...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What makes us go ouch on Thursday mornings

One of the good things about having been such an unsporty kid for more than half of my life is that I still have the joy of discovering new sports. I was practically a benchwarmer in P.E. class; I was afraid of flying balls and I had (and think I still have) the coordination of a guy who has two left feet. Just to show what bad condition I had, I had a fever the day after the high school physical fitness test. And later on in high school, I only excelled in one "sport" – if you could even call it that – and it was something as odd as stiltwalking. They make you do weird stuff in girls' schools.

I have to thank anime for getting into any kind of training routine at all. If it weren't for Samurai X (featuring a reverse-sword weilding, red-haired samurai), I would not have gotten into kendo, which would not have led me to running and spinning, which in turn made me dare to learn how to ride a real bike. I couldn't dare imagine how sedate my life would have been without, ironically enough, watching anime marathons on TV.

It's a new year and I thought that I would finally learn how to swim. Instead (but not regrettably), I found myself trying out a new sport I haven't even heard of until I got to Sweden: innebandy a.k.a. floorball.

Practicing before the game. Forgive my un-floorball-like posture.

The best way to describe it is that it's like hockey, but not really. There's no ice, no skates, no body padding or helmets, no body checking, in our case no goalkeeper, and no puck. Instead of a puck, there's a white hollow ball (a "floorball ball"), to which we use correspondingly lighter, hollower versions of the hockey stick (a "floorball stick"). The basic rules are like any other ball game: run towards the opponents' goal with the ball and try for a goal. And in between: pass, steal, run, run, run.

Since it's my first time ever to try this sport, the guys let me in the court the whole time, except when I was drinking water and taking pictures (Hooray for the ex-benchwarmer!). Last week, there were a lot of players and I basically just jogged around with them for an hour trying to get a feel for the game. I shot an easy goal three-fourths into the game. I was happy, but to be honest, it wasn't spectacular because the scoreboard was already at 20+ on each side. This week, with just three players present on each side, I got to practice a bit more before the game started and got to be more involved in the game despite not having scored.

Floorball makes for great pictures! I'll show you while trying to explain this bit of the game:

Here's someone from the opposite team trying to hit the goal. Marcus (from my team) is lunging in the foreground. He's keeping an eye on Micke, the guy in black near the goal, who might try for a rebound in case the shot is missed. Keep an eye on Marcus. You'll see him again on the other side of the field later.

The ball dosn't go in and someone from our side has the ball. Everyone's spurting towards the other goal. Except that guy in white (on our team). It's good to have someone near our own goal in case the opposing team makes a successful steal. Or then again, maybe he was just tired. Running in spurts after the ball is unbelievably energy-draining. Throughout the game I had to remind myself that I actually had a chance of lasting the hour on my feet. Everybody was probably convincing themselves of the same thing, though by the end of the hour we were mostly just jogging.

The guy in stripes is in our team too. He's the one who ran the ball to our side and he tries for a goal. That small stripe on the ground is the ball. It looks like it will make it... but it dosn't.

Did you keep an eye on Marcus? Thankfully for our team, he was at the right side at the right time, so he gave the ball a push into the goal. Everything from start to finished probably happened in less than half a minute. Maybe even less than a quarter of a minute.

It's great to be able to try a sport this way – to try it yourself, to find out what works, get some tips, and (hopefully) improve. If it were kendo or any other martial art, I would have probably spent half of the hour cleaning the floor with my hands and feet and another half just doing "floorball footwork", finally getting into the game after 6 months of initiation-like rituals and indoctrination into the "floorball philosophy".

So, what makes us go ouch on Thursday mornings? Wednesday-night floorball. And having to bike the way back home.

It's 10:52 now on a Wednesday and I'm going to bed; it's going to be hard to get out of bed tomorrow morning. Ouch, my legs!


Anonymous Lara said...

hey joy!

do u know that the equivalent sport of floor ball on ice, bandy, holds its world cup here in ljusdal every year?

oh and take a look at this: http://www.ifriskastelaget.nu/

my colleague signed us up and i thought this might interest you too.

3:20 PM


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