Sean’s blog: S(no)w Games

As promised, the next in a series of blogs from our American recruit Sean O’Reilly. Enjoy…

I figured that since there is s(no)w Guiseley football this afternoon, I would do what I could to alleviate the pain (or more likely exacerbate it) and keep you entertained (or tormented) by writing a new article.

What will I do with my Saturday afternoon? Be honest, this crossed your mind when you heard that the game was officially called off last night.

Then it slowly dawned on you that, in truth, there are 1000 things that you need to get done Saturday afternoon. The trouble is changing gears and committing to doing something else productive during that time. So, instead of taking care of one, or a few, of those 1000 things, you end up wasting the day watching some other game on TV – or in some cases, meeting your mates for the usual pre-game pint at the local pub…and never leaving.

It really takes a special kind of crazy to be disappointed that you don’t have to go out in the freezing weather for nearly two hours and watch some people kick a ball around. However, it is that special sort of crazy that makes the football world go round and that is what makes clubs like Guiseley AFC tick! That is what makes the sport so fantastic.

After all the football packed in over the holidays, this long break without a game (10 days, if Tuesday’s home game is still on), gives you symptoms of withdrawal. As the saying goes; “Seven days without footie makes one weak”. I for one, can never get enough.

In my experience as a player, I have found that relatively long breaks in season can be beneficial, but in some ways also dangerous. The clear benefit is that it gives some key players time to rest and recover. No matter who you are playing, every game in the league is a battle.

Our quality can only shine through after we have won that battle; as can be seen in recent games like Histon, BPA, and Corby Town. When players are playing two games a week, it takes a toll on the bodies and makes the battle even harder; even when the quality remains. It is thus a welcome break for the guys playing significant minutes and will hopefully re-energize us for the second half of the season.

On the flip side, we are beginning to build momentum in the league with six wins on the trot.

Wally in the snow
Wally in the snow

The squad needs to make sure that the break does not kill this momentum. There is a certain confidence that you begin to build when you go on a run of good results. Each result builds on that confidence and the danger is that a break can make that confidence begin to fade. This can be overcome easily when you have the proper character within the squad, so I am confident that the break will prove a benefit rather than a danger.When I say “Snow games” this is what I’m thinking (see image of Wally to the right). It reminds me of my time in University in Pennsylvania. We had miserable winters there. For large periods we had to train in an old Auxillary gym. It is hard to get much done in a small stuffy gym, on a hard floor, with up to 20 players.

The air in there was terrible to breath and athletes would develop what they termed the “aux cough” during winter training. In the days the artificial turf pitch was cleared, it was a little better for breathing at least – even if your entire body was numb.

It is interesting, many people ask me how the facilities here compare to those in the states. There seems to be an overall consensus that they are far better than here in the UK. While, in some instances, this is the case, it is not necessarily true overall. For one, there are far more artificial fields in the US. I would even go so far as to say, I have played on more turf fields than proper grass fields (grass is far better to play on) in the last few years.

The places where they do make the commitment to maintain nice grass pitches tend to be quite good; but they are rare.

As a rule, most of the sports money goes into the big American sports, namely; American Football and Basketball. Also, it is schools that typically have the nicer facilities, rather than grassroots clubs. Therefore, clubs often don’t have their own facilities and rent from schools.

So, actually, I am quite impressed with the number of small football clubs here in England that have their own facilities and maintain their own fields.

Needless to say, training conditions this week were far from ideal. There was probably more accuracy in our snowballs than our shots.

For me, however, there is something slightly romantic about a training session in snow. It gives you that added feeling of commitment, intensity, and makes you feel that bit more badass.

Seriously, think about any inspirational sporting movie, there is always a scene where the athlete or team trains in the snow – think Rocky. It also becomes a more memorable event; you will definitely remember the times you play in the snow (or any awful weather) more often than others.

The best part is when you actually get back to good conditions and realize you are actually half decent at your sport.

If it turns out that you were being productive, unlike me, I hope reading this gives you a little break. If it turns out you are staring at the wall wondering what to do, I hope I have provided that something for you.

Upwards and onwards. We are Guiseley.

Follow Sean on twitter @seano55 and check out his blog at www.headfirstfootball.com