Sunday, October 22, 2006

Once more unto the breach

1989. 2006. Missed 1991, as we made some mistakes and lost out to Graffiti. This is my 17th Nationals, and about the 12th or 13th where I went in somewhat planning to win the title. And last. If you don't count Masters.

Last practice of the season was today, possibly ever. After, we hung around and made fun of ourselves and joked and had a good time. I couldn't run down one long pass because my hamstrings were sore from 58 sprints on Tuesday's workouts. "If I were 39," I said, but I could still have had it at 41, or not had it at 39, depending on how I felt. That's a problem not frequently mentioned with age, that every day is not the same. You hear old people talk about some days being better than others, but it's true. Some days I feel 39, or 35, or 30, or 25, or whatever, if only for the times I'm playing. Recovery is always a problem, but the doing, well, that goes well sometimes. Luckily, I know more than any of you about how to get open, and I'm lucky genetically that I haven't fallen off the cliff yet due to advancing years, although I can see the cliff just in front of me (actually, it's been a gradual downslope mostly, too subtle to recognize while you're on it but when you're at the end, you say, "Huh"). I still have to make adjustments in my head as to what I can handle over the course of a weekend, but let's hope I can do it.

Once more. 17 years ago, attending my first Nationals, I was really just happy to be there, and had no idea what to expect from future years. Since then, I've had some good years, and some disappointing years, and while you'd think I might know what to expect, still it's a surprise when it happens. Others speak more eloquently about it, but seeing the dew-laden fields first thing on Thursday is chilling. So much ahead of you, so much having happened over the past few months and years, you hate the guys you've been playing against and now they're your teammates again, and the RRIs and seedings and blog entries are no longer just fun hypotheticals but they're people in different colored shirts who just want to kick your ass (possibly a little extra because you called them out). I can still do it, I tell myself, and yes, sometimes I still do it. The disc doesn't care if you're 41 or 21, and neither do I.

I'll still kick your ass, kid.

And good luck.

7 comments:

luke said...

"beach" you're going to the "beach"

Anonymous said...

I can relate to your feelings allthough my high level competition experiences are related to european soccer. I am 42 myself and are playing ultimate in Israel for 8 years now. Cannot leave the training eventhough my wife are asking me why I still want to train hard and stay in good shape. The body takes longer to recover though.
Do you play both offense and defense? How many minutes play are you getting in average a game? Which position are you playing?

parinella said...

I play only on offensive points, most of the time as one of the downfield receivers. At Nationals, I'll probably play 8-10 points a game on average, depending on how the game goes and how well I'm playing and feeling and how well others are playing. In the finals of Regionals, I was playing for about 3 minutes total (5 of 7 O points, no turnovers, so 5 possessions total) (new workout modeled on this: every 3-10 minutes, do a rep, combining sprinting and jogging, for a randomly selected time between 10 seconds and 2 minutes. Repeat for 90 minutes, then do an all-out sprint.) But then again, there will be a few points at Nationals that will last more than 3 minutes. If I do my job well, I'll run hard for 10-30 seconds, then go to the sideline, put on my loungeware, sip a cool drink, and wait until I'm called in on another O point. If they play zone, I'll stand around a bunch, sprint 2 or 3 times for about 3 seconds, then go to the sideline, put on my loungeware, sip a cool drink, and wait until I'm called in on another O point. Periodically I'll scan for a reporter who wants to interview me, or for a familiar face to chat with (probably some old guy on his way to the beer tent).

Paradoxically, the most taxing games will be the ones I play the least. Standing around on the sidelines hurts my back and my legs get cold, so if I do get in it'll be that much more likely that the point will drag on or that I'll suck and have to sit out that much more.

I last played a D point at Nationals (other than possibly in a blowout win) in 2003, to start the second half against Ring on Day 2. I got position on my guy on a long throw, it went over both our heads, I caught a long pass, and we scored upwind.

Anonymous said...

Ups, forgot to mention that your expectations of winning seems somewhat optimistic allthough naturally essential motivation before going into a tournament like this. The NW teams seems stronger and I think all the facts points in that direction. Watch out for Revolver though. They are peaking now and I think they will reach semis.

Anonymous said...

My Ups comment was related to a longer post published some minutes before, but obviously not saved in your blog.
Anyway the highlights were a strong amusement towards your mathmatical approach to life. Some comments about how you optain physical flow (and avoid injuries) with the interuptions in the O and D play. I am playing a lot of offense and defense points myself and like the physical aspects of that.
Finally I mentioned that Olivier Humblet was over here this summer and that there will for sure be an interest in a clinique should you get over here for some reason.
Good luck!

parinella said...

Optimism and a healthy disrespect for your opponents' abilities are necessary to succeed.

But speaking of the strength of the Northwest teams, those guys had close games in Regionals, even against the clearly lesser teams (one of them apparently beat UBC-B 15-9). I'm reminded of a line in the movie Predator. Things look bleak, but Arnold notices what passes for alien blood, and says, "If it bleeds, we can kill it."

I say, if we can score, we can win.

Anonymous said...

You are right of course. I am not writing off DoG at all. With a bit of luck you can make semis.

Good luck anyway. Off for a practise run (sigh).

Previous anonymous
Now Carsten B.