See what B Team Bench and Coach Foul Out Boy has to say about the year gone:
We put the B in ReBuild
This has been a long year for the B team. We started off the year by getting beaten quite comprehensively by Namur’s’ A team in January, then two weeks later we headed to Toulouse with our A team pals to play their B team. People in the stands said it was a great game, but honestly, I only remember how stressful it was as we took the win in a nail biting finish. In April we flew to Liverpool, played a really tight low scoring game against their A team, took the win and jumped on a coach we had organised to take us to Newcastle for Euroclash, where we watched our A team and then Team Ireland play along with some other great leagues in some amazing games. In May we headed down to play Tenerife taking half of the league with us, because a B team holiday is the best kind of holiday and also because it’s Tenerife and it’s hot and sunny. After being 80 POINTS DOWN AT HALF TIME we came back to win by 30 points, I’ve been told by our cheering squad in the stands that it was a great game to watch, but honestly, I only remember how stressful it was.
All in all the first half of this year went well for us. Second half of the year was a different story. Four of our top 14 relocated to other countries for various reasons and as always on any B team, turnover took its toll on our roster a few times. A series of really bad injuries to the core of the team left us shorthanded at jammer and blocker. At certain periods it felt like there were more people off skates at training than there were on skates. I’ve always felt the best thing for a team struggling is a tough game but as we go up the rankings the right level games have been harder to come by, despite the best efforts of our fantastic strategist Beans. So in July we had a good win against Norfolk A and then nothing for four whole months.
The coming of DRD’s Big D2 Adventure (film release date TBC) was probably a sign. It was an amazing weekend for us as a league, for Irish derby and Euro derby in general. It was so good to see our pals up there, hearing WFTDA announcers say their names, having the derby world see them like we see them. The entire league was high on life and low on sleep at practice that weekend. But from a B team perspective, D2 had another level of meaning to it. There were lots of skaters on that A team that had come through the B team, some had even come through quite recently. It was really inspiring, as much for me as a coach as it was for the team. Our pals, our team mates, old and current, were skating at playoffs and that was a fantastic boost for the team.
It re focused some things for us. Leadership got a new motto and a new game plan, “we’re a B team, we’ll rebuild” and that’s what we spent the second half of the year doing. Taking some stuff back to basics, we focused on our building blocks and our team culture. Our injured skaters started to recover and, and just as they had across the entire season, showed bravery, determination and the tonnes of mental fortitude it takes to overcome a serious injury and get back on skates. We began building up people to a level where they can be as good as we know they can be, and they begin to replace the gaps left by others. Things were looking up.
So we took this new look B team and had a good game against Rebellion A in November. Our newer skaters did us proud and when things got tough late in the second half they followed the lead of their more experienced team mates and kept fighting even when the game was out of reach. This was the tough game we needed, a hard hitting and clever opponent to show us where our weak spots were and afterwards when we took stock, the loss didn’t bother us too much. Our newer team mates and Alts played up to the level of our B team veterans and we felt like we were back on track.
We had less than a month and we were back at it against Oxford A. This too was a great game against an experienced side and in true B team form it went right down to the wire. We were about 18 points down going into the last jam and we won by two. I’ve been told that it was a great game to watch, but honestly, I only remember how stressful it was. Our newer teammates and Alts, some of who were playing their first games for us, were fantastic and played as hard and as smart as our experienced skaters, who, as always led by example.
I feel this season more than any other that I’ve been part of DRD has shown all the skaters in our league that there are always opportunities to move up, as a skater to a team or as a league to a playoff spot. There will be a B team spot for anyone if they work hard enough and engage with our team culture. We’re currently sitting 56th in Europe and had three skaters who made international squads for the upcoming world cup. This a testament to the hard work and drive of all of the skaters that have been on our roster at any stage in 2017, whether they’ve just arrived or already moved on its all their work, their effort that has us where we are now.
As a B team we develop skaters to the point where they can push for an A team spot, this is how we contribute to the competitiveness of DRD as a league. We’ll keep driving our B team to be better by pushing our skaters to be the best they can be as individuals and as team mates. Then when they’ve moved on to play in D2 (or even D1?) with our A team we’ll look at the next B team roster and we’ll go again, because we’re the B team, and we rebuild.
(foul out boy)