I think today might be that day. I’ve just got home from netball where The Milkshakers lost 20 points to 18 against Sospan.
Sure, having two spectacular wins in Division 3 felt great but then as I mentioned in my previous blog, we were promoted to Division 2 – quite scary territory for a new team just starting out together. Last Sunday, we were down to just four of our original players and had to borrow a few. Our first experience of Division 2 was a 33-11 loss. As someone who, and please feel free to ask my friends to qualify this, is a notoriously bad loser, it was a hard pill to swallow. I tend to get pretty riled up when things don’t go my way and then frustrated thoughts creep into my head, distracting me from the game I should be concentrating on 100%. To say I was annoyed at myself following that game would be an understatement. But hay, at least I’m self-aware, right?
This week, we were down to five originals and had to borrow two new ladies to fill in for us in positions they were not used to. Sospan have a reputation for being an excellent team so you can imagine the nervousness working its way through our girls before the starting whistle. They’re also a Llanelli team and me being a Swansea girl through and through, I really wanted the win. But something strange happened…
For the first three quarters of the match, we were always three points behind them. Playing catch up for so long in any sport can make you feel even more of an underdog than you felt at the start. But strangely enough, we found ourselves ahead going into the fourth quarter – a familiar feeling from our Division 3 days. Naturally, you start to believe you can win. You tell yourselves and each other to play your hearts out and go for the win. Unfortunately, that’s usually the point where the other team says the same thing and fair play to Sospan, they didn’t like the lead being taken away from them and swiftly snatched it back from our ‘underdoggy’ paws.
The final whistle blew and we found ourselves losing our second game in a row in Division 2, 20-18. I could feel the competitive streak inside me chomping at my confidence, making me question whether I gave enough to my team – the usual feeling after any team loss. However, that feeling didn’t follow me off court. It was quickly dispelled by the truth of the matter, which was that we came close to beating a fantastic team with a strong reputation. I looked around at my girls and could see they felt the same way. For some reason, we lost the game, but we also won. As a team we showed strength and character to hang in there and even very nearly clinch the victory. Wanting to save our reputation after such a beating last week, coupled with wanting to make our absent team mates proud, we walked away with our heads held high. We had a new knowledge, that when we had our entire team back together, we could cause some serious damage in this division, and there is no better feeling.
Good team work has never been a strong point of mine. I’m getting better at is as I get older as I’m able to see the benefits more (an ability I lacked in my twenties!). I’ve learned that putting your own personal gains aside and playing for the people around you, can make you play even better because you want it more.
After the game, I sent the girls this meme I found on the net:
In conclusion, I guess what I’m trying to say is to take positives from everything you do in life. You’re not going to win or be the best EVERY time, and that’s OK.
Next week The Milkshakers will be competing in the Christmas Mixed Tournament so two hours of crazy netball awaits. The great news is we should have all our players back, including some lads who I doubt know a lot about what they’re letting themselves in for! So wish us luck and think of us Sunday, 6th December 4pm – 6pm. The new Stacey will be saying ‘just have fun and do your best’ and the other Stacey, who let’s face it, will always be there under the surface will be saying:
“Come on Milkshakers, let’s go for the win bois bach!”