Between the Posts: Footy.

In less than two weeks, I will be hitting the skies and heading to Sydney, Australia, for the AFL Women's Talent Search. If you aren't sure what that is, think NFL combine for athletes who didn't play football in college.  We will be tested in a variety of fitness areas, including a 20m sprint, a running vertical jump, a standing vertical jump, the AFL agility test, and the ever lovely beep test.  For those of you who aren't sure what a beep test entails, just imagine running back and forth through the 7th circle of Hell and you'll be pretty close to spot on.

After the fitness testing, we will head outside and take on many different football-related skills, including kicking, hand passing, spatial awareness drills, et cetera. The purpose of these drills and tests are to discover female athletes who have the potential to hone their skills through an AFL academy, and hopefully get selected for the 2017 AFL Draft.  In other words, this is our shot to prove we have what it takes to eventually go pro.  The national stage for women's football is finally here, and I'm lucky enough to have the chance to participate.

"So You're Telling Me There's a Chance"

A few months ago, my life plan was to move to Melbourne, play footy with the VU Spurs, and take a shot at the draft. This was before the Talent Search was created, and at the time was the only option for getting to the national stage. I was very excited to be with the Spurs because I had a great time with them when they came over here 2 years ago for their American Tour, and they were fantastic hosts for the Freedom during the last International Cup. Unfortunately, visa issues prevented me from following my dream.  Apparently if you're over 30 years old, Australia doesn't really want you hanging around in their country.  I couldn't afford to not have a job for 6-9 months, and I wasn't going to be allowed to work overseas, so my dream kind of vanished due to logistics. Sucks, right?  There's nothing worse than having an opportunity dangled in front of you, only to be squashed by paperwork.

Side note: If anyone in Australia knows of a company willing to hire Americans, give me a shout.  I may be typing this blog while at work, but I promise I'm a super diligent employee. laugh

Anyway, after I mentally gave up on my dream of moving to Australia, this talent search came along. At first, I didn't really pay attention to the opportunity because I was still feeling down about the visa situation, but after talking to some friends and hearing about Katie Klatt's decision to pursue it, I decided I had to take advantage. Two hours later, a plane ticket was booked and the whirlwind began.


I'm sure most of you reading this have had your trials and tribulations with attempting to train for a footy event in America.  We don't have any ovals or goalposts at our disposal, and people really seem to dislike it when you're kicking a foreign-looking ball at THEIR park.  So far, I have been kicked out of multiple parks for "distracting children," and told to, "stay out of our way" at the YMCA by some very angry tire flippers. Most of my kicking practice as of late has been on the basketball court across the street from my house. My target? A sign that says, "No Soccer Allowed." Fitting, right? I'm not technically breaking any rules so, let me live my life!

Along with the sprinting, kicking, ball work, etc., I have been hitting the gym more than usual. Lifting weights is usually a priority when getting ready for footy competitions, but I have redirected my focus to things that are combine specific, at least in my mind. Cut to me swinging a heavy bag and jumping on it as it "attacks me" while practicing taking marks. This has been very helpful for increasing my awareness through the air, and also increasing my vertical. Add the weird looks I've been receiving from boxers and MMA fighters, and that's a pretty good look into a typical day at the gym the past few weeks. Obviously I'm doing a lot more than just throwing myself into inanimate objects, but I'm going to save that for my next blog post. Try not to pass out from the anticipation.

Work, train, possibly sleep, repeat.

All of this extra training has been pretty taxing on my sleep schedule, but who needs sleep, right? I work nights AND days at various hospitals throughout Los Angeles, so needless to say I basically exist as a ghost to most people in my life, even before this training began. I wake up anywhere between 4:45am - 4:45pm, work, train, possibly sleep, and repeat. I am currently writing this while working a nightshift (I mean, diligently completing ONLY work-related tasks), which doesn't end until 6:30am tomorrow morning. Following my shift, I have training with the L.A. Dragons in Santa Monica. After training, I have another night shift... on Super Bowl Sunday. This is why I'm single.

It's all about playing footy at this point. Luckily, I have plenty of support from the players/staff/friends of the Magpies, the Freedom, the Dragons, and the Revolution, so the sleepless nights and days haven't been quite as bad. The countdown to Sydney is in full force, so watch out! If you'd like to follow along with my journey, feel free to keep reading my upcoming blog posts. You can also find me on Twitter @kimhemenway, or on Instagram @kimhemenway. If you aren't creepy, feel free to add me on Facebook as well. Any thoughts or comments coming from the above social media sites are my own, so fair warning.

As always, I appreciate the support I've been receiving from friends, teammates, and even strangers. You guys are what motivates me to succeed, and I hope I make all of you proud.

Until next time, Internet.

#USAFLGameChangers #USAinAUS #changehergame #aflgamechangers #aflfemale


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