v Capital (away)

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I read somewhere that you can make yourself 10% happier if you start each day by coming up with three things you’re grateful for. 10%! How they calculate a percentage like that is a mystery to me, and the fact they do makes me immediately suspicious that the whole thing’s a diabolical ruse designed to allow the KGB to probe your mind like they say those Buzzfeed quizzes do… That’s over and above my natural cynicism, stemming from the whole exercise sounding extremely corny. But a while back I decided ‘what the hell’! The reality is I lost my mind months ago ergo I’ve got nothing the Kremlin wants ergo I might as well give it a try. And while I’m not sure how to begin to measure whether it’s made a 5%, 10% or 15.298333333% difference, I can report that I do think it helps.

How does it help? It seems to be about adding a bit of grounding, centring, perspective sort of malarkey to your day. And maybe giving yourself a bit of a hand with those old ruts and new pathways I’ve alluded to a couple of times in previous posts.

What sorts of things do I come up with? I guess it can be anything. My repertoire includes the likes of good coffee, true friends, the days when it’s not my turn to change the cat litter, family, bucatini all’Amatriciana, the roof over my head, and Lazio being ever so slightly more crap at football than Roma.

I also think it helps to expand on each thing a little bit just to cement them in your brain. For example, here are my three grateful things for today…

1.

My partner Gina is at the top of my list every single day. My rock. I simply wouldn’t be here without my bestie. She puts up with so much, including but not limited to my unattractive state of mind over the past year, not to mention my football obsession over the past decade, and she loves and supports me no matter what. The best people in your life by far are those who are unconditionally all-in when it counts. Treasure them.

2.

This WaiBOP team.

Now that we’ve passed the halfway stage in the season it’s probably a good time to pause and reflect on how they are tracking. And call me biased, because I absolutely am, but one or two blips aside I’ve been so impressed with this group of players. The points table might not reflect it but the difference from last year is stark.

Constantly shifting player availability has meant the team has been forced to adapt to several different formations and numerous individuals have slotted into positions they’ve never played in before. Yet despite a couple of sound beatings they’ve fought for every ball regardless of the scoreboard and the rest of the time they’ve been more or less competitive against some highly fancied opposition. Furthermore, all this has been done with a solid chunk of squad members who, to be completely brutally honest, I hadn’t heard of before the season got underway. But in many cases it’s the players I had no prior knowledge of who have impressed me the most.

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Annaliese Heuvel is a prime exhibit. A real presence leading the attack, she’s quickly becoming one of my favourite footballers to watch and I can clearly see how she managed to score 33 goals for Tauranga City United in the WaiBOP W-League over the winter.

Emma Sizer and Richlyn Tuhoro are both young midfielders who have been playing a chunk of the season right out of position making up two thirds of a back three. I can’t even begin to comprehend how that works but the fact that it does is a real testament to them. This season’s defence conceded 18 goals in the first half of the competition. Last year we conceded 16 in our first three fixtures alone. So the class of 2019 must be doing something right!

Paige McLoskey, Caitlyn Byrne and Rachel Major all bring mental strength and toughness to the group, are all capable of some excellent football and have all improved their games as the season has progressed. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can do as the second half unfolds.

Natasha Rieri is a technically strong midfielder who lives in Melbourne but has played for Aotearoa Maori teams. She’s come across the ditch for a short stint just to play National Women’s League which is impressive and a great endorsement of the league. She has my absolute respect for that alone!

Maddison Williams is making a huge and gutsy step straight up from secondary school football, and she looks like a great prospect for the future. Stella Neems, Kaylee Oosthuysen, Rhiannon Jones and Adi-Grace Moar haven’t been on the pitch a lot but I’m told they are all awesome squad players who add plenty at training, making the group better, and some of them are starting to force their way into consideration for the starting line-up too which is awesome. And speaking of great squad members, reserve goalkeeper Amy Harrison has had to don an outfield kit at least once when the bench has been thin… I was nearby as the news was broken to her shortly before one such occasion and she reacted like a real pro!

Chuck in the talented young players I singled out at the start of the season, the super impressive calm and mature leadership of skipper Maddi Ollington (who scored a fantastic goal today only to have it incorrectly adjudged to have not crossed the line), the obvious class brought to the equation by age group internationals Grace Wisnewski and Lisa Evans, and I understand there might be a Fern joining the squad in November too…

They’re a fantastic group of human beings as well, just to add icing to the cake.

It all adds up to an absolute TEAM that the whole region should be proud of and one that I feel a strong sense of loyalty towards.

Which brings me to my third grateful thing…

3.

My ability to pretend football results I don’t like never happened.

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[My other images of this game are available to view and purchase here]

 

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