when it came back to me
in a rush.
in the fall.
suddenly i didn't dread lacing them up.
i wouldn't be sore the next day and there would be nothing left on the field.
i lead the league in plays left on the field.
i can recall them all of them better than the few plays i've made.
in every game there's a moment where you push through the wall.
in warmups, you can't quite ever hit the wall. (you can, however, recast the wall in paper.)
in every season there's a moment where the inhibitor clicks off.
in non-series tournaments, i can't quite ever fully turn it off. (i can, however, recall the memory.)
no more de/re-construction.
no more building or tearing down.
Tuesday, September 30
when it came back to me
Monday, September 15
and i swear i've been here before.
Well, not these fields exactly. But here. This place.
All of the players are the same, they're just on different teams. Or have different faces. Some don't, of course. But I've been right here, in this game before. And this one too.
I've heard this speech before, only it wasn't coming out of my mouth and it had different words.
Only last time, my team didn't fight in either game.
Feeling really fresh, looking forward to practice this weekend.
Got a good strength workout in today.
Took some short, hard sprints.
Last time, I was scared.
Wednesday, September 10
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.
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”