Polo last night was the coldest night for Lancaster United in the winter season. Coming in at a toasty 20 something degrees (which felt like 17, according to the weather witchpriests at WGAL 8), we had to bundle up and try to ignore cold toes until the frostbite set in.
The cold didn’t necessarily have an impact on play – we were just as wild and goofy as ever. I was expecting a little bit of slow-down simply because it should be harder to pedal with 4 layers of underpants on, but apparently that really has no effect on ability – go figure. The never-nudes were on to something.
Outside of remembering that my beard can indeed form icicles, the night brought the regular treasure trove of lessons and insights that I gather from any good night of pickup (ok – even the bad nights teach me a thing or two).
For one thing, I did pretty well with staying on offense. How-ev-er, I also knew when it was important to go back on defense or play in goal. Having the resolution to stay up and make all of those horrible shots is all well and good, but being able to balance that with defense is an important skill, too. The rule of wrist I use is this: if we are up by 2, or down by 1 with 1 minute or so to play, I’ll play up without regard for the goal. If we are down by 2, or up by 1 with a minute or so left to play, I’ll try not to cross the mid-court.
Also recognize, dear reader, that this isn’t a hard and fast rule. It’s more of a guideline for myself, really.
Another thing I picked up on was how well our new players are doing with developing their own skill sets. Hylon is becoming an outstanding pick and defense player, while Sabrina is showing some great leaps and bounds at passing and knowing when to shoot. It’s kismet that it looks like we have a new defensive and a new offensive player forming up. Balance, ftw.
We also had Joe come out, who played a few times in the past and managed to escape work to come play again. He is already epic at bike control and really didn’t need much coaxing when it came to good plays. I kinda wish he’d come out on the regular, as I’m sure he’d probably become a strong player in short order.
Lastly, I was reminded of how well (at least for me) slowing down the game works. Whenever I get the ball and want to move it up court and there are defenders in the way, I slow way down. A mix of left-handedness and positioning let me get around a good amount of players and get to an open shot. This doesn’t pan out so well for me if I try to rush past players, as more often than not they have a higher chance to strip the ball from me or I get panicked and fail to make a decent shot.
Anyway, that’s what I learned last night. It took until this morning for my fingers to unfreeze.