The league I’m playing in this year is made up of 16 teams of varying degrees of experience and ability. Our team, for instance, is playing together for the first time. Individually, we’re not bad, and as a team, we’re starting to find our groove. But it takes time, and we’ve had some bumps on the road – including adjusting to playing without our usual skip, shuffling positions to accommodate playing shorthanded, and adapting to a spare.
It’s working, though. After two losses, we’ve actually won and tied a couple. The spaces on the score sheet downstairs are looking a little healthier as W and T take over from L, L, L.
On the ice, we’re getting the feel of playing with each other. Who sweeps on which side? Is that our skip’s voice, calling for sweeping? Little things that, taken together, make up the very important chemistry of a team.
And it couldn’t happen soon enough, because we’re about to face the Big Divide. After seven weeks, our league breaks into two sections. Teams with the better Win-Loss record go into A Flight, and the others (I want to say “the rest of us”) move into B Flight. It’s a simple way to even the playing field and keep games fun.
So where will we end up? We’re pretty sure we’re headed for B Flight, and that’s just fine with us. We’re shaping up to be a good team, even with our rocky start, so the second level of competition might lead to some success in the long run.
On the other hand, we’ve played some good games against teams headed for A Flight. Yes, we came out on the short side of the score, but sometimes the score doesn’t provide a true reflection of the game – the missed inch, the pick, the lucky break that just happened to go the other team’s way. We were pretty competitive all the way, but we just couldn’t finish it off. In another game against one of those teams, the score could very easily go the other way and our record would be different.
A Flight or B Flight: which direction do we want to go? Good question.
One season, playing on a mixed team with my husband and some good friends, we got off to a shaky start and were sure we were headed for B Flight. Strangely, everyone else seemed to be headed for B Flight too, and we eventually ended up as the last team to make the cut. There we were in A Flight, with the grownups!
I remember our reaction wasn’t exactly positive. The prospect of playing the more serious, competitive teams every week didn’t have that much appeal. After all, ours was basically a social team. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. We pulled ourselves together and put ourselves out there, prepared to meet our opponents shot for shot, even if we knew we were more likely to end up with a long line of losses on the scoresheet.
Guess what? It didn’t happen. The losses, I mean.
We didn’t win them all, of course, but we won our share. Playing against the more competitive teams meant lifting our game a notch. More than a notch, in fact. We got better, and no one in A Flight took us for granted – even if we were the last name listed on the score sheet.
So this year, when the Great Divide takes place, our team will settle in wherever we have to, and treat each game as an opportunity to play, learn and improve.
And who knows? We might even win a few. I’m betting on it.