Thursday, April 19

From the Past

It is always interesting to have dinner with an old friend.

After we parted ways, I took some time to examine the themes of the conversation. Little stuff, his job interview, apartments in NYC, Virginia Tech, humorous stories about mutual friends and long lost pals. The usual. When it came to ultimate, he of course asked how everything was, how competitive the team was and the like. Like good friends are known to do. Or at least polite ones. I suppose a bad friend could be polite much like a good friend could be rude.

In any case, this guy was my roommate during my first truly obsessive year of ultimate. He was quite confounded as I bounded off to practice on Saturday morning as he came home from a night of whatever. This was much like when I would get up in the morning during the week as he was putting himself to bed. Not a party animal per se, but he was/is certainly a night owl. As it became apparent that my hobby was growing into an obsession, we, of course, talked about it all at some point. He was even game to come out and throw or play pickup back home (not only were we roommates sophomore year, but we went to the same junior and senior high schools) even though it was clear that I was the one caught up by the game. He just liked getting out and playing [insert game here] with friends.

Back at the present dinner: I found myself saying that "It's really a good thing that I happened upon ultimate. It's good for me to have an outlet for, well, me."

Back to the contemplation after dinner: I started thinking about why it was a good thing, exactly, that I chose to spend so much time playing ultimate, or why I was drawn to it. There were a whole bunch of thoughts concerning my somewhat obsessive nature and the need to be active and competitive in a meaningful way and that sort of thing. And then it hit me. The phrase "ultimate is like a girlfriend" suddenly meant something. (Perhaps it was fresh in my mind because of Zagoria's horrific article on sex in ultimate to which I refuse to link)

It wasn't just that you spend all of your time playing ultimate, you pour your dedication into it. Your energy. How often have you heard a team described as having great heart? Or that a someone is the heart and soul of a team? The thing is that unlike a relationship with a person, a relationship with a sport is static. People change. They become interested in different things, end up with different goals. A sport does not. The rules are defined, and the game isn't going to leave you. The rules might adjust slightly, but the end goal remains the same. In the case of ultimate, you'll always need to complete more passes in the endzone than the other team, no matter how the rest of it works out. Score more points.

The rules in relationships are not so simple. Nor are the rule changes revised by a committee of people who have studied them. Instead they change without warning or concern. People grow together, people grow apart. One of the slew of reasons that so many friends have tired of the dating scene is because they put their energy into one person, only to repeat that same exertion with someone else. To go through the same introductions all over again. To iron out the same problems again and again. With a sport or a hobby or whatever, you’re always moving forward. You don’t need to go back and do things a second time—you can build upon what has come before. Your affection and dedication are never questioned because you are the sole arbiter of the terms of your relationship. You can break it off and come back a year later. You can make it your absolute obsession. You can see other sports on the side.

Anyway, I think the analogy has run its course.
Workout Total:
Extensive Shoulder Stretching/Rehab
Missed other workout stuff

1 comment:

Joshua said...

Double true that. I'm tired of the "game" playing with girls. It's like constantly starting a season, and never even seeing the allstar break, it's actually not even coming close to the allstar break. and who cares about that point in the season.

With ultimate, and every other sport, the beginning is always fresh and new and great and awesome, but once that honeymoon stage is over it's all gutting it out until the exciting end. You can really only do that once in a relationship, then what?

"seeing other sports on the side" is classic.