Saturday, June 9

Stupid Jersey

Jersey City is not a a good place to live if you play ultimate.

It is about the same time/distance to Pike and PoNY. About an hour for either, possibly more for PoNY. Well, I suppose it isn't so bad if you have a car, but mine was stolen last September. That was fun. I'm sure I'll be reminded of later on of paying $125 to have my car stolen, so I won't tell that tale for now. Suffice to say, it was simultaneously awful and awesome.

Moving right along, this morning I thought we had practice at the Princeton fields. That's about an hour drive from my apartment. But I don't have a car. It is also about an hour train ride from my apartment, plus a short walk from the train station. The walk is nice enough early in the morning that I don't mind it at all in the summer. A nice lazy stroll to practice early in the morning is a good way to start the day in nice weather. A little before I boarded the train, I checked my email to be sure that we were actually practicing at those fields and not the MCUDL fields.

As I scanned the email I noticed that both fields were listed. This must be the source of my confusion-- I just scan the short emails about practice looking to pick up two things: Time and Place. In this case I must have latched onto the wrong place because it clearly says that we'll be at the MCUDL fields barring something crazy, in which case we'll be at the Princeton fields. Well, I've not contacted anyone for a ride to the fields and I don't want to wake anyone up too early, so I'll just call Jamie (who is always early except when I'm involved, just as I'm always early unless he is involved) and ask him to pick me up at the Princeton Junction Train Station. A little out of his way, but what are brothers for? Right, to mess everything up for each other.

So, as I'm heading down to practice I watch another episode of The Sopranos on the ipod as I realized that I was going to be down there pretty damn early. Well, no worries, it is a nice day, I'll just sit down wherever I am and take in the morning while watching Tony Soprano do something awful. So I found a picnic table and had a late breakfast (Johnny L's Bagels was not open when I left this morning-- Johnny L comes in whenever Johnny L likes on Saturdays) of some sort of crazy Fajita thing I purchased at Newark Penn Station (That's an oddly interesting Wikipedia link, if you ask me) and some trail mix.

As I'm sitting there letting time pass it occurs to me that if we're going to be on time, Jamie will need to be here soon. I call him and he says the clocks our family's place are all fucked up. Apparently, no two clocks are allowed to say the same time. This, quite naturally, caused some Jamie some consternation in the early AM and as a result he was running a bit late. Naturally.

So I wait a bit longer, watch another episode, brush my teeth, try to check out some of the office buildings in the area (which were all locked, of course) and be in the moment. Jamie rolls up soon enough and we head down to practice. As we pull up, we realize that they're doing some crazy full-field sprints for warmups and I say that we're showing up at the perfect time-- I can do some warmups and get into drills.

It starts with a drill that I hadn't done before involving a handler-type cut to an away throw from the far side of the field. Good way to get some throws going and make game-like movements, I think. We also do a give-go version of it. Also nice. Anything where you get a variety of realistic throw sequences and movement sequences is a good starter. We then do some other somewhat similar drills and we work (as we always do and should) on handler movement and endzone offense.

Over the course of practice, we play two scrimmages. The first of which, my team gets down out of the gate, but comes back quickly to take the lead. I'm enjoying the way that our new O-sets are developing and the things that our players are learning from them that we are applicable to most offenses/defenses. The combination of our handler-motion focus of last year with the emphasis we're placing on intelligent (and more opportunistic) downfield cutting will pay dividends as the season progresses. We're starting to build upon the success of last year instead of recovering from the mass exodus after 05. It is truly exciting to be a part of.

In any case, we had the disc 3 times to win the game, over 3 or 4 points, but had drops and mental errors do us in. Very frustrating loss. The second scrimmage was more satisfying as my team eventually went on a killer run to win it. 1-1 on the practice.

At one point today, J Dono made a fantastic point to the team about how, when you are presented with a chance to make an excuse for your play, you're making a choice. Instead of choosing the excuse, you can choose to fight through and be the person who overcomes the obstacle instead of the person who is overcome by the obstacle. He put it in much more concrete terms and much more forcefully, but this how it was translated in my head. This is what pushes me through my workouts and every moment in a game when an excuse not to do something creeps in for a second.

Using Live Logic (5 games in one day) and Regionals 06 (5 games on day one, 4 games on day two) as examples illustrated the point well. No matter the format, no matter the conditions, you play who you play and each game is an opportunity for victory. An opportunity to prove yourself. That's why sports are so phenomenal in the first place. You get to test yourself objectively. You learn your weaknesses and your strengths. You learn about your teammates and your opponents as well as the game. In other words, "Competition's good, it brings out the vital parts."

Practice Record for 07: 9-2
Workout Total:
4 hrs ultimate

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