By Sarah Brereton
Right from the beginning, Kaos has been a club that prioritised hard work, hard running and grit. Those words were thrown about the very first time we discussed a new team and how we wanted to play in 2008 and have been valued by every Kaos team I have been a part of since. But looking back at my early years of playing I don’t think that I personally embodied all those characteristics. Speed and fitness is not something that came naturally to me and I have always relied on using my head more than my legs to get me to a level where I could consider calling myself an elite ultimate player.
Around 2011 when my Kaos teammate Simone Ryan started running some optional fitness sessions during the Kaos season I knew it was a good opportunity for me to improve and thought that anyone as committed to the team as I was would be crazy not to attend. But far too often I found myself giving excuses for non-attendance. I’m sure they felt legitimate at the time but the older and wiser version of myself knows that the root problem was that I felt well below the standard of my teammates and was too scared to let them see me struggle. Unfortunately, these fears only held me back even more and fitness remained one of my biggest weaknesses as an ultimate player until 2013.
Thankfully, Kaos has been one of the most positive and supportive experiences of my life and turned that weakness into an opportunity for improvement. It took an incredible club culture, an inspiring group of athletes and an epiphany from me to make that happen.
After a few years of optional fitness pods and a growing realisation of the athleticism it requires to be competitive, Kaos made the leap to add a 3rd compulsory weekly training session during the Nationals season. This session was purely dedicated to a Strength and Conditioning program with Casey Peet at the helm. At around the same time I finally began to understand that a big part of building a strong team and a trusting atmosphere was being willing to show and share your vulnerabilities. So, I turned up to every session and struggled through the first couple of seasons of fitness at the back of the pack. AND LOVED IT! My teammates saw my lack of fitness and lack of speed every week, but they also saw my effort and improvement, every week. They cheered me on, celebrated improvements and inspired me to always give a little more. If I hadn’t trusted them with my insecurity, I would not be the ultimate player or the person I am now.
After 10 years with the club I am still there every Tuesday at 6:30pm, often feeling slightly apprehensive about how hard Casey will push me tonight. But I also know that while Casey sets a high standard, I can be the one to push myself to get there and when I am at risk of falling short my teammates will always be there to lift me up and push me on. At 8pm every Tuesday night, when we finish up for the night with tired muscles and full hearts, I inevitably look around the circle and marvel at the incredible group of people around me and the epic session we just completed together. It is about that time every week that I remember why Tuesday 8pm is my favourite time of the week.
*Huge credit to Casey for always designing sessions that suit a range of fitness levels without making anyone feel like they don’t belong there. And to all the Kaos girls over the years, who have always celebrated effort and growth more than achievement.