A whole lotta Goalball

I have two words for the day after Goalball: ouch pain. That just about sums it up. I didn’t write yesterday because my arms were sore, but I should have known it would be even worse after sleeping for awhile and not moving. I know moving will help, but it hurts to move, so I’m just stuck haha!

Despite the pain, I am hooked!

When I was a pool player, the words “wanna play some” were just what you used at the pool hall, when trying to find someone to play with. If I wasn’t already with someone, I would scope out the kind of player I wanted to play with. If I was with a group of people, I’d ask that question of the one I knew would challenge me.

I have so missed pool since going blind. It’s been the one thing I just can’t do now.

So when I decided to try Goalball, I had hoped it would rekindle my competitive spirit. Did it? You bet it did. I wanna play some, now!

I woke up at the arse crack thinking we had better actually be able to play, unlike last week. I guess last week was the dry run for getting to the gym, so it wasn’t all a wash. I wasn’t nervous at all yesterday like I was last week since we had already done it. I was however, really tired. Last week we had some storms come in which brought on a pretty icky fatigue. I didn’t go work out at all, which is again that whole movement helps but it hurts to move catch 22. Basically I had been too tired to get to the gym. Probably if we had Star Trek technology and I could have just beamed there, it would have been ok. But when my spoons are low, it’s just too much to get myself and Jayden ready and wait for transportation, so we didn’t go work out last week.

I made sure to tell Lisa I still wasn’t at my best and of course she understood.

I guess you can tell the doors were open this time. Yep! Jayden got me there again no problem and this time we could go in. When I had been there with Dave though, we couldn’t get down to where the restroom is, so after Lisa was done setting up the court, she showed Jayden and me where the ladies locker room is.

Ok, think about all the scary high school killer movies you’ve ever seen. You know the ones. Imagine the scene in the basement of the school. That’s this place, haha!!

Stairs and twists and turns and zigs and zags and the thump thump thumpy heart beat of the building’s boiler room. Freddy Krueger anyone? Jayden was having the time of his life. You know that prance they get when they are really enjoying the work? Oh yeah. Jayden was prancing. And not the I have to relieve prance. I could feel his tail thumping my leg and he was pulling me through all the zigs and zags like it was a maze. Fun!

After that I got us settled in our spot and Jayden got all excited when the crochet mat came out of my bag. I brought his Goughnut but he wasn’t interested. He got settled and Lisa brought me some pads to try out. She had told me not to buy any until I knew I wanted to play. She had two different kinds of knee and elbow pads and I picked the ones I liked the most. She said hip pads are optional, and she’s going to have me playing in a down position, meaning I won’t be falling as far, so I might not need hip pads. She showed me some that she uses that she made herself, and they also have football player type pads. Another girl was there and she played last year. She plays in a down position and doesn’t use hip pads, so I tried without. I’m still not sure if I’ll use them or not, as my hip is a little sore, but not bruised.

I put the knee and elbow pads on and knelt and exclaimed that I needed these for cleaning the bathtub haha! Then I started crawling and sliding all over the floor. Yes, I am a goofball.

Lisa gave me court orientation. She had told me before that cords would be stretched on the court for orientation, so I had been imagining big old ropes haha! Um, no. The cords are about as big as a clothesline maybe. They are ducktaped to the floor. I was like, how do you feel those when you’re playing??? She assured me I would.

I’m not gonna remember all the terms, but basically you have a rectangle all along the basketball court. Where the baskets are is the goal line. The goal stretches along the whole width of the cort on both sides. Then you have your perimeter line on the long sides. That’s the foul line or something. Then you have a line maybe three feet from the goal line that is perpendicular to the foul line, and that’s the wing line. It only juts into the court about two feet maybe. Then you have the point line I think, then the high ball line. That line is in the middle of the court and you can’t cross that when you’re throwing or you get a penalty.

I would be playing wing. I thought there would be no way I’d stay oriented on that court, no way. When you get a ball, you have to back up to the goal line to start your throwing approach. You have ten seconds. Are you serious?

After that we started off with warm-up drills that took awhile. Jake, the other coach, said we’ll usually do those pretty quick, but Lisa had to show me each of them. First we did a couple laps around the gym and I just did human guide with Lisa. After that I think were these lateral shuffle steps across the gym, then butt kickers lol. You run across the gym kicking your but with your heel. I was joking that the girls were all graceful and when the boys did it it souded like thunder.

Then we did this karaoka thing that I’m not even gonna try and describe. Oh yeah, and high knee skipping. That one was fun.

Then we got on the floor and did hands and feet. Lisa got me into defensive position. You lay on your side and stretch your legs out, lifting your top leg about hip height. My old Pilates workouts helped with that. You stretch your arms over your head and hold your top arm over your face, holding your head back. Hands are held spred out, about shoulder width apart, so you’re creating a net to block the ball. Once I was in that position, Lisa rolled the ball and my feet and legs so I could feel how it would be and keep my body stiff to block the ball. Mandy, the other girl, rolled the ball back to Lisa. After that she rolled it at my arms and hands. Then we all switched and I was rolling the ball back.

After that were cannon balls. You lay on your side in the fetal position and when Lisa said “out” you sprang out into defensive position quickly. When she said “in” you spring back into fetal position. We repeated that a few times. I was grateful for my Pilates and strong core because it would be easy to fall forward or back when you spring out.

We also did passing drills and Lisa was happy that Mandy and I were able to successfully pass to each other. I guess passing to the other wing is hard. Really? I didn’t think it was.

After that we started throwing the ball agains the wall. Throwing is hard. You throw it/roll it like a bowling ball, but there’s no holes. So you’re pretty much using your centrifical force. Lisa and I had messed around with a goalball at the gym one day. It took me a bit, but I got the hang of it. At one point I threw it and it went way over to the left. I laughed and said I put some funky english on that ball. Lisa said not to worry about english yet. I asked if they put english on the ball and she said yes, but not yet. Sweet!! I understand english! I loved putting funky english on the cue ball when I played pool.

After that Lisa had me go sit with Jayden and listen to a bit of scrimmage. She wanted me to hear the cadence of how it all went, because when she was explaining the theory to me, it just wasn’t clicking. So, the two girls took on the two guys. There weren’t a whole lot of us yesterday which was good, because they were really able to focus on teaching me.

I went to Jayden and sat next to him and he put his head on my leg as if to say, what the heck is going on?

Listening to it didn’t make a whole lot more sense. The guys kept talking, saying things like, “set!” and “left!” Huh? I asked the girls about it after they had won the scrimmage and they said the guys just like doing that haha!

I could tell when Lisa would throw the ball. That thing hardly made any noise and rarely bounced. She’s goooood. Guess you have to be to be a paralympian?

Finally I got to play. We put me in the left wing, because I’m more comfortable falling to my right. You can fall both ways depending on where the ball is going, or you can fall one way and just kick out. So if the ball is going to my left, I can fall to the right and kick out. Lisa said it’s whatever feels natural, though that’s kind of an old way of doing it. Whatever, that felt natural to me.

You have two wings, who play near the goal, then you have your point, who plays in front of the wings and who moves a lot more. Her job is to try and get the balls, and the wings get the ones she misses. So your best player is point, and Lisa is point on her team. So she played point, but she only went after balls that were coming hard, as she didn’t want me to get hurt right away. Eventually I was like I don’t care if they’re hard, after a hard throw hit me in the stomach and then bounced off my head for a goal hahaha! It didn’t hurt.

There wre only two guys, so they didn’t have a point. They played a lot before though. So it wasn’t really a fair match up, three girls against two guys, one of the girls being a paralympian. But, one of the girls, me, was brand new, so it evened out.

Lisa was right. Court orientation made total sense once I started playing. I blocked a few balls right from the start, so I had to throw.

After you block the ball, You jump up and back up doing a shuffle step to feel for the goal line. It’s a lot like a moonwalk haha! Then you line up your throw. Instinct told me not to throw it in the same place every time so they wouldn’t know what was coming. You have ten seconds from the time the ball touches your body to jump up out of your defensive position and back up to the goal line to throw.

You are only allowed to throw twice in a row. So if you block it a third time, you have to pass it to a teammate. You call their name and they tap the floor and you do a bouncey roll to them. This all has to happen ten seconds after the ball touches your body. Meaning you have to pass it, they have to catch it, line up, and throw in ten seconds.

I passed it to Lisa because she was right there.

I did manage to score a goal. I don’t remember how many times I had thrown it, but it wasn’t very many throws into the scrimmage. The coach, acting as ref, said goal and I was like, really??? Hahaha!!

I did get scolded. Jake asked me if I could please have some more fun, smile some more, laugh some more. 😉

I ended up blocking quite a few goals and scoring twice. I think it was pretty good for my first ever scrimmage.

My right arm is killing me today, since that’s my throwing arm. My left leg is killing me, since I kneel on my right knee in a squat type position, so I can kick into my defensive dive with my left leg. I’ve been working on this post in fits and starts today, because I have to keep moving or I freeze up and hurt really bad.

By the end of the scrimmage, I was having a hard time getting up after I blocked a goal. Jake told me I could pass it rather than throw if I was getting tired, so that’s what I did. I ended up with the ball a little more since I was playing left wing, because if the other team rolls the ball out, your team gets it and the ref always gives it to the left wing.

I think that’s about all there is to tell about the practice. It’s just a really cool game. It’s a little hard to tell when that ball is rolling your way, because it’s so full of echoes in the gym. I would dive only to discover the right wing had gotten the ball haha!!

Hey, just realized it’s appropriate that I played left wing, since politically, I’m rather left. Ok, bad joke.

My legs barely wanted to work at the end. B was picking me up thank goodness, so I didn’t have to wait for paratransit. I hardly even remember Jayden getting me to the car. Thank God for him. That would have been hard trying to use a cane after all that.

After a shower I felt pretty good. It wasn’t until this morning that I really felt it, but I was expecting that. I’m sure it’ll hurt less once I get used to it. I’ll get all healed up only to do it again next week, but I can’t wait!

We’ll see if I’m able to do this. There is no way I could have even attempted Goalball had I not been in shape. That’s the difference between Goalball and pool hahaha!! I didn’t have to be in shape to play pool, though strongish legs and back helped. Hopefully I can continue playing, but just like with everything else, it’ll be a wait and see game. I’m praying I can continue to handle it as it’s the most fun I’ve had in a really long time.

Oh, and as Lisa was walking me back to Jayden, Jake began laughing. Jayden was sprawled out on his back with his legs spred wide apart. I don’t think he minded being in the gym. 😉


Filed under Adjustment to blindness, goalball, Jayden, pool, silly girl, spoons, weather, working dog, workouts

8 Responses to A whole lotta Goalball

  1. I’m so happy that everything went so well. I hope you can play for a long time. Sounds like you have an awesome team and an awesome coach.

  2. I haven’t played in years, but from what I remember, yeah, passing to the wings can be hard. If you don’t roll just so, the thing is trickling right past you.

    Not sure if you’ll need to go with the hip pads or not. If you’re playing on a line with people who are ok then you may not need them, but if you’re trying to compensate for linemates that aren’t much for blocking you might end up doing your fair share of diving across.

    And this has nothing to do with anything really, but I want you to let me know what’s going through your mind the first time one of the really hard throwers aims one right at you hahaha. the first time that happened to me it was one of my pals who actually played on the competitive team. There were a bunch of us playing a fun game and he decided to mess with me by taking his hardest shot at me. My thought was something along the lines of well…I won’t be needing these pants anymore. But amazingly I stopped it. It hurt like hell because I wasn’t waring pads that day, but I stopped it.

  3. Sounds like you had a terrific time! That’s great!

  4. Ro

    It already happened haha. They had told the guys to be careful as I was on the left wing. So they had gone kinda easy on me, and Lisa was going after any really hard throws, kinda protecting me. But the guy forgot at one point and threw really hard right at me. Lisa missed it and I had already dove and the ball caught me in the belly, bounced up, and then bounced off my goggles for a goal. It didn’t hurt at all. Luckily my belly is crazy hard muscle covered by a layer of flab so it softened the blow to my head haha! I didn’t notice it was hard until Lisa asked if I was ok and then explained the throw had been hard. I was just laughing saying go ahead and throw it hard. 🙂

  5. I’m glad you had fun, and hope you can continue to play.

  6. L^2

    Yay, I’m so glad you able to play this week. It sounds like fun!

  7. I’m so glad you had a good time!

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