|Credit: Photography by D.E.sign|
The final score wasn't actually close - like 151-88. Yes, we grabbed the lead first and never looked back, and ended up winning by a wide margin.
But that doesn't tell the whole story. It doesn't tell you how we played with only 10 girls to their 16, and three of our girls were battling injuries throughout the night. It doesn't tell you how we were down to two experienced jammers going into this bout, and one brave soul (our bout MVP, Aggrodite) stepped up totally brand new and ROCKED it. It doesn't tell you how many of us were going in for two (three, four, in my case) jams in a row to cover the shortage of people. We were playing hurt. We were playing tired. We had to take a timeout just to rest. What the score doesn't tell you was that we totally went into this the underdogs.
But what it does tell you, is that sometimes the underdog can win.
I'm not going to lie, I wasn't sure if this would happen. I figured it was anybody's game, and if we DID win, it would come down to the wire and it would take me to within an inch of my life. Like I said in my previous post, I've been so tense for the past week that I haven't been able to look anyone in the eye.
In fact, we've all been feeling that way. Our Facebook group discussion for the last three days has been full of "Oh god, I'm trying not to puke" and "IT'S GONNA BE OKAY!!" and lots of nervous reassurances that we weren't going to positively DIE out there. I mean, we've got strong skaters, but so do the Damas, and they've got more people, period. There's a LOT to be said about having a strong reserve so that everyone gets enough rest. And that? was what we DIDN'T have. We have 17 girls officially on our roster, but four are out on injury and three had other commitments that couldn't be canceled. And of our 10 remaining girls, two were still recovering from injuries and one was experiencing pain during the bout itself.
Emotions were running high before the start. Our locker room was full of shaking hands and grim looks. Carl gave us a great pep talk (followed later by a giraffe joke), and because it's our league's first home bout, we were confused about the goings-on in general. Yeah, LOTS of grim "I dunno about this!" looks going on.
But then we started, and we were on our way. I was in the first two jams, and eventually found myself at times doing three and even four in a row. It's exhausting enough to play every other jam, so by the end of the first half, my legs were shaking, I was gasping for air, and I was having a hard time even just getting past their blockers to rejoin my own. I could barely pick myself up off the ground at certain points.
But we were rocking it, and we could feel it. We work together REALLY well. Our strength is in our teamwork. We were holding back their jammer quite a bit and playing smart. We knew our strategy well, and we stuck together. We were really a TEAM.
We had a 40 or 50 point lead going into the second half, but we dared not let up. In derby, it's entirely possible to come back from that, especially when the team in the lead is short-handed and feeling exhausted and beat up, and the team that is trailing is still fresh and smiling. Like I said, the score doesn't tell you the whole story. We had more of us needing time off when we could barely spare anyone in the first place, more of us feeling pain. I hurt my knee sometime in the last few jams. (Yeah, it's going to bruise. I can see it.)
But you know what? I'm not complaining. Because 1) I got LOTS of playing time, and I feel very happy about my own personal performance and contributions, and 2) that victory lap was damn sweet :) I'm really glad that most of my family and some of my really good friends were there to see it.
I'm so happy I could cry. I'm proud to be a Psychopathogen.