We take everyone with us
It’s hard to capture what it feels like to be part of this team. The sheer amount of laughing you do. The training, the sweat, the particular smell of a wrist guard after training. The planning. The working together. The in-jokes, the bibs. The stress. The worry. The hard work, the determination. You see each other at your best moments, giddy and laughing or triumphant after a win or a great jam, and you see each other at your hardest, under pressure, up against it. After a tough loss. When you come up short.
It does something to you as a group. You show up for each other. You take care of each other. You put up with each other, even if you’re driving each other mad. It’s close to family, really.
Over a season, over the years, you develop rituals. Habits, traditions, jokes. They layer over each other until you barely know who started them anymore.
Someone will lay track.
Someone will plan training.
Someone will coach.
Someone will avoid wearing a bib at training, claiming their shirt is the same colour so it’s not confusing (it’s confusing).
When we go away for a game, someone will ask if there is a sauna.
Someone will tell the story of when Stef went into a sauna alone in Berlin.
Someone will #finddoom.
Someone will remind DD to put Pony on during our off-skates warmup.
Someone will ask if we remembered the panties.
Someone will (sometimes jokingly, sometimes sincerely) ask if we have time to pee.
No matter how many times you do a head count, someone will always be missing (even though that person is sometimes you).
It’s not ‘someone’ because it’s impersonal, or a chore, but these things are a part of us now. Everyone does these things. They’re as part of our ritual as warming up.
When we get to the bench, someone will put up the bunting. We take it with us everywhere. Everyone on the team has their own ‘bunt’, which means that as the team grows, the bunting grows too.
We started a new tradition this year, when we attended our first ever WFTDA playoffs tournament. Someone got everyone in the league to sign a shirt, and we took that with us too. Because it’s not just us that makes the team. The team is a big as the whole league. Every person who lays track, or stays to NSO, or refs our scrimmages, or plans our games, or sells our merch. We take them all with us.
That’s why being Captain sometimes feels like the biggest thing in the world and sometimes it feels like nothing at all. As long as you plot the course together and you take the team with you, it doesn’t matter who you are. You could be anyone.