9 11 Memorial Game | A Tribute to Our Fallen Brothers

A few weeks ago I was contacted and asked if I wanted to play in a game of rugby league to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I was told the the game was to be played between the Police and the Firies. Prior to the game a memorial service was to be held to remember all of our fallen brothers 10 years ago during the tragic events at the world trade centre. I was stoked to be asked to play and jumped at the chance.

An opportunity like this is a major reason why I choose to stay in shape. I have played football my whole life and if I missed a chance to play in the inaugural memorial game between the Police and the Firies I would have been devastated. I would have been devastated because I would have only had myself to blame for not staying in shape. As a 34 year-old my life as a footballer is drawing to a close, so opportunities like this are not going to come up very often, there are not to many more seasons of football left in these legs.

So on the 10th of September 2011 we assembled in camp and got to meet the blokes I would be playing with. There were a lot of familiar faces and a few new ones to get to know. At about 10:00am we had our first training session together. This session consisted of various drills and ball work in order to get familiar with the players that we didn’t know. This session lasted about 90 minutes.

After the first session we broke for lunch and were told to be back for another session at 3:00pm. Given my age I know that I need to concentrate on recovery so at the end of this session I made sure that I did a good amount if static stretching and got a fair bit of water into me. Shortly after the session I made sure that I consumed some simple carbohydrates to replenish my glycogen stores and a protein shake to make sure my body had some good fuel to prepare for not only the next session, but the proposed session the following morning and the game in the afternoon.

At 3:00pm we got stuck into another training session. This session only consisted of team work running in simulated match situations. This session wasn’t overly demanding physically, but again lasted for about 90 minutes. Again at the end of this session I got stuck into my static stretching, some simple carbohydrates and a protein shake. That night I made sure I got some extra food into my body, given the fact that I had trained for 3 hours during the day and had about another 3 hours of activity ahead of me tomorrow.

The next day being the 11th of September 2011 I awoke and headed to a 9:00am training session. This session was just another session of team work running in simulated match situations. This session only lasted about 60 minutes. Again at the end of this session I got stuck into my static stretching, some simple carbohydrates and a protein shake.

 

A Day to Remember our Fallen Brothers

Time to have a week off training and let my head return to it's normal size.

At 1:30pm that day I arrived at the ground for a 2:30pm kick-off. For the hour before the game I made sure I got plenty of fluids into my body, got changed and warmed-up with the team.

As we ran out onto the field I notice a great crowd had turned out to support the game. At 2:30pm the game kicked off, I started the game off the bench, but after about 10 minutes I was thrown into the action. The game consisted of 2 x 35 minute halves with a 10 minute break at half time. It turned out to be an extremely physical and tough game of football that the firies ended up winning 24 – 6.

I was really happy with the way that I played, my fitness level and how my body held up. Unfortunately at the beginning of the second half I copped a elbow to my head. It hurt a bit at the time but I ended up playing on for the rest of the game. It wasn’t till after the game, when my body started to cool down that my face really started to swell up and the pain set in.

A short trip to the local hospital later to be told by the doctor that I had in fact fractured my cheek bone however it would not need surgery to repair it. The crap news was that on doctors orders I wouldn’t be able to do any physical activity for the next 7 days.

In years gone by I probably wouldn’t have followed the doctor advice but being older and some what wiser I decided to take a week of training. I figured without the physical demands of my normal training session, my body could concentrate all of it’s enery on repairing the damage to my face.

My injury aside, this turned out to be great day that I was proud to be part of.

4 Comments
  1. Ouch! That looks painful Niko! What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger though, huh? 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed the game. 🙂 Were you on the Police or Firies team? 😛

    I don’t know much about rugby, where I am from soccer is more popular. I am a more of a lawn tennis type of guy though, lol.

    9/11 seems like yesterday. Such an awful time for the world. 🙁

    • Chris,
      I played for the Police team. I love Rugby League it is the sport that I have grown up on. Soccer is (or football as you would call it), is getting more and more popular in Australia. You will be happy to know that my oldest son has now started playing tennis. What country are you actually from?

      • How could your team let the Firies beat you up so badly Niko? 😀 I’m from Jamaica, it’s a small island in the Caribbean. That’s so great your older son took up tennis. I hope he is enjoying it! 🙂

        • Chris,
          It was one of the more physical games of football I have played. We will try and get our revenge next year on September 11 when we meet again.
          Niko

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