A letter to my team mates

I used to play football, and at the highest level I played I was a goalkeeper. Some say you have to be mad to be a ‘keeper, after all a single mistake can cost a match, and at times before games when the nerves kicked in I’d agree with that statement. Sitting in the passenger seat of my dad’s car as he drove me to yet another obscure football ground I used the time to get my head straight. Music has always had a way of getting me in the right frame of mind, so the playlist I put together for journeys to matches was a really important part of my preparations. The song I’d always finish with as we drove into the ground was “Ready to go” by Republica. For a number of years this song was played at the Stadium of Light when the Sunderland players ran out onto the field, so growing up this song was always one I associated with excitement and awe at the players in front of me. I guess by listening to this I could pretend I was preparing to run out at the Stadium of Light, even if in reality it was usually a waterlogged pitch with torn nets and only three corner flags.

What I'm trying to say is, I’m a great believer that what really counts is how you approach something and with what attitude and mindset. Again referring to football, you only need to look at the FA Cup to see that no matter what a teams’ fitness, skill level or status, heart and attitude will often render these irrelevant. Next week we head to Belgium and we’ll be seen as an underdog. But no one has a bigger heart than the Mavericks. My playlist is prepped, so that’s me ready to go. Do whatever you need to do to prepare and be ready, but know that all that matters is when we look left and right and see those purple shirts. Let’s go and absolutely smash this and have a bloomin' good time.

Oh, and before you ask, yes, Pocketful of Sunshine by Natasha Bedingfield has made it onto the playlist.

Written by Jen Merritt