She collapsed after the final whistle. In the arms of Vivienne Peters all her tears came out. Tears of joy, but also old pain from a year ago. Lisa Scheerlinck is back in the Dutch big league with the Oranje-Rood after beating Push . And she doesn’t want to leave for now.
In the pouring rain, Scheerlinck cuddled with all her teammates. With one more intense than with the other. Logically. Because only Carmen Victoria, Janneke van de Venne, Floor Hoogers, Vivienne Peters and Kim Hendrix had experienced the same as them. That painful degradation of almost a year ago.
And that’s what Scheerlinck was working on. “I started calculating,” she admits frankly. If we were to become champions at MOP (May 21), that would be exactly 364 days after the relegation’, she says, while not only the champagne, but also the rain have taken her. It just shows how the lost play-outs from a year ago still haunt her head. “I was already crying a minute before the end. It’s bizarre. We’re just back. In the place where we belong.’
Play-offs, play-outs, relegation and promotion
Lisa was not the only Scheerlinck in tears. Her father and mother did not keep it dry either. They were therefore the first to fall into their arms in the stands. “Everyone has been so sympathetic to me,” she continues. “I’ve been playing here for twelve years now. My parents have been through everything. Playoffs, playouts, relegation. And now this’, then her eyes wet again. ‘My parents live in Tilburg. Around the corner from the club. For half a year I had trouble driving past it at all..’
“Last season was a really shitty year,” she continues. ‘I doubted whether I wanted to stop playing hockey. I would never play for any other team. And when the team completely fell apart, I was in doubt. Certain choices I don’t understand to this day. But that we have now succeeded’, she hesitates and sobs. “It’s all been worth it.”
‘Couldn’t open up to my team’
She was having a hard time. Heavy. Even when the season in the Promotion Class had already started long and wide. She couldn’t quite find her way. And had simply not yet processed the relegation pain. “I have spoken very well about it with my coach. I couldn’t open up to my team. I had to take everyone in tow, but I couldn’t. My teammates started the season as if nothing had happened. While so much had happened for me. I felt misunderstood.’
Scheerlinck slowly found her feet. Noticed difference from a year earlier. She couldn’t avoid that. The culture was good. The group was positive. “Last year, for example, we did everything alone when we were behind. We wanted to solve it ourselves. This year we do everything together. If you go alone, you’ll end up on the couch now. Then you are not part of the team. We are resilient and have power . And always go all-in . That made us champions.’
“Good thing they went”
Sometimes, just sometimes, she thinks it’s been good. What happened in Eindhoven. That twelve players stopped. She felt so alone, but now sees the benefits of it. ‘I am a club person, but apparently others are not. It’s a good thing they went then. We started at zero. With a new culture. I hope from the bottom of my heart that everyone stays next season.’
One of her first good luck wishes this morning came from Lisa Post. Eindhoven native in heart and soul, but moved to SCHC last summer. The defender had to. Given her Orange ambitions. That only makes Scheerlinck proud. ‘Isn’t it nice how she’s doing there? I think it’s very special that she still thinks of us today. I hope she returns someday.’
‘The best revenge there is’
Those are concerns for later. Now it’s time to celebrate. to drink champagne. And to enjoy. ‘I can not wait. This is truly a dream come true for me. And next season? I have confidence in that. Our culture has an open and honest basis. I dare to look up.’
And that first game, later in the fall, at Tilburg? ‘You know.. This is the best revenge there is. We’ll be back within the year. I don’t drive past that club with a stomach ache anymore. In fact, come on. I can not wait.’