It’s been a while since I’ve posted something up here, and I’ll go ahead and allocate the blame as:
- 25% busy with school/work
- 25% busy with training and games
- 25% laziness
- 25% Jen (because Jen always needs to be blamed for something!)
I’ll start out by saying that even though our season here in Toronto is now 6 games deep (Blues are a somewhat disappointing 2-4), it honestly hasn’t been until this past week that I’ve personally started to feel like I’m contributing on the field in a manner similar to previous years.
In contrast to all other weeks thus far, Jen and I both played in 2 games over the past 7 days: one on July 1, for the annual Canada Day games played in Toronto, and the other this past Saturday. So while that’s only a 4-day gap between games, it’s definitely something that we’ll have to be comfortable with given the number of games we’ll have compressed into the 2-week International Cup (5 for the men, and TBD for the women).
(As an aside – check out the men’s bracket here. Canada’s first 3 games are against China, USA (again?!), and Sweden.)
In most games, I often find myself tasked with matching up on the opposing team’s centre half-forward – it’s usually manned by one of the bigger and taller Australians in our competition, which obviously makes my job somewhat difficult.
As I mentioned previously, it hasn’t been until this past week that I’ve felt that I’m hitting my stride with my positioning and play. In my mind, there have been 2 factors to this:
- Mentality. For whatever reason, I have experienced a shift in mentality. I’d go into games obviously wanting to compete and win, but something was affecting my actual willingness to get to contests, or more accurately, prevent my opponent from getting to the ball.
- Fitness/Injury. Since March, I’ve been going through what seems like a revolving door of injuries: hamstring strain, elbow hyper extension/tricep strain (still not sure what the problem is exactly), some mystery ailment to my big toe, my perpetually “rolling” ankles, and most recently another muscle strain: this time the glute. Incredibly frustrating, that’s for sure – when you’re trying to improve/maintain fitness but you can’t without increased risk of injury.
I can’t necessarily put my finger on what has changed in my mentality for the past 2 games, but I think it has something to do with directing more of my focus onto preventing my player from having an impact on the game, rather than trying to have an impact myself.
As for the second point, I think my mother put it best when addressing the possibility that my severe toe pain was due to gout:
“But gout is something that only old people get….well, I guess you are 30 now…”
But in all seriousness she’s probably onto something. Back in the spry youth of my 20’s…or at least early 20’s, recovery in general was a lot easier and not something I had to consciously think about and act on.
- Stretching?! – Pshaw, who needs it?
- Warm up? – I’ll do it…but I’m not really sure what good it’s doing.
- Ice bath/icing after games? – Far too much of a process…not to mention far too uncomfortable.
- Physio/Heading to the Doctor? – Extremely unlikely unless I was in a LOT of pain.
Thankfully though, aside from the occasional flare up of pain in the toe and the last bit of recovery from my glute strain, things are finally feeling great.
We’re down to 3 weeks before we depart for Australia, so almost exactly a month before the men’s first game against China (women’s first game is still waiting to be announced, but I’m sure it will be around the same time). Fingers crossed that I’m able to stay injury-free until then and although I’m missing our club game this weekend (probably should help out even more on the injury front!), I’ve also still got 2 more Blues games to completely sort out the mental side of things as well.
…Jeez. Only three weeks till we leave?! Where has all the time gone?!
Unfortunately there’s no fancy video to go along with this one – only a couple of action shots (courtesy of Rob Colburn) of Jen and me from the Canada Day games this year.