Monday, 1 October 2012

Beaten But Not Beaten Down

These are not the faces of the winning team. These are my teams faces
after loosing their first ever bout by over 100 points. This is why I
have spent the last day on a complete high.

Sound strange?

We went into our first ever tournament this weekend. Not only had we
never really played a proper match, we had never even played on a
proper track. We are a brand new league full of players who have
skated for less than a year. And who have only been playing together
for a few months.

The thing that brought those smiles to our faces is that we know we
left nothing behind. We gave our all during the match and left
everything we had on that track. We were outmatched but we fought and
the score showed that, with more practice, we will have what it takes.

I started the day watching the two teams we were scheduled to play
later that day, play each other HARD v CRDL.

HARD was full of women who were mostly the size of two of our women.
They were big hitters and hard to budge. CRDL were like a precision
flight team. They worked in unison. Talked in numbers for their play
formations and were all amazonian.

CRDL thrashed HARD.

The day was too long and emotional to go into a great amount of
detail. But there are a few moments that I wish I could live over. At
least by writing them here I will never forget.

Bout 1 IWRDL v HARD 170ish to 70ish

- Before the bout the teams get to have 10 minutes skating on the
track. Most of it is meant to be spent getting used to the surface.
But for us most of it was used telling each other what all the lines
meant (THAT'S how new we are, we needed to have the lines pointed out
lol) and going over the rules about the outside track, seeing as when
we train we don't have enough room to have an outside track. And
getting used to the rope that is the track boundary.

- I started having a bit more pack awareness. One of the mistakes I
have made a few times in practice is being too far away from the other
players as I'm chasing someone down to hit them. This match I feel I
had a much better feel for where that 10ft mark was and managed not to
engage with anyone outside the engagement zone.

- At one point all of our team bar one blocker was in the penalty box.
That one stood out there alone and just kept trying to hit their
jammer over and over. It's impressive to see someone so new, put so
much in.

- The night before one of our coaches had said to me if I said sorry
to anyone she would punch me in the face (it was said with
motivational love). At one point I was already going in for a hit as
the end whistle got blown. But it was too late as I was already in
motion and I hit her. Before I could stop myself, I said sorry. She
laughed and said don't apologise. I quickly skated to my coach. Took
out my mouth guard and knelt in front of her. She asked me what I was
doing and I explained that I had just apologized and I had come in for
her my punishment. She cracked up, called me cheeky and thankfully
didn't actually punch me in the face.

- After the game was over the other team came over and joined in as we
were all cuddling each other. We then do a skate around high fiving
all the spectators and other team.

- During our cool down a player from a different team came up and said
she and a few of her team mates had been watching our game. She said
she thought it was a great game and asked who else we had bouted. I
told her it was our first. She looked shocked. She then asked how long
we had been playing together. And I said 4 months. And she was really
impressed. Then she asked if we had members who had played before and
I told her we only had three. Her reaction was amazing. She had such
positive things to say and the most impressive was that she couldn't
tell just how new and inexperienced we were.

If we were the underdogs against HARD. We were lambs to the slaughter
against CRDL. They had virtually perfected things we could barely
remember to think about let alone do.

Bout 2 IWRDL v CRDL 293ish to 11.

- 11 points to nearly 300. It sounds pitiful. But I can't tell you how
hard we worked for every one of those points. Before the game started
our coach showed us a photo of one of the other scores from the day.
It was 350ish to 3. She told us if we could do even just one point
better than that she would be ecstatic. My absolute favourite part of
the day was our team and supporters on the side lines (which were a
lot of other teams as well) reaction to every point we got. We raised
the roof. We cheered and screamed and stamped, jumping up and down
like we had just won the game. I like to think we showed people that
the best part of IWRDL is the team spirit. The fact that we were not
going down without a fight. Even if that fight was like watching
rabbits stand up to lions. As we stood as a pack waiting for jams to
start I often looked over my shoulder and smiled or winked at the
other team. I wanted them to know we knew we were going to be beaten
but that we would enjoy every minute of it. The roar of us and the
crowd for every one of those 11 points lifted us higher and higher.
Beaten but not beaten down.

- One of our coaches telling me to do a particular play that worked
and took us from 1-4 points. Of course it wasn't all me :) but it was
my best play of the day.

- Finally finding my voice and yelling to the other girls. Usually I'm
so caught up in my own head that I don't vocalize what I'm thinking.
Having a few jams where I was yelling out, pushing and pulling a few
of the other girls into blocking positions. Having our jammer behind
me as I'm yelling what I'm doing trying to make holes for her to get
through. I saw a few of my skills come out and I have so much more
confidence in myself.

I could go on and on. About everyone and everything. But let's be
honest, nothing can capture the feeling of that day. The joy I felt
every moment on the track. The pride I feel in myself and every IWRDL
member, coaches and benchies included. It was a day worth bottling.
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