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 Game™. 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?


Today was track practice, as are most Tuesdays during the season. Kris and I have been incorporating the pylometrics, abs and power workouts we learned at ASA, and helping train our teammates. We've also been integrating longer distance, endurance running into the workout to give us a base this early in the season.

I often wonder if a 1.5 hour workout once a week can really help much, but it's better than sitting on my ass every Tuesday night.

I guess.

Last week after the plyometrics, we ran 3 800m relays: in groups of 3, each person ran 800m, then rested as the other two runners on his team ran an 800m, too. I ran with Heather, as there were 4 women at the track, and Heather likes to run with a partner. I told her I would be running at an 8:00/mile pace, if that was okay. It was, and we were actually able to run the 800s in 3:57, 3:56 and 3:47.

This week, however, we ran a 400, an 800, then a 400. We ran a reduced run because we had a tournament last weekend, and another tournament this weekend. Fair enough.

My plan was to run a 2:00, 4:00 and a 1:50, keeping with my 8:00/mile times. Brynne, Heidi and I all ran at the same time, because we were partnered with Kris and Chris in the relay. Heidi wanted to run fast, fast, fast, so I slowed her down on the first 100 of the first 400.

The back stretch of the track had a nice back wind on it, so running fast in the first 200 yards was very easy. The front stretch, on the other hand, was a bear! That head wind was almost enough to stop a runner. Ugh.

I ran my first 400 in 1:47. Faster than I expected, but good none-the-less. I was a second behind Heidi and 2 seconds behind Brynne, who kicked in the last 40 yards to pass me at the end. I minded little because we had two more runs to run.

I ran the 800 in 3:46. Faster than my expected 4:00, and pretty good with that darned head wind. And not bad after all the plyometrics we did. I was feeling pretty good at the start of the run, and ran faster than a jog, but pretty much my natural running pace, with a kick at the end. Heidi came in at 3:57, Brynne at 4:21.

My last 400 I didn't even bother to run with Heidi and Brynne. I just relaxed into my pace, making sure I kept my arms swinging forward and backward (and not side to side as they used to do when I used to get tired), and my knees up. Before I started, I was trying to decide if I wanted to run it in 90 seconds or 100, and settled on 100. I ran a 1:37.

It's very hard to run a 1:37 400m and realize I used to run them 33 seconds faster (my best time of 64 seconds in college). But I couldn't play ultimate, and couldn't catch a disc then, so it all balances out.

Tournaments and breasts

So, what is it with tournament and my breasts? Every tournament I seem to go to (certainly for the last 5 years) seems to coincide with my breasts being swollen. I don't get it. Either I'm swollen the weekend before and don't menstruate until a week after the tournament, or they balloon up on Tuesday and hurt hurt hurt on Saturday morning.


Why can't I go back to 16 and my first, 21 with my second and 23 for my third? A life without menstruations, swollen breasts, mood swings (not that those ever happen, right?) is a pleasant life indeed.

Of course, losing 20 pounds is one way to get there, but not a pleasant road to travel.

In the meantime, I need to make sure my hucks don't slap my right breast first.


Smack talk and talking shit.

Climbing onto my self-righteousness soapbox here...

Received an email from a teammate tonight. It referenced tryouts for Mischief, the coed team I play for.

I just got off the phone with P.  Apparently beer run has been
bad mouthing both us and monkey (and probably other teams) to 
try and get our tryouts.  At any rate, I'm told it is working,
they just hooked J (she said no to monkey at their last tryout).

P told me that he'd like to see us rather than beer run get a
couple folks monkey cut.  As such we've got a few more folks we
should consider...

Quick seque... Or not so quick. I often think these entries are like a Simpsons episode, where the first 5 minutes are compellingly strange and designed to set up some completely improbable scenario that leads to the rest of the episode.

On to the part where Lisa says something clever...

When I was living with Kelly Johnson, she would often provide insights into people's behaviour (being a psychology major, such insights were probably second nature). One of the behaviours she pointed out was the act of criticizing others in order to make oneself appear better.

It's quite easy to do, as it's easier to cut the other person/team/group down than it is to build up oneself.

Once Kelly pointed it out to me, I tried to eliminate when I made myself appear better by making the other person look worse. Sure, honest self assessment is always hard, and bad-mouthing someone else isn't really bad-mouthing if what you're saying is true. But as the saying goes, if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Or something like that.

So, when I received the email quoted above, I was a little annoyed. Okay, a lot annoyed. Probably more so because I sometimes feel I have no options to play with another team because I'm expected to play with Kris, and his options are limited. So I'm on this team, even though I want to try to get on another team.

When I voice this desire to Kris, he'll ask me if I want to get to Nationals because I earned it, or because I rode the coattails of others on the way. What joy is there in winning if you spent the entire tournament on the sidelines? I can help build a team, contribute to the success of the team, or I can let someone else run the show.

And then there's age. Or at least the perception of age. I'm not convinced I'm heading down in my athletic ability. But I'm also not convinced I'm as fast as I was, say, at 25 when I started playing. I train much smarter now. And more deliberately. My mental game, lord, my mental game is definitely better.

But why you got to be dissin' us, BR?

It bothers me. More than I thought it would.

Climbing back down off the soapbox now.

Email for abs

Date:   	Thu, 14 Apr 2005 10:06:19 -0700
From:  	Kitt Hodsden 
Subject:  	[MisChiEf] Don't wait until practice...

Hi, all,

You don't have to wait until practice to work your abs.
Daily ab exercises will strengthen your core muscles,
making throwing, jumping and even running easier.

Our ab workout is currently 30 seconds of each of

1. bicycles
2. russian crunches
3. V-ups
4. side to sides
5. chest passes with a partner
6. overhead passes with a partner
7. presses
8. supermans

4-7 are done with a weighted ball at practice.  Use whatever
weight you have handy: a can of soup, a phone book, hand
weights.  But don't throw them for 5 & 6!  If you don't have
a partner, do the exercises but without throwing - you'll
still benefit.

If the workout is getting too easy for you, bump up the time
to 45 seconds each or more, increase the weight or add
additional exercises.

I purchased the medicine balls we use at practice at
http://www.fwonline.com/  They aren't cheap, but I like them
a lot.  I recommend the 8# as a general weight for men (you
can do the exercises at an incline to increase the effect)
or 6# for women.

Consistancy is good preparation.

Email me with an questions or recommendation needs.


2005 Tournament Schedule

Forum topic
From Kris:
    Here's the tournament schedule that I have so far for this year.

1 - Spring Fling:  March 20th (bid accepted)
2 - Fools:  March 26th-27th (bid accepted)
3 - Quincy MUD:  May 7th-8th (no bid sent)
4 - Ashland: May 14th-15th (bid sent)
5 - Cal States:  June 4th-5th (no bid sent)
6 - Flower Bowl:  June 11th-12th (no bid sent)
7 - Potlatch:  July 2nd-4th (bids can be sent starting April 1st)
8 - Revolution: ????
9 - Kleinman:  August 6th-7th (no bid sent)

There's also Chico, Hot Valley, and Labor Day, I don't know dates for
these yet.  Not a bad list of tournaments.  So, time to start divvying
up the bids.


Bay Area Women's Mixer

I went to the Bay Area Women's Ultimate Mixer. Organized by women from Fury, Homebrood and Skyline, the team formerly known as Heroine. Pretty much, the top three women's teams in the Bay Area.

The idea of the gathering was to play women's ultimate and receive introductions to the organizers of the three teams. Information on tryouts for the three teams was also provided.

It wasn't really a clinic per se, but rather a gathering of women to play ultimate. The disctinction is important when setting expectations. The first part of the gathering was drills, which originally made me think this was going to be a clinic of sorts. No instruction or information was given, no experienced players giving non-experienced players help.

The first drills we did were actually poorly explained, which lowered my expectations. We did have one drill that was a lot of fun: 2 on 3 on 4. Three offensive players start the disc on the goalline of a small ~40 yard field, against 2 defenders who start about 3 yards downfield. 2 other defenders start about 3 yards behind the offensive line. These two defenders need to do 7 situps or 5 pushups before they can actually play defense. So, the disc comes in, the two defenders play against 3 offensive players until the other 2 defenders can come in and help out. It simulates a break away situation where the calvary comes in late.

The rest of the mixer was three games of pickup. My team was very bad when we first started. We played "Me! Me! Me!" pickup. Everyone was cutting very very close to the disc. Since all I was doing was clogging, I thought about the playing styles of the other players and decided to cut deep and come back in for the disc. Worked like charm! I was available for many, many continue throws. I'm very excited I played intelligently and figured out how to play with the other players on the team. We played much better for the third game.

I've been thinking of starting a periodic column entitled, "Ultimate for the Non-Gifted Athlete." Training tips, drills, mental game help and the like. Information I've learned over the last 10 years. Might be worth it. Especially if I can get Kris to help me with the column.

Losing the world when reading.

Today was the final tournament of SFUC. Yesterday, the tournament was a beach tournament, 5 on 5, because the fields were too wet to play on. As I wasn't particularly interested in playing beach ultimate, and neither was Kris, we stayed home and worked on the backyard, which is a jungle.

Getting up to go to the tournament was rough this morning, as we were getting up at 8:00 am! 8! Ugh. Still, we rolled out of the house at 8:30 and arrived at the fields at 9:30, just as the first games were getting started (1/2 an hour late).

My team won our first game (in pre-quarters), so we had a two round bye until the quarter-finals. Great. For someone who would rather be home sleeping, or at least just working in the back yard, this was a little torturous.

But only a little.

True to form, I had a book with me (The Reality Dysfunction, Part 2: Expansion), and read during the byes. I sat at the sideline of Kris' games (we managed to play only one of six rounds at the same time), so that I could watch him play. When he was on the field, I would watch. When he was on the sidelines, I would read. Worked out well.

At the end of the day, Kris asked me if I noticed when he was playing in the sunshine.


He went on to explain that, at one point when he was on the sideline next to me, he positioned himself so that he was casting a shadow over the book as I was reading. He then shifted back and forth to cause the shadow to flicker on the book as I read. Had I noticed?

I had not.

Not only had I not noticed his doing this at the time, I also disbelieved him when he told me he had done so.

So I told him about the first time I knew of when I didn't notice the world while I was reading. I was 11.

No surprise to anyone, I've been a bookworm my whole life. As near I as I can tell, I've always loved reading. So, when the family was all gathered in the family room (oh, to have a house big enough to have a separate living room and family room!), I would sometimes read when everyone else was watching TV (I still do this: "TV is a waste of time, but reading is productive!").

It was one of these evenings that, while I was reading (a Nancy Drew book, actually, probably borrowed from my friend Jenny), everyone in my family jumped up and ran out of the room.

I noticed the movement, and puzzled, stood up to follow them out of the house. Everyone was in the kitchen, which looked out over the front yard (which, as this image shows, is about 3/4 of an acre deep).

There used to be a huge tree at the very front of the yard, about 10 feet from the road. The tree trunk was about 3 feet in diameter, so it was a good sized tree. About once a year, someone would come around the curve too fast, stare at the tree as they came around the bend in the road, fixate on that tree, see nothing but that tree, and plow right into it.

This particular night, it was several young men (I don't recall the age, but I don't believe they were underage) who met the tree. They had been drinking (an open six-pack in the backseat), and driving. The driver came around the bend too fast and wrapped his car around the tree.

Turns out, the whole family heard the screech of tires and the loud crash of the car.

Except me.

I never heard the sounds. Our neighbors many many houses over came out to see what was going on. Some were over a quarter mile away and still heard the crash.

Not me.

My dad commented to his dad sometime after that how he wished he had the ability to block out the world when he read. He didn't understand how I did it. He was glad I had the ability to become absorbed in books, as it meant I could concentrate well. But he didn't understand the gift.

I related the story to Kris after he told me he had shifted his shadow while I was reading.

I never noticed.

Almos pau, try wait

We played at the Kaimana Klassik last weekend. It was a great time. I played on the Dirty Dozen Dames, which consisted of rockin' women, most of whom normally play on mixed teams.

Kris played on Almos Pau, Try Wait, a team formed by Protik Mia. Almos Pau made quarter finals, playing the eventual tournament winners on Monday morning to 15-12. They kept up very well, but two would-be-easy-scores from Mark to Kyle failed when the disc didn't curve properly (Mark's hands were damp), and the disc went flying out the side of the field.

Almos pau, try wait is one of Pro's favorite sayings. Hawaiian pidgin, Almos pau, try wait means "I'm almost done, try waiting a moment." I have to agree, it's a great saying.

At some point during the weekend, Mark and crowd were at a restaurant. The waitress comes up to him and asks if he's ready to order. He replied, "Almos pau, try wait." She laughed and walked away. Eventually she came back, and asked if they were ready to order. Mark jokingly asked, "Like beef?" which means, "you wanna fight?"

She laughed again, and asked, "What have you been doing? Reading t-shirts?"

So this is what confidence feels like.

Last Saturday, SFUC had a make-up day. Various teams that weren't able to play during the normal schedule because of rainouts were able to make up the missed games. My team had three makeup games on Saturday morning. Fortunately, Kris' team also had three makeup games and the two of us were able to carpool up to the City.

One of the reasons I've been playing SFUC all these years (I've been playing for I think four years now, might be three) is to become less intimidated by players I don't know. Growing up a non-athlete, I've been known to psych myself out before games even start. Ooooo, look at how well that woman throws! Wow, check out how fast she runs! Look, she carries herself like an athlete, she must be good! It's very easy to assume the other player is better, and give up right there.

Since I've been working out with G at ASA, I've become an athlete (I can say that now. I'm not a geek/nerd/brainiac pretending to be an athlete. I'm an athlete. And the recognition of such is a Good Thing™). And since I've been reading the Mental Game of Baseball, my mental game has also become much stronger. An even better thing.

Because of the workouts G has designed for Kris and I, my quickness has increased. I suspect my top speed as also increased. My core is stronger. I weigh more (also a good thing, actually). And, surprisingly, my endurance has increased. This one surprised me a bit, actually, because many of the exercises are explosive ones, giving more quickness, but at the expense of all day endurance.

But I digress.

I started Saturday morning off playing as hard as I could. My team's record was 2-6 going into the morning, having lost 2 of those games by 2 points, 3 of those games by 1 point. One point. Which means they could have gone either way. I figured, if I played hard and we lost by one point, then there is nothing more I could do. But if I played hard, maybe that would be enough for a win. I think other team members thought the same, because we left the day with 3 wins. Whoo!

The first point I played on Saturday set the tone for the day for me. I marked up against their top woman, but was open on every cut. The second game was against the only team to beat the top team in the league with an 8-1 record. I kept up with their top woman in all her cuts, I caught up whenever I was poaching and had to scramble back to mark up. I was terribly surprised when I was back 3+ yards when my woman went deep, yet still caught up to her after 30 yards.

I threw no turn overs that I recall (though I did have an turn over assist when a teammate dropped a catch that hit him in the wrist), but had two brilliant turn-and-fire throws to brilliant continue cuts by Liz and Nate. Knowing I could go in when I wanted to go in, and stay out when I needed to, and have the confidence to keep up with my players was so wonderful. There was no intimidation. There was no oh-my-god-this-woman-must-be-good. There were no head-cases.

Just run, catch, fake, pivot, throw, repeat. And that feeling made all the 3+ hour workouts worth every minute.

I think George Cooke may have had it right when he told me, "I think this will be your year."