I had initially released this blogpost at the end of the summer but then I registered for Fall League. It didn’t seem right to leave out whatever little tidbits may come up 🙂 hope you enjoy!
Ultimate Frisbee 2014
(Note: I know that there’s quite a bit of jargon involved in this post; the bottom of the post gives a short definition of what some of these terms mean. Hope that helps for my non-ultimate playing readers! :))
Ultimate actually started in the Spring for me this year with my good friend and I joining the women’s league for the six weeks leading up to the summer season. A bit of background here: I played for the last month and a half of last year’s summer season with M’s team which was a fantastic experience. Going into ultimate last season, I was incredibly intimidated because I suck at throwing a frisbee lol. I’m also a bit uncoordinated; however, I apparently had ‘girlfriend duties’ which I was happy to fulfil. Apparently, I also had enough ‘athleticism’ to carry me…I beg to differ but what do? Like almost all co-ed ultimate teams, there are times of girl droughts. Take note girls…if you want to meet boys, play ultimate. Girls are always needed. No joke. I’m so thankful that I got dragged out to play because it’s such a blast and it’s a great reprieve from triathlon and rock climbing which are very individual performance based sports. It also puts my triathlon training to use aka we often don’t have two full lines for girls …or ever…sometimes we don’t get subs at all. My training puts me in decent shape to play ultimate and I absolutely love running around. I feel like a puppy 🙂 a very happy puppy. I think it’s a rare occasion when I’m not grinning ear to ear when I’m playing ultimate. Dear bestie, sorry that it took me this long to understand why this game is so friggin’ awesome. What could be better than sprinting down the field going after a long whipper in the end zone? Well and catching it. Anyways, I digress. Last year, my newb self was told to cover the other girl and that was about it. Sure it worked for that time but post break up, I asked my good friend, Sharon, who played for another team to ask her captain if they could use another girl…I didn’t want to be a complete newb. I wanted to contribute more thus spring league come spring 2014. Admittedly, part of it was driven by the fact that my girl crazy expresses itself in competition…as in, ‘we broke up? May play on the same field? Same game? Bring it on. Let me show you what you’re missing out on.’
Yeah…anyway, locking up that girl crazy for a little bit :). My friend and I really enjoyed our time in the women’s league. There is something very awesome about not playing co-ed and playing with women. The girls we played with were so encouraging and really took their time to get the basics down and to get us into the play. They played hard each game but we also had great fun. I learnt how to throw properly (though to give M some credit, he gave me a good start); although I initially struggled when I was first learning how to throw, it turns out my flick is more natural and stronger than my backhand…must be from badminton? (don’t take my flick away please ;)). It is also where I learnt some basic strategies and how to cut properly; I even got to handle for a couple games…albeit nervously. I also went in thinking that hey, I’m fit, running around won’t be so bad. Oh was I ever wrong lol. Sprinting and cutting is nothing like doing our distance runs. What was awesome about it is that it made me run intervals albeit very short intervals. I never felt like I was really doing so because I was always trying to get in on the play/chasing down the disc. I did register and attended the women’s ultimate challenge league that ran for a few weeks during the summer time but due to scheduling and also a pooped ankle, only made it out to a couple sessions. Note to self: can only play ultimate once a week during race season.
I was apprehensive of playing with a new team but man, I’m so glad that I got onto this team. One of the biggest pluses of playing with the Liver Flukes (new team name) is that I got to see Sharon once a week. Though we are close friends, we don’t see each other that often or at least, as often as we used to so this was really a way for us to get see each other more often. And in the way of how I think and still stand by the idea that playing a team sport with your significant other brings you closer, I think that this opportunity gave us an opportunity to grow our friendship. I don’t think we’ve played any sports together even though we are (or were ;)) very active; Sharon is an amazing player. I learnt so much from her this year and she was always a great encouragement especially when I didn’t know what to do lol. She was also there to give me a big hug/for moral support when I saw M again at the very last game of our season because we ended up playing on the same field as his team was for the first time that season. She and her husband were the ones that let me stay at their apartment without any question for the first couple of weeks when M and I broke up. They saw me at my utter lowest place and loved on me. I cannot repay them for their love. Those were dark times and I wouldn’t have made it out of those times without their and the love of my friends and fam. I digress.
Although our team couldn’t quite run plays as well as we would like to, we did our best. Unlike the time when I played on M’s team, we didn’t establish any plays or really cut into the disc. I think it helps with M’s team that most of them are all good friends and very athletic so they have good synergy. However, athleticism can only take you so far, especially when the other teams you play against are both athletic and understand the game. With the Liver Flukes, most of us were pretty athletically inclined and even if we weren’t, were pretty driven to play well. We had a couple boys that were amazing players but all our boys were very strong players. We had options for handlers which gave our strong players opportunities to play the field more than they would have otherwise. I know that with M, he and a couple of the guys would often be stuck handling the disc when they also had amazing speed and skill to deploy in other roles. During one of the sessions with women’s league, I learnt what ‘zone‘ was. I always thought Sharon was crazy for loving the ‘cup‘ role so much…but I totally get it now. Being in the cup is the way to be. By the end of the season, Sharon, our team mate Joel and I had a pretty awesome cup going. We even had a ‘C’ high5 lol. I was part of the cup a couple times with P and our mighty captain…much less effective there. Sad.
We most certainly didn’t have the best record lol. We started off the season very well but oh man…we didn’t win a lot of games for the latter half even against teams that we had won against earlier. A big reason was that our team struggled a lot with maintaining the minimum numbers of players. Shockingly enough, not just girls but also guys. We had our core players but beyond that, really struggled with people coming out. Even some of those who were registered as full time players didn’t show up for half of the games. I find it odd I guess. I may have commitment issues but when I decide to commit to something, there’s not turning back. In my schedule, I usually have certain things in my week that I would call ‘unmoveables’; for the summer, this included ultimate and small group. Although I love to train with my AiA crew, I most certainly didn’t train with them as much this season. I was on my own a lot or called up a friend or two to train with; I felt that if I wanted to work around these unmoveables, see people still and get my training in, I couldn’t quite fit myself into their established schedule. Unfortunately, people inconsistency really disrupted our flow as a team I think. We scrambled to pull subs from random places, all of whom we were grateful to get; my girl friends would receive a weekly text pleading for a warm body. Our subs were awesome but it was always a challenge to get some team synergy going and quite a few of our subs were fairly new to the game. We did pick up a couple people who were great subs and could play the game, one of which is an acquaintance of mine that I had played against with last year and also climbs/bikes. He’s asked to play on our team as a regular next year and I’m really hoping our captain takes him in. He’d be much more consistent than a lot of the players that we had this year. He’s also a pretty good player so 🙂 Sharon and I were talking after our last game it may be better for us to have a smaller regular roster next year with people that we know will come out since most of us don’t mind running double shifts.
It was kind of funny that the one time we had two full lines for guys and girls that we completely fell apart. It was absolutely the worst game that we played. We didn’t connect at all. I don’t think many of us played particularly well but again, I think the poor performance was due to the fact that our game roster was made up at least half new people/non-regulars. Although we hadn’t been winning a lot of our games leading up to this particular one, at least we had tried our best and played our hardest. But this one…man we just sucked so it was poopy. However, the one time we had 2 girls and 5 guys aka zero subs (thanks to the other team for letting us run this line rather than the regular 3 girls and 5 guys), we played our best. We had an awesome last game and just had good chemistry. I think we saw what our team could’ve been if we had consistent regular players. Also, maybe we can play playoffs next year! The team we played was another team that wasn’t playing in the playoffs and unfortunately for them, had been playing at a lower tier. Despite the fact that we were down people, we dominated but they were great about it and we really tried hard not to rub it in. Near the end, we tried to add in a couple little things to make it harder for us (eg. need to get to everyone before we score). We finished the game with nearly an hour left so the two teams mixed to play a game. Man we created so much confusion lol but we got to cover our own team mates which was a fun and new experience. At one point, Joel was like so…this is what it feels like to receive a huck from Joey. It was great fun just jostling around with each other…seriously, great way to end the season. At the end, Sharon and I gathered our things quickly and left the boys to run to the car because the mosquitoes were so bad. Oh man, the endorphins! We just ran and laughed the entire way to the car…then keeled over because we had been running so hard lol. On a personal note, it was also really good to see P again because we hadn’t see each other for a couple weeks because he had gone to BC for 10 day trip. As mentioned early, it was also a bit awkward because M and his team were playing at the same field. There was no way that I wanted to be a jerk and give P a running jump hug as I had initially planned in front of M. I am convinced that God arranged it so that M and I wouldn’t play at the same field for pretty much the entire season to give us time to heal and to be apart from each other. It was good to see M again as hard as it was, and to see the team again though; I got some hugs from his mates 🙂 so it was really nice. At least I was prepared for it…I kept tabs on the schedule so that I could mentally prepare myself if need be whereas he was completely taken off guard.
As for playoffs, our team didn’t play but Joey and I really wanted to play still. We reached out to the association to see if they could get us hooked up but it turns out one of my friends who had subbed for us once asked her Thursday team on our behalf as to whether or not they could use Joey and I. It was a good fit for us as they were tier 2 team (granted Joey could play in tier 1 and completely own it). Coming into Saturday playoffs, the team had narrowly won their first game by one point. The first few points of both the game we played on Saturday were pretty close but we pulled away in the second half both times. I got let loose a couple times to just book it down the field. Joey connected me with quite a few discs. When we were warming up between the two games, a couple things happened: my throws got better and Joey hucks the disc and without thinking about, I ran down the friggin’ field to get it. When I turned around, I see Joey just chuckling to himself. How do you know me so well?? Just knew that I would automatically go after it. He told me later that he told the guys on our playoff team to ‘just whip it and don’t try to float it, she will book it and will be there to get it’. Love it 🙂 We ended up winning our pool! So it was awesome. Personally a bit rough because M was there…with his new gf. Such is life though. Made me play that much harder…that girl crazy, I’m telling you lol. I was so stoked that I just kept smiling and played hard so what more could a girl want? Heh, at one point, I was allowed to stay on for the next point because I hated the way that we lost our point. Thankfully, our girls were great 🙂 I also learnt a bit more as to how to work offence against a zone defence.
A couple highlights:
- Seeing Joey lay out all the time. All the freakin’ time.
- See Joey’s wife and baby come out to cheer us on.
- Seeing Clay lay out especially during our last game
- The results of Clay’s encounter with poison ivy…so gross.
- Seeing Joel vault up like an antelope and get crazy vertical over a guy who was taller than him to get the disc. Sorry ladies, he’s taken.
- Seeing Clay take out a player on the other team…but then that player taking out Ams 😦
- Seeing Sharon reach out her hand with her back turned to snatch the flying disc in the end zone
- Hearing one of the guys from the other team telling our team to ‘stop saying time!’ and then one of his team mates telling him ‘actually…that was our team’ – please insert awkward turtle here
- Getting completely body checked/taken out by P when we had just started seeing each other. He told me that his immediate thought was: oh crap…she probably doesn’t want to see me any more
- During playoffs, Dan (handler for our playoff team) got the disc and whispered to me ‘go Bonnie!’ so I started booking it and he whipped it down to the end zone. A team mate of mine tipped it and after a fumble, I managed to curl my body over it and got the point. Like we rehearsed it 😉
- Getting some grass burns by rolling/trying to lay out. Street cred you know.
- Going for drinks/food after almost every game – the one time Joel and Gabby came out, they were well dressed and surrounded by tie dye dressed third, fourth, etc. wheels ….13 wheels 🙂
- Last but not least, meeting P via the introduction of the ‘awkward turtle’
So I’m thinking of joining Fall league…depending on school. If not, I’ll at least put my name forward to be a sub. I’ve joined fall league lol. Despite all the heart ache associated with M, I have to give him the majority of the credit for getting me out. Most definitely have to give some credit to the bestie because she kept ranting about how awesome ultimate was…but she was in Ontario most of the time thus diminished ability to get me roped in 😉 Also credit to Sharon for my in to the Liver Flukes and just being a great friend and team mate. I’m curious as to how I will balance school, work, life and my now three play season activities of triathlon, rock climbing and ultimate…especially since Hoops and I are thinking of tackling our first Half-Ironman next year…that’s for another blog post though.
- Flick – forehand throw
- Cut – running movement which means you pivot on your dominant foot quickly to change direction; allows you come towards the disc and potentially lose your defender
- Handle – two to three players are designated as ‘handlers’ and are responsible for making the plays and often the long throws
- Zone – defence strategy that’s often deployed when its windy; for a 7 people line, there are three people who form the ‘cup’, three mid-fielders and one long (at the far end of the field)
- Cup – part of the zone strategy; three people follow the disc until the disc reaches a certain point close to the end zone; they try to disrupt the play and prevent the disc from reaching others out in the field
- Huck – the initial throw to kick off the point