It’s hard to believe that it has been over four months since the European Championships in Amsterdam. When we all met tonight in Dublin for trials to select the 2013 World Cup team, it felt like only a few days had passed since we were arm-in-arm singing “Ireland’s Call” at the top of our lungs to our loyal fans.
Most of the 2012 team came for tryouts, allowing a mini-reunion before getting on the pitch. Although email and Facebook allowed us to stay relatively connected, the internet cannot replace the hugs and laughs we share in person. Plenty of new faces were also in the crowd, including a girl who flew over from the states only to discover that she was not in fact eligible to play.
While my 2012 teammates shed layers to prepare for trials, I put on my hat and gloves. Instead of my stick, I picked up my whistle.
I crossed the line from player to coach.
My collision in our seventh game against Sweden left me with two fractures my leg and a much longer recovery process than desired. I just got off crutches three weeks ago, and the doctors said that I would be pushing it to be 100% by the World Cup. I was devastated. Playing with the Ireland team was a highlight in my lacrosse career and life.
When I received the offer to coach instead of play, I was torn between two great options. Grateful to have a choice at all, I went back and forth weighing all the issues. Either way, I knew that I would still be part of Ireland lacrosse, which has become more important to me than I ever imagined when I showed up for trials a year ago. Was it worth it to take a spot on the team and pass up an incredible opportunity to coach when I wasn’t sure I would be in a condition to play at my fullest?
No. Plain and simple.
I love coaching, and I’m grateful to start this new journey with the Ireland team. Fortunately, the team was really supportive, which made this transition easier. But I wouldn’t expect anything less from this group of girls.
We have a completely new coaching staff this year. Lauren had to step down as Head Coach because she just had her first child, Danny, and being away for long periods of time would be too difficult. Krista just had her son, Jaxon, three days ago, and Jackie had other commitments. We are all thrilled for Lauren and Krista and the two newest additions to the Ireland Lacrosse fan club!
Similar to the prior staff, all of the coaches have a history with the team. Jackie Coyne, the other assistant, played on the 2008 European Championships team and Meg McNamara, Head Coach of Ireland and CW Post, coached the 2009 World Cup team, as well as other years. Unfortunately, Meg couldn’t attend, but we have Julie Clark, 2008 and 2009 team player, and John Cavanaugh, head of Ireland Lacrosse, to help make selections for the 2013 team.
And we have some selections to make! I was really impressed by the overall level at trials tonight. Many players have improved and there were new players who brought a lot to the pitch. It is exciting to see how Ireland Lacrosse is growing stronger every year. After two hours of drills and scrimmaging, we knew that there would be some tough decisions to make. Luckily, we have two more days of great competition to figure it out.