Sunday, 4 August 2013

Fin(n)ished

We have a floorball team here in Jajce. That is unusual. Although I'd never heard of the sport until I arrived in this country it's not one of the main sports here. Football undoubtedly claims that prize, although handball, basketball and volleyball would all give it a good run for its money. While floorball may be largely undiscovered here, as it is in the UK, it's huge in Finland. The couple of times I've been there it was the only sport I saw kids playing in the streets, unless you count cycling, which they do a lot of too.

When I heard our team had been drawn against a Finnish side in an international floorball tournament hosted in Banja Luka this weekend I was a little concerned. Concerned that we would be on the receiving end of a lesson that our young team might take a little too harshly. There is, after all, no shame in being beaten by people who may have been playing the game longer than some of our team have been alive! I made sure I mentioned this perspective in pre-match discussions. Perhaps it helped, perhaps it only fuelled an unrealistic optimism of how good getting a good result would be.

In the end losing 19-1 wasn't as bad as it could have been. The Finnish side won their other group game 11-0, so at least we can say we scored against them. It was indeed a lesson, if not a comparative masterclass, in passing, moving and the devastating efficiency of one-touch shooting. I'm convinced that as many as half the goals we conceded were down to the fact of goalkeeper had never seen people shoot so quickly or from such angles. He improved throughout the day, by the end of our second game pulling out some impressive stops. Now, if our attacking players can grasp the need for speed and shooting first time the result of a rematch might be a bit closer.

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