Monday, April 15, 2013

Ultimate *insert popular brandname disc here* Post!

I've noticed that I mention that I play Ultimate frisbee here quite fleetingly and I today during clinic, we were also hosting a "Learn How to Play" series and thought it might be a good time to talk about my journey into this game.

To start, I never really know what to call it, which is why sometimes, I refer to it in different ways - though, I usually just call it ultimate frisbee.  The thing that makes it so complicado is that Frisbee is actually a trademarked name for a type of disc made by a company.  So, the sport itself can't really be called Ultimate Frisbee without plugging that company.  So on Wikipedia and all that jazz, they just shortened it to officially be called Ultimate.  Which I kind of think is crap because it gets confusing.  One time, while out and about in my Ultimate gear, someone asked me if I just finished playing a sport or something and I replied with a yes, I play Ultimate. And they just stared at me blankly and are like, "ultimate what?" and I"m like, nothing.  Just Ultimate.  And then they usually start getting irritated because they think I'm being all sassy until finally I break down and say Ultimate Frisbee and then they understand that I play an actual game/sport and I don't just walk around looking like a tool.

CONFESSION: I accidentally dropped that word in front of Tiana Banana and she totes went and asked her dad if he could explain to her why someone would be a tool.  #BestAuntFAIL

Confession: Sometimes I do try to wear the weirdest outfits possible that I think I can get away with in the name of playing Ultimate

CONFESSION: I've since resorted to custom-made game shirts.  It's this weird sickness of mine.  After playing for a year, I now have over 10 green T-Shirts.  And I can't stop.  Every time we're out and I see a flash of green out of the corner of my eye, I have to investigate whether or not it could possibly be a new Ultimate shirt for me.  I don't know why.  I have issues.  I guess that's a different post or help-group altogether...

I'm getting ready to walk down frisbee memory lane so clearly this is probably going to be a long post.  I'd played a few times over the last five years but never really got into it.  For the most part, I tagged along with Melissa when a team she'd signed up to be on would play and needed an extra person.  Being overweight and a complete stranger to cardio, you can see how it never really stuck with me.

Basically, it's running up and down the length of a football field really fast, zigging and zagging with the added bonus of having flat, hard, plastic discs zooming towards your face.

What did I tell you about the proper "gear".  You gotta look the part!

Later on, Melissa mentioned that in an effort to get out there and be active and social and meet new people who we would normally ignore if on any regular given day, she was going to sign up for an Ultimate league in her neck of the woods.  I understood that she wanted to meet new people and bust out of her comfort zone, so it took me at least three minutes before I invited myself to join, too.  Unlike her goals, I don't like meeting new people.  I just like hanging out with her.  She could meet anyone she wanted so long as she remembered that I was her faaavourite friend! *LOL* Yes, I am truly 6 years old on the inside.  I will totally cut someone if I hear them refer to my best friend as their best friend.  ...Again, I guess that's more issues that belong in a different help-group....I digress...

I figured it was a good thing to do.  It got us out of the house and interacting around other humans and bonus for me, it would get me moving and my heart pumping in this thing called cardio.

Yeah, first day out we totes got yelled at.  We were told that we weren't running enough and if the disc was moving and we weren't running to get off the field.  Hot damn!  Frisbee people are like dance moms.  With less tutus.  Of course, being brand-spanking new and having ZERO idea what the hell was happening, my standard attitude/tone that Tara says that I get was nowhere to be found.  What the heck can I say?  I just got on the field and all of a sudden everyone was running around like chickens with their heads cut off!  And DUDES, I'm TIRED!  That was like, at LEAST a minute of running.  REALLY fast!

Top L-R: Bart, Joyce, Steve, Pete, Sharon, Me
Bottom L-R: Mel, Sean, Tav, Kev

I don't really even know how it happened since we talked about quitting, but somehow, Mel and I made it back the next week.  And then the week after.  And then the week after that. Still scratching my head at how that happened since for at LEAST the entire day before a game, we'd be whining and complaining about how our lives have amounted to this and we would rather barf all over ourselves than all over the frisbee field and could we PLEASE not go this game?

Eventually, I was finding I was able to run a bit more.  Instead of wishing I could die during the middle of a play, I would be able to make it long enough to stumble off the field, slap my sub's hand and then wish it would all just stop.  Somewhere in all of this, Bart joined our team and now it was both of us trying to keep up with these weirdly aerobic people.  Yet, we still powered through.

First my goal was just to be able to run around and keep up with whoever it was I was supposed to be guarding.  And then once I was able to get a somewhat decent handle on that, my goal was to at least be able to touch the disc since no one ever wanted to throw it to me because the person guarding me as always on me like white on rice.  This meant - yep - more frickin' running.


Now it's three seasons into the league and we still haven't quit.  We're still complaining every night before it's time to go, but we lace up our cleats just the same.

Everyone once in a while, we'd actually win a game.  That was exciting times, yo.

We braved the cold and played outdoor fall league - and this was around the time that I had begun my new journey into this mystery called weight-loss.

When gloves are needed, there just shouldn't be any games!

It was around this time that I started getting the disc thrown to me more often because I was able to run more and get away from my "stalker".  However, that was just the running aspect down after four seasons.  I still had to work on the catching part - and when it's negative temperatures, you don't really want a hard, plastic disc flying fast at your fingertips.  In my defense.

I totally did number four ALL the time.  It's not without irony that I'm 100% positive that I was also someone's number four. 
Outdoor season finally ended and indoor winter season is about to start.  Complaining and whining aside, we've made it to one year in the Ultimate league and we're still powering through - and no longer getting yelled at. On top of that, we've also managed to recruit not only Bart, but Mel's (now) husband Rory and a couple of friends.  HA!  Everyone was all judging frisbee thinking it was the easiest thing ever to chase after a flying disc.  IN YOUR FACES!  It was seriously a joy to watch them all on their first game out.  That'll teach y'all to think you can hang just because I'm playing it! *LOL*

For me, indoor was a bit of a game changer.  It was around this time that I was well on my way through the lifestyle change I had embarked upon and the weight-loss was happening.  With this meant that I was a bit lighter on my feet and while I may still be someone's number four, I enjoyed making them huff and puff after me and read it on their faces when they would realize that following after me might not necessarily be a cake walk.

FINALLY 7'd it and starting to regularly knock some discs down!

This was also around the time that I started getting a little bit more confident on the field.  I was actively going after discs and not just following my mark around like a lost little puppy waving my arms around madly if they happened to get the disc.  Heck, I even know what a mark is now!  Conveniently, this was also around the time that we started winning more games and Mel and I stopped complaining about having to go and run around the field.

See that team at the back? They're currently in first place for this season.  I hate them, but that's probably because I'm not on their team.

People are now coming up to us and commenting on how far we've come since last year.  And we feel super proud - we know how we played like last year - especially me!  Lately, we've grown very accustomed to winning games, so we kind of have attitude now when we lose, whereas before, we were all of the "it's not about winning, it's about how you play the game" or something lame like that.  Of COURSE it's about WINNING.

We are now currently up to playing two leagues a week, the Wednesday of which is the "intermediate" league (Awwww, YEAH!) of which I am currently the captain of.  BOOM. (Don't get too excited, it was only be default and in this league, captain is also synonymous to "secretary" or "she who emails out game reminders") but still, I'll take it!

I know this is insanely long and I'm hoping that the pictures have been able to provide enough distraction that I can go on for a bit longer, but I've allowed myself to dedicate this much space to Ultimate because all joking aside, it's really important to me.

Not just because, rocky start aside, we've gotten better at it, but because it has been a big part of this crazy journey that I've been on.  In more ways than one.  First, in that we didn't quit.  After the disastrous first day out, we wanted to quit.  We were encouraged to quit and we knew that nobody would blame us if we did.  But we didn't.  We didn't let a couple people stop us and all of a sudden, they're looking back at us now after we've played a game with them and they're acknowledging that no, we are no longer those two n00bs that randomly joined a league just because we got a crazy idea in our heads.

Besides numbers on a scale, Ultimate has been a real qualitative measurement of how far I've come.  From just standing around just letting my mark score so that I could sub off, to jumping, diving, sliding and enduring turf burn to get a disc.  I can see that things have changed.  I have changed.  And by sticking with it, it has helped in the healthy lifestyle I've been working towards.  It's also opened more avenues to me when I realized all of a sudden that from hating running with a passion, I may possibly be growing a passion for running.  All because of those quick start-stop sprints that I hated so much in the beginning.

And another surprising thing - considering I still don't really actively like pursuing other human interaction.  I've made friends and acquaintances.  I know people who I wouldn't have otherwise have ever really met, let alone gotten to know.  I've become part of something and let's face it, old Catherine never wanted to be a part of anything.  Surprisingly, new Catherine likes it.

I don't really know how to end it here without waxing any more afterschool special anecdotes.  But be it Ultimate or dodgeball (which I still want to line up one day!) or any thing else really, sports-related or not - sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and make some changes if you want to SEE some changes.  I chose Ultimate and it just so happens I'm also cultivating a wicked forehand flick and I'd like to think I look pretty badass on the turf.

Or you least I think I do...


Winter 2013 Indoor Ultimate League: Disc Pigs


Melissa said...

You have come so far!!! It's insane how much faster you are now and I LOVE when you come out of nowhere to smack the disc down and your opponent goes from that confident, "I'm going to catch it"look on their face, to a "whaaat the...where did she come from??" look. Priceless.

Marti Wills said...

i swear you make me want to play this and i hate sports. i was always the one on the field who never moved more than about 2' from my original spot during a whole game....well except for flag football. i did like me some flag football....i like melissa's description of the competitive part of it tho. i could get into that perhaps....cuz i like to be evil....

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