The Veteran

Last night kicked off this year’s ultimate frisbee season. The theme for this year’s teams is 80s video games, with the usual “ultimatizing” of the names. So my team is Dumpy Kong (this is the second time I’ve been on a team with the word “Kong” in it; back in our “12 Monkeys” season I was on King Kong). Other teams are Clogger, Stack-Man and Hammeroids.

When our team got together the manager had us go around the circle and state our names, and how long we’d been playing ultimate and how long we’d been in SBUL. I knew this was going to make me uncomfortable, as we went around and people said they’d been playing ultimate for a year, or three years, or six or seven years. And then we got to me.

“I’m Michael, and I’ve been playing ultimate off-and-on since high school.

Which was twenty years ago.

This does not mean that I have 20 years worth of skills.

Oh, and this is my tenth year in SBUL.”

I feel like a fraud when I say it, because I’m maybe an average player in SBUL (which is not a “high skills” league), but I really was playing ultimate over lunch in high school back in 1985/86.

Afterwards I was throwing with two women on the team, and we had an exchange something like this:

Woman One: “When you said you’d been playing since high school, I thought, ‘Did they have ultimate back in the 80s?'”

Woman Two: “He probably invented it.”

Me: “You know, I have some co-workers who would probably lo-o-ove to hear this conversation. Really the only thing you get for playing ultimate for 20 years is you get to be forty.”

Anyway, I did show my MAD SKILLZ by catching the first score of the season, and by executing the first of a three-throw score later on (with a forehand, no less – my forehand is not exactly my best throw). I also learned that even though there are people on the team who are better than I am at both running and throwing, experience does count for something: Someone asked what a “poach” is. (Here’s a glossary if you really want to know.)

I got pretty sore by the end of the night, and remembered that I don’t really use my quads for bicycling, but I use them a lot for running. Fortunately I didn’t pull anything, but I’m pretty stiff this morning. (This is where Debbi says, “That’s because you never stretch afterwards!”) It was fun, though! Yay, another season of SBUL!