“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
…but what if it is broken? You fix it, right? Right?
(This is longer than I expected.. grab a coffee first :P)
For the last 5 years I have played football for a club called Mitchell Rangers. I have been there to watch it grow and see teams go from loosing every match to winning flags in a few short seasons. I, myself, was a founding member of the Senior Ladies squad, back when we began in 2008. It was a memorable season, all for the wrong reasons. We played eighteen rounds I believe and won ONE game. Just one. Four seasons on and we should have been crowded Premiers in 2012 if it wasn’t a stuff up of FFV’s (Football Federation Victoria) part.
After finding out we got promoted up a league for the up and coming season, I made a conscious decision to not do what I do every off season; sit on my arse and become unfit. I have been training, every second day at least, since November. If you have been reading since then, you would have seen my progress. If you are a new comer, in 4 months, I have gone from running 500M and getting exhausted to running 21KM and being tired. If I was going up a league, I was going to give my body the best preparation I could do, alone. Training again as a team would take care of my ball skills but if I could be physically fit and run non stop for 2 hours, a 45 minute half in football should be a piece of cake.
The first Tuesday in February was the date set for our first training session. I was super keen to play in a new league, against new teams, but this is where everything stopped. The week before, I had gone up to the club to see what the deal was with registration day, as I had to work that day and couldn’t make it. The team manager of the men’s squad was having a chat to me and wanted to see how many ladies where going to be returning to the club because our coach for the last 5 years had finally decided to hang up his boots and retire from coaching. After deciding someone should take charge, he asked me to send out an email/facebook message and get back to him in the next few days with an idea of numbers. The first 9 responses I got from my premiership team, were “No, I am not returning.” I was shocked. Stunned even.
I understand that some people move away and others have school/uni but to have more than half of your premiership squad just pack up and leave, I was heart broken. The team I had started out in, been an integral member of, was basically finished. There was no beating around the bush, I knew it would be difficult to find basically, an entire new squad. Unfortunately, women’s football just isn’t that popular out here in the country. Even if we managed to get a full squad, we didn’t have a coach and we most certainly shouldn’t have been playing in a higher level.
I had two options, stay or leave. Neither option really appealed to me. I didn’t want to stay then find out we had no team. By that stage, most clubs would have picked their teams already. I didn’t want to leave either because this was my original club and my football blood. I’d given everything I could to that club and I didn’t want to see our team get run into the ground. I wanted to do everything I could to try and build our team back up.
I continued to train for the next few weeks, giving the club every chance to try and find new players. The few girls that turned up, trained with the men’s squad. The first session we had 4 girls show and second session only had 3. It wasn’t fair on myself to hold on to something that had already basically “died”.
The very next day I made some enquiries with teams that had played in our league and we had played against. They were all very welcoming, knowing who the Ranger’s were and were sad to hear that we would more than likely not have a squad for the up and coming season. I just happen to come across a club that wasn’t in our “geographical patch” but they were still in our league. They were closer to travel to from a work point of view and had not only one team in my league, but another team in a higher league.
It had been a conscious decision of mine to keep the club name on the low side of conversation until I was completely satisfied with their attitude towards teams, coaches and players as individuals. Let’s go on the record and say, I AM pleasantly surprised and VERY happy. I trained 4 times with this club before I made my final decision. Both coaches were happy and the team as a whole seemed to accept me as a new player. I knew this was the right thing to do, for myself. I needed to do it for myself. It would be silly to pass up an opportunity of having two coaches, two teams and 25+ girls turning up to training every session.
I’ve now been training with this club for the last month and I couldn’t be happier. Even though I was happy playing for the Mitchell Rangers, my passion for football was dissipating and I didn’t know how to get it back. It looks like a move to a different club has seem me regain my passion for the game and not only want to be at training but wanting to improve my game again.
We have played one practice match so far this season and our result was not ideal. We were going into the game being the underdogs and our opponents play in the Women’s Premier League. Even though we came away with no points, we gained some vital information on what we need to improve and this is better than not getting anything out of the game.
We have another match on Wednesday (but I’m not sure who it is against) and we will give it all we have. 🙂
P.S. Once I have my shirt, I will announce who I am playing for. Until then, stay tuned!
P.P.S. I know this post was due on Saturday but I have had a very busy weekend! Sorry everyone!