Friday, October 21, 2005

A Frisbee Story

Those of you who don't play Ultimate may find this post boring, or maybe not. I guess my newly installed comments section will tell.

Wednesday night after my game I hit a bar with some of my team. They're drinking beer, and naturally I'm drinking diet soda. One of my teammates offers to buy everyone a round, and when asked what I'm drinking, I quipped, "Diet soda. In a dirty glass." In my world, that's a common Western-movie-type reference, when the gunslinger orders something (gin, whisky, whatever) in a dirty glass because he's so tough. Well, my world and my team's world evidently exist in different solar systems, because all I got in response were blank stares. As if to drive home the pop-culture gap, one person even said, "Uh...what's that mean?"

Speaking of the game, we won, but only because we were ahead when the rec center shut off the lights. (In nighttime Ultimate, the game ends when the lights go off, and the team ahead in points wins.) Given that we lost our last game for the same reason, it sort of balanced out. It was an exciting match, though, made more interesting when my team captain called the play.

Drew: "Scott and Sylvan play deep, with Todd and Patti popping, and Corey, Neil and I handling."
Me: "Drew, I've never handled in the zone before. I've seen it, but..."
Drew: "You'll be fine."
Me: "Uhh...okay."

For the Ultimate uninitiated, handlers are the folks who remain in the thick of the fray, sending the disc back and forth between them in short, controlled passes. The goal of the handlers is to wear down the defenders (who form a cup to prevent the offense from from moving the disc forward) and wait for a hole in their formation. A successful handler must have an accurate arm and a keen eye, as well as good judgment in knowing when to keep the disc amongst the handlers or when to try to send it deep or to a popper. In league, I never get to be a handler, and I never ask because in normal circumstances I'd be turned down flat.

Well, I pulled it off. I never once dropped the disc, nor did I make any crappy passes that hit nothing but dirt. I even dared to send the disc deep into the end zone, an attempt that was unsuccessful but lauded by my teammates as a good notion. We regained possession soon after the turnover anyway, and handled that bad boy right into the end zone. Ha-cha!

In case you haven't noticed, I find the competition of league quite invigorating. Although some people take it way too far, I think competition is a natural and necessary part of any sport. You can practice all you want, but only competition hones your skills to a razor's edge* and gives you the hunger you need to really win a game. Besides, it's fun to pit yourself against a player of equal or superior skill. The greater the challenge, the more satisfying the victory.

*My skills probably don't qualify for a razor comparison, though, unless it's a Bic razor. Or maybe a stone knife.


Anonymous Babs said...

Sorry... I wouldn't have gotten the reference either. Never watched many westerns.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Feanor said...

Even though I've watched plenty of Westerns, and number a few amongst my favorite movies of all time, I still would have been pretty confused by your reference. I probably would have been like, "Oh, that sucks! Bartender, get that man a clean glass!"

3:54 PM  

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