We have now played the first 3 games of the fall season (and won them all! Booyeah!). Overall, it has been a good experience learning the basics so far and getting a little more comfortable on the court. But I’ll be giving a breakdown of the second and third games in this entry.
I’ll start with game 2 (October 11): You Can’t Sit with Us vs You Go Glen Coco! For this game, we were missing a couple teammates, so we needed to recruit our first spare. As far as I could tell, this didn’t affect our team dynamic very much…mostly because there hadn’t been much time to establish one in the first place. This week, I was a bit under the weather during the game, so I did not retain my all-star status from first week. But my team still did alright. We had a good lead going into the second half but started losing it pretty quickly. We managed to hang on to the lead until the end, but it was getting a little concerning. There were some incredible dodgeball feats pulled off by the more experienced players when they were the last ones from my team on the court and it’s definitely thanks to them that we won. Not that anyone is really expecting the newbies to bust out some point saving moves when we end up in the same position, but a girl can dream!
Working off of last week’s constructive feedback, I think I improved ever so slightly in the right guard position is where I feel most comfortable. The appeal for me comes mostly from fake throwing to deter the other team from attacking which goes to my head as a fun little power trip. I managed to stop a player on the other team from retrieving a ball before it rolled back onto our side, so I’d say I’m learning how to play this position better. I also still enjoy sprinting for the balls at the start of each round just to get energized and help me get my head in the game right away. I’m somewhat concerned I would just zone out and immediately take a ball to the head if I don’t get really into the game from the get-go.
Last week it was game 3 (October 18): You Can’t Sit with Us vs That’s So Fetch! This was the first week when everyone on my team was able to make it, so we actually had 2 spares for the whole game instead of just 1. The games aren’t so intense that 2 spares are strictly needed but it was nice to be on the bench for a few extra minutes in order to watch the game without worrying about what I was doing with my own body in the moment. The extra break allowed me to observe the game play a little more than usual and watch what the more experienced players were doing and really look at how they played the game and adapted to the loss of the players from certain positions.
There was also a referee in training, so I was watching him too and I learned what the rules are that determine which side has to throw ball. Up to this point, I was always looking to the ref to tell us which side had to throw but if I do that, I’m taking my eyes off the players on the other team and opening myself up to getting hit. With this new information, I should be better able to keep my eyes on the prize, so to speak. The rules are fairly straight forward, the team with advantage has 10 seconds to throw a ball. This 10 second count restarts any time a player on either team throws a ball. The team with more balls will always have advantage. If the balls are evenly distributed between the teams, then the team with more players on the court has advantage. If that is also equal between the teams, then the team that hasn’t thrown the most recent ball has advantage. And finally, if neither team has thrown yet, the team who won the last point has advantage. I’m still not sure how that works for the very first throw of the game, but it has yet to be an issue. If your team has advantage, and the ref counts down the 10 seconds without anyone throwing, then you have to give all your balls to the other team. This is something you definitely want to avoid because it gives the other team a huge advantage, when you have no balls for your guards and nothing to block with. This situation has also not happened in any games so far and I don’t expect it to although we have thrown at the last second several times.
At the end of the second half, I was still on the court when we entered sudden death. My team was ahead by 2 points, so we would win despite the outcome of the sudden death round, but I was still determined to try my best. Unfortunately, that did not end with me being a hero for my team. Instead, it ended with me getting hit in the face while reaching for a ball. I could have actually caught the ball because my face deflected it straight up into the air, but I was too dazed from the unexpected blow to my head to think fast enough and realize that in the moment. It’s still a little tricky figuring out what to do and what to pay attention to and what the rules are with everything happening so fast, but it’s slowly coming easier.
After 3 games, we have now played every other team in the women’s league. We have won all 3 of our games and all of the other teams each have 1 win and 2 losses. So, we’re off to a strong start but there are still 6 games left in the season which means we’ll be playing each team two more times. Only time will tell how long we can keep up our winning streak! I feel like we’re working better as a team and the other new players and I have already learned a lot but that’s surely true for the other teams, so we’ll need to keep our heads in the game and give it our best shot every week!
Here’s to continuing the winning streak!
Cat’s journey will continue in her fourth article.