Archive for the 'Lacrosse' Category

2 months on… Lax World Cup

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

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).

Enjoy. ;)

Lacrosse in the sun, Prague here we come

jemima

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.

Twitter ate my blog (So this is my summary of what I would have been posting)

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Facebook and Twitter seems to have absorbed everything I have to say.

Apparently this constitutes mumblings of no more than 140 characters in length, and some daily photographs with occasional explanatory or locational captions.

So here is the first of what may become a monthly update – a collection of some of my daily iPhotos that facebook absorbs.

First off, a video from my ‘Summer Holiday’ where we tried to sail to France, twice – but the wind was coming from France at great speed – humph.

(If you’re reading this on facebook you’ll need to click this link to view the vid)

And more from that little trip…

Then I played some lacrosse…

Which we won…

and some tennis, which I didn’t…

Then I drove down to east sussex for bug’s birthday in my new car – a Morris Minor Traveller that looks like this – Cool huh?

But mostly I’ve been bumbling about London – enjoying summer and newly embracing the entire concept of a ’social life’ after 7 months of solid lacrosse evenings and weekends – here it is!

That’s Hammersmith Bridge, on my way to see long lost school friend Tiffany Freisberg. This is her in the middle below:

And my good friends Tommy and Tiggy (Hidetomo and Tugela)

Oh, I forgot – I spent a weekend working on a new website for a client (well… sort of client – we’re exchanging services – I’m doing her website, she’s giving me life coaching – pretty neat exchange I think). This is me at my desk:

This is Marylebone where I work, and my lovely summer lunchtime walks.

More London ramblings – detatched feet:

Present shopping – Oliver Bonas Rocks:

Out for my friend Jamie’s birthday do:

These are straws.

Then my pal Liz invited me to her ‘Domestic Burlesque’ exhibition (she was a model)

Oh, they were all taken on my iPhone 3Gs by the way – that phone rocks.

All in all a super month. More please.икони

Anyone else getting excited about the Lacrosse World Cup?

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

…just me then?

Our first match is 4 weeks today!

Anyone want to come out to Prague to watch? I can get you cheap flights…

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Battersea Prk (after a little April Shower)

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Track, track, and more track…

Battersea Park after April Showers
(click to view larger)

I just treated myself to some new sports kit – not because I can afford it mind… but last weekend I got a blister the size of a 2p piece from my £15 football boots… now no more, yay! :)

Rocking the Home Internationals

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

This is the latest of my guest blog posts for the Lacrosse World Cup site.

‘Eye of the storm’ was a temporary title for this post, and though definitely too naff to actually use, it is entirely descriptive of the moment. The last few weeks have been a master class in keeping one’s cool in the middle of the storm of the century. There has been so much to think about, prepare for, keep up with, remember, create, report on, cross your fingers for, save for, and be excited about – whilst all at the same time not letting oneself combust resulting in wiped disks (like a frazzled computer). I’m still here though, so I’m afraid I’ve rather ruined the suspense – you’ll forgive me.

As I type I’m sitting in a packed out, old school Volvo with four fellow Scots, 10 lacrosse sticks, some Haribo Tangfastics and at least one pair of crossed legs with their owner keenly eyeing the ‘next service station in X miles’ signposts. With dwindling battery power I’m wondering where to start, and am thinking I should probably just go with where I left off: Selection.

It’s a hard nut to crack, this one, because whilst those selected were obviously elated and very emotional, there were a number of our friends who had emotions of entirely different descriptions. It was a period of flux and some very difficult phone calls of condolence were made, but ultimately those left behind knew that they had to get over their feelings of torn loyalties, guilt perhaps, and realign with the team – the new team. A few weeks later at a training weekend up in Edinburgh this new team voted on our captains and I felt that this ‘last piece of the jigsaw’ was the final jolt we all needed to finally push back into gear. Though the decision was hard, Julia Rennie (Midfield) and Clare Anderson (Defence) are the new captains, and with 4 World Cups between them we’re in safe hands.

Scotland Lacrosse Captains
Clare Anderson (l), Julia Rennie (r)

One person conspicuous in her absence from recent training weekends has been Katelyn Hoffman, our defence coach. No, before you ask, she wasn’t dropped from the squad, instead she fell… down some stairs in some teetering high heels and dislocated her shoulder! Not a miniature disaster at all – I need her to warm me up!! You are sorely missed Katelyn, and though you’re probably still high on drugs from your recent operation, your shoddy attendance record is being noted so you’d better get back on your feet sharpish! Get Well Soon (from all in this here Liverpool bound Volvo).

Get Better Soon Hoff

Speaking of Liverpool bound, though I started writing this on our way up to the Home Internationals, I didn’t quite finish it, and I am now back in the same Volvo (though thankfully with only three fellow Scots – Cosh is headed North instead), on our way back to London after an absolutely storming three days of international lacrosse. The news has probably already filtered through, but my proud Scots played the game of the season and defeated the Welsh 6 to 4 in an absolutely ecstatic win for third place. We walked away with a gleaming silver trophy and 18 gleaming smiles (plus the blubbering coaching staff). This weekend we really came together as a team, bouncing back from a defeat by England A on Saturday, onto a nail bitingly close loss against the England B team (7-5), and headed into the Welsh match with (in our minds) a win already on the horizon. It is an incredible feeling (winning) – and not one that I wish to become a distant memory ;)

Scotland Home Internationals Team Photo

One of the most interesting ‘wins’ of the weekend was how our preparation had been spot on, so we’ll definitely be learning from this. Fitness is one thing, but we’d also been playing close attention to our competition’s ‘moves’ in the games prior to ours. Our coaching staff had been out scouting for us at the tournament, but we’d been going at it a little while longer than that. In fact, here’s a photo of Hannah, Andy, and Boxer at the Home Internationals where we did a bit of scouting ourselves.

Hannah Andy and Boxer

Knowing what’s coming gives you a little bit more confidence, and goes a long way towards building an unshakeable defence. Recognising the call for a move you already have sussed out is actually surprisingly satisfying – and doing a bit of decoding on the old hand signals – it’s all about who’s got their head screwed on the right way. Unfortunately when England put some of those moves into play, we just didn’t respond enough as a unit – but don’t worry, we’re working on it.

Speaking of unit, a couple of weeks ago we were all childish with excitement at taking delivery of our first ever Scotland branded lacrosse sticks. Dipped to delight somewhere in America and kindly organised by our captain Clare – the sticks look awesome – and what a unit we will look once we’ve all got them worn in and working. I used mine this weekend and it’s literally heads and shoulders above my last stick (which was illegal… shhh ;) and it also happens to make a cracking throw (which has come in handy).

Scotland Lax Sticks
Here they are, snazzy huh?

Our kit is also coming along nicely, and we’ve also got a new logo (which, like all great icons of design, has already gained a nickname: ‘the hot cross bun’) and we love it.

Scotland Logo

Mind you, all this kit business is damned exhausting, particularly for those on the kit committee. Justine, our manager, has been doing a storming job and though I’m not sure she knows this but she’s become quite famous for her regular e-mails with ‘THIS NEEDS TO BE DONE YESTERDAY’ in the first line. She’s whipping us into action! Some of you may have spotted our new fundraising T-shirts that were on sale at the Home Internationals. I know a few Czechs bought some, so hopefully Prague’ll be getting jealous and we’ll sell out on the first day of the World Cup. If anyone is interested in getting their hands on one, do e-mail me: jem [at] garthwaite.eu and I’ll wing one your way.

World Cup T-shirts Jodie

Here’s the fabulous Jodie modelling them. We’ll be getting some done as racer backs too, with the flags going down the back. I hope you like them (and I hope you buy them too – we’re all broke!).

So where do we go from this fantastic weekend? Well, tonight we’re going to Clare’s house for one (“with a meal”) glorious alcoholic drink after what feels like months sober on the orders of our coaching staff (I’d better be damn skinny after all this tea total business. Plus my granny was not impressed to see me turn down her relentless offerings on Easter day!). And tomorrow… we’ll probably be back at Battersea track, which has become an old friend.

Battersea Millennium Stadium
Our beloved track

The staff there constantly complain about how loud we are, but let’s be honest, who expects five girls buzzing with endorphins from a sprint session to do weights and core in silence?! Gossiping is half the fun! We’ve really got into our rhythm down in London, and I know that it’s much harder for our team mates who don’t live near another training buddy. Luckily everyone’s been pulling their weight and the general fitness of the team has soared, with a few individuals making massive gains. I think everyone noticed the Scots outrunning their competition, and seeing that only drives us on more.

Summer has come:
Ice Cream by Battersea Bridge
First Ice-cream of the summer

Thankfully the clocks went forward recently, which means that when we meet after work at 7pm (if we can get there on time, avoiding the G20 protesters), we now have time to do an hour on the track with still enough daylight left for some stick work before heading inside for weights and core in the gym.

The Thames
A view of the Thames river from Battersea Park

In two weekends we have a fitness test, and ominously the spreadsheet our coaching staff sent us says ‘Pass or Fail’ on it, so I think everyone’s feeling the pressure rather! Loving it though, and so chuffed to be seeing my throw go further, and to find myself surprisingly not out of breath after a run. Even more satisfying though, is watching my team mates totally wipe out the opposition with their sprints, with Suzie in particular running past about 50 people this weekend. Such fun to watch from back in goal! Bonus ;)

So, more of the same I suppose – Just better ;) What fun this weekend, and to think that the next time we play those teams will be at the World Cup. All I can say is, BRING IT ON!

Guest blogging on Lacrosse World Cup website

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

I noticed a few weeks ago that the Lax World Cup website were looking for guest bloggers, and I thought to apply.  I’ve found over the last year or two that I’ve been keeping this blog, that I’ve slipped into a fairly decent rhythm with it.  By which I mean that you, as a reader, probably know what to expect when you come here:  A photo or two and a few lines of text – pretty simple stuff.  I’m not really much of a writer, and I don’t often feel compelled to pen down my thoughts in the way that real writers are drawn to do.  Plus, that’s not really what this blog is about – which is why guest blogging on another site is so perfect.  I can write, or rather, I will l feel compelled to write – and so I will.

Please feel free to cast your eyes over my first blog posting:  Top Secret, and my profile page where all future blog posts will be linked to from: here.

Here’s the first post:

Top Secret

Jemima

The first thing that came to mind when I thought about being a guest blogger here on the World Cup site is that I must be incredibly careful not to give away any of Lacrosse Scotland’s top secret moves and tactics. Definitely an offense punishable with dismissal! Then it occurred to me that I could do a brilliant job of confusing our opposition by making up fictional moves and mentioning them here to cause total chaos on the pitch! I think, with my sensible hat on (and my knowledge of my complete biological inability to lie with any believability), that I should probably just stick to the facts – but with that in mind, if I do let anything slip you’ll have to be very careful what you read into it – I may well be tricking you!

The phrase, “Life is simple… eat, sleep, play lacrosse.”, is written on the back of some great T-shirts that the Welsh team had made up for fundraising (I’m wearing one in my profile photo). I remember when I bought it I thought, That’s silly – surely it won’t come to that?!” Recently, however, it dawned on me that my life is indeed very simple right now. I go to work, go to the track or the gym (or moreoften both), eat, and then eventually crawl into bed shattered ready to do it all again tomorrow. Every now and again my schedule is punctuated by a game here, a night out (with team mates) there, or perhaps a fitness test just to spice things up. But yes, the T-shirt says it all – and I have to admit that I couldn’t be happier!

A couple of years ago (maybe even less if I’m honest), you wouldn’t have seen me dead in a gym. This wasn’t for want of trying of course, as over the last few years I have joined more gyms than I’ve had hot dinners, but for some reason I have never found myself going more than once to each (for the induction). I always forgave myself by explaining that I was a ‘team person’, “that’s why I do team sports” I’d say, “the gym is too lonely for me “. So, lacrosse was the perfect way to keep fit without having to find the motivation to trek off to the gym every few days to pound the treadmill and lift some weights. I was pretty happy with this solution too – that was until I joined the Scotland squad. Oh no, not going to the gym was no longer an option! So I struggled in silence for a long time, going as often as I could, but never with proper vigour or determination. It was exhausting, and I always felt defeated, but then a wonderful thing happened: something called TEAM.
MeFlameandAT
Me, Flame, and AT this Saturday, after a morning training together out at St. Catherine’s School (nr London)

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, as it turns out, one doesn’t have to go to the gym alone, and neither does one have to struggle forlorn around a running track with headphones on, desperately battling the urge to just run off home to a hot bath. No! It can be done with a whole group of your most favourite people in the world: your team mates. It’s their supporting “nice work Jem” that makes me run harder, and the desire not to let them down that makes me turn up at the track even through torrential rain! Not forgetting, of course, some healthy competition that has installed in me a bizarre ambition to get to the World Cup and be able to say that I’m the only one not to have missed a single training session since January!

So suddenly I’m a ‘gym person’ – who would have thought that? Having now broken into the echelons of the exercise elite, I now find that on the occasions when I do have to go it alone I don’t mind at all – My entire perspective of solo exercise has been turned on its head, and all of this through the power of my team. I actually look forward to my solitary gym sessions now, and get excited about moving on to heavier weights, or being able to do more reps without absolutely dying! An absolutely brilliant success, and one of many things gained through my experiences with lacrosse that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

I’ve introduced myself briefly in my biography, but I haven’t yet done so for my all important team, Scotland. Today we have released the selection list for the World Cup, and so in case you’ve missed it, here they all are: The Scotland World Cup Team.
ScotlandTeam

I’m so incredibly proud (chuffed to bits actually ;) to be a part of that list, and am particularly happy to be living so near to so many of my team mates which makes the training much more fun and far more fruitful. I hope and know that these friends will stay with me for life, and that this World Cup will connect us as a group for many years into the future.

I look forward to sharing with you the experiences that I have with them, and I hope you’ve enjoyed my first posting here.

Thanks, and keep training!

North v South lacrosse

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

North v South lacrosse, originally uploaded by Jebaloo.

9-6 to North, and they have to play again in the finals tomorrow.
Beautiful day, but sun in as much as out. Looking forward to Scotland
v Ireland Rugby this avo. And Sunday! Can’t wait. X

Driving home from Manchester, and the Lacrosse World Cup

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Driving home from Manchester, and the Lacrosse World Cup, originally uploaded by Jebaloo.

Ain’t it beautiful (in a motorway type of way). We had a great day of
training at Timperley lacrosse club in Manchester. The training group
was made up of the final 18 players who have been picked for the World
Cup team. Chuffed to bits to have made it after all this training over
the last 18 months. Basically, between now and June, I will be
training 6 out of every 7 days, and most of my weekends will be 9 till
5 lacrosse… So it’s quite a sizeable task in hand!

Absolutely up for it though! Bring on the World Cup!

The first ‘W’ on our USA lax tour

Monday, February 16th, 2009

The first ‘W’ on our USA lax tour, originally uploaded by Jebaloo.

This is the Scotland lax team warming down after the opening game of
our lax tour in the states. We were playing Goucher college team nr
Baltimore. Tomorrow hopefully my foot (which is currently swelling up
nicely) will have recovered from the total battering it received
today! Fingers crossed!

Early morning in Edinburgh

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Early morning in Edinburgh, originally uploaded by Jebaloo.

On the 34 bus to princes street. A lovely sunny weekend of lacrosse
ahead of me (kicked off with a fitness test first thing – yay).

It’s surprisingly warm in Edinburgh today – I’d packed about 20 layers
in prep, but no need.