I will begin with a quick recap of the week. Because of last Sunday’s snowstorm, I did not make it back to the Island in time for Monday’s practice at Old Westbury (the first unplanned casualty of this traveling thing). I worked Tuesday morning at FLG HQ in Huntington before practice at OW. Wednesday we vanned up to New Haven, CT to take on Albertus Magnus, coached by one of my favorite people, Joe Caruso. The girls played well against a much improved Falcons team, coming away with a 16-4 victory. The OW team is given the day off on Thursday, so I spend most of the day at FLG, catching up on some things – I feel a bit uncomfortable as FLG heads into the spring practice season, knowing that I will be absent for most of the meetings. Friday we a good practice at OW, so we are upbeat and feeling good, going into Saturday’s game at Manhattanville.
I meet the team, up in Manhattanville. This is a first for me, and it feels strange, not having traveled with the team. We are finally at full strength, and begin the game well, taking a 6-4 lead into halftime. In the second half, we each score a goal, before the Valiants go on a 7-1 run, which ends in a disappointing, 12-8 loss for the OW Panthers. The primary postgame message to the team is positive, and that while we may have let one get away, we will be a better team for it and are heading in a good direction.
If traveling alone, to the game was strange, getting in the car and heading west after the game, while the vans go back to LI, is worse. Instead of getting to take the pulse of the team and starting to process the setback, together, I am left to wrestle with the “what ifs, whys and hows”, by myself. Though I am volunteering at OW, I feel no less invested than when I was the paid assistant coach. As I travel toward Buckhannon, WV, for the Mercyhurst Lady Lakers’ game at West Virginia Wesleyan on Sunday, there is something I did not anticipate when I embarked on this season’s journey. I want to be at the OW practices this week, to address our deficiencies and correct our mistakes, and prepare for the next contest. But you cannot be in two places at once. The term “torn”, feels appropriate.
So it is Sunday morning and I am in a hotel in Chambersburg, PA, which leaves me with a drive of a little more than three hours, to reach Buckhannon. This is the start of a big three game week for the Lakers, and most likely a lot of blogging for me. It is Gameday, once again, and I am excited! Let’s go Lakers!