Ok, ok… it was amazing – I know that, you know that, but for some reason I haven’t been able to sit down and write about it. We didn’t do as well as we had hoped, so I imagine that may be playing a part (8th instead of my aim of 5th) – that and that fact that I’ve been surprisingly busy since returning from Prague in July.
As it turns out, I’m still not going to write about it. I feel that I learnt an unimaginable amount about myself during those couple of weeks and I’m more than happy to just store it up and take it along with me without the need to deconstruct. That said, I did write one more blog post for the World Cup site which I didn’t post here.
It was the only post I managed to make whilst actually out in Prague – as you can imagine I was rather busy! It was written just after our opening game, which was against the Czech Republic. It was absolutely terrifying and I don’t think I quite recovered from it for the whole tournament. They had a wall of supporters which I was surprisingly affected by. I did, however, win the MVP (most valuable player) award which was an enormous privilege and quite a surprise.
Oh, here’s my profile page on the World Cup Site, by the way – it’s an index of all the posts I made (not as many as I should have).
Lacrosse in the sun, Prague here we come
The Scots have just walked away from our first World Cup match with a big ‘W’ and an incredibly hard fought one at that. The Czechs are a ‘mean’ team, they’ve obviously been working their socks off in preparation for the world stage and it shows clearly in their play. I have to admit that I was totally unprepared as a player coming to my first World Cup, for the sheer wall of sound that a supporting (or opposing in this case) crowd can produce, and the Czechs should be incredibly grateful to their supporters for making such an incredible racket. I don’t think I was at all expecting myself to be intimidated by the supporters, but I could barely hear myself think over the drums an chants. Our stand, on the other hand, was rather bare with just a few early bird supporters filling a row or two. What we did have, however, was one rather poetic lone piper whose fantastic playing whenever we were down in the attacking end was what helped me re-focus on my game after the first few minutes of nerves and frankly, shock. From then on the game was incredible, fantastically enjoyable and simultaneously sickeningly nerve-wracking. SO glad to have got the ‘W’ though, and wish the Czechs the best of luck in the rest of the tournament – they’ve got fire in their bellies.
A few of our team mates have been to several World Cups and tried to warn us newbies about what to expect, but despite all the preparations I don’t think anything can make you ready for every eventuality. We did try though, and last week played two friendly matches against Australia and New Zealand. Apart from the odd tour to the States, over the last couple of years as a team we’ve mostly been playing ourselves, and occasionally England, and Wales, and these two friendly matches were my first chance to play world class teams that I’ve never laid eyes on before. Their styles of play and moves were impressive, and I took many a tip away, but mostly the experience in the beautiful summer sun of England went a long way to preparing us for the incredible heat of Prague. It may sound like a small problem, but as a goalie I’ve been struggling to find the perfect sock/shinguard combination, and have been experimenting with countless variations. Thankfully, after these two matches I’d pretty much whittled it down to the right combo for the heat we’re to expect in Prague. We’ve been enjoying a lot of sun in the UK recently, and have been taking full advantage of the longer evenings and need to wear fewer layers, or barely any at all in fact!
This is Flame and Clare training on Spencer Park in London one sunny afternoon, sports bras and all.
Over the last few weeks every spare evening and weekend has been spent in the above park with the goals out practising shooting (or saving in my case), doing sprints/agility, circuits… and largely topping up the tans. We were also doing a pretty good job of trying to avoid any last minute injuries, with only one small nose shaped hiccup, which is now nicely healed (in the wrong place). When not training (or on the way there) we were round at our friend Lou’s place for sports massages every available minute, with a few opting for acupuncture which I’m still yet to try.
Here’s Flame getting whipped into shape by Scotland’s Physio, Lizzie (aka Lizzio)
Other than that, it’s been packing, making lists, buying stuff, and repacking. The new kit arrived (just in time) and looks splendid, but most importantly it fits and it’s nice and cool. We definitely feel like a unit, and in particular I’m loving our motto T’s. I don’t have a pic, but the motto is:
Together we stand
Together we fall
Together we’re winners
And winners take all.
Here’s a shot of us arriving in Prague, trying desperately to fit about 60 bags and 24 bums into a rather small bus.
We’re dead chuffed with the hotel – the rooms are clean, and it’s a stone throw from Tesco for those with a sensitive palette. Since arriving I reckon we’ve been doubling Tesco’s usual takings. Today I had a little joke with the guy trying desperately to re-stock the Powerade shelf, battling against us hordes emptying it every time we have the opportunity. If I spoke Czech I’d tell him to fill a whole cabinet with it to save himself the time, but perhaps he’ll work that out eventually.
Other than strolling around the aisles in Tesco there’s been some serious stick maintenance going on. This was mostly done in preparation for the official stick check and it was quite timely as there were many a frayed edge. The whole team were scattered between a couple of rooms picking at each other’s sticks, comparing with their own, and then picking at it again. It reminded me of a family of gorillas picking flees out of each other’s fur, very caring, but unfortunately we didn’t get a tasty snack at the end of each stick we fixed. A fun little team effort though, here’s Cat and Julia working away happily.
Other than fixing sticks, there’s been some experimentation and imitation going in the hairstyle department with several distinct schools of thought emerging. I’ll let you take your pick from the below selection.
If you want to keep up with the hairstyle debate, I suggest you get yourself down to a Scotland match (Germany today at 1, and New Zealand tomorrow at 4pm)
Till then, adieu… I’m off to warm up for our Germany match, but I can’t leave without adding in this last pic of our beloved coaching staff (and manager) – from Left, Martha, Justine, Katelyn and Colleen.