QotD: Game On


What was the last game you played?

Ultimate, as in ultimate frisbee, being a mainstay in my life for the last 12+ years, should be not-a-surprise as the last game I've played, and also the most played game in my life. The sport has seen me through good times (met Kris through ultimate), and rough times (moving away from my friends, work and comfort zone of Southern to Northern California). It has provided me opportunities to travel places I would have never gone normally (can you say, "Perth?").

But most importantly, it has provided me with friends that I would have never found otherwise.

Ultimate as a community is small enough that there are few degrees of separation from the beginning pickup player to the elite super athlete. Yet, it is large enough that anywhere you go, you're nearly guaranteed a game and a ready-made circle of friends. The community is so close, and the sport inspires such passion, that dating non-ultimate players is often considered the death-knell of one's ultimate career.

Fortunately, I don't have that worry.

My worry is the accumulated injuries that are slowly catching up to me. Another 2nd degree ankle sprain this last Saturday has close to ended this season for me. I may have a chance to recover in time for Regionals early October, but I'm not betting on it.

Neither am I worried about it: there's a saying very common in the ultimate community. It goes something like, "Oh well. There's always next season."

Had forgotten about that


Years ago (all of maybe two of them), Donner was a powerhouse in mixed ultimate. Coming out of our section, so therefore in our region, Donner was a regular opponent at any local(ish) tournament.

From an outside perspective, Donner was considered a great team, not only for their athletic prowess (national and world champions), but also for their spirit.

They had the outsiders fooled.

Donner players were notorious for agressive, antagonistic, unspirited side line chatter. Any call made against their team was a bad call, whether the call was legitimate or not. Any call made by their teammates was a good call. Any call against them that was later retracted was rewarded on the sidelines with calls of, "good spirit!" but any kept was met with mutterings and complaints of bad spirit.

So, imagine my flashbacks this afternoon when, after a throw out-of-bounds was met with a cacophany of "Send it back!" and "You should just give us that disc back."

A thrower on the opponent's team had put up a huck along the far sideline. Scottie, a longtime Donner player, was open when the throw went up, and started booking to catch it. The disc started drifting out of bounds, so Scottie had to layout to catch it. Sitting in the location near where he was going to layout was a Mischief player. Because he was unable to layout in his optimal location, a layout that would land out of bounds, thereby requiring Scottie to try for a Greatest (with no one around to catch the throw), when he did stand up, be blamed his miss on the Mischief player.

The near sideline oddly agreed, and felt the disc belonged back to them. Clearly, the non-player was interfering, and therefore responsible for the out-of-bounds catch.

Serious flashbacks. Half of the team are Donner players, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Frivolity of my pain


End of a long day spent on the ultimate field, and one where we ended victorious beating Brass Monkey 9-7 at hard cap (had they scored that last point, it would have been 8-8, and double game point).

I started off the day thinking I could play, but managed only the warm-up square drill before my back seized again. I played the first game against Frizbee Nation, as they were the bottom ranked team in our pool, and I figured it would be a good warm up game.

Oddly enough, R played with them. They clearly wanted to use R as we use Adam Brown, but not as well, as he had to attempt to run down a series of tragically misdirected hucks. It was strange to see him, much less see him play. I doubt he knows that he and his friends are dead to me. Can't wait to tell them.

I tried to keep playing, but even two Advil™ and one Vicodin™ didn't help. My back was still in too much pain to do much other than walk, and slowly at that.

The end of the day, I was hobbling around like a little old lady. I turned to Kris and commented,

"Either the vic wore off, or it didn't help in the first place."

"I thought you were going to take the second one."

"I was, but it's our last one, and I didn't want to waste it on something as frivolous as my pain."


blink. blink.

"I hope in five years you'll understand just how funny that statement really was."

We're number one!


"Because my husband is so anal, and reports every score of every game in every competition we're in, we're the only team with enough scores to qualify for a ranking."

Kris wrote that part.

I would have written merely, "We're number one! We're number one! We're the only one, but we're still number one!"

One for the team


First day at the Davis Ultimate Invitational (DUI), and we had far, far too many players on our roster. Since last weekend was rained out, we needed to use DUI to run the tryouts through hard games, and so had lots of people. Since everyone pretty much knows how I play, I didn't go in on Saturday. As in, I didn't play a point on Saturday. There didn't seem any reason to go in: we won our games 15-0, 15-2, 15-5, 15-6.

Entertainingly enough, Paul managed to lose every part of the flip for the first game. When the disc is flipped, the two captains usually choose for shirt color, starting offense/defense, and which endzone to defend first (with a mirror at half for endzone and switch of offense/defense). Before the flip, we had already agreed with the opponent's captain we'd wear red. So, Paul flips, calls same (meaning, both discs thrown will land with the same side up), and loses the flip as one disc lands top up, the other bottom up.

The captain of the opponent team says "We'll receive," at which point Paul responds, "We'll go red." As we had already decided on jersey color, Paul's choice was irrelevant. I was watching the whole incident, and immediately piped up, "Paul! You just lost the entire flip! We're already red!"

Normally, the opposing captain would have said the same thing, then allowed us to choose sides, but I thought the story would be better if Paul lost it all, and continued, "Now they can choose sides!"

The other captain clued in quickly. She smiled at me, chuckled, then said, "We'll take that endzone."

I wandered over to the team huddle, lamenting that Paul lost the whole flip, and he was summarily banned from ever flipping for us again.



Or, how I had fun losing every game at Beware-o the Sombrero.

Off to a late start, I dashed up to San Mateo this morning to play in the 9th annual Beware-o the Sombrero tournament. Now, the "9th" part bothers me a bit, because I thought Kris and I attended the first one, which Dave, Joshua, Dan and Mike organized when they were still in high school. The tournament has since grown huge, is still well organized, and, well, the four of them are all out of college now. Time flies.

The problem I have with that ninth, is that I've been in the Bay Area only eight years, and with Kris only seven, so I couldn't have attended the first one if it was nine years (or rather eight years plus a few days) ago. So, either my counting or their counting is off, or we didn't go to the first one.

Kris and I arrived late to the first one, and so were baggaged together on Dave's team. We lost every game, and Dave introduced us to the term 'Sucky suck', as we were indeed on the sucky-suck team. We still use that term. Clearly.

I arrived late, having called Joshua earlier to tell him that Kris wasn't coming, and I would be late, in hopes we would be drafted (or not) appropriately. As I was figuring out which team I was on, a woman injured her ankle on the field I was crossing. Joshua placed me on that team to replace the injured woman. We eventually played the team I would have been on. The team I was on went 0-4 to reign sucky-suck. The team I would have been on went 4-0 and made it to at least the playoffs (I couldn't figure out if the first round of playoffs was quarters or semis). Ah, well, fire missiles!

The biggest "Huh?!?" moment happened between the first game, which we had just lost by two points, and the second game, which we would also lose by two points. There were two of us on the team that were older, where older is hereby defined as "out of college." The rest of the team was, indeed, all college and high school students. I'd say I felt old, but I didn't (even when I realized I was twice as old as one of the players, because those are wiley veteran years, my child!). So, the other "old" guy said in the team huddle, "I hear we're going to run a dump that just stands there behind the thrower. He doesn't do anything until the count of five; he just stands there." The entire rest of the team answers, "Yes." To which he responds, "But I've never heard of that before."


Blink. Blink.

The player may have been old, but he clearly hasn't played the game.

I played fairly lackluster. Nothing in my game particularly stood out. In the last game we played, against another team that was also 0-3, I kept guarding the same woman. After her throwing the goal or the assist in the first three points I covered her, I became annoyed, and decided she wasn't going to touch the disc again while I was covering her. She didn't. And based on her grunts while cutting, I'm guessing it was starting to frustrate her. shrug You can't get better if you don't play against better competition.

We did end up losing all our games. According to Dan K, whom I caught up with on my way across the fields to lunch (in one of my Kris-defined social butterfly moments), the advanced male players were distributed on teams 1-12 in order, with the female advanced players distributed along the same path, giving team A the top male and female players, team B with the second top pair, etc. Unfortunately, there weren't 12 advanced male and female players, so later teams (I was on team H) had no advanced players. The team I would have played on was supposed to have Kris and me, and did fairly well without us.

(Fists to sky, looking up) We would have crushed! Bwa ha ha ha!

I had a really good time, despite the score and the losses. I played with Scoops (she would tell people she could juggle ice cream scoops) and Andrea, from Berkeley, as well as Jeff (Venga) from UCSD (even managed to be an honorary squid for a game), who had come to a Mischief track workout earlier this year. I also met many other up and coming players, some of whom I'm sure I'll see on the College Champies videos in future years.

And so that I have the memory connection down, Scoops was on the opposing team for the first game I played in two years ago at Beware-o the Sombrero. She was on Ben Wiggins' team, and had come off the field on one point frustrated that she was unable to play strong defense against me (i.e. I had worked her over that point). Ben was very encouraging. Scoops' playing has come a long way since that game two years ago. I don't know her real name, but she's tallish, blonde hair, wore glasses this year and has a younger brother Jacob, who barely missed catching a huck I threw this year..

Yo. Personal space people

I find the fact that the longer the wait in line, the closer the people in line squish together.

I'm here in line at the airline "customer service center," hoping to change my returning ticket from Tampa from a Monday ticket to Denver to a Sunday ticket to San Jose with Kris and Heidi. My original ticket was three one way tickets, San Jose to Tampa to Denver to San Jose, the last flight being at the end of next week, the middle flight being at the beginning of next week.

When I called to change my flights two weeks ago, I was told the cost was about $200 to change the tickets: $100 for the ticket price differential, and $100 for the change fee. When I explained my two one way tickets were $50 more expensive than the one-way I was trying to get, according to the prices published online on their website, I was told I would need to purchase a full roundtrip ticket, that they would not (note the wording - would not, not could not) change out the two (more expensive) one ways for a new, single one way.

And Kris wonders why I hate flying any other airline than Southwest. Sure, you have to deal with the first come-first seated, cattle car type of boarding, but at least you don't have to pay for a ticket three times over in a completely messed up way.

So, I'm standing here, hoping to be able to change my ticket for just the $100 change fee. As I'm standing here, having been waiting for ten minutes in this line, the people behind me have been slowly creeping up on me. They were originally standing what I would consider a reasonable personal space distance. As the line hasn't moved (I'm first in line, and they haven't started helping me yet), they've started moving closer and closer to me.

Like moving closer to me is going to get the line moving.

Now, instead of having one woman two feet behind me, I have six women all crowded less than four feet behind me.

Good lord, people, step back!

On our way to Nationals!

On our way to Nationals. The flight takes off at 9:05 this morning. We'll see how well this travelling goes. :\ I hate flying.

"Kitt, get rid of the target on your chest."


Wow. Wow! WOW!

We're going! We're going to Nationals! We're going to the Show! Whoo! Whoo hoo!

Coming out on fire, we won our game against PFN quite handily. There was no question which team was going to win. There was no question of who was done for the day and who was still alive to get to the game to go. We beat them handily 15-6, the only game in the first round to end early (by about 20 minutes) and not be capped.

The other games happening were RFBF versus Flycoons, Beer Run versus WhorShack, and Persuader versus Wagon. In that list of teams, the best three teams we could play would be Beer Run, RFBF and Flycoons. We lost handily to WhorShack and think they are the better team (well, I thought that, and had a few teammates agree), so playing them would be surprising (because it would mean another team had beaten them) and difficult. We didn't particularly want to play Persuader, but that was for other reasons.

As luck would have it, we would play Beer Run, RFBF and then Flycoons again, this time in the game to go.

I think Beer Run was a little defeated when we played them in the second round from their 15-10 loss to WhorShack. Either that, or the Smith brothers were fired up to win. Or, perhaps the winds were smiling upon us. We won 15-9, but the score was 13-5 before we closed it out.

On the next field over, RFBF had taken out Persuader. Again. So, with the wind kicking up, we started our third game of the day.

It was rough, with tragic airbounces floating the disc just out of our players' hands, or dropping it fast before we could get there. I played poorly, and when we were down 9-4, gave up. I'm embarrassed to admit, I wandered off for a bit and cried.

I wanted to win that game for so many reasons. The biggest reason, however, was because, as a team, going to Nationals for Fish was just another tournament. They have been so many times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004), it feels (admittedly from an outsider's perspective) as if the magic had worn off for them: the wonder of making it to the top tournament in the country was gone, it was just a matter of fact, there was no question.


Fortunately, the rest of the team didn't think like I did.


We won.

We were in the game to go to Nationals.

The game to go.

Against Flycoons, who we had lost to yesterday, but knew we could beat. They had a second round bye, and so had played only two games at this point to our three. We knew somewhat how they played (throw short to their men, waiting for the huck to their women to open up). We knew wanted to win.

We went up 5-0 before they scored their first point. I was completely clobbered by a woman in the third point when she turned to cut deep, right into me. We full-body collided and I went flying end over end backward. I didn't think it was a foul, and said as much, but it hurt.

They brought it back to 5-4, and threw a zone defense on the next point. I was popping, which means I needed to run into the cup to reset the count and pop the disc through. Having worked their men a couple times through the cup, I went in again and somehow knew there was a defender coming up behind me on a particular throw.

The men on Flycoons are 6'5" giants. I'm not kidding. I think five of their players are over 6'4", with probably 9 guys over 6'. So, seeing the shadow of a large player coming from behind is scary when you're a 120 pound woman. I went agressively to the disc, caught it decisively, and then closed my eyes.

I was tackled from behind by the defender coming aggressively to the disc, but had to come through me to go there. He landed on my left leg in a contorted way. I had white pain shooting up my leg, and, in a terribly embarrassing moment, began screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs. I later apologized to the guy for screaming curse words at him. I wanted to hide my face.

Turns out, it was a bone bruise on the shin. Coupled with the charlie-horse on my other leg's thigh, and I was in bad shape.

Linda walked over to me and told me, "Kitt, get rid of that target on your chest. What's up with your getting clobbered? I don't know anyone else who gets hit more often than you."


Evetually, they went up 7-6. We took half at 8-7, then continued to 10-7. They responded going up 10-11.

We won 12-11, on a strange injury call.

We're going to the Show!

Waking up for Regionals 2005, day 2

Sunday morning.

Still not enough sleep.

Still tired. Still sore.

We have the long road to the game to go, but not an impossible one. Our first game today is against Psychic Friends Network, whom we've played before at Cramp-Up in Ashland. We played them with our B roster, and had indeed lost to them.

After PFN, we'll have to play three from the set of Red Fish, Blue Fish, Persuader, Whoreshack, Beer Run, Wagon, and Flycoons.

And win each of them.