April 5th, 2014 – Barcelona to Alicante
The second week and the final round robin before the end of the season– it was also memorable. This time the bandits men would go knowing that they can and should win all the games, more relaxed, perhaps help out the newer guys in the other teams by doing clinics or joint practices. It turned out that the story of the weekend was more about our women. This time around the women’s league games would be held in the same venue a day prior to the men’s league. A good bunch of us from the men’s team went down a day earlier with the girls to support them, a good thing we did too– that day’s actions was the story of the weekend.
The morning to pick up the bandits in car1: arrived at Tank & Gabo’s place in town with Dave Broos at 8am. Given that it’d be a 5hr drive, we’d have plenty of time to make it there for the 6pm faceoff. Turns out that we have an extra passenger in Isabelle who’s new to us & visiting from Germany for the season. The boys were hrs late getting to the pickup point , rolled up still drunk from the night before. The drive was a a dream road trip, the highlight being able to stop over at Valencia on the way to get treated to a massive paella and some beers. I was able to string up a surprise birthday present for Gabo (renovated Brine stick- M1)and get in a few throws during our pitstops. I’ll still remember the fun mix of seeing Isa sandwiched between Tank and Gabo, each of them competing to see who can gross her out first with x-rated anecdotes. She held up fine, mixing in poppy German tunes along with the death metal songs from the boys in music selection. Of course we got lost plenty of times, and an hour left before the faceoff at 6– Dave decides to announce to the group that we have one of the goals for the games in the trunk and need to hurry, we all crack up laughing thinking “what, you tell us that NOW?” Pedal to the metal, now it’s a chase against time.
10 min before the faceoff, Dave manages to get through to the security man in the intercom who was adamant on not letting us in— he mutters: …”members only” in Spanish. It appeared to me that the fields were inside a country club! ” no no you don’t understand…We have the equipment for the tournament…a national tournament!” Finally, he lets us in after some persistence.
We rush to the ground and see people milling around, and saw people just starting to set up one of the goals. Breathing a sigh of relief, I helped Dave and Uri with getting the goal put up, thankfully again the tourney is also running on Spanish time and not German time.
The four bandits girls from Barcelona joined up with another 3-4 from Gijon to make up a mixed side. Later I was to find out that most of the Gijon girls have started learn to play a few months back and one of them actually it was her first day today to pick up a stick ever. Our girls, Kendra, Aina, and Christina all have experience and are good players. There was also Carolina who is relatively new, then our Isa who was injured and shouldn’t play.
The girls’ first game was a shocker, the other team can all make plays and have good experience it seems. On our team, you can imagine having to gel the huge difference in the skills gap with the new players from Gijon with our girls, sorting out how to communicate, roles, and explaining the rules all on the fly. I was surprised to see Isa playing also — she had sprained her ankle weeks earlier and was hobbling the whole time up here. You immediately felt empathy our them, seeing how impossible the situation is— teaching newbies how to play while trying to stop a running bull coming at you full speed. Isa was defending and running on her bad foot, in fact all the girls kept fighting goal after goal. I didn’t keep count of the score but it was a real thumping, and demoralizing loss.
Win or lose, you play to compete. A lopsided affair is not fun but it happens in sports. During the break in between the games, I peered in to see how our girls were getting on. Distressed, pissed off, and frustrated would be correct— they were going to do better, none left to go home, they were determined to win the next one. In fact the next game, they played a thousand times better than the first one. Much better organization in defense and a good number of goals from our bandits also. In fact their third and final game they were gunning for the win! They came up a few goals short in the final result but, by the end of it, I was one of many spectators cheering them on, shouting, applauding for what great fight they had in them. Great fortitude on show & inspiring stuff, considering that they were up against organized teams who played & trained together. Our girls were a Mötley Crüe of many newbies, injury-ridden, and just happy-go-lucky warriors who kept soldiering on, no matter what challenges they were up against. The final score of the final game was 8-6 or thereabouts. The girl who’d played her first ever day of lacrosse (with us) says bye and walks off smiling, content.