Shakedown vs. Third Alarm
Recently, the Chicago Outfit Shakedown hit the road and headed out to Indianapolis to take on the Naptown Roller Girl's Third Alarm. Other than a scrimmage against the DuPage Derby Dames, this was our first game of the season. Though we knew we were facing a tough opponent, we were pumped to get our season rolling.
The ladies had been practicing their hearts out for months and it was finally time to put that practice to the test. Upon arriving we all discovered, to our dismay, that the floor we would be skating on was slick and cracked in spots. It was an intimidating space even for skaters who had played past seasons. While nothing throws off your mental game quite like a bad floor, the Shakedown held it together and warmed up together with the same old positive attitude.
For several of the ladies on the team this was their first roller derby bout ever. They may have been a bit nervous beforehand but once the first whistle blew they went out and skated like pros leaving the slick floor forgotten. Though we were behind throughout the game, the entire team became more cohesive and supportive of one-another on the track with each jam and we came out of the bout feeling like more of a team than when we went into it.
The Shakedown is a tight group outside the rink, but we all knew we might run into problems initially with trust and teamwork on the track. To be a truly great team, the members must trust and anticipate each other. Unfortunately we did not all have the months under our belts of solid team practice. This, of course, is no one’s fault! The ladies that played are hard-working and we had a great mix of veterans and new girls. The mix took some getting used to, but by the end of the bout everyone as a team visibly grew together. We learned how each other played when placed in a real bout scenario and we got substantially more used to trusting each other and our own instincts.
The Third Alarm ended up beating us by a little bit, 329 -70, but we played hard, learned a lot, and had a great time. We made adjustments as we went and were playing a much more effective game by the second half. We never let up on our intensity and spirits remained very high on the bench. The Outfit plays to win, but more importantly we play to have a great time. Why else play at all? With this in mind, it’s great to see such fabulous bench attitudes at the beginning of the season. It’s already plain to me and everyone else on the Shakedown that this is going to be a crazy fun season. After the game all I could think was that I couldn't imagine a better group of women to have as teammates and that I couldn't wait to get to play with them for the months to come.
The Naptown Roller Girls were fantastic hosts and even had home-made food waiting for us when the game was over! They were incredibly inviting and their own mental and emotional game was sharp, yet fun. I look forward to a re-match sometime in the future. We'll get 'em next time!