Yesterday, my team played its championship match. The championship is a straight-elimination deal and this was our first round. We also play league matches, but for some reason, we haven't had all of the matches we were meant to have. So this was only our third real match and we'd lost our first two rather badly. (I think we lost one of them by at least 9 or 10 goals, which is the sort of score you expect to see in an under-10s match.)
I started in right-corner forward and was ready, albeit nervous, to play. The first chance I got, I screwed up badly. Really badly. Badly enough to have the coach walk all the way down to my end of the field and yell at me. I always find the first 10 minutes of a match nerve-wracking. We get instructions in the dressing room but then that all seems to go out the window when our feet hit the pitch. Marking is always a huge issue - what if the defender who is marking you decides to go half-way up the pitch? Do you stay put, hoping the half-forwards will deliver a pass to you? Or do you stay with your marker and "get out in front", which is the only way to win a ball on the ground?
I'm a stay-in-position kind of girl and my defender yesterday was an annoying let's-play-at-midfield kind of girl. I shoved her a few times to try to get her angry enough to become my shadow, but she just ignored me. When she beat me to a ball, I hooked my hurley around her waist and held her back, which got her attention. I don't always know where the lines are between what we're allowed to do and what's forbidden, so I skate ignorantly on the edges until the whistle and the ref tell me where I went wrong. Yesterday, even though I made a couple of hard charges that were probably technical illegal, I didn't give up any frees.
The girl playing full-back for the opposing team was way bigger than anyone on our team. She was trying to pick the ball off the ground and I banged full into her, which was a little like running into a brick wall. My unstoppable force meeting her immovable object was powerful enough to let me get my hurley on the ball, flick it to my teammate, who then scored easily.
About ten minutes after this goal, we had another scoring opportunity. We'd been given a 45 (from a free, I think) and my teammate went for the goal instead of the point. I was standing on the edge of the right side of the goal, where it was my job to keep the ball in bounds. I stepped into the corner of the square after I saw the ball wasn't going to go out of bounds. The goalie blocked the initial shot and the ball trickled right in front of me. It all happened so fast. I pulled on the ball and followed it into the net, just to be sure we didn't have a repeat of the Balbriggan incident.
Just like that, I'd scored my first goal in a match. I was so happy - I think I grinned inanely for the rest of the half. I only played about 10 minutes of the second half and then was pulled for a substitute. I didn't care though - I'd finally achieved something that had eluded me for a year.
It was a good match - closely fought and enthusiastically played. We started to flag a bit in the second half and messed up some good goal-scoring opportunities. We ended up losing so it's back to only league matches for us. But as much as it sucks to lose, nothing could take away the fantastic feeling of accomplishment that came from scoring my first goal.