Hell yeah, I’m a blocker!

Posted on September 21, 2012 by


There are few things that I have previously espoused about jamming that just one night of being a blocker has made me reassess. Two things I have said many times before are:
1. Jamming is about instinct and blocking is a thinker’s game; and
2. Jamming is extremely lonely.

Tonight, I didn’t jam once during an entire scrimmage. It’s this new thing I’m trying.

I learnt one thing straight away. Halfway through the first period, when people started tiring of jamming and the captain was asking “who wants to jam next?” I felt overwhelmingly obliged to volunteer myself. I had to fight that feeling for the rest of the game. It made me realise that I haven’t been pushed into jamming all this time, I’ve volunteered myself based on my own feelings of guilt. That might not seem that huge but it was a revelation for me and alleviated some feelings of resentment that had been building.

I had a fricken ball blocking. I’ve never felt like a team before. As a jammer I’ve had trouble trusting my blockers. As a blocker, though, I felt like I was part of a team. During line up, instead of answering “what do you want from us, Eve?” and feeling uncertain that I would get what I was asking for, I was part of the four, plotting how we were going to work together. And the times it came together, I can’t describe the feeling. Even when the manoeuvre wasn’t successful, just to go out there and do what we planned to do. It felt awesome.

This has made me challenge the lonely jammer concept. I think I’ve just never had the opportunity to establish that team bond. Having rarely blocked, I’ve never built up that instinctive knowledge of my teammates’ strengths, weaknesses and preferences.

And for my other statement about jammers operating on instinct: This says more about me than the game. I’ve always operated on instinct because I’ve been playing the game in a state of terror. Forcing myself to jam when I’d rather block and lining up feeling unsupported.

Blocking is going to do me the world of good. It’s going to give me the opportunity to know my teammates on the track, to relax into the game, to take and receive hits and to understand how the pack works.

There’s one more thing I realised. It was at the end of the game and something was gnawing at me. Like something was missing. It was the jammer refs. I didn’t even know who had jam reffed. Usually, I spend a lot of time going around the track accompanied by my jam ref. When I’m skating, they skate with me. When I’m stuck in the pack, they wait patiently for me to get through. When I’m in the penalty box, they’re right there, staring at my feet waiting for me to rejoin them. This is going to sound weird and creepy but I often hold eye contact with my jam ref while I’m chasing the pack. My favourites are Bear and Melody. They’re always exactly where I expect them to be. Sometimes I smile at them while I’m going around. They never smile back but they always hold my eye contact. It’s so firm and reassuring. I guess I wasn’t as lonely as I thought I was and after just one night of not jamming I really miss them.

Posted in: LimboLand