So here I am sitting in the bath after watching the tense Semi-Finals game at the Women’s World League Semi-Finals in Valencia between Great Britain and Germany, wondering when the best time would be to start a blog?
Well right now I feel would set this blog off in style.
What a game! What an absolute corker of a game. Now you can appreciate that all I can offer is opinion. I’ve played hockey for a number of years now (to say how long would give my age away!) but I’m by no means an expert and I often find I look at different aspects of a game, or a player, to other people. I enjoy the game, I love playing the game, I adore watching the game… Any level, not just the international games. And I’ve recently started coaching the game and am always looking for ways to improve myself and players around me, from the bottom to the top. To help a person believe they can achieve is one of the most rewarding things I’ve discovered with hockey.
So, back to that game! GB set out the blocks, guns blazing, a real fire and determination about them. Recently they have started to rebuild their squad and a couple of new additions have joined the GB set up. And a couple of old faces have returned. But they appeared to have one goal in mind today and that was qualification for Rio 2016, the Olympic Games, and not even Germany were going to stand in their way. As a spectator, I could feel the excitement, I was sitting (or pacing!) on the edge of my seat from about half time. We had scored early on. A ball perfectly run out of midfield by Helen Richardson-Walsh, calmly passed out right to Sophie Bray, who could have taken the shot herself, but seeing Lily Owsley in a great position in front of goal, she slipped the ball through. In true style Owsley remained calm to not take the first time shot, fooled the German keeper to go to ground and casually popped the ball through to the backboard. Amazing!
Now, you can read the match reports for the rest of the game, but I want to emphasise that as one of many spectators at home willing the nation to succeed, it was tense! Immensely absorbing, and nail-biting to the bitter end. The succession of short corners awarded to Germany in the final quarter showed the determination of an opposition that was not prepared to give up easily. Normally I would be quite calm about this, but seeing the girls (England girls) losing the Gold medal in the last 11 seconds at the Commonwealth Games last year made me all the more nervous. But there was no need… Maddie Hinch had every inch of the goal covered, Hannah Macleod covered the suicide line with conviction, Helen Richardson-Walsh picked the post deflections to a tee, and the solid defending by Kate Richardson-Walsh, Laura Unsworth, Hollie Webb, Giselle Ansley and Emily Maguire combined showed that we are a team to be reckoned with, a force, a momentum that currently is unstoppable! They achieved their goal today, but knowing the girls (not personally, having watched them for a few years now) they will want an unbeaten record. They will want to come out and smash China into the next Olympics – and why shouldn’t they?
On the back of the success of the GB team today, I want this blog to provide a number of things, for a number of people.
Essentially I want people to love hockey as much as I do. I want people to learn about the sport, feel able to go pick up a stick and enjoy a game that can provide so much for so many. For those that play, I want to provide a place where you can share your experiences, club success and touring adventures. A place where coaches can share experiences, and players can share inspirations and dreams. I feel the direction of this blog will grow, whatever direction it needs.
Now whilst we all aspire to play the best we can, remember there are so many levels of best, and I want to point out that there are many clubs, coaches and players that make up the sport that I love… And this will hopefully encourage you to join our family.