a newer one »Momma and the Po-Po

To play, or not to play

Today is a day when I think about retiring from ultimate. A day of incredible frustration, and displays of my personality that I prefer to keep buried, hidden, unexposed.

We were playing at the Ashland Oregon Coed Cramp-Up, a mixed gender ultimate tournament that has been held annually for 12 years.

We lost our first game handily. I'd like to say it was because we didn't warm up properly, play intensely, or gel very well as a team. That statement is certainly true, but it doesn't justify crappy play.

We won our second game fairly handily (13-8) against a team that played a very close game to a rock star team that crushed us in the third round.

Against a team that I became quite pissy at. And that frustrates me.

A lot.

Last weekend, we played at Quincy's MUD Classic. One of our opponents was Donner Party D Pool, a reunion team made up of players from the disbanded stellar mixed team Donner Party.

Now, playing against Donner Party (DP) is the absolute worst ultimate experience... DP does not, and never did, understand the concept of Spirit of the Gameā„¢. To them, any call against them is "bad spirit"; any call for them is "good spirit." The same is true for any legitimate call that goes against them, or for them, respectively. They pretend to be "spirited," but when a game is close they become snippy, claiming no calls go their way, if their opponent wasn't so unspirited this game woyld be better. They also try to get away with decidedly cheating play such as claiming a disc caught after bouncing off the ground was still up and in play. All while calling a player inbounds from the opposite side of the field.

Actual conversation between a Donner player and me last weekend. We were standing on the home sideline as two players discussed if another Donner player caught the disc inbounds or not.

    Donner player: How can they call her out of bounds over there? She's clearly inbounds. There are no lines. There's nothing over there to show where out-of-bounds are.

    Me: Except two cones.

He shut up.

So today in our third game, the one against the top team in our pool coming into the tournament, in one point, I'm called first in the string. Meaning, I'll catch the disc from thw pull and put the disc into play for that point.

The disc floats funny and takes a low line out of bounds, landing on the line and bouncing two feet out of bounds. I call brick and ask Kyle Schleifer if he wants to take the disc as the first thrower. There's some noise downfield, and eventyally the question, "You're taking at the line, right?" floats into my consciousness. I reply, "No, I called brick." Another person, this one closer to me, replies to me, "It landed in and rolled out." "No, it landed out. I had best perspective. I was standing right there. It was out." "You looked at the cones first. That guy," he points to a non-player on the sideline, "says it landed in." I turned to this player, while walking back to the stack, and said, "That guy isn't on the field. Best perspective on the field makes the call. I had the best perspective. And I called it out."

The conversation ended at that point, but I was incredibly annoyed. The disc was two feet out of bounds. I was standing over the freaking thing when it landed. I felt like I was playing Donner all over again with the complete lack of respect for the calls of other players.

And with any emotion of irritation, I try to figure out why I'm just so angry about the whole incident. Why, after another game and dinner, am I still obsessively thinking of this on incident? I stood my ground. I was assertive. And now I feel as if I've done something wrong and it sucks.

Deep down, maybe I think I'm becoming one of those pissy Donner players. And that's what I fear the most.

I apologize when I foul someone. I apologize when I even accidently bump my opponents. I don't participate in on-field discussions when I didn't have any perspective on the field. I try to contest and move on if I disagree with calls against me. I take myself out of games when I'm getting too hotheaded, sometimes to the detriment of my team.

But situations like the pull today make me wonder if I'm as nice as I think I am, as I want to be. Did I dig in my heels because I was right, or because I wanted to be right?