There Will Be Bruises

Last night was my second scrimmage with my new team. It was a mixture of some teammates I've played with before, some returning vets who I haven't played with yet, and some unteamed freshies. The warm-up was unfortunately awful for me - it focused on close hitting, so you skate next to your partner and repeatedly tap them over and over. Hit, reset, hit reset. Stuff that I really need help with. But my timing is so dreadful that most of the time my hits are comparable to a nudge. *Nudge* Hey you, mind getting out of my way? *Nudge* Wait, you're still in my way ... *Nudge* Why haven't you fallen down yet?

And in contrast, as soon as it's the other person's turn to hit, I fall nearly every time. Which is frustrating and eventually embarrassing. I almost feel it necessary to apologize. And I hate that when I get frustrated my first instinct is to complain and give up. "This is bullshit! I'm outta here ..." Then a few seconds later I'm ready to try again. I've really got to get this hitting thing down. A lot of it is about timing and coordination, and I'm a bit lacking in those areas.

The hesitation, combined with my ineffective blocking tendencies, are then taken into scrimmaging -- where everything is already a hot mess. It's like tossing a baby foal into a pen full of hungry lions and screaming at it "FIGURE IT OUT!!!" and all the foal can think is "Hang on ... I just figured out I can walk here ..." I try to get as low and wide as possible, so at least I have the hopes of appearing like an impenetrable wall. It can work until I realize I'm staying in one place, and not shifting around enough. Or until I realize my team has been shouting at me to do something other than what I've been doing. And I hear the shouting. Oh, yes, I do in fact hear it. Do I acknowledge it? Usually not, if it's all negative. Because surprisingly, negative reinforcement doesn't motivate me all that much. Maybe I should mention that to someone ... I'm definitely trying to discern what the hell is going on and how I can be at least a little bit useful, but the basics of strategy can just zoom right by me.

I think I did learn some important things though:

  1. Whenever certain people hit me, we'll both go down in a blaze of glory and I'll be amazed I can get back up again
  2. Listen to what your bench coach is shouting at you, not your benched teammates
  3. Refs are confusing and will be ignored until they make me get off the track
  4. Look behind you, not in front of you
  5. Pay no attention to those blockers purposefully, repeatedly targeting you - chances are they've already distracted you from something you should be doing
  6. Stop touching the other team so much (hello, forearm penalties!)

And even though some of my teammates might be crazy, we're clearly all crazy for doing this. So hey - that's two things in common!