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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Ultimate Defensiveness

I decided to join an Ultimate Frisbee league this Spring so I could get in shape and be trekkable (which means: ready to trek at any given notice and what I consider my peak physical condition). I've always been pretty mediocre at Ultimate; decent at catching and defense but not as talented when it comes to tossing or hucking (ooooo, fancy Ultimate vocabulary).

My quick and dirty Ultimate history recap goes like this: I learned how to play Ultimate in an undergraduate physical education course. Then I joined a league during a difficult summer in Alberquerque NM where the team became my saving grace. Then a short-lived experience in a Berkeley CA league where one day I tried to catch the disc, it smashed into the bridge of my nose and I exploded blood and embarrasment everywhere.

Ultimate in NYC turned out to be a pretty disappointing experience. The majority of my teammates were unrelatable* (supporting gentrification, using inappropriate slang about women and people of color, happily marketing big pharmeceuticals, etc) and the field was located a hefty 20 minute walk from any train. Plus, it was on Friday nights which, turns out, are evenings when people want to do things.

This NYC league required at least two women on the field during play and that meant that at lot people were confused when I was one of those women. Most of the other women understood what I was, but oblivious men would try and guard me aggressively as if they were making up for (what they understood to be) the unfairness of me guarding their female teammates.

I saw this confusion turn into mean-spirited frustration during the last game of the season this past Friday. I was guarding a girl whose temper was short - and she was especially unhappy to be losing to my pretty pathetic but more skilled team. There's a pass to her in the end zone and we both go up for the disc. Neither of us catch it and as she runs away she does this weird, unnecessary, angry-helicopter move and smacks me in my chest with her open hand. All the air in my lungs is gone and I'm on the ground attempting to breathe anyways. She looks at me with 0% concern as she continues down the field. Her teammate who caught the scene says: "Looks like he got in the way of your hand."

A perfect end to a perfect season. THANKS!

*To be fair, there were a few people that were totally rad and to them, if they are reading this blog somehow, I apologize for the generalization.

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