Saturday, May 16, 2009

Work at Ultimate

So, It's sort of late and my bloodsugar was just uber low. While it's rising now, I'm still a little drained. So this post might be a slog of language that isn't as refined as usual and thoughts that aren't as developed as any of us would like. 

I've decided I want to blog, and I had a pretty good thought today. These two things, combined, mean I should probably post. So here I am. 

We played Ultimate tonight, which was pretty cool. The demographics were a little different than usual, but we still had a fairly high level core of players. Me, Levi, James, Andrew, Brad, and Jake were all pretty competitive tonight. We had a lot of new folks and more girls than usual (although I was definitely impressed with the girls-- all four of them exceeded expectations) 

My chauvenism aside, my team was outgunned for the last game. Conditions were perfect for Ultimate, but the other team was straight up better than mine. That'd be okay, other than the fact that I was second captain. I had nobody to blame for the mismatch but myself.

Levi was consistently guarding me on offense, so I had him on defense. It was really frustrating to see him back at the top of his game. He's had ankle problems for months, so I've been a little faster than him. He was in tip-top shape tonight, and he was burning me left and right. Not only that, but he was doing a great job marking me when I had the disc, and got way too many handblocks on me. Getting beat by someone I'm not used to getting beat by frustrated me.

My team wasn't performing the way I thought they should, and I was getting really frustrated. I decided that I was going to work harder. I have this habit of saying sorry every time my team gets scored on. It's been going on for years. It's really easy to look at any play in Ultimate and see what I could have done to stop it. If my guy burnt me, I know I could have run harder or faster or better. If someone else gets burnt, I know that I could have used my brain to set myself guarding them instead of the person that was destined to get burnt. Somewhere along the line I know that I could have changed the way that that play went. I know that that's not really a healthy way to view Ultimate or sports in general. I need to accept responsibility, yes, but I also need to have realistic views about how often my team is going to be successful. We will get scored on, even if I play a perfect game. I can't expect myself to play a perfect game. It's not like I'm beating myself up on this, I never really have, it's just important to note.

Anyways, I decided that I was going to work harder. I was tired of losing, and I knew that if I worked hard enough, I could beat levi and change the game. I proceeded to run really hard, and to defend Levi with a ferocity that wasn't really appropriate for the level of play we were at. I commit three or four fouls on him-- it was pretty dirty. I wasn't trying to foul him, but I certainly wasn't trying not to. I did enjoy marginal success as I ran harder and faster. I didn't give up so often, and I made some good defensive stops and decent offensive opportunities. It was alright.

My team still lost. Pretty handily. I worked, but it didn't get us the victory. I kept my bad attitude for the entirety of the game. We had some good moments, but I was still tired of my team and tired of losing. My work, in the end, changed a few things for us. We scored more than we would have. I stopped Levi more than I would have otherwise. My team was slightly better for it. We still lost, though.

I realized that I was doing the wrong kind of work. I've got decent Ultimate skills, but I'm not as fast as some of the other guys. My handling is pretty good, I feel, but I'm still defendable. I feel like I have an advantage in team leadership and training. I've played more Ultimate than almost anybody that shows up to Frisbee Friday, and I've taught more Ultimate than most of them too. I generally know how to motivate a team and help them see what needs to happen to win. It's a role that I love, but it's not the role that I chose to fill tonight.

I could have worked to have a better attitude and to help the team meet their potential. Instead, I put some walls up around myself and worked hard to improve my individual performance. While we did gain from this, I really think that we'd have gained more from me being a nice guy and working for the team. I know I would have been happier with the outcome had I done that. I bet the other folks would have been too. And I really think we'd have played better.

So I'm not saying that I blew it. I'm just exploring the idea that I am better fit as a motivator and general than I am as a standout Ultimate player. I just have more to offer in that category than I do in the other. Some folks are better suited for certain jobs. That's one that I've worked hard to learn to fill, so I might as well work hard at filling it on the field. 

It's sort of a downer, cause I'd really like to be the best Ultimate player I know. I guess in a way I still have that opportunity. I just do better when I focus on other things. I can still be a good ultimate player, I just have to be good in a way that's different from Brad. 

So, my bad on being such a pansy tonight and getting upset about consistently losing. I worked hard to change it, but I wasn't doing the most productive work that I could have been doing. Interesting how that all goes.

That's the end of the post. I hope that you're all doing well. I'm excited to go to bed and sleep like a rock because of all that running I did. It did feel good, to try so hard at something. I'm glad that I get to reap the benefits well into the morning. My phone is still dead, so I apologize if any of you have tried to reach me. Keep up the good work friends, I'll try to do the same.

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