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Diary of a Social Footballer: Winter asserts itself

I hate to make a clichéd Game of Thrones reference, but winter is definitely coming. Wainuiomata AFC’s Richard Prouse park may have been adorned with pretty autumn colours, but the regular southerly blast and intermittent showers saw me make a mental note to buy some new long sleeved skins. And possibly gloves (yes, I’ll admit to being a right wimp – not quite as bad as some of the Premier League’s most cosseted).

Muddy Boots

The return of winter also means the return of filthy boots. Woo?

This week’s game was my first for a couple of weeks, as I’d popped home to Waiheke last weekend, and Mum had come down for a visit the week before that (and I hadn’t quite the heart to drag her to a corner of Wellington she never knew existed only to stand in the wind for a couple of hours), and so I was a little wary of coming back into the team as we played the top of the table. How much fitness had I lost? How quickly would I slot back into the rhythm of the game?

It seemed I was almost doomed to fail even getting to the game in the first place, when I discovered that Wellington’s trains don’t take Snapper cards. I’d artfully timed my arrival at the station* to allow for the smooth swiping of said card as I swished onto the train with moments to spare. But it wasn’t to be, and the train pulled away as I bought a now-redundant ticket. Luckily there’s this ace concept of teammates bailing you out, so I didn’t end up missing a third game in a row.

Overall, it was the sort of game where, if I’m honest, we could have come away with a result. Going down 2-0 was difficult to take on one level, because if we’d managed a goal in the first half it could have been a very different game. We played well enough to warrant a point at least, and who knows how the complexion of the game might have changed had we been more assertive earlier on. But clearly it wasn’t to be.

I also had the novel experience of an opposition player accusing me of being too physical, and had to resist the urge to suggest she tries playing a non-contact sport. Usually I’m told I’m not aggressive enough! But I think the tiddlywinks season starts in a couple of months. Not that I’m suggesting anything (passive aggressively or otherwise)…

But alas, my apparently newfound, er, aggression, wouldn’t translate into goals, despite a couple of decent chances. Some rust had set in: you get a rush of excitement as the goal’s in your sights, which detracts from the singlemindedness you need to actually score. Perception of time and space is slightly out of kilter– you think you’ve got plenty of time to get your shot away and a defender materialises to block it, or you rush things and send the ball anywhere but in the back of the net.

Frustrating? Very. While turning a defender and running through their teammates is always a satisfying endeavour in itself, it’s ultimately pointless when all you can pick out is the keeper’s grateful gloves. Or the creek at the end of the park.

But hey, such is football. By the looks of things we’ve a friendly game against a Division 1 team next weekend, now that the grading rounds are over (which I was surprised to discover is apparently a thing for senior football in Wellington) which ought to provide a new test for us. Looking forward to it already.



*AKA lost track of time while having brunch with friends.

Categories: Diary of a Social Footballer

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Ella Reilly

Waiheke Islander currently in exile in Wellington. Supporter of Nottingham Forest and England, through thick and thin (there's been plenty of that). As a player is somewhat averse to the offside rule.

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