International Footy: From a Raven’s point of view

 

Karin Flodin

I had my first encounter with Australian football back in 2011 when I went to visit my sister Anna in Melbourne. Read about it in Yvette’s story here.

Staying in a household (Yvette Wroby’s) where footy is a major part of life, I was soon introduced to the sport and the passion that it brings to so many Aussies.

 

Karin and sister Anna are holding the flag

 

Even though I really enjoyed watching the games, the thought of actually trying it out myself never even crossed my mind. Then, about a year ago a friend told me about Port Malmö Lynx, this women’s team in my current hometown of Malmö in southern Sweden. Being relatively new in town I was quite keen to find a hobby and to get to know some new people, so I decided to give it a go. Twelve months later I was making my debut for the Swedish Ravens in this year’s Euro Cup in Bordeaux!

 

I’ve spent the last year training with the Port Malmö Lynx. With previous experience from handball and volleyball, the hand passes and marks have come relatively easy, while the kicking and tackling have proved to be more of a challenge. I was thrown into the deep end when I played my first ever game in the Champions League tournament in Amsterdam in April. I barely knew all the rules at that point, but I’ve learned so much over the summer and felt much more confident now leaving for Bordeaux and the Euro Cup.

 

 

 

We entered the tournament with a full squad of 16 players. We play 9-a-side, which means we had plenty of substitutes, a rare luxury for us. The women’s division had seven competing teams and we were drawn to play against Croatia and Ireland in the group stage, with Croatia being our first opponent. In one way, this was probably the most important game for us. We knew that Ireland would be a hard nut to crack and that beating Croatia was crucial if we wanted to get through to the semi-finals. On top of that, the Ravens lost the bronze match to the Croatian Queens in 2016, so there was some healthy rivalry thrown into the mix as well.

 

We went onto the pitch with our spirits high, slightly nervous, but still focused and determined to start off the day with a victory. And that we did! We ended up winning the game with 69-7 and I also managed to score my first goal in the yellow and blue. After this triumph we unfortunately suffered a couple of losses, first to The Irish Banshees and then to the would-be Champions, The England Vixens in the semi-final. At this point our moods had dropped a bit and we were beginning to feel tired after a long day of footy. However, we managed to pull ourselves together before the bronze match and get our spirits back up for the final battle against the French Gauloises. It turned out to be a hard and intense game, where both sides fought bravely, but in the end, we came out on top and finished 3rd in the tournament!

 

I can think of few better ways to celebrate my one-year footy anniversary, than with a Euro Cup bronze medal. It is a fantastic reward for all the efforts that have been made in order for us to become stronger as a team. For all those internal training sessions during dark, cold and sometimes snowy Swedish winter nights and for all the hours spent on the field working on our skills and fitness, the Bronze and the experience, were worth it. Still, despite all the hard work, every single moment spent with the people in this small Scandinavian footy community has been great and I’m so lucky to have made all these amazing new friends. The trip to Bordeaux was a terrific experience in so many ways. Yes, most of it was about footy, but there were also plenty of other moments shared with my team mates, great memories that will last a long, long time.

 

It seems the word on the street is true; there is some real good stuff to be found outside of the comfort zone. And who knows? If we push on just a little bit further, we might even stumble upon gold…

 

 

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says:

    Great first article Karin. Hope for many more.

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