Wednesday, September 10

Chasin' the Trane to Chicago

Well, I wish.

Headphones regretfully forgotten for the train rides (trip paid by the balance of something paid for previously by a now former employer). So, sadly, the music was talking solely in my head.

Got to eat at Lou Mitchell's and see Nighthawks at the Diner, The Shiniest Giant Jellybean, Sunshine and Snuggles. Those last two are people. Not full names of course-- you'd have to ask them for full disclosure.

(I thought ultimate nicknames were dead. Now I count amongst my teammates Snuggles, Freight, The Big Weez, Spanish, Frenchy, Cuatro, Ocho and Gutter aka Jake the Jake.)

A night of sleep, and another early rise. Something about a hurricane and Los. Spots switched, and now I'm up before 6. Well, in truth, I would have been anyway. I think I have farmer genes. Er, overalls.

Breakfast note: St Elmo's Fire is hot and not that good. Santa Fe is better. Coffee at Holiday Inn Select is surprisingly offensive which pleases Snuggles.

There is something about this tournament. Not since I've been with Pike have we had a good return on investment on these fields. It all started with the hideous “Helmet Guy” jersey debacle of 03. We always seem to play bad ultimate, regardless of our W-L and hate ourselves by the end of the weekend. And then there is the transit hell that is “OR...D!”

This occurred to me Saturday morning as I walked to our first round warmup from the tourney tent. For some reason this thought stuck a they so often don't. Accordingly, I blame myself for the rest of Pike's weekend. Bad hoodoo, real or imagined, can go a long way.


There are many lessons to learn from opponents and teammates in ultimate(/life). This weekend reminded me of how many I have yet to learn while reminding me how far I've come. As a younger player, it was difficult for me to discern who had learned these lessons and who hadn't. Now I can spot those who have learned quickly and with precision. “There's Blood in the Water!!!”

The lessons aren't always skill, fitness or strategic... Emotional and mental lessons too.

(insert favored analogy about relationships here)

Little telltale signs betray everyone around the edges. We all have our weaknesses. Our foibles. Our pet throws. Our go-to cuts and fakes. Our scars.


Each style of play its own art.
From throwing style to marking technique.
From cutting angles to defensive footwork.

Team-level styles encompassing unique player styles.
Regional styles.
And on up.

The understanding comes when you begin to fully understand your own style and what it means in relation to other styles. Those of your opponents and your teammates. Both team-level and game-level. Weekend and Season.

You must first understand your purpose before you can excel.
You must first walk before you can run.

A learned, critical eye will yet pick out the weakness and attack, so you must be ever evolving. Unlike the Death Star.


And on and on and on and on

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