MY ongoing fitness frustrations in California were tempered somewhat by a free swimming lesson.
Yes, you read that correctly. I’m 34 and needed a swimming lesson – because I haven’t been doing it properly for the past three decades!
While the players who were involved in the tour opener against Sacramento Republic headed to Bonney Field for a training session to prepare for the evening’s game, Joleon, Brunty, Mozza and I departed the team hotel bright and early for more rehab/fitness work at Cosumnes River College.
Mozza joined me in the outdoor pool while Joleon worked in the gym and Brunty did some running work on one of the pitches.
After completing a couple of lengths with what I thought was front crawl, the lifeguard spotted that I was really blowing, so in she jumped to show me the error of my ways.
Apparently, my body rotation, arm and leg actions and breathing were poor. Basically, I wasn’t doing anything right! I’m surprised she didn’t throw me some armbands!
It proved a productive morning and we all headed back to the hotel for lunch.
The lads who were in the squad all rested up during the afternoon ahead of the game, and that’s when your frustrations come to the boil when you’re injured.
It’s a bit strange seeing everyone else preparing for a match when you’re not involved. All players go through this and you just have to put your faith in the medical guys and remain patient.
We arrived at Bonney Field at 6pm – 90 minutes before kick-off – and the California State Fair was already in full swing.
The injured lads watched the game from the VIP tent behind the goal we attacked in the first half. It was pretty packed, with the locals having a beer and tucking into a barbecue.
We got asked for a few autographs and photos, which we were more than happy to help with, and it was great to see around a dozen Albion fans out here.
Some were US-based while others have come all the way over from the UK, which is an incredible effort. I hope they all understand how much we appreciate them being here.
As for the game, we started brightly and got ahead through Dozza’s penalty.
But we’re still in the early stages of pre-season and you could tell the lads were really feeling it after an hour.
Sacramento are obviously fitter because they’re well into their season. They had a really good spell in the second half and put us under a lot of pressure, but I still felt we had a reasonable control of the game.
The fact a lot of the lads got 90 minutes under their belts and that we didn’t pick up any further injuries meant it was a good night’s work.