This weekend I trekked up to Redding (262 miles away if you’re counting) for the Tahoe Derby Dames first bout of the 2011 season. I’ve never been one to leave the Tahoe basin before the end of winter, but I’m having so much fun playing it this winter that I had to retract one of my previous edicts.
Tahoe’s been bouting against Redding’s Angry Beavers since the league began in 2008. We’ve lost more bouts against them than we’ve won, and we have never beaten them on their home turf at Big League Dreams…until now. Last night marked what we hope is a turning point.
Truth be told, it was quite a bout. Despite all the practicing and strategy we’ve been working on in practice, for some reason there was some odd energy at the start, leaving us without our usual focus. By halftime we were 29 points down and extremely frustrated. Jack, our coach, saw this, and helped us regroup. The second half started strong, with our jammers claiming lead jammer, our blockers blocking, and our drive to win firmly in place. It was clear that we were playing as a team, more so than we have in the past, and the collective strength of that really helped.
By the last five minutes we had made up those 29 points only to see Redding gain a few points on us. Somehow their jammer got sent to the box before the last jam, so we had a power jam, and our jammer did just that. Kylanator, one of our newer players, just blew through the pack, passing three times and continuing to skate until the clock ran out. Final score – 94-88 in Tahoe’s favor. Were we surprised? A bit. But probably not as much as Redding, nor as much as the spectators, most of whom were Redding fans and had probably seen them play us before.
Given that we had heard rumors that Redding had a bottle of champagne chilling to celebrate afterward, well, the win felt sweet, if only to prove that we shouldn’t be underestimated. That said, there’s quite a bit of work ahead of us to ensure we can continue to play strong, smart and focused the rest of the season.