This will probably surprise a lot of you, but try to soldier on and not gasp too loudly at the office: I’m not a very fast player.
YES, YES I KNOW! SCANDAL!
Point in fact, up until recently I really couldn’t quantify my speed in any way, as I was in goal for the majority of play. But now that I’ve gotten a more aggressive bike and forced myself out into the wide world of offensive play, I’d be comfortable in saying that I’m not going to blow anybody out of the water using speed alone.
For a good long time I tried to just get faster (and I still am, of course, I think it’s fun to see just how fast you can go on a breakaway and to continue testing that limit) or tried to figure out what I was doing wrong. Point in fact, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Different players are different players, and not everyone plays the same game.
So, crawling back into myself a little bit, I considered what I could do with my particular skill set that would help me be the best player possible. I came down to these few talents:
- I think a lot
- I am fairly court-aware
- I can read other players with moderate success
I also figured out that I bounce a little when I hit the ground. I don’t know quite what that does for me, but I’m counting it amongst my superpowers.
So what is a player to do when they can think a lot but they are slower than the majority of the pack? Ya gotta out-think ‘em, pal!
Whenever I get the ball, I start this ( I like to imagine) infuriating march towards the goal. I engage the opposite team head on and use my left-handed-bullshit to keep myself between the other player and the ball. I also know that the most favorite way for the top-notch players in my team is to ride by all quick like–as if to mock my slowness–and steal the ball.
So I just wait for that to happen. I wait for them, to shoot in from the void and attack. Using a little bit of forethought I’m able to pull the ball in/away from myself, resulting in a miss from the speedy player.
And now, friends, they are still under the control of their own momentum while I (turtle that I am), still methodically plod towards the goal.
Ok, actually at this point I’ll start pedaling up to a good speed to shoot and look heroic and shit. That or I’m looking for a team mate who is in a better position now that at least one player from the other team is facing the wrong way.
Does it always work? No, of course not–but I’ve found myself experiencing success with this method much more than what I do when I try to play someone else’s game. If you’re a CAT 1 racer who can zip all around the court, I’m jealous as hell of you–but that doesn’t change that I’m not, and I need (as I think we all should need) to play in a way that compliments what I’m capable of.
YOU’RE GREAT FOR BEING YOU!
Just thought we needed to close with this.