It is Wednesday January 10th. After a night of moderate frost, Wageningen wakes up in a ‘winter spirit’. Teammates Jurren and Jelmer agreed in the morning to go ice skating on flooded meadows in the Binnenveld. Although Jelmer has been a member for almost two years, playing midweek matches with Débaldérin have always been fatal for him. After trying dozens of times, he had given up hope and decided not to participate anymore; that would be better for the whole team. Jelmer along? Then you have no chance, no.

Because ice skating is so great that it cannot ruin Jelmer’s day, he decides, after some pressure from Jurren, to participate in the competition in the evening. A last-minute decision, because I was only added to the Midweek App Group at the end of the afternoon. At just before half past six, two cars leave Wageningen for the SKunK hall. In addition, Amber’s car that leaves from the Haarweg is actually only suitable for 4 people, while it should accommodate 5 people. We will say that it is allowed because it can improve team spirit. The hall of the Nijmegen Student Korfball Association is located on the IJsberenstraat, so it is no coincidence that when Marieke gets out of the car, people immediately complain about the cold. After all, we are on a street that belongs in the Arctic.

We are not only in the Arctic, but also in a kind of Maze. Because the car that left from the Haarweg arrives on site earlier than the car from the Hoevestein, Amber, Bart M., Jelmer, Jurren and Marieke look for the changing rooms. The first question is where we should go. They first almost walk into the nearby Nijmegen Municipal School to take some lessons in geography. Fortunately, the door to the entrance to the hall is eventually found. Then part two of the quest begins. From the entrance they walk to the left and eventually only end up at one dressing room. Then just wait for each other. Although a little later – when the other car with Alyce, Bart S., Deen, Marie-Louise and Willemijn has arrived – it turns out that there is another dressing room after all. It is not a problem to wait a little longer, because the hall is occupied by an indoor football training and even when the shooting has really started, it still takes ages before the first whistle sounds.

Shortly after the whistle blows, a hooligan from SKunK enters the hall with a large drum and starts beating it violently, sometimes quite out of time. The Débaldérin players are not deterred from their concentration, because after a short deficit they quickly take a 2 – 1 lead against the Nijmegen student korfball players. Things go smoothly for a while, SKunK sometimes scores from a great distance, but with goals from both Barts, Marie-Louise, Marieke and Deen, Débaldérin stays on his feet. Just, but really just before half time, Bart S. scores a great long shot from the sideline, after which the whistle for half time immediately sounds. Débaldérin goes into halftime with an 11 – 9 lead.

As it should be, there is a discussion during half-time in which it is decided to be a little more economical with the ball in attack – Débaldérin is in the lead after all – and to continue to defend well in defense against the rebounds that SKunK gets. If these advices are followed, the lead can no longer be given away. After drinking a cup of lemonade, the second half gets off to an energetic start.

With two goals from Amber and goals from Jurren and Bart S., the lead is quickly expanded to 15 – 9. And Débaldérin will not relinquish that lead. Defensively it looks very solid. The SKunK players shot desperately from distance, but the luck they sometimes had in the first half has now become the property of Débaldérin. Offensively, the ball is handled carefully and sometimes the first attack after changing the boxes is a hit. In the remainder of the second half, Alyce and Willemijn also contribute when it comes to goals. The only one who fails to score is Jelmer.

Ten minutes before the end he also seems to have to drop out injured because he got cramp during an action to tap the ball towards the other box by means of a diving. Of course, a match cannot end without one such Jelmer action. Perhaps the audience is also partly responsible for that, because man, it was so smooth. Almost even smoother than the natural ice that Jelmer and Jurren were skating on this afternoon. By the way, it is not only slippery, but also very cold, especially on one of the sidelines; the outside doors are opened for some fresh air. Apparently the term ‘pleasant indoor climate’ does not exist in the hall where SkunK plays. It’s either very hot, or very cold. Another explanation for Jelmer’s cramps could be that he exercised a lot today – cycling, skating and then also korfball – and drank too little water. Fortunately, Bart M. and Marieke quickly patched up the half-injured Jelmer to give him another goal. In vain, because he is unable to throw the ball into the basket before the referee blows his whistle for the end of the match.

However, the most important thing is of course that this match was again won by 22 against 17 and Débaldérin is well on its way to securing 1st place in the competition. Having played one match less than De Hazenkamp, Débaldérin has now also surpassed the other team from Nijmegen (on goal difference). For Jelmer – who has already participated in dozens of midweek matches – it is even the first victory in a regular competition match! This will be celebrated at his home with a shot of Limonzero (non-alcoholic Limoncello). Although he may not have scored, the curse appears to have been broken.

After a shower in the somewhat special but very spacious changing rooms, it is time for the Débaldérin players to return to Wageningen. Bart M. is somewhat bewildered by the large number of gentlemen who settle for a soft drink; he is the only one with an alcoholic drink in the shower. Anyway, it’s January and so there are good intentions, right? Once again we drive to two different destinations, the Haarweg and Hoevestein. The cars arrive around 10 p.m., which is remarkably early for an away match, which is actually nice. The big question now is, will the Débaldérinners be able to maintain this good form until next week? The home match against Reehorst is on Tuesday, January 16.

The overview of the goalscorers for Débaldérin: Bart M: 6, Amber: 4, Bart S: 3, Jurren: 2, Marie Louise: 2, Alyce: 1, Deen: 1, Marieke: 1, Willemijn: 1, Unknown: 1*, Jelmer: 0

Jelmer van der Graaf