As soon as I arrived to the squash courts on which VX train, the President of the club, Jack Brown, began introducing me to the rules of the game. I felt that I had the upper hand, having googled before arriving to the training. I was given a quick couple of minutes’ explanation above the squash courts as I could see the other members of the team begin warming up below. It was quickly becoming clear that the game wasn’t as simple as both Jack and Google had made out.
Following this speedy explanation I was quickly ushered onto the court by Jack and his fellow team member Melissa. I was given some practical help with how to hold the stick, pick up balls and throw. This was quickly proven to be more difficult than it seemed as my previous experience in lacrosse, whichI assumed would help me in this game, hindered me spectacularly.
I ended up lobbing the ball across the squash court, almost knocking out a light fixture in the process. Jack explained to me that this was a common feature in people who have played lacrosse and try to make the change to VX. He may have been lying to make me feel better, but I appreciated it nonetheless.
The rules of VX amount to needing to hit the ball against your opponent as many times as possible in a four-minute match, and you’re allowed to hit anywhere below the shoulders in order to score a point. Despite being a non-contact sport, I still felt attacked every time I felt the soft tennis ball banging against my leg. When my opponents had me captured in a corner, throwing ball after ball against me, I just about managed to escape unscathed. My inability to pick up the ball did not help me in this situation, as I could hear Jack shouting from above, “hold your stick vertically!”, an obvious fact that I probably should have been able to remember.
But the adrenaline of beginning a new sport and having to play it against the some of the most experienced members of the club meant that facts often got thrown out the window, as I favoured the, ‘throw the ball somewhere in the court and hope it hits someone’ technique.
The most points I was able to get in one single match was 12, while my opponents were scoring anything from 17 to 33. It was a two hour long session and by the one hour mark, I was already beginning to flag, not being able to keep up with my competitive and much more experienced opponents.
Taking a five minute break, I asked Jack a few more questions about the club. He explained that he formed the club two years ago and, at first, he simply dragged along members of his flat to make up the team. The club flourished from there. He also explained that they have recently begun taking part in competitions once or twice a year in the Cannon Rose in Scotland, playing against Falkirk and Scunthorpe. It is a friendly competition ran over a single day. Due to the club being the youngest of the three they got ‘thrashed’ in the competition, held at the beginning of November, losing to the other clubs with 3 points compared to Scunthorpe’s 43 points and Falkirk’s 31. Nonetheless, they hope to return next time with ardour, and hopefully they will be able to gain the title for York in future competitions.
The friendly aspect of the club was evident throughout the entire session as my opponents would allow me to hit them with the ball when they could have quite easily moved away. Hilarity ensued at the end of my match against one of the members, Matt, when our referee gave us 10 seconds until the end of the game and Matt was completely unaware of where my flying ball had gone, looking blankly ahead as I received the final point. I didn’t manage to win any games, but throughout the session the whole team would give me advice and teach me new moves.
My experience playing VX was a new one, and one I hope to continue next term, it was an exciting and new sport that I’m glad to have had the opportunity to play.
If you would like to know more or you’re interested in playing VX, contact [email protected]