Freesteel Blog » Catchup return from Denmark

Catchup return from Denmark

Monday, October 28th, 2013 at 10:53 am Written by:

So that was the usual HSMWorks Denmark run over with. We’d stayed for a week from Thursday to Thursday, across the weekend when not much was going on as there used to be because people now have lives to go to. We got one meal out (manager not allowed to come because he can’t self-authorize), but otherwise had to fend for ourselves.

I played two games of Underwater Rugby with the Amager club which damn near killed me. The first session was on the Thursday we arrived and I almost threw-up during the pre-game training.

I can hold my breath, or I can swim around frantically, but I can’t do both. When it’s time to breath and you are at the bottom of a three metre pool it’s bad. You don’t get that problem with underwater hockey, where the game is more to do with being in the right position and flicking the puck from place to place. I gave up trying to keep up.

Then, during the game, I was substituting with a younger guy who was happy to play for extended periods while I rested on the side, and then jump back in after my play of about 90 seconds a pop. Folks here seem to hold the ball ahead with an outstretched arm, rather than tuck against the armpit.

It wasn’t long before I was shivering with cold. My mouth was so dry. My lungs were parched. I hadn’t brought any refreshments, so I began taking sips of the pool water itself.

The Danes keep their pools ultra-clean. You have to shower everything before you get in. For the Monday session I arrived half an hour early, so after my shower I went back to the lockers and read the paper for about 20 minutes till I was dried off enough to get busted by the pool guard for not cleaning myself when I went through. Stupid smelly english people who don’t understand and probably piss in the water while swimming.

The team leader put me on the side for the training session as I wasn’t going to understand all his instructions in Danish. Not having knackered myself completely in advance, I played a little bit better, and broke my mask in the first ten minutes. The team leader lent me his spare, the kind that involves five straps that lash around the back of your head and feels claustrophobic. Then I got told off for not diving into the pool head first when I was subbing — a move not possible with an ordinary mask because it would be washed off on entry. Then I stole the ball from someone on my own side, after which they changed around the teams and put me on the other side, which involved a white cap, white swimming trunks, and white electrician’s tape wrapped around my wrists to help me remember which team I was on.

Previously, the last game I played was near New York 18 months ago. I’ve just discovered that the world’s first UK underwater rugby team has been formed in London.

On return by ferry and 8 hour train ride from Harwich to Liverpool, I immediately had to pack and head out to the Anglesey Sea Kayak festival. I’m not sure what it is, but Becka booked it months ago, and it seemed to involve going out in groups and getting coached on various topics.

It rained. Our tent got flooded. And most sessions were relegated to the Menai Straits due to southwesterly gales. The local coaches don’t disparage the Straits. To them it is an amazing back-up option that always works no matter what the conditions, so no trips ever have to be cancelled. And it contains all varieties of rapids around the bridge pillars and on Swellies rock as the tide flows. I was signed up for “Whitewater training” for Saturday, and “Tidal races” on Sunday. I have no idea what the difference between them is supposed to be, given that the latter is generally the cause of the former on the sea.

Becka went on two different courses so we wouldn’t bicker. The Open water crossings one would have been good, with a trip to the Skerries, if the weather was right. But instead they were reduced to crossing the Menai dozens of times. The previous day the coach told her she was “very brave given her level of competence”.

Coaching is great. It puts you in your place. Learn to seek out criticism and thrive on humiliation.

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