A couple of week ago, I was lucky enough to travel to Belgium with my team to take part in our first ever tournament. Gent Go Go Roller hosted 2013: A Skate Odyssey, the first ever WFTDA European tournament.
As a team we learnt a lot of lessons. Most notably, bring your own food and drink. Playing three games over three days while surviving on Pizza and fizzy pop is not the greatest idea. And also that a team sing along of Bonie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart, on track, is the best way to warm up before a 9am game! (maybe also due to sleep deprivation and nutritional deficits! There's a clip on Gent's twitter, go find it and make your own minds up!)
More than that, I hope we gave people, fans and other teams, a little glimpse in to what being a bomber is all about. We went in the weekend seeded 10th. We came home seeded 10th. Yes we lost every game, but it's ok. We expected it. We were only invited to the tournament after three other higher ranked teams dropped out. So we knew that we would probably lose. But that was ok. For us, being invited and getting to play in a wftda tournament was exciting, we didn't care what the odds were. That didn't mean we didn't try, we just wasn't surprised when we struggled against our opponents. Yes, we totally thought we might be able to pull something spectacular off and we went into every game think, we could do this, but when it didn't happen we accepted it and still tried as hard as we could. And most importantly the smiles never left our faces.
A player from one of our opponents actually said to one of my team mates during an epic battering "Why are you all so happy? Your losing" and I don't know what she said back. but I hope it was "because we are playing you, in a frickin' wftda tournament and we love playing roller derby and we are getting to do it all weekend!" But the fact that she said this concerns me. I know a lot of people want the sport to go professional, etc, etc, but at the moment, this is still a hobby, an amateur sport. Yeah, winning is nice, but losing is not the end of the world. It pains me to see so many teams taking the games really seriously and seemingly not enjoying playing unless they are winning. I get it was a tournament so perhaps that is quite important to your league, but really, what do you get if you win? Bragging rights and maybe a nice write up on DNN? I haven't heard of anyone getting a million pound sponsorship deal out of it yet...
We may have lost every game but we had a great time doing it. We made some new friends, hello Lutece Destroyeuses, and we have taken away a lot of knowledge that will be useful in the future. We tested ourselves, we know that we have stuff to work on but we played hard and can be very proud of what we did there. We didn't give up, we didn't let the points spoil the experience. We had a great time on and off the track. Most importantly, we are proud about the way we stood and played and lost as a team. This, surely, should be the most important thing.Share