Monday, November 14, 2011

Avoiding Relegation

Versus Armentières.

  Championships in Europe work differently than they do in the States. Every professional league I've played in while in Europe has operated using 'promotion and relegation' at the end of each season.

  This is the process where the two strongest teams (based on season record) move up to the next highest league for the following season (if there is a higher league); and the two weakest teams move down to the lower league.

  It's an interesting system that ensures every game counts, and has equal importance. For you futbol fans out there, it's the same process that is used in the English Premiership, or any other soccer league around the world.

Jumper versus La Roche.
  My team, DMBC Dunkerque, was coming off a horrible 40-point road loss last weekend. Our record going into our game on Saturday was 3-5, and we were about to play Reims, a team at the bottom of the standings, at home. In my eyes, Saturday was a must-win game. Since we had already given a few games away earlier in the season, we couldn't afford anymore slip ups. Another loss would send us even further in the wrong direction.

  While it might be a little early to start worrying about relegation, I don't think you should lose sight of reality either. It's always important to get wins where you absolutely should, and especially when they're at home! In our league, I have found that on any given Saturday, any one team can beat any other. No one is untouchable. Just like there is no team you can look past. Our game against Reims was one that we absolutely should have. But we needed to make sure that we followed through, and got the win!

  Reims started off strong. They put us in a hole early in the game by knocking down open 3s, and scoring inside with their big girl (who was 6'7" by they way). We trailed 24-12 at the end of the first quarter. But this time there was no panic. We regrouped, and we continued to play. We picked up the intensity of our defense and crawled back into the game. By the halftime break, we had taken a seven point lead.

Versus Leon Tregor.
  The third quarter started and we immediately blew the game open. We rattled off nearly 20 straight points, and never looked back. It was a great feeling to finish the game on the bench with smile on my face. We hadn't had a win like that all season, so hopefully we can do that a few more times before the season is over.  
  So we're sitting at 4-5 now, with four games to play until our season's midway point (the season is going SO fast!). For me, it's always a goal to be on a a winning team. I'm hoping we can eventually get our record above .500, and keep it there. That way relegation wouldn't even be a possibility!

Jelenia Gora - Poland. 2006-2007.
   In my eight prior seasons in Europe, relegation has never been a topic of conversation (or maybe it WAS a topic of conversation, and I just didn't understand when they were talking about it!!). The year I played in Poland, it was my team's first season in PLKK (the top division in Poland). Since they had moved up the year prior, it was that much more important for us to finish in the top part of the standings, and remain in the first league.

  There is one experience I've never had while playing in Europe, and one experience that I never WANT to have. And that is being on a team that has been relegated to the lower division. I don't plan on having it happen this year. and it's a distinction I never plan on putting on my resume!

  ~ Sabrina


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