Last month I helped organize the launch of our 2nd annual TMMBA Ultimate team for the DiscNW Summer Corporate League. Along the way, I was convinced to sign up for the team and then thought, “What have I gotten myself into?”.
Let me explain. Although I had been involved in performing arts for the first 20 years of my life, I hadn’t played a team sport since I was about 5 or 6. Frisbee is not something I’m good at and I’ve seen the level of competitiveness and skill of some Ultimate players.
I went into our first game on June 6 nervous, anxious, and a little overwhelmed. I wanted to do well and not let the team down, but I also didn’t know a thing about Ultimate. I read up on the rules and watched video clips ahead of time, but I still didn’t feel very confident.
Tonight is our 4th game and we’re playing against Cotton Kills, the REI team. They have some talented players, but I’m actually looking forward to the game. So, what’s changed in the last month? Here’s my rundown of the first three games and what I learned along the way.
Game 1: We played Royal Flush and won, 15-14. We had a lot of beginners that night and spent pre-game time trying to get the basic rules. I ended up guarding a really good female player, felt stressed-out, and was trying to learn defense. I was so wrapped up in my own head that I don’t really remember seeing the frisbee more than once or twice the whole game. According to my teammates there was a strong back and forth battle throughout the game with some amazing plays by a few of our very skilled players. Here what I learned from this game:
- There’s a lot more to the game than throwing a frisbee, and it’s a killer workout!
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Keep your ears open – teammates on and off the field have a different view and can help coach you along the way.
- Ultimate is guided by the “spirit of the game” – fair play, good sportsmanship, respect of others, and the joy of the game.
Game 2: We had a 15-10 win against the Tableau Tuple Tossers. We started off pre-game with a whiteboard and end zone drill. Although a simple exercise, I felt much more confident going into the game after seeing the objective drawn out and a few small successes during the drill. This game we had a pretty good mix of skill level in both genders and did well in both defense and offense. Afterwards, the team headed out for post-game food and drinks. A few takeaways:
- Have fun – it’s just a game! Our closing cheer to the Tableau team was a great reminder of this and the spirit of the game: “Tableau, Tablooo, Yahoo, We Loved [Playing] You!”
- Watch the other team’s players so you can assess their skill and match appropriately on defense.
- A little organization goes a long way. We had a clear strategy for the game and it helped everyone perform their best, no matter their experience level.
Game 3: Our first loss was to Blue Screen, the Microsoft team (5-15). Last year they were the season champions, so I didn’t feel too bad about it. They played a strong game and used a different defensive strategy than previous teams. We had to adapt our offensive approach and many of us were learning on our feet. We had less players attend than previous games, so everyone had to play more. The women only had 1 substitute player! My thoughts post-game:
- Relax and take your time on offense. It’s easy to feel rushed to throw the frisbee when you’re holding it, but you have ten seconds. That’s actually a lot of time to let your teammates get into place and help you out!
- The post-game and sideline socializing with teammates makes a difference! It really started to feel like a team during this game. We were supportive, talked to each other on the field, had great sideline coaching, and recognized when teammates needed assistance. I attribute some of this to the off-field bonding.
- I can do this! I walked away feeling like I did okay. And considering the skill level of the opponent, I feel much more confident that I do bring value to the team even though I’m a beginner. I even had a few good laughs on the field during the game!
We have several more games to go this summer and I look forward to seeing my own personal progress and the progress of our team as we continue to work together. Go TMMBA!
Here are a few photos that I took during down-time in Game 2: