Surging Rookies Focused Future
Arriving at a field on a chilly and rain splattered Sunday morning in Sydney’s west is hardly the way someone would spend their ‘day off’. However, on this day there was something special and equally exciting about making the journey. It was the tantalizing prospect of watching and meeting the defending Legends Cup winners, the NSW Surge, veterans and rookies, training together for the same common goal, to make the NSW Surge team and win the illusive trophy back-to-back.
It is 10am and the girls are being led through warm-ups. Across the field I can see rookie Anna Garliss from Cape Charles, Virginia, taking snaps under the tuition of QB coach Scott Abercrombie. As I stood there and watched the team come together, receiving their instructions from the coaches to formally begin the session, it was apparent that I was about to witness something that only seeing and hearing could make you feel as though you’re part of something more. The girls’ willingness to learn as they listened intently, together with their focus on what was being delivered visually so they had processed the drill before applying it was inspirational enough.
The drills the girls were given were designed with the purpose of pushing this crop of rookies and returning veterans alike to the next step. Receiving accuracy, tackling correctly, play movement, running, body stance and weight distribution to name a few. As I observed, instantly you could sense the pattern. Accuracy, technique, execution and commitment to the cause are key elements necessary if you wish to be even considered into the Surge family.
This group of potentials has come from different sporting backgrounds, including soccer, netball, rugby league and rugby union. These sports were a mere stepping stone to the more physical and competitive world of the LFL. When asked what induced them into the sport, there were various reasons as to why they made the jump. Breaking down the walls of stereotypical opinion and challenging themselves both mentally and physically are just two of the factors which helped shape their decisions.
Surge rookie Rhiannon Keith said, “You can be beautiful, aggressive and strong.”
Elle Clark chimed in at this moment with “Strong is the new skinny.”
Keith continued, “I just think that being strong is beautiful. Girls that take pride in this fact, it will just resonate through their life.”
Rookie prospect, Jess Mancini, had a personal reason she shared with us about her dream to play in the LFL with the Surge.
“On a personal note, I recently had my stepdad pass away and I didn’t want to let any opportunity slip away, I wanted something more challenging,” she said.
Mancini exuded passion as she spoke of her goals and the girls around her.
“ Just to look back on my life and say ‘I was proud to be part of this team’ and that I got as far as I could. These are supreme athletes, and that’s something I want to strive for.” She said.
Anna Garliss, who studied at New Mexico State University, grew up as a kid playing football in the states before coming to Australia to live. Anna found out about the LFL and knew she had to be a part of it. She has a fair idea on the positions she would like to specialize in while in camp, one could be QB.
“I’d love to play quarterback, it would be amazing,” she said. “I’ve thrown a football around for a long time growing up; you kind of get the feel for it. However, I’d also like to possibly be a wide receiver or tight-end, definitely offensive.”
Elle Clark is no stranger to competition, having played Ice-Hockey, Soccer and Rugby prior to joining the Surge train-on squad. She had another reason for coming to the LFL, her brothers. I asked her if she was trying to compete with them. She squashed that idea with a laugh.
“My brother’s? Hell no, they’re trying to compete with me,” she mused. “I just grew up really aggressive I guess, because they were always having fist fights with me and you never want to be the weakling so football seemed to be a good sport. It’s rough and aggressive and that’s what I’m here for.”
This is certainly true and you can’t help but feel inspired when talking to these girls. Being strong and aggressive was demonstrated when we completed the sprint section of the training session.
Joe, the conditioning trainer, led us in a killer explosive fitness section, which Australian LFL Writer, Michael McGill and I took part in.
This is where the girls showed their ultimate commitment to their sisters and the Surge name. Cheering and encouraging each other on as the sprints and resistance to pain got harder and harder almost to breaking point. No-one dropped out, no-one gave up. Time and again we were sent down the field with little time to catch our breath. When we did stop for water it was a short interval, no more than one minute. At the completion of the grueling session, suffering from exhaustion, some of us collapsed on the ground and all around me the girls were congratulating and hugging each other.
The bond between the rookies and the veterans was clearer than ever.
As I was kindly given a hand up off the grass -where I was desperately trying to catch my breath- I realized that no individual was above anybody else in this team and that today I had arrived an outsider but left a member of the ‘Surge Family’. In this moment, it was clear that this team is special, focused, committed and results driven. It’s these things that will help them achieve great things from the forthcoming 2014 Legends Cup League season.