Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

We were beginning to think we'd never get to play an actual camogie match. The four matches that we'd had scheduled for April were all cancelled. Waterlogged pitches, a death on the other club, an inability on the part of the other club to field the minimum number of players, and a hospitalised player on the other club all resulted in a complete wash-out of our April schedule..

Each Monday, I came to dread the incoming-text icon on my mobile. It always seemed to have a terse message of disappointment: match off 2morrow, practice at pitch 6.45 sharp. Yesterday, I kept an eye on my treacherous mobile, expecting a similar message. We were pretty sure we were going to have a match as the other team had ordered mini-buses to ferry their players to our turf. But with the luck we'd been having, it seemed like anything could happen.

The match was meant to begin at 7.00. Most of our team arrived by 6.30 and we were enthusiastically warming up. The sun was shining and when the wind wasn't blowing, it was a beautiful, perfect day. (This was something of a minor miracle as from about 4 to 6 pm, it had pissed rain and we'd all thought we were going to have to play a wet, cold, miserable match.)

We waited and waited, alternating warming up with standing around and chatting. We heard the other team was stuck in traffic, but we thought that meant they'd be 15 or 20 minutes late. They didn't arrive until 7.45, with the horror story that they'd left at 5.15. Yes, it took them over 2 hours to travel about 10 miles.

After the other team arrived, our trainer rounded us up to name our starting team. Since we had 20 girls at the match and you can only field 15, I fully expected to sit out most, if not all, of the game. The trainer gave us a little pep talk and then started naming the team starting in the backfield with the goalie. Everything was going as I expected until he got to the forward line and I heard my name as full-forward. A complete (and highly pleasant) surprise.

I wanted to ask to see the lineup sheet, to make sure he hadn’t just misspoken. I guess he could tell that I was a bit shell-shocked by the announcement because he took me aside and said, "I want you to do exactly what you've been doing in training – make a complete bloody nuisance of yourself." He gave me a bit more instruction on where to stand and what to expect and then sent me out.

I wish I could tell you more about the game, but it was all a great big blur. The full-back who was marking me was a brick wall of a woman who moved much more quickly than you'd expect. I crashed into her a couple of times and gave up a free when I crashed into the goalie once. I didn't score any goals but I'd like to think that some of the pressure I put on the defenders allowed my teammates to score.

After an abbreviated half-time break, I went back onto the pitch at full-forward but was soon moved to midfield and then to left half-forward. I think I liked playing half-forward best. If I was a bit fitter and more confident in my skills, I know I'd love to be a midfielder.

But of course, I'll play wherever the trainer tells me to and just make a complete nuisance of myself. It's all about playing to your strengths, after all. What I lack in skill, I made up for in enthusiasm, dogged determination, and sheer bloody-mindedness.

I'm not exactly sure what the final score was, since the whole match really was just a long, exciting blur. I think it was something on the order of 5-3 (18 points total) for us and 3-1 (10 points total) for them. My favourite score was when the girl who swapped with me from the midfield ended up scoring a point by kicking the sliotar over the bar. (At least I think that's what she did – that's sure what it looked like from where I was standing.)

It felt great to finally play a match, better yet to win, and best of all to have a starting place. I'm looking forward to a fun and exciting season.


At 4 May 2006 at 09:58, Blogger Fence said...

Congrats on the win. Camogie/hurling is such a skillful game so well done on getting on the team.

I used to play gaelic football when I was a teenager and although we won a few matches I was never fit enough. I usually played mid-field and by the end of matches was ready to die.

At 4 May 2006 at 20:51, Blogger Terri said...

Congrats! I must be honest I don't have a clue how the game works but still, you sound happy so, Congrats

At 5 May 2006 at 11:36, Blogger Declan said...

Congrats :-)

At 5 May 2006 at 20:36, Blogger Arbusto said...

I am so jealous of you getting to play a sport. So much envy.


At 6 May 2006 at 16:40, Blogger Steven said...

Congratulations. I found that I really could relate to that post even if I play that black and tan garrison game called soccer.

I'm due to play my first proper match in ages Tuesday week. I know that my touch is gone completely and I'm desperately trying to get my fitness up.

I may even get a blog post in on the event. :-)

At 7 May 2006 at 13:20, Blogger -Ann said...

Thanks guys. :)

Fence - Yeah, midfield is tough. I sort of like the idea of conserving my strength in the first half and then running like a mad-thing in the second half. 60 minutes total is a surprisingly long time.

Terri - You're welcome to stop by sometime and see for yourself. It's the world's best game.

Steven - Good luck. I'm sure it will be better than you expect. All that dancing has to count for something.


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