising our own. If there was drink involved, then suffice to say most of our team would be there..

We kept drinking and winning til the end of the league, and we realised that we probably had a shot at the title. The "serious" games came up and we were banned from drinking the night before and instructed to drink water (WTF?!) and eat healthily. The nerves set in before each of the Quarter-finals (where I scored my first goal ever - bearing in mind I'm a "left-back"), Semi-Finals and eventually the Big Day.

Powerhouse St. Kilda Metro 1 NorthWest won the league in September 2013 in a dramatic finale against Footscray, our arch-enemies! It went to Golden Goal and Eleanor was fouled in the "D" (circle/box). Carol stood up to take the stroke and when the ball went into the back of the net, we couldn't believe it - we were the only team in all the Seniors to win in the Grand Final and we did it together, with all of our friends!

We celebrated for weeks! What a reason to drink! ;) Straight back to the Club House for drinks (which ended up with us drinking out of a DOG BUCKET at the end of the night), and onto a local haunt "The Elephant and Wheelbarrow" with our shirts and medals still on. Classy doesn't describe the scene...!!

Coming from only having played hockey for 4 years, 13 years ago; I couldn't believe that I was part of a team, never mind winning a league - and most of all with my friends! What an amazing feeling!!!
Presentation Night came in October and we all made sure to wear our medals and sit together. Mary (@marytmunson) did an amazing job at organising the event at Elwood Sailing Club ( and a great night was had by all. I won an award for "Players' Player of the Year" and another for "Service to the Club"! I couldn't believe it!!!! I NEVER WIN ANYTHING! What an amazing year - I had scored a goal, won the league with my team, made amazing friends and won two additional awards! Nothing would ever top this!

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