This time last year, I was exhausted. We'd just come off the back off three weeks of trials and A Night on the Fields at Leonay Oval. What a difference a year makes. I'm still exhausted but for all the wrong reasons. The last three weeks have been mentally exhausting.
The committee has been planning the last three weeks of trials at Leonay Oval to have them all washed out, except for three Sunday games we did manage to play.
I've seen many a Facebook post, Tweet and text about how disappointed the kids are. Believe it or not, before I even saw these, I already knew that. I have two boys of my own and I've been planning these trials since November last year. I know how disappointing it is when the first footy games of the year are called off. Our committee has worked their butts off every week to stock the canteen, order meat and bread, and prepare the fields for footy. And every week we've had to call them off, we've been equally disappointed as the kids.
We cannot help the weather. Heavy rain makes it unsafe to play. If you'd like to talk about how they played in the mud in the old days, that's great. I too love to talk about yesteryear but we live in 2014 now and have to deal with the rules of 2014. We have a duty of care to our players and we are financially liable to any damage that happens on Leonay Oval. The committee shoulders that responsibility. We wanted our trials to go ahead just as much, if not more than the kids, but we are the grown ups and we have grown up responsibilities.
Sadly, even though we cannot help the weather, there were people who wanted to criticise decisions that we made. As I said earlier, I'm exhausted. Our president Pete Foster is exhausted. Our committee is exhausted. The season hasn't even begun! It's mentally draining to have people criticise you as a volunteer when all you are doing is your absolute best. And we're not doing our best for ourselvesl, we're doing our best for all 398 Emu Plains JRLFC players and their families.
Hopefully these very loud criticisms we have heard or received via conversations, phone calls, texts, Facebook posts and messages, tweets and the good old rumour mill, are simply a vocal minority. Thankfully there were some positive people in amongst the negativity and I thank every single person who said, "You're doing the right thing", or "You can't control the weather". Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope that's how the majority of Emu families feel.
Our coaches have also been working hard to assess our players during training with the knowledge that they might not get to see their players in a game situation before having to split sides for Round 1. I thank them for their efforts in what has been one of the most difficult pre-seasons the district has experienced.
Every club has had to cancel trials. Every club is selecting teams based on little or no game time. Coaches will name their sides this week and we know this is based on training alone. That is the way it will be for us and many other clubs in 2014.
Lucky, this is just a game and there are much much worse things that can happen to us than rain and missing three games of footy. I believe they call this a #firstworldproblem. This is the greatest game of all but it is just a game. Please remember that.
Starting tomorrow night, 2014 teams will be announced in each age group. It's not ideal that we haven't played a trial but there is no time left. With round 1 kicking off on the 26/27 April and Easter and ANZAC Day falling in the school holidays, we simply have to pick teams based on training.
If you have a problem with any decision the committee or a coach has made so far in 2014 please do not hesitate to put it in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org Better yet, if you think you have something to contribute in regards to ideas and opinions about running the club, you can find a committee nomination form on our website.
Here's hoping for sunny days and a dry winter so we can play some footy and have some fun. I think that's what it's all about.
On behalf of the committee,
Our Season Launch is on Thursday 24th April at 6pm in the SkyLounge at Penrith Paceway. Everyone is welcome including Saturday parents and officials. Get a table together and enjoy a fun night out at the trots. Please phone Shrek for tickets. Tickets must be purchased by 21st April - tickets not available at the door.
Trials at Leonay Oval will not go ahead this weekend. Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th April games are cancelled due to the current state of the fields.
As the Under 6s are not yet divided into teams, training will still be on tonight even if it's just to physically out them into their teams as a group and hand them a piece of paper with their game time on it. We realise the weather has not made our pre-season process easy and we thank you for your patience in organising our Under 6s.
As showers are forecast for Friday (fingers crossed they're light) we are going to move training to Wednesday 9th April 5-6pm at top field. This will help us select sides for the trial and at least get the boys on the paddock for training.
Please pass this onto any other Emu Under 6s families you know.