Before this game, we handed out our Rookie Tags. We have a tradition of setting up vets with rookies for the season in a mentor type role. Part of the tradition is that the vets have to make a rookie “tag” for their rookie and the rookie has to take it with them to all team functions. They are usually pretty funny. I created this shield for my rookie, Jalia.
Kase and Rayna made this awesome Majestics backpack for their rookie Olivia.
If we ever lose our day jobs, we might find careers in Michaels Craft Store…
Going into this game we knew that we were on a mission. As started earlier, Portland had its way with us last year and for the first time in years we didn’t win the division and stayed home from the playoffs. We have re-geared our team and were determined to re-take our spot.
Having played the Shockwave several times in my career, I was also excited from a personal standpoint because I know they always bring the best out of me. I love playing physical teams. I also know most of their team from either playing with or against them previously.
I had an additional mission this game as in week 1 I didn’t start for the first time in 11 years. I cannot begin to explain the roller coaster of emotions that happened because of that. I have felt like I’ve had to come back twice from this injury. Once to get back on the field, and another comeback to prove I can still play. I knew what I have inside me still. I knew I just need the right opportunity to prove it.
When you are coming off an injury like this, it can be easy to be tagged as damaged goods. You aren’t as fast as you were. Everyone is looking to see if you are really healthy. It can be exhausting feeling like you have to be on 24/7 just to show you still have it. And when people doubt you, you have to decide how to handle that. Do you start believing them? Or what’s inside you?
I got my starting position back before this game and I knew I was ready and that my team was ready.
We started the game on defense and set the tone early. We were prepared for this game and came out physical. We traded punts. I got in on a couple of tackles and was feeling energized.
Then the Shockwave had a drive to around the 5 yard line. Our defense bowed and held them out 4 straight plays. That was the series of the game. We flew around and refused to let them through. That set the tone for the rest of the game.
Our offense still hasn’t fully clicked on the running attack and it didn’t help that the Shockwave stacked the box in preparation for it. They read our running game well. Thankfully, our passing game caught fire. Rachel Woods found her rhythm and Tessle Rennie, Adrienne Wilson, and Christina Bell-Robinson had big days receiving.
We scored on a pass to Christina to go up 7-0.
Portland go the ball back and we tackled the running back for a loss, stripped the ball, and Jackie McCall ran it back for a TD. 14-0. It’s eerily close to a play we had 2 years ago. I hope that’s a sign because the defense we had that year was pretty good.
We later added a field goal by Melissa Castor to go up 17-0 at the half.
We felt great in the locker room but knew it was not over.
The Shockwave put up 2 nice drives capped by finding receivers on the edge. They pulled within 17-14.
We responded with another score to Adrienne Wilson to go up 24-14.
On the next drive by the Shockwave, their quarterback Hollie Petrie rolled out to pass. Elisha Elden got in her face and she scrambled. I saw this and floated towards the sideline where she was going. She threw the ball earlier than what she wanted because of pressure and I slid right in front of the receiver, caught it, rolled off her back, holding the interception.
I cannot begin to explain how great this felt. You will notice in this clip that I might have lost my mind and thought I was on dancing with the stars. I didn’t care. All the frustration I have felt was vindicated in that moment.
People hugged me on the sidelines. I got teary eyed.
The game was far from over however. Portland got the ball back and drove deep into our territory and scored and a weird play. We had stuffed an inside run at the goal line and tipped the ball away but it went right to Portland’s receiver who ran it in for a touchdown. 24-21.
The next couple of series were a stalemate and we walked away with a win.
I feel like this game was vindication for both me and my team.
We know we have much more to work on. We are far from perfect. But if we can gel more each game we play, we will have a solid season.
After the game, we met up with a lot of Portland players at our favorite after game spot, Azteca. I also had a couple of friends from Portland up to watch the game which was fun.
This week we play the Everett Reign in Everett. Stay tuned!