Something about the shotball scenes that really surprised readers is that I included both men and women in the same league and a few have asked why I decided to go about it this way.
I contemplated on making the sport consist of separate genders, but at the same time a lot of your recreation sports tend to be co-ed these days, so I thought why not make shotball co-ed as well?
It’s not uncommon to see girls play football, wrestle, or even play baseball (in a few circumstances) for their local high school. I fact, my old high school had a female kicker just a few years back in 2014-2015 and she also handled kickoff duties, so it’s not like she wasn’t looking for contact.
Again, why not?
Then I thought to myself that while most girls may not be as physically strong as men, many are proficient in speed, agility, reaction time, balance, and coordination.
That said, it made perfect sense to include them in shotball with the boys.
But can this work in the real world?
Honestly, I think so, but in the real world I’d include a rule where at least six players must be of the same gender. Gender identification or birth gender can vary from organization to organization. If organizations of shotball did spring up, it’s not in my authority to tell each individual organization how to act. They can decide on it.
So, intergender matches can indeed work in the real world as again, I’ve always said men and women are complementary in ability. Maybe most women won’t bench press what a man will, but then again, most men lack the flexibility of women. Then there are women who can lift an insurmountable weight off the floor, as a female I once worked with during my days as a trainer who deadlifted 365lbs at age twenty and couldn’t have weighed more than one-fifty.
Pretty damn impressive.
And I’m sure if she played shotball, she would’ve knocked out a few men.
So, let’s take a look at some of our female shotball players in Northern Knights where we can see what makes them such valuable members of their team.
Lira’s the clear-cut MVP in both high school and college. While her strength doesn’t match up with men, her height and broader build does, as she stands at roughly 5’7-5’8 and weighs about 155lbs, giving a decent-sized target if she’s one on one against another female.
But it’s her speed, finesse, agility, and catching ability that makes her dangerous. Honestly, this girl can catch a pass on a screen (where a teammate tosses the ball to her from the side), and she’ll outmaneuver anyone, male or female.
Her accuracy near the net is also one of the best in the college leagues, where she’ll routinely put the ball past the goalkeeper via drop kick or a kick into the net. She’s tough to stop and often serves as the go-to target.
She’s also physical and isn’t afraid to hit, whether it’s male or female. While she might not be as strong as her male counterparts, she’ll often wait until they’re in a vulnerable position, such as leaping into the air to catch a pass before making her move.
Lira’s a bright player and a highest honor student in the classroom, so she makes up for her weaknesses with her mind and she usually wins.
The girl who faced intense racism in the southern portions of the colony due to her half-Native ancestry won the respect of her teammates in high school.
Savannah is a speed demon, plain and simple. Standing no taller than 5’2, she knows how to make up for her lack of height. If Savannah did a 40-yard dash, her speed would be 4.4 or lower, potentially as low as 4.25, as fast as some NFL players in the real world.
But it’s her catch and score ability that makes her dangerous. Her game is simple: Get open, catch the pass near the goal, and score.
And it works.
In high school, she conference records in the River Valley Athletic Conference (RVAC) in receptions and scores. However, if she finds the goal isn’t open, she doesn’t force anything; she’ll immediately find an attacker or wanderer who can score. Therefore, she also set a record for assists, too.
The men can’t catch her and the women can’t hang with her. When she’s one on one against a guy, she’s going to get open, plain and simple. Her lack of height allows her to get lost in a crowd at times, allowing only her center to find her wide open near the scoring zone.
Not much is known about Amy’s high school career, but she had a bit of a layover before joining the Santos Knights during her freshman year.
Her height is closer to Savannah’s, but her build further resembles Lira’s with muscular legs and toned arms by the time her senior season rolled around.
Amy’s talent doesn’t reach that of Lira’s and Savannah’s, two girls whose game is off the charts, but she might be the most serviceable player on the team. She’s going to catch a lot of passes thrown her way, but she’s also someone who always knows where the ball is headed. For this reason, it’s common to see her jump in front of a defender and pick off a pass intended for an opposing player.
Like Lira, she’s not afraid to lower her shoulder and hit, as her broader body and stronger bone structure allow her to absorb an impact better than what Savannah would be able to handle.
The younger cousin of our protagonist, Cain Riscattare, Asha is a girl who would rather throw the ball than score. While her arm strength isn’t the greatest, neither is her older cousin’s, so he taught her how to get around lack of arm strength.
When Cain devised the ‘run and shoot system’ with Falco Phoenix before the events of Northern Knights, he did so with Asha in mind, helping her make up for lack of arm strength. With the system basically allowing for a bright mind to play the primary center position that could read defensive schemes, it consisted of short, quick routes that receiving centers, attackers, and wanderers could change their route at will.
In the run and shoot, if the throwing center and their receivers read man, a route existed for the coverage, but if they both read zone, the receiving player took a different route.
This said Asha is impeccable with ball placement. Instead of throwing to a receiving center and in some cases, an attacker, she’ll put the ball where the player is supposed to be. Asha’s also a bright student with brains to rival Lira’s, so she rarely if ever misreads a coverage, even at the college level where the game’s a lot faster.
So, when a girl’s skillset allows it, she can hang with the guys in many cases. I’d also like to note that shotball, like rugby, consists of no pads; simply mesh pants and a mesh muscle shirt as a uniform.
This allows contact to be more form-based than what one might see at the NFL level in American football or in the NHL if we’re talking about hockey. Instead, think along the lines of rugby, where players tend to wrap rather than hit.
Such tackling lowers the injury risk by a large margin.