The One Love Roller Dolls, played their first official bout against the Ruhrpott Roller Girls from Essen on the 30th of October 2011. It was a great bout, perfect organization, the team fought for every point and played a great game, there was a huge audience and they enjoyed every minute of it. It was an event we could all be proud of!
You can watch the official photo album over here!
But why did it take so long to write a blog about it? Why can’t we find a volunteer to write this blog and is it up to the coach to do it? I don’t know, let me guess…
It was great, but it wasn’t perfect, we left with the feeling we didn’t gave it our best. We learned a lot about ourselves and about how to play roller derby, and some of these lessons took us long enough. 😉
We were well prepared for this game, had trained hard and gone through every possible strategy we could handle. We were so well prepared that we already thought it would be an easy win. But when the game started, we immediately noticed Ruhrpott was also well prepared, we were not the only ones playing hard and smart. So we learned Lesson 1: you’re only the winner at the end of the game.
The first half was really exciting, lots of lead changes, two teams playing clever roller derby. The German team did build a strong wall, and we had problems tearing down those walls. I called for a counter strategy, and when I had done my explication, I saw the German coach, from the corner of my eye who had listened to everything I said. (Lesson 2: don’t yell out strategy, the “enemy” is listening). At the end of the first half, Eve’il X jammed in a rough full length jam, was completely beaten up, and was out for the rest of the period. Lucky for us she came back in the second period. (Lesson 3: it’s good if you can take a lot of hits, it’s better if you can avoid them). At halftime we were in the lead with just one point.
Second half started and Ruhrpott took a little lead. We tried to catch up, but little by little we let panic take over. (Never let panic take over, that doesn’t even qualify as a lesson). We started to take more trips to the penalty box and had to adapt our line-ups almost every jam. And there was Lesson 4: make a plan for when things are difficult and stick to it. We were sending in almost always the same players, because we thought the other ones would not be good enough. One month later, in our next bout those same players showed us we were completely wrong about it. (Lesson 5: thrust your teammates, all of them).
Antwerp has a reputation as a team that is working together, but at that time we forgot. (Lesson 6: Teamwork! Always! Also when under pressure!). But still, up to the very end of the bout we had a chance to win. Chicka Lee got a powerjam and looked ready to close the gap, but unfortunately she was sent to the box herself, leaving it to the Ruhrpott jammer to take a decisive lead. (Lesson 7: In Roller Derby, penalties can decide the outcome of the game).
In the end, we lost, 154-111. Not bad, but it felt we could reach for victory and just couldn’t get it. That’s frustrating, and we had to deal with that frustration. Ruhrpott was the better team, they kept it together, they played together and never gave us the opportunity to play our game. So they deserved to win. And that’s the most important Lesson 8: no matter how good you are, if the other team is better you lose, nothing wrong with that, that’s sport.
Learning something makes you humble, and being humble makes you stronger. In the end we are proud of ourself. It was a great first bout, perfect organization, good game. And those lessons, we learned them all right, which was clear from our 2nd bout (against Metz Roller Derby Club (France)). But sometimes it may take a little time to understand and deal with it, and then the readers have to wait for their blog.
Ruhrpott Roller Girls, congratulations and thank you for giving us the opportunity to learn, we’ll get back to you on that rematch soon ;-).
PS. We won the after party, that’s for sure 😉