No one thought that the first three games of the season would be easy, but equally we did not expect to be blown out in the way that we have.
The season began with plenty of optimism and high hopes of matching, if not surpassing, last years successful inaugural season in the Czech league. Yet, sport is an exercise in change, and nothing is exactly the same from season to season.
The Warsaw Sirens spent the offseason engaged in an energetic recruitment program, which yielded several promising additions to the team. This is excellent news for the future, as the large number of rookies become integrated into the team and learn the fundamentals of this complex and challenging sport.
However, due to the departure of many players from last year’s squad, it means for the present that our team features many inexperienced players forced into key roles.
Due to the pandemic this year, the season has had to be squeezed into 8 weeks, creating an extremely demanding schedule, with games on 4 consecutive weekends, leaving us no time to rest, recuperate and regroup. This is hard physically and mentally on both the young, new players and the more experienced members of the team. While other teams face the same schedule, they have the depth that we lack and are able to rest and rotate players during the games. Our short bench leads to players playing for long periods without rest, which leads to injuries, some minor, some not. Even players with minor injuries need time to recover, and so miss games, which exacerbates the problem of the lack of backups, so the vicious circle continues.
So far this year, we have faced the Brno Amazons twice, and the Prague Black Cats once. The Amazons are the reigning champions, with quality players at every position. Every game with them is a challenge, but we played them close in three games last season, including in the final. This year, they exposed our weaknesses, especially on defense, and beat us in two games by large margins. The other game, against Prague Black Cats, also did not go the way we would have hoped. The difficulties of travelling to away games in the modern world resulted in several key players being unable to make the trip. Our players picked up several injuries during the game, and we were unable to show ourselves to the best of our abilities. Despite the heroic efforts of the offense, for the second straight game, the defense were unable to provide the necessary support.
So what are the conclusions? Clearly, we need to improve in every aspect of the game. Veterans need to play to their abilities and rookies need to gain experience fast. We must build on the fundamentals and perfect our technique.
As I observed the team throughout these three games, I was impressed by the mental toughness of these players. Despite the devastating results, none of them have lost heart; none of them has given up. In every game, we displayed no lack of effort, or of desire. This shows me that we are capable still of tuning this season around, even at this late stage. We have three games left, each of which we are capable of winning. I am sure that the players and coaches all believe this to be true. Our future is in our hands. Though we have lost the games, it is important that we do not lose the lesson.
We will travel to Prague this weekend in a spirit of renewed hope and confidence. We will put the disappointments of the past behind us. As the cliché goes, we will take each game one at a time.”
Roman Picheta, Special Teams Coordinator