Reflection: The Year 2012

After the high of winning Gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi I knew that I was going to do everything it took to replicate that feeling and achieve the same goal at the Olympics. Gold at London 2012 was my goal, my focus, my dream. I was picked in the Olympic squad late in 2011 and had the process of achieving my dream all planned out. Unfortunately, in sport, things do not always go to plan.

During an olympic year the whole squad is based in Perth and becomes full time athletes meaning we are not allowed to work or study. Our training schedule consists of about 12 or 13 sessions a week plus meetings and recovery so every day is very busy. Our squad is made up of 27 girls including three goal keepers so all year we have been subject to selection for the various tours and international games. Things did not start well for me with the first tour to Argentina being released and my name was not on the sheet. Now I have missed out on teams before. I understand that playing for your country is a privilege you must earn and not a right. I also knew that the only way to ensure it didn’t happen again was to train harder than ever before and leave no stone unturned. So, I spent the next three weeks training hard to get myself in good form and ready for the next trip. We played a series in Perth in which I got a couple of games and did ok. But so did the other keepers. The next big tour was to NZ. We had played 3 games against the USA in Queensland before this selection, one of which was my best game for some time. As a goal keeper, sometimes a single goal can be the difference between winning or losing and getting selected or not selected. Unfortunately letting in two goals in the previous game cost me so again I missed out on the tour. Now it was starting to hurt.

The final tour before the Olympics was the London Cup. On this tour the team would get the opportunity to train on the Olympic pitch and make any final adjustments in tactics and combinations before the Games. I had four weeks of training, practice games and club games to prove myself worthy of a spot on this trip. The training was tough, food was invaluable and sleep was the only way to mend my sore muscles. I gave it everything. Selection time came and Lynch did not appear on the list. I was devastated. I was told I had been training and playing better than they had ever seen but it still was not enough. So for the fifth time this year I had to turn up at training and push myself as hard as I could knowing that may dream was slowly slipping away.

Now this story does not have an ending. Well not yet anyway. This week we were given five days off in order to recover and also be in our desired location when the team was announced. I chose to head up north to Exmouth WA with my brother as it was somewhere I had always wanted to visit and he was the person I wanted to be with on the day. We had a fantastic time!

The team was announced on Sunday and much to my disappointment I was not selected in the 16 or as a reserve. I was devastated but in all honesty I have had several weeks to prepare myself so this time no tears. It is heart breaking but it does not mean an immediate end to this journey as the Olympics are not for another 37 days and up until the first day of the Olympics the team can change. Any injured player can be replaced with someone else from the squad so the group of us that weren’t selected have to keep training and make sure we are ready…just in case. And I can tell you from experience that this is one of the hardest things an athlete will ever have to do. But I vowed to have no regrets and its not over till its over so I will continue to give my all in each and every session until the end.

I love playing hockey and representing my country so I am not about to stop. In sport as in life there is always the chance of failure but the rewards are great so nothing is going to stop me trying.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported me along the way. My family are so patient and always there for me, as are my friends. I have the best club, state and national team mates any one could ever wish for. Thanks to The Butcher Shop Vic Park, Supa IGA Waterford, Dair, Eltham College, OBO, Atlas and Super Advice Services for sticking by me and helping me out this year. And thank you to everyone who reads my posts. I really enjoy writing them and hearing all the feedback so keep the comments and questions coming.

9 thoughts on “Reflection: The Year 2012

  1. Rachael, qué huevos tenés! This is an ordinary and actually kind of vulgar expression that we have to express our admiration to those with the guts and courage that you have!

    You certainly are part of the history of the Hockeyroos with th great performance shown in the last world cup and with the gold achieved in the Commonwealth Games, and think that your commitment and strenght are the ones that probably motivated those picked today to improve and work to be ready for the challenge. So from my point of view, you are definitely part of London 2012…

    We met you back in 2007 in Quilmes, Argentina, and you were the best ambassador of Australia showing all your kindness to us and everyone. In 2010 we had the chance to meet again and see you in action, enjoying every minute, and having the chance to spend time with you parents too. Then you win the gold in India, medal that you run to share with your father in Indonesia doing what I believe is all parents dream when raising a son/daughter. Because of all of these, and as I said on twitter, you will always be in ‘our’ team (Tete, my daughter, even picked your 27 number as her number)…

    We will certainly share your post with our kids, as you are setting quite an example in sports and in life.

    Kindest regards, to you and your family.

    Moran Family, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

  2. Well done on all that you have achieved over the years Rachel. Please do not let this bump in your journey stop you from achieving at the highest level you can achieve. Your positive attitude should be seen by everyone, I know several young hockey players have enjoyed your talents over the year. These young players need roll models like yourself so they can live their dreams to.
    All the best for the future in what ever directions it takes you.

    Rodney (Rocket) Johnson UGSHA.

  3. you are amazing June….sorry about the disappointing news but know that as a person you always excel, lead by example, maintain a positive attitude and enjoy what you do. You are a great team player and add so much to the group. I’m back in Perth so we will have to have a catch up soon…ride and coffee maybe?? xx

  4. As a mother of an aspiring goal keeper, I can only say how much I admire your tenacity. Your article was raw & honest. It’s a strange thing when your best is not enough. Competing at this level is hard going, both physically & emotionally.
    A goalkeeper has a tough road to travel – one goal can mean you’re hero or not.
    Just remember, family & true friends share your journey – the highs & the lows.
    I’m glad you said this is a story without an ending. I will continue to cheer for you. Stay strong & positive.
    You really are an inspiration!

  5. Hey Rachel,
    I love reading your post! You are the one who inspired me to keep going even when things aren’t going my way. Now I am playing SL1 for my club and I want to thank you for all of your posts that have helped me to fix little things, and It has always been my dream to play against you and I might get that opportunity sometime in the future.

    I’m so glad to see you never giving up on your dream.

  6. Hi Rachael,
    Just read your above post and I wanted to congratulate you for your positive attitude and dedication. It was a joy to read and I am certain you have inspired many people.
    All the very best to you.
    Corinne (Briana’s Mum).

  7. Very nice article Rach. What is good to read is, you neva gave up….and thats where you won the battle. Good job and keep up the good work.

    All the very best in SA next year, will be reading your post.


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