Game 3 Reflections, On The Road with NYGL - Chelsea Leeder #26

Our first away game has been an intense experience. I rode with a teammate to the airport, and we decided as a team to wear our long sleeves to travel. We picked other teammates out of the crowd by their jerseys, and then found the crew, and we were electric with energy, despite the early start to our day. Being in the airport in our gear felt professional, it was an extremely validating experience. I’ve traveled to play before, but never with a full squad, decked out in our kits, with a plane ticket that was paid for and booked by our sports travel agency. I felt proud fielding questions from random travelers about what team we played for and where we were heading.

We touched down and shuttled to the hotel, and were met with a spread of lunch fixings before heading to the fields to warm up. I think it was stepping out onto the fields when the heat really hit us. We had left a week of 50-60 degree weather and stepped out into the mid 90s. It was that kind of pulsating, engulfing heat that makes the air feel like it’s wrapped around you. I remembered earlier in the week when my partner had checked the forecast, and (in a very loving, concerned way) told me we were probably going to lose just because it would be such a huge shock to our bodies. At the time, I said no, you don’t know my team, we’re too mentally tough to let that get to us. During warm ups, I definitely felt like that was true. It felt like we all collectively decided to rise up and meet the heat, and our warmup was intensely focused.

The game itself didn’t follow suit. Heat is more than a mental obstacle, it’s a physical challenge to contend with, and it became evident that it was getting to us. We had some cramping issues, and we missed a lot of connections that normally come to us surely. It was also our first game out of our city, and being on the wrong end of a home crowd was a new factor in pro. It was a humbling experience overall, and Raleigh’s flow and chemistry seemed effortless. They are a classy, spirited team, and great opponents. I think every Gridlock player left that game feeling hungry for the next, and a fire to train even harder. We’re ready to take all of this energy and fire and bring it to our next game, so get ready for it.

Eileen Murray