'Am seeing sluggish drilling, by sluggards. Not meaning insults. This is the fact. Motions are gone through. Barely minimal efforts. Cold, yes? The cold hands and nose with mucus? Thoughts on getting through, going in, hot showers, water very hot. A meal. The thoughts are drifting toward the comfort of ending. Too cold to demand the total, yes? [Gwen], too cold for  the high level, yes?'
[Gwen]: ' It does seem pretty cold out.'
'Ah.' Pacing back and forth with about-faces at every tenth step, his hands behind his back, nodding to himself, clearly wishing he had a third hand so he could stroke his  chin, pretending to ruminate. Every [time]. Essentially the same. All the older [player]s' eyes are glazed with repetition. 
'Ah.' Turns crisply toward them, looking briefly skyward. 'And when is hot? Too pretty hot for the total self on the [pitch]? The other hand of the spectrum? Ach. Is always something that is too. Master [Big Weez] who cannot quickly get behind [disc]'s descent so weight can move forvart into [catch], please tell your thinking: it is always hot or cool, yes?'
A small smile. ''s been our general observation out there.' 'So then then so, Master [Gwen], from [Florida]'s temperance regions?'
[Gwen]: 'I guess we have to learn to adjust to conditions, I believe is what you're saying.'
A full half-turn to face the group. 'Is what I am not saying, young [Gwen], is why you seem to give total effort of self since you begin with the clipping pictures of great [players] for your adhesive tape and walls. No? Because, privileged gentleman and boys I am saying, is always something that is too. Cold. Hot. Wet and dry. Very bright sun and you see the purple dots. Very bright hot and you have too salt. Outside is wind, the insects which like the sweat. Inside is smell of heaters, echo, being jammed in together, tarp is overclose to line, not enough of room, [noises] loudly to distract, clunk of machines vomiting sweet cola for coins. Inside roof too low for the [hammer]. Bad lighting, so. Or outside: the bad surface. Oh no look no:  cracks along [goal]line. Who could give the total, with [cracks]. Look here is lo[ng pitch] [short pitch]. Opponents  heckle, opponent cheats, linesman in semifinal is impaired or cheats. You hurt. You have the injury. Bad knee and back. Hurt groin area from not stretching as asked. Aches of elbow. Eyelash is in eye. The throat is sore. A too pretty girl in audience, watching. Who could play like this? Big crowd overwhelming or too small to inspire. Always something.'
His turns as he paces are crisp and used to punctuate. 'Adjust. Adjust? Stay the same. No? Is not stay the same? It is cold? It is wind? Cold and wind is the world. Outside, yes? On the [pitch] the you the player: this is not where there is cold wind. I am saying. Different world inside. World built inside cold outside world of wind breaks the wind, shelters the player, you, if you stay the same, stay inside.' Pacing gradually faster, the turns becoming pirouettic. The older [player]s stare straight ahead; some of the younger follow every move of the [disc] with wide eyes. T[C] is bent at the waist and moving his head slightly, trying to get the sweat dripping off his face to spell something out on the surface.  is silent for two fast about-faces, standing before them, tapping his knee with the [disc]. 'Not ever I think this adjusting. To what, this adjusting? This world inside is the same, always, if you stay there. This is what we are making, no? New type citizen. Not of cold and wind outside. Citizens of this sheltering second world we are working to show you ever end, no? To make your introduction.' The [older players] translate  into accessible language for the [younger player]s, is a big part of their assignment.
'Borders of [pitch] Mr. [Finkbot] are what.'
'[70+25] by  sir,' sounding hoarse and thin.
'So. Second world without cold or purple dots of bright for you is .8 [yards], 40 I think .2 [yards]. Yes. In that world is joy because there is shelter of something else, of purpose past sluggardly self and complaints about uncomfort. I am speaking to not just [Gwen] of the temperance world. You have a chance to occur, playing. No? To make for you this second world that is always the same: there is in this world you, and in the had a tool, there is a [disc], there is opponent with his tool[s], and always only two, you and the other, inside the lines, with always a purpose to keep this world alive, yes?' The [disc]-motions through all this become too orchestral and intricate to describe. 'This second world inside the lines. Yes? Is this adjusting? This is not adjusting. This is not adjusting to ignore cold and wind and tired. Not ignoring “as if.” Is no cold. Is no wind. No cold wind where you occur. No? Not “adjust to conditions.” Make this second world inside the world: here there are no conditions.'
'So put a lid on it about the fucking cold,' says [Mankind], with his [disc] under his arm and his strangler-sized hands in his pockets, hopping a little in place.
 is looking around. Like most  outside popular entertainment, he gets quieter when he wants to impress or menace.  'If it is hard,' he says softly, hard to hear because of the rising wind, 'difficult, for you to move between the two worlds, from cold hot wind and sun to this inside place inside the lines where is always the same.' he says, seeming now to study the [disc] he holds down and out with both hands, 'it can be arranged for you gentlemen not to leave, ever here, this world inside the lines of course. You know. Can stay here until there is citizenship. Right here.' The [disc] is pointed at the spot they're standing at breathing and blotting their faces and blowing their noses. 'Can today put up Te[n]t, for the world's shelter. Sleep bags. Meals brought to you. Never across the lines. Never leave the [pitch]. Study here. A bucket for hygienic needs. At [home] where I am privileged boy who whining about cold wind, we live inside tents for months, to learn to live inside. Very lucky days when they bring us meals. Not possible to cross a line for months of living.'
Left-hander [Trash] picks a bad moment to break wind.
 shrugs, half-turning away from them to look off somewhere. 'Or else leave here into large external world where is cold and pain without purpose or tool, eyelash in eye and pretty girls-- not worry anymore about how to occur.' Looks around. No one is prisoner here. Who would like to expave into large world? Master [Pulse]?'
 Eyes down.
'Mr. [Gutter], with always too co-wold to give total?'
[Gutter] studies the vasculature of the inside of his elbow with deep interest as he shakes his head. [Val Kilmer] is joggling his head around like a Raggedy-Andy-head, stretching out the neck hardware. [Val Kilmer] is notoriously tight and can't touch anything below the knee with straight legs during stretches.
'Mr. P[hun C] with always the weeping to home on the telephone?'
The twe[enty-something]-year-old says Not Me Sir several times.
'Simple,'  shrugs, so that the upraised [disc] seems to stab at the sky. '[Cu]t,' he suggests, 'Move. Travel lightly. Occur. Be here. Not in bed or shower or over caconschteam, in the mind. Be here in total. Is nothing else. Learn. Try. Drink your green juice. Perform the [Heckman] exercises on all eight of these [pitches], please, to warm down. Mr. [Mankind], please to bring [discs]. [Throw] at your will. Use a head. You are not arms. Arm in the real [ultimate] is like wheels of vehicles. Not engine. Legs: not either. Where is where you apply for citizenship in second world Mr. Consciousness of ankle [Weez], our revenant?”
'The human head, sir, if I got your thrust. Where I'm going to occur as a player. The game's two heads' one world. One world, sir.'
 sweeps the [disc] in an ironic morrendo arc and laughs aloud:
Saturday, December 20
Wednesday, December 10
On the Road again.
This time on the way to NC. G'Vegas, as the kids say. A team of people from the Philadelphia area. College and after. Young and old. Pike and not.
The brother will be meeting us there, and the ride down promises to be a good one as the driver's new Volvo s60 2.5 rides smoothly at rates of speed that would make a majority of the cars of the passengers shake into scrap. It is still smell-level new.
Bojangles is the topic of conversation at mouth. We start with the degenerative level of freedom for the weekend here in the US. Exceed excess by enough until the very edge of reason.
To quote hst quoting Samuel Johnson:
"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."
Now chatter of dayjobs and what sort of team we have. Speculation and the associated aggravation. Talk of the lives in the doctor's hands, his speeding tickets and more. The ability to float above concerns for money is a boon in his life. Others slip below the considerations of money. Which is differently painful sort of freedom.
[The competition and the madness draw us together. We make this 6 hour trip (some folks fly in from locales in different directions as well) and the cast of characters changes, as it does with all ultimate tournaments. The core is similar at each, but there is still a relationship from one year to the next. A continuum to grasp and to help contextualize. Does it make more sense to think of my experience as a sequence of teams over 10 years? Or as a repetitive cycle of tournaments? First the 4-year cycle of college tournaments. Now the 6-year cycle of club tournaments. I've been playing with and against many of the same players over the last 10 years. I remember I remember. Ramblings of a semi-old-timer in this sport. I think the tournament-cycle model makes more sense. No matter what teams people move to at Nationals, for example, it is the same old show. Some people get better. Some people stay the same. Some people finally start to fall off...]
I've heard some of these stories before and the standard warnings concerning one of our teammates are given. All attendant stories are told to newcomers and affirmed by old hands.
Where will this road lead this year?
I'm here to win. Play Hard, Compete.
Have a Good Old Boy Time off the field.
The lobby of Le Cafe... Best Western and waiting for it to be time to get started. This part of the appeal of ultimate for me. Be up in the morning and have an explanation. A raison d'être. To get up and feel that for a morning is vital in some way. Life-affirming. Fear grows from days lacking forward momentum.
The culture of ultimate is largely grown out of youth athletics. Like weekend soccer tournaments, or basketball tournaments, or volleyball tournaments, or field hockey tournaments, or whatever crazy sport they played in your area. People get up in their homes and drive forever to play a large group of other folks. Some people squish into hotel rooms. There are hijinks at night. There are those looking for trouble, those looking for a good laugh, Those all-encompassingly (thanks Mitch!) consumed by the competition of the thing. High Rollers. Rumors. Regional Rivalries and the like. Rituals at different stops over the year. Bojangles being the relevant example at Ultimax. Of course, the upshot of this is that I often become the adult in the group. On many levels.
Ah, the first straggling teammate arrives. I've gotten through a bit by dfw this morning called "the Asset." That's a strange brain he's got there. His short fiction is good, but thus far he's left me cold, a bit. It seems too easy and like rote rehearsal for him. Like he's playing a game far below his capabilities and with no real interest to him.
Novel length shows seem to be what I like best about him. As well as the comfortable shyly authoritative tone taken in his essays. Authoritative from an obvious master of the language. Curious. I've started Infinite Jest now. Excited about this one.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. Ultimax. We've gotten a lot shorter as a team over the night. We've lost a handful of players already, including a bit of The Hired Height.
This will change the complexion of our team. Not drastically, but losing one or two tall guys always puts you at matchup disadvantages over the weekend. We have great over-all skill, but we're playing midget-ball this weekend.
I'm told we're in a pool with the X-Rates and the Irates. This is good because those teams are Fun to play. And they do the night-time showdown game or whatever, so we'll have familiarity with them for heckling purposes. Also good.
We've gotten two new Clay-Z-Stories (the over/under was set at 7, and the qualification for being classified as such is the our leader verifying it with "Oh my god.") which is promising. I'm told he doesn't sleep at this tournament and we've already been warned to lock our doors at night.
Why do I play this game again?
Oh yeah, the game itself. And the strangeness of the players. One of my teammates claims this morning "I have a very slow metabolism..." in the process of explaining why he's eating at the moment instead of later in the morning. The team is comprised of Philadelphia-area folks from club teams and college teams. Ages from unable to drink, to "legally drinking longer than unable to drink guy has been alive." The most tireless guy on our team is a Masters player, and the fat-lazy handlers are club players U~24. What a world what a world. I've been told I'm playing on the D line, but I'm doubtful to the concept of rigid lines. This is BARFIGHT ULTIMATE.
The things about going 4-0 is that it doesn't make you win the tournament, just that you've won all you can win thus far. Just like wearing gloves doesn't help you catch, it just makes it hurt less. Our day was solid, despite possibly having one player over 6 feet tall. Our two tallest guys were asian. Somehow I made it onto the "Asian line" ("but she's only half asian"). I did throw a couple turns today, but nothing to write home about. Every once in a while, I still make misreads. If I'm playing with great players, some of those are made up for (some were today) and some are not (same).
Barfight is a good team.
Philthy is a good team.
Pike is a good team.
I wonder which would win?
College football is up to the computers.
Club Ultimate is up to the Talent.
Morning on Sunday, nearly 8.
NFL Matchup on TV, down in the lobby. The Cafe... Hotel Best Western is almost jumping with people. The military folks are already gone, leaving me two southern women for company. I can't imagine what they're doing in the area or why they're here. Their accents sound fake.
Let me be clear about The Cafe... Hotel Best Western: The best free coffee I've had.
NFL Matchup still needs to show more game film and talk less. It is the best show of its type... except that NFC/AFC Playbook are starting to catchup. They're on the NFL Network and rather solid. Just as NBA Gametime or Gamenight or whatever is starting to overtake Inside the NBA.
Sundays are always a strange trip for me. I still get up early in the morning, and at some point, the prudence of this can be questioned, but when given the choice of inhabiting the lobby with free coffee or laying awake in the hotel room, I choose the lobby. I'd prefer a diner, but this is free. And I have no car.
"I haven't eaten nothing but a continental breakfast
Thanks to Motel 6 for throwin' a dog a bone"
(Heiruspecs, Something for Nothing)
Game one on Sunday was a victory over Moneyshot. Pure upwind/downwind game. We scored the last 3 points of this game to win 11-10 or 10-9 or something. Nice. Barfight did a good job of taking what we had instead of forcing it. Realizing that we are all able to throw in the wind was a huge part of this. We dropped a bunch of crap, which haunted us in the next game against some team that beat us pretty well. No drops on the weekend for me. A handful of throwaways.
Good times all around. We went to Bojangles five times in two days, and twice on the way out of town. This is why folks get fat. Fried Chicken is Good. If you're at a tournament wondering what to eat for breakfast on gameday, go with the Cajun Fillet Biscuit. Maybe put some honey on there if you're into that. Get some coffee. If you like really sweet stuff, get a Bo'Berry Biscuit. If you're a man, have Buds with your chicken throughout the day. Say what you will about Ludacris's co-opting of it, but Chicken-n-Beer is the American Dream.
Tournament went well, on the whole. Lots of the guys found out where they rank in the "able to throw in the wind" continuum.
Mosh was a quarterfinals loss, Ultimax was a Semis loss.
What next in the offseason? Hope to make this a good one.
Or, right The Journey. Tim's title. Whattadork. That is where my workout-related stuff will go. This is where the other ultimate-related-stuff will go.