Our community footy writer, Beth Newman, is pulling on the boots this season.
I don’t remember the last day that I woke up pain-free.
Each Monday, for at least the last six weeks, I have gotten out of bed only to find that my arms won’t go past parallel.
And just when I start to regain my full range of motion, it’s Tuesday training and it starts all over again.
And while it might look like I just lack basic hygiene, that hint of green on my shins is actually just a gigantic bruise.
I have pain in muscles that I didn’t even know existed a month ago, and my calves are started to hate me unreservedly, and last weekend I managed to get a pretty hefty grass burn on my shoulder.
It’s fair to say my body has been the biggest victim of my fledgling footy career.
After early training sessions, I thought it was simply my lack of fitness, but now I’m not sure I can entirely blame it on that or even my complete lack of co-ordination.
Footy is a brutal sport, in so many ways.
I have mentioned my size (or lack thereof) in previous columns, but I like to think I bat above my average when it comes to throwing that size around.
I’m not generally afraid of getting hit or colliding with someone, regardless of their build or gender, but for the first time on the weekend, I was called soft.
Toughness in netball does not apparently translate entirely to the footy field.
You hear so many people talk about courage in footy, and rave about players who throw their bodies in and never give up (think Joel Selwood, Luke Hodge, Brett Kirk).
It’s not until you have to take those hits and make those second efforts.
I’m not trying to compare myself to those guys in the AFL (I haven’t had any head knocks… yet), but I certainly have a greater admiration for them nowadays.
But while my bruises tell the story of the physical pain of footy, I was introduced to the mental pain last weekend as well.
Last week, I wrote about the enjoyment that comes from playing without winning, but last Sunday’s match against Zillmere was probably the most disappointing match I’ve played.
Against 17 girls, we managed one goal (shout out to living legend, and inspirational skipper, Tia, for that one) but it was far from our best effort.
We didn’t really get a spray at the end (though half time was the closest we’ve ever been to that), but there was an air of disappointment.
On the way home, I felt really flat, and the 45-minute drive home from Zillmere gave me plenty of time to dwell on what I did wrong.
The bright side of all that pain, mental and physical, though, only makes me look forward to this weekend’s game just a little bit more.
And you can bet that a stirring win from the Brisbane Lions tonight, in their three-peat Guernsey, against the Pies will only fire me up even more.