L3 promotion charge continues with 3-1 win away to Maldon
I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok
I went on a long journey this weekend. I couldn't see much of where I was. It was dark and a bit scary and I was surrounded by a funny smell that I couldn't quite put my finger on. I could hear lots of chuntering, seemingly at other drivers. But it was all then laughed off as "road banter".
Once we reached a stop, I was picked up and moved VERY slowly somewhere else. There was loud music and noise; then a really inspiring pre-match chat about professionalism. I felt quite roused and definitely ready to take Maldon on! I was moved again and once I was put down that’s when the action started.
A small gap above the zip of the bag in which I was nestled enabled me to see more of what was going on. There was a game of hockey – one team in orange, and another much more athletic and attractive team in maroon. The game was exciting to watch – particularly when the tall, old one kept slipping over when she ran. I was concerned at one point that she may have broken a hip in a particularly hefty fall when nobody else was near her, but to everyone’s relief she managed to pull herself up. Very, very slowly.
There was an Australian one who had clearly never played hockey before as she kept kicking the ball instead of using her stick! Wrong game you drongo!
They were an odd mix of a team; as well as a granny in defence, they seemed to have a small child playing up front. There was a bit of drama at the beginning of the game as she didn't have any shinpads and started crying for her mum. There was a suggestion that the subs plan could be elaborately re-jigged to allow for swapping of shinpads with the player coming off, but fortunately one of the umpires went and looked in the lost property cupboard and found a spare pair. However I think they were too big. At least I think that was why the child announced to the rest of the team "Guys, I'm just going to have to step away. I'm raging!' It must have been very uncomfortable to run around with shinpads coming over your knees.
There was one who looked and acted like a princess; she had golden hair, and looked like she was very used to having people do everything for her. At one point she looked like she was trying to copy the Australian (maybe to make her feel less silly) and kick the ball - except that she immediately raised her hand in a royal wave to point out to the other umpire that she had done this. And it was then that I heard again the inspirational voice - but this time her dulcet and inspirational tones were asking the team to remain professional at all times! And also "play the whistle!"
The princess claimed that raising her hand was a complete accident. She wasn't used to being able to lift it so easily since her prince had offered her a ring so that they could be married. The diamond on the ring was so big and heavy (well, it is now that she sent it back telling him the original one wasn't big enough) that ordinarily she wasn't able to lift her hand above her shoulder!
There was a French one. But she only played half a game. I assume she was on strike for the 2nd half. Maybe in protest at the hospital passes that the decrepit granny at the back kept giving her. When she could stay on her feet.
The one from Essex - I think they called her Shawls, was on the sideline for a bit and was telling the French one about the great memories she had of living in Canada for a year, as an apprentice lumberjack. She reminisced about how she and her Chief Chopper would head down to the forest the break of dawn, to spend the day hacking into timber. It was intensive, back-breaking work she said, but so satisfying. She emphasised how much she'd learnt in that time, particularly the technical finesse that she'd picked up in how to best split large chunks of wood. She spoke so fondly of her time there and it was no surprise to see her run on to the pitch minutes later and re-enact her lumberjacking days on the sticks of several unsuspecting Maldon players. It was like she was back in the wild woods!
There was a Welsh one too! She ran and ran and ran and ran and ran. In the second half she decided to run and run and run after the best player on the orange team and then briefly looked a little pale! Concerned, one of the other maroon players asked if she was ok, to which she responded "Yeah boyo, I've just been man marking that f***er in the middle!" The rest of the team seemed very grateful though that the f***er had been kept out of the game.
There was another one who had a THICK Mediterranean accent. I could barely make out what she was saying - she seemed to be speaking another language a lot of the time, but she spent most of the game hovering around the D and the goalposts looking for loose balls to tap in. She seemed to be encouraging the rest of her team to call her 'the feeeeeeeeenix' or something but they obviously couldn't understand what she was saying either as they kept calling her Dad. They seemed pleased for her though that she'd managed to get the last touch on a short corner that was going in anyway. I think she may have been Shawls' mum too but I couldn't be sure.
There were so many interesting characters on the pitch that I slightly lost track of the score but I believe the attractive and athletic side won 3-1. In addition to her tap-in, Shawls' mum was instrumental in another of the goals. After running the baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasseline (the child seemed very excited about this) she smashed a ball as hard as she could at the child from about 2 metres away. The child then let out a high pitched scream that was possibly only perceptible to dogs, but somehow in the commotion she managed to touch the ball with her stick. And then it dribbled over the line for a goal.
There was another goal where another one from Essex (maybe Shawls' sister?) intelligently flicked the ball over the goalkeeper. It was a great game and the maroon team's goals were all fantastic team efforts. Despite what some people think, I don't think that man of the match votes should just go to the people who tap goals in. It's a team effort.
After the game the team went for showers and I had a great view! Then they went for some food and drink at what I can only assume was a very fancy restaurant. The Australian and French ones seemed confused by the jacket potato with beans and cheese that was on offer but were encouraged by the rest of the team to embrace the local delicacy and offered tips on how best to enjoy it - such as making sure you don't eat all the beans and cheese up before you get to the bottom of the potato.
There was then some sort of vote that looked like an absolute farce. People had as many ballot papers as they liked and the results just didn't seem fair to me. Then the inspirational one was goaded to annihilate a tall, blonde one in a drinking race. Apparently the tall, blonde one had recently left university so you'd think that she would have been a bit quicker off the mark, but the professional, inspirational one really gave her a good beating.
As we headed back to the car, I reflected on how much I had enjoyed my day, despite spending it in smelly and slightly damp hockey bag. I wondered where I would travel to next but sadly, a week later, I still seem to be in the same bag. Ah well, hopefully somebody will find me soon and take me on a new adventure!