Winging it: learning curve

AFLQ community football writer, Beth Newman, learned a lot from her first game of footy.

The learning curve.

Plenty of people talk about it and pretty much everyone in footy has heard of it.

Last weekend, in my first competitive game of footy, I experienced a learning curve, quite brutally, firsthand (spoiler alert: I made it through alive and well.).

We finished up 181-0 down and on an individual note, it was a bit of a Barry Crocker.

When we ran out onto the ground, it all felt pretty real and the chaos of the bench, runners and having water around the field was enough for me to feel a little bit legit.

Taking water from runners was about where my legitimacy ended though.

I received my first free kick, was told to shank it, and promptly had a moment of the Travis Clokes in the midfield.

I also gave away my first, for stepping over the centre square line.

So, as you can tell, it was a quality contribution. But, on the bright side, things can only go up from here.

I learned a heap from my first game as part of a footy team, but there are five major takeaways, I think.

1.    I might just be a fourth quarter “specialist.”

Every side needs a player that can finish strong, and I certainly managed that on the weekend. To put it kindly, I went missing for three and a half quarters, with a shank of a free kick the only notable exception. But with about five minutes to go, I managed to rack up some late stats, with two efficient kicks and a hard ball get. My two minutes of ‘glory’ was so out of step with my development to that point, that my boyfriend, who came to watch was convinced it could not be me, because the kick was half-decent.

2.    There is plenty of upside.

Everyone has to start somewhere, and it may as well be with minimal influence in a 181-point hammering (as the local paper called it). Jonathan Brown finished without a touch on his debut, so watch this space is all I can say.

3.    I am quite small.

If you are reading this and have met me or seen me before, you’re probably thinking that this observation is coming about 22 years too late. But lining up against sides with girls much taller and more solidly built than myself, I was quickly reminded of how much bigger other people can be.

4.    AFL grounds are bigger than you think.

Trying to lead out ‘wide’ and then realising that you’re pretty much running in the corridor was a pretty regular occurrence for me on the weekend.  The centre square is big and each side is long.  Don’t even get me started on running back down the centre square.

5.    The score doesn’t matter.

This week, I have had to relay the final result to a number of people, all of whom were more than taken aback.But in the game, it certainly didn’t feel like we were getting beaten by that much. And even 10 goals in the first quarter could not dampen the effort and enthusiasm of the side.It’s all about fun (for now) and in that respect, it was mission accomplished last Sunday.

Since the match, I have resolved to train harder and work harder and hopefully the results will come (also working on my footy clichés).

With the women’s state championships on this week, there are no fixtures this weekend for us.

So, I’m just taking it one game at a time and hopefully I’ll get a chance to redeem myself next weekend.

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