Being one of this team’s captains has been my greatest achievement in this sport and maybe comes close in life too. I was named the Defence captain for the development year when we were the old Romans Ladies team back in 2013/14. We only played one friendly game that year against fellow new team Sandwell Steelers, I was very new to the game (was nearly a 49ers fan … that’s how new) and didn’t even understand how it was played, so didn’t understand what being a captain meant or how to be one.
Two years later and after a lot of hard work on getting myself into good form as a player (and picking a better NFL team! Go Seahawks!) I was named Captain again for our third competing year and have continued to hold onto the title to this day going into our 6th competing year with a whole new outlook as the Bears.
For me being Captain means I have the trust and faith from my coaches and team mates on and off the field. I can help coaches by helping to develop and implement any training plans and schemes they have, I can also help talking to the girls for the coaches on any difficult issues or trying to get them on board with certain ideas. As a team mate I try to be a ‘big sister’ and be honest and open with all the girls, be there when I am needed and try to coach where I can too.
On game days everyone gets super nervous and has all this energy and adrenaline they don’t know what to do with, doubts start to creep into people’s heads and this is where I find they need you the most as a leader. Trying to keep everyone calm and upbeat and focused is my main job. But also the team loves its banter, so trying to have a laugh before games whilst warming up or even before we get to the venue is the key to help them have fun with it and get rid of the nerves.
As a captain trying to keep everyone’s head up when we are losing or something goes wrong I find the hardest thing to do. I am a very emotional person myself and find it hard to control my own at the best of times, but trying to do that while sorting everyone else is a struggle and something I am still learning to do.
My favourite part of being a captain is seeing rookies develop into key players on the team and also seeing them own their position on the field that a few months ago they didn’t have a clue what they were doing! My favourite memory as a captain was winning the final game against Teesside Steelers in 2016/17 which meant we came second in our division winning us a silver medal.
My most nervous part of being a captain is giving the team talks before the games, I always wing it on the day but then manage to say something completely silly that the girls always use as a catch phrase that year! Even ends up on a T-Shirt sometimes!
I have had a lot of help from coaches Tom and Gaz, our new GM this year Arran and over the years from Vice Captain/team mate Amanda – without them I would struggle a lot, thanks guys. But I love being Captain and loving get stuck in this season as the Bears with the best yet to come…