Coffees for Closers…

They say it’s not over until the fat lady sings… In some regards who ever first said this was extremely correct. The only problem is that it’s now politically incorrect to be on the lookout for fat ladies to sing so you can make sure it really is over or to bring up people’s body image, actually we have no idea what is and isn’t correct these days, everyone is becoming rather a little too precious. Actually a fat lady singing might lighten the mood in certain situations. Break ups and other such often traumatic events might just become a little easier if there was a heavyset lady belting out a tune to make you smile or at least grimace. Imagine having to go to court to finalise your divorce and at the back of the room a lady just starts banging out ‘Another one bites the dust’ by the Bee-gees.

The team at A Mind of Its Own would certainly find it more than a little amusing. So back to Fat Ladies singing and it not being over till they do. How does this relate to this weeks blog well it ties in to belief, trust and preparation. You often hear sports coaches telling their athletes to trust in the preparation, believe in the process and have faith your teammates. Well have we got an inspirational story for you. You thought Herman Boon taking TC Williams High school to their first AAA Championship despite all the odds and obstacles they had to overcome not only as a team but as a town divided by race. It showed what believing in a process or in those around you can do or perhaps Miracle on ice is more fitting for this story but either way belief is a strong and powerful tool.

So to tell this story we first need to take you on a journey. The journey starts with a tour of the Australian coastline to a little seaside village in the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. This picturesque seaside town close to the border of Queensland and on the doorstep to the iconic Gold Coast has produced a lot of great athletes over the years. Like many coastal cities in NSW and QLD it is predominantly a rugby league town with the local team the Cudgen Clowns playing in the who cares cup each week against every other who cares cup team. What many people don’t know is that it has a great field hockey history that rich with Australian Representatives including an Olympic Gold Medalist. It is a family town and more than that it is a family club with generations of the same families having donned the Green, White and black in the hunt for victory. The other thing you might not know, is that while the team here at A Mind of Its Own are great at writing and making your laugh each week, we all dabble, participate, turn up, warm the bench or watch hockey games each weekend and have done so since we were little. When we say little we are talking like 11ish but still little enough not to know any better.

And so it was that a Mind of Its Own crew joined Kingscliff Hockey Club Men’s division one on their road to a premiership for the twenty eighteen season. It would be a long season that would not be without some stumbles, falls and hurdles along the way. We’ve often wondered what people think when they see the boys from Kingscliff turn up to the Labrador hockey grounds. An eclectic mix of potato farmers, surf bums, wanna be golf hacks and blue collar professionals. As individuals they each have something to offer to the team from their never funny jokes, to the bloke with the big teeth that just never shuts up. As a team they have bonded and learnt to trust in each other and trust in the preparation and process. A family away from family for some and a great bunch of blokes for others, who are proud to call each other mate.

Throughout the season they proved time and time again that belief in self and belief in each other along with trust in their preparation for each game was paramount but it would shine the brightest in the only match that truly counted throughout the season. With a regular season that consisted of one loss and two draws amongst their many wins, there was no doubt from the Stingers as they affectionately known around the club would be there on the fateful day in September. Having prepared with a solid preseason and lots of sessions at the Leagues Club or Chinderah Pub most of the team were fit and raring to go from day one. From the old heads to the next generation round after round the team poured their heart and soul into every game.

So come finals time it was no surprise that there was a little disappointment from the playing group when they lost their first semi to the poodles and didn’t go straight through to the final instead they took the long route to September and had to play in a major semi final to go through. In the end securing top spot was a good thing allowing the boys from the beach and bush a second bite at a well deserved cherry. With another show of domination the team showed their strength and waltzed through to the big dance against some labradoodles.

September the 8th will forever go down in Kingscliff Hockey Club history as a day to be remembered. It was a day in which belief in a team, belief in the process to get them there and belief in self will forever be etched in the history books or at least the players instagram, twitter and facebook feeds. Having lost to the poodles two weeks earlier the Stingers were out for revenge. Piling on the bus for the long journey up the motorway to Labrador Hockey Complex the air was full of nervous energy and excitement and the sweet smell of hops wafting from those not playing at the back of the bus. Each player lost in their own thoughts and feelings as they explored the what ifs to come. Many of them playing the game over and over in their heads before they’d even stepped out on the field.

The hours ticked by as they waited patiently watching on as other teams took the field before them. Game after game, team after team, winners and losers decided in the matter of minutes. Heroes and villains decided as teams battled to take home the coveted prize. Seventy minutes was all that stood between glory or sadness until the following season when redemption could be sought. Finally the time came for the Stingers to prepare for battle, like warriors of the past marching out to meet an opposing army they donned their armour only it wasn’t in the form of chainmail or armour plating but in the form of plastic shin pads and rubber mouthguards. Sitting there the team listened to the coach layout the plan for one last time that seasong.

Nothing had changed from the first time the coach had written on board, plan would remain the same. The team trusted in their preparation knowing that the rest would take care of itself. The warm up was the same as it had been all year. They ensured they were warm and the keeper was prepared as best he could be. One last little pep talk from the captain and the team lined up to take the field. Seventy minutes left in what had already been a season to be proud of. Seventy minutes standing between them and the outcome they had chased all season.

The whistle sounded in what would be a fierce and fast first half of hockey. The majority of play was in Kingscliff’s attacking half, as they continued to apply attacking pressure earning several attacking corners (For those playing at home its where you get a shot from the top of the circle) The labradoodles dam wall however was holding strong. Unfortunately like all things in sport often things just don’t go your way at times. The poodles managed to net two in quick succession and taking the lead into half two nil up. With the second half in full flow the game was still hanging in the balance almost midway through the second half before a mistake made my an official that would tip the game further in the poodles favour.

At three nil down with only seventeen minutes remaining until full time in the match a lot of people had probably started to write the boys from Kingscliff off. We wouldn’t blame them either, the KHC boys had plenty of chances up front to get themselves back in the game. Now going back to the beginning of this blog where we discussed belief in the process, believe in each other and trust that it’s never over until the fat lady sings. Well after weathering the continued poodle assaults, the dam wall finally burst down the other end. One then two and finally the third came on the cusp of the of the game finishing. As the final whistle for the half blew the team’s belief and trust in the preparation had never waivered.

Going into extra time golden goal the belief in the groups ability and the ability to finish what had started back in March was never in doubt. The play that had the fat lady singing ‘we are the champions’ saw the ball shifted from one side of the pitch to the other, passed down the line and slapped towards the circle as the clock ticked past the first minute of extra time. The ball bobbled into the circle finding a Kingscliff stick and a brilliant piece of individual skill sealed the deal. Like all good stories and movies this one had a happy ending. The belief that had been with the team from Kingscliff from the beginning of there season had got them through and saw them take the premiership four goals to three in extra time.

Elation and excitement buzzed around the ground as players ran in from all directions to find a time mate. Players danced and hugged each other as they celebrated the win, they had danced their way into the history books.The boys from the Northern Rivers had completed the perfect comeback in the game that mattered most of all. It just goes to show what believing in something or someone can do. From the team at a Mind of Its Own we hope you have a great week, dream big and never stop believing…

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