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:
- 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
- Listen to what your bench coach is shouting at you, not your benched teammates
- Refs are confusing and will be ignored until they make me get off the track
- Look behind you, not in front of you
- Pay no attention to those blockers purposefully, repeatedly targeting you - chances are they've already distracted you from something you should be doing
- 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!