Sunday, May 15, 2011

It's like, the ultimate, man

I am to athletics what antelopes are to coal mines.

And yet, through some means of mind-control against which I am apparently powerless to resist, Amynah’s lab colleagues have convinced me to join them on a weekly basis as part of a pick-up Ultimate Frisbee league.

It was actually another Canadian who is the driving force behind the games, but that did not stop me from deriding the whole exercise as be-dreadlocked SoCal hippie nonsense. Which, initially, it was.

I’d never played before, so my first few times out I played largely how I approached soccer when I was 8 years old: that is, I took the term “position” very literally. Generally I’d amble over to a promising spot on the field and plant myself there, waiting for someone to throw me the disk, waving at my more ambulatory teammates as they zoomed by hither and thither. Occasionally, one would notice me and loft the disk in my direction, and – if I caught it – I’d throw it to someone else. Sometimes, it even landed somewhere near my target.

It was all very low energy and low passion: the first few games, I didn’t even notice if my team won or lost.

But, eventually, I started getting more confident. I moved a little more, threw a little more, scored a little more…. cared a little more. I even earned myself a nick-name of which I am moderately proud (Marktopus – I’m apparently really irritating on defense. It's much better than "Ladypants," which is the nickname of the guy who gave it to me).

I realized that I had gone from humouring the “hippies” to being “an Ultimate player” when I actually bought a new pair of sneakers in which to play, as my old ones were destroying my knees. I started coming home and boring Amynah with tales of my heroic exploits (a flying behind the head catch which I made while colliding with another player in mid-air, despite which I stuck the landing while he crashed around my heels. It was awesome). Our games are now competitive enough that we scared off one of our newer players, who thought we were too rough (if you don't want your glasses knocked off kid, don't put your face between Monique's elbow and the ground).

All of this is going to come to an end – or at least, a long hiatus – once the new baby comes along (have I mentioned that on this blog yet?) but in the interim, I’m getting good exercise, discovering a competitive streak I never knew I had, and apparently becoming just a little bit Californian.

I think I’d look ok in tie-dye, don’t you?


David Beeson said...

Antelopes and gold mines? You take a South African approach to athletics? No wonder you shine in Southern California.

Mark Reynolds said...

I was going for "two things that have nothing to do with each other." In that sense, I have heretofore enforced strict apartheid between myself and sports, so S.A. isn't a bad interpretation either.

Monique said...

Haha. Love the post. We are the best Canadian-American-Hippie-Nerd team ever. We need to compete against another team, that would be epic. We don't really play by the rules though, that could be a problem...