Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Going Exclusive

Confession time:

Orienteering isn't my only sport.

Yeah sorry, hardly a secret, and not very juicy gossip. Apologies.

For the last almost 20 years, I've also played football. In fact, I once missed the NZ Sprint Champs to attend a football training camp. Crazy, I know.
Around 10 years ago, I made the decision that I wanted to make orienteering my primary sport, a decision I have absolutely no regrets about. (Let's be honest, I was never going too far in soccer anyway) But choosing orienteering hasn't meant leaving football behind. And over the last decade I've been incredibly lucky to take the field for two clubs, Miramar Rangers in NZ, and ANUWFC in Canberra, both of whom have been amazing in puttin up with my orienteering commitments and lengthy trips away midseason, and have allowed me to play top grade women's football.

...probably accommodating me just for the entertainment factor.
I've often been asked if I think playing football has helped or hindered my orienteering, and the honest answer is; I don't know.
The matches are like 90 minute interval sessions, and it's no doubt helped my agility and acceleration for sprint races.
Um. Guess my position?

But that's weighed against the increased risk of injury, the constant knocks, and the time taken out from orienteering training to fit another sport in. Whatever the answer though, the primary reason I've kept it up is purely for enjoyment. And for that, it's definitely been worth it.

Official team photo 2012.
If you're going to play in an early 90's era strip, you've gotta commit to the role.
The opposition didn't know what hit them.

Call me!
2013 and a sexy new away strip.
Possibly donated by our opposition from the previous photo.
But, with this season over, it's time to retire. With my stint in Canberra drawing towards its end, it's time to kick football to the sideline. Substitute myself out of the game. Blow the final whistle...
Yeah, I'll stop there.
It's going to be a hard to leave behind for sure.
There's parts that I'll definitely miss: the constant on and off field banter (sometimes to myself, sometimes with others.), themed club nights and training sessions. Awesome people.

Fluoro Tuesday trainings.

Zombie apocalypse Thursday.
Dress up training: all the big clubs do it.
We think.

The parts that I definitely won't miss: Fricking freezing 7-9pm midwinter trainings on icy astroturf. Opposition players with attitude issues. And Mondays when my entire body feels like a walking bruise.

And the parts that I shouldn't miss, but will: Intense but masochistically fun Sunday's fitting in Orienteering events in the morning, then racing it back to the city just in time for warmup and kickoff at 2pm. Having my accent made fun of by the Aussie contingent of the team (What does and innocently shouted 'play the ball on the deck' sound like to an Aussie?!). Winding Holly up. Linda's constant Dad jokes. Having to mark former, present and future Australian national players. Post match hot chips and wedges.

I'm proud to have played for a club that values the team and club over the individual, and that realises that the game isn't the be all and end all, but rather is there to be enjoyed. So thanks ANUWFC for an awesome 3 seasons!
I'm even more proud to have got to play alongside such an amazing bunch of girls. From students and public servants through to national representatives; complete winners off the field, which is something far more valuable than being winners on the field. Thanks for all the good times, and for sticking together through the rough times. What a team.
Winning off the field.

And (occasionally) on it too!

Like most break ups, it's going to be tough. But it's time to move on and focus on orienteering. There'll be a final fling with summer 9 aside, but then I'm committing to being a one-sport* woman.

Proof that sometimes we stopped dressing up and messing
around and actually played football.
I'm going exclusive. For now. ;)

*mountain running and rogaining are just subsidiaries of orienteering...

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