The autumn season of ALpakka and the Juniors got it’s grand finale at the Best Hits tournament held in Pasila the 9th of December. The tournament, which was organized by our own league, gave ALpakka a chance to play against the teams Seinäjoki Roller Derby and Porvoo Roller Derby, whereas the Juniors were challenged by the Stable Adults.
The first game of the day was ALpakka against Porvoo. The atmosphere in the locker room was a bit nervous, yet full of anticipation, as we had been preparing for the tournament the whole autumn season. Our benches Macce and Satu held a speech where they set a main goal for the tournament: To have fun! The goal was accepted unanimously. When the ALpakkas started their warmup, they were happy to see many familiar faces, as the friends and family of our players as well as many league members had come to cheer at this home game. The game itself, like all the other games in the tournament, was very even: Leads were given to both teams in an equal manner, and the walls of ALpakka were rock solid – especially when Satu shouted compliments and boosted everyone’s confidence. At the half time Porvoo was leading the game by mere 13 points. In the end the solid experience of Porvoo got the best of ALpakka, and the game ended 185 – 224 for Porvoo. Losing the game could not crush the spirit of ALpakka, because the final score shows the unbelievably fast development of the team: Just a few months earlier ALpakka faced Porvoo in a scrimmage and lost by over 200 points.
As ALpakka started preparing for their second game, our future hopes – the Juniors – took over the track and played a tough game against the Stable Adults. There was no time for neither of the teams to sit around on the bench, but one could see no signs of exhaustion in the players, and the pace stayed fast until the last whistle. The teamwork of the Juniors was pure gold and hard training paid off: the Juniors took a well-deserved win with a final score of 93-84.
The third game of the tournament was played between Seinäjoki Roller Derby and Porvoo Roller Derby. The excited and nervous ALpakkas were trying to watch the game from the audience, but seeing our next opponents play only increased the nervousness. The game was as even as the first one, but Porvoo Roller Derby took the victory, which made them the undeniable winner of the Best Hits tournament.
At last it was ALpakkas turn to take the track once more. Everyone was ready to face our final opponent Seinäjoki Roller Derby. The atmosphere in the team was starting to be more relaxed than in the previous game and instead of serious faces one could see a lot of smiling and laughter on the track and on the bench. The game was even more even than the previous ones, and the lead was changing back and forth. ALpakkas game was calmer and more calculated towards the end of the game, which meant walls tough as nails, precise offence and perfectly timed star passes. And best of all, taking wonderful leads! The game stayed exciting until the last jam, which started with ALpakka being behind on the points. At the last minutes ALpakka showed the opposing team how their jammer and blockers work together. A lead was taken and points were scored, and in the end ALpakka won the game by score 150-142!
Best Hits was the unconditional highlight for both ALpakka and the Juniors. Some played their first official games in the tournament, and for many ALpakkas this was the first roller derby tournament they attended. Apart from this, Best Hits was a fine example of our whole league working together the make the tournament possible: Some by refereeing, some by NSOing and some volunteering in other ways and organizing the whole thing. Amazing HRD!
Text: Martta Kujala & Inka Kuisma
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