Ultimate Frisbee Championships mark the end of the outdoor season. A tournament, where 16 best teams from all over the country compete against each other for the title of the champion. That’s how we spent the weekend on 16th – 17th September. We could hardly wait to play. We had a plan. We knew we could do it. It was within our reach. But life is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re gonna get.
‘Cause it’s a bittersweet symphony, it’s Ultimate
6:20 am. Wrocław, Poland.
So not ready to face the day. Live. Run. Think. Run. Oh well…
Team t-shirts? Packed.
Captain America thermal long sleeve? Duh!
The rest of the gear? Packed.
Cinnamon rolls for the team? Two whole boxes – packed.
Batteries charged. Motivating music. Headphones. Quick breakfast. Time to run. A bit late.
Everyone’s already there. Oh no. They’re never on time, but here they are…
It’s a cold, September morning. The discs are already up in the air. Everyone’s more or less ready to play the game. It’s 7:40 am. The team is motivated. Determined. There’s no place for being sullen. The only thing that matters is the team and that frisbee up in the air. It’s time to focus.
The first game starts at 8:30 am.
We go point by point, but it’s the second part of the match that belongs to us. We make a quick comeback. We still matter in this game! But the other team doesn’t go easy on us. We go point by point. It’s a heated fight. Both teams want to win. Both teams need to win. We make mistakes, but manage to gain 2 points leading us to the Universe Point. It’s time for the defence of a lifetime…and it slips away from our reach. 12 – 11.
The last game in our group and we have to face the team, which had an appetite for the gold. Many said they would do that. It’s not a game we can win. We already know that we’ve lost the chance to try to get into the games for places 1-8. A little let down we go onto the field. We start reluctantly. Hardly 7 minutes into the game and they score 4 points.
But hey… we didn’t come here to give up any game. We start playing again rising up to the challenge of our rival. By now it’s a point by point match. I don’t know if they go easy on us. I don’t care. If we’re going to lose…then we’re going to make it in style. The game ends after 51 minutes, but we’re happy. We’re satisfied. We manage to score 9 points out of 13.
Places 9 – 16. That’s what’s left for us, but the goal is clear. There’s a new plan: win the morning game…
Our team doesn’t take well the morning matches. It’s almost a tradition. It’s like in Final Destination. Some things are inevitable. At 7:00 am the day greets us with a thick fog.
We can barely see anything. It seems we may not even have the chance to see the other team on the field… or that white disc until it hits you. Like children lost in the fog. That’s how I see the day as the plot thickens – our captain is not going to make it to the tournament after all. That’s not the kind of news you expect to hear. Almost everyone shows up to the warm-up. We’re ready for the game when the clock strikes 8 am.
The game is not what it was supposed to be. The other team completely dominates the game. We make so many mistakes. We repeat them. We don’t have the fire from yesterday. It has to be our worst match of this tournament. Do we even want to fight? Should we catch an earlier train back home? No, we keep going. An hour into the game and it’s over. We lose 13 – 6. Disappointment is an understatement, but we can’t give up now. There are two other matches and we need to pull ourselves together.
It’s our last chance not to make the things worse. We started off as the 13th team and it would be nice to at least keep it. We start off the game, but we lack conviction. We go point by point, but then start losing. We try to catch up, but the efforts are nothing compared to the fast pace the other team is imposing. I start to realise that the confidence I had the whole tournament wasn’t genuine. We play with 4 girls on the line. It’s a chance to play more and it feels like a good turn of events. I even manage to make a D in the zone on some guy. Now that’s the confidence I needed. The other team dominates the game and ends it with a good score of 13 – 9.
We did a hell lot of small mistakes, which ultimately paved the way to our downfall. Most importantly we were a team. We’ve had a great team spirit. I think it’s the most important quality. If you can’t lose together than it’s not going to work out. You need to be a team before you start achieving something. During this weird season, there was lots of frustration and annoyance. You could hardly find it during this Championships.
How we royally screwed up the championships… 🙂
When things don’t go according to plan, on our team we like to ask ourselves a simple question.
Our Top 5 issues:
- The Game Of Errors
Mistakes, mistakes and more mistakes. The throws lacked precision. There were too many drops. Too many lost occasions. The communication sometimes failed us. There were too many throws at the poach. There’s a lot of work ahead of us. Who’s going to take up a challenge during the indoor season? It looks like it’s going to be a busy one!
- Team, team, team
You’re as strong as the weakest part of your team. Same goes for when some train and others don’t. With amateur sports it’s difficult. There are other things on people’s minds and other responsibilities. It’s not easy to commit some time, but if you want it you can do it. I really do believe it. With such important events as the Championships, you need to attend at least a few training sessions. You need to know how your team plays, what they are capable of. If you don’t know their capabilities and potential then you’re going to make mistakes.
For some reason, we tend to get into the defeated mode early on. Sometimes we get angry. We wake up from the trance in the middle of the game, but it’s too late. We need to light that fire early on. We need the concentration and the will to win. It’s a wobbly mindset. Easy to shift. So, where’s the team from the winter league which could do anything? Let’s bring that bonfire back on!
- Blinded by the stars, are we?
To win we need to be a team. Not stars. Sure some players have more confidence, experience and dare to take more risks than others. I like cold calculations, I like to be precise. Others will make rushed decisions while the cutters are not even in the end zone. Taking some risks is good as it pushes the game forward. There’s nothing wrong with that. But when we play the match we need to work together and think. Not about making it to the top of the scores list or being the hero of the match. We need to think about the best outcome of our next move and take the best possible option as a team. It’s not an individual sport, is it?
- The calm
We lose calm easily. We start too fast and then we have the effects. The disc picked up too fast when the cutters are still on the other side of the field… Throwing the disc at the poach, because dump – swing is as a mythical kind of set play that you barely remember it exists. Then we get angry at ourselves… Does anyone have a solution to that?
Outdoor season where art thou? The non-existent season.
This season had to be the most challenging one in my Ultimate Frisbee career in so many ways. This year marked my third championships. I was more than ready to go out there and play like there was no tomorrow. Minor injuries tormented me throughout the season. I’ve considered quitting a few times. I’ve never been so frustrated and down like this season. This year. It was tough. It was disappointing. The outdoor season was non-existent.
Summer was cold. Apart from team events and open training sessions, there was nothing going on. To think that everyone was so excited about the outdoor season… It’s the best time for Ultimate Frisbee, but surprise, surprise… The World Games was a great event – and as a team, we had so much fun. But where the hell were the tournaments? Cancelled. One-day events.
Now that summer is in the past it’s time to focus on the new season. It’s time for a short break to heal the injuries and gather strength for new challenges. It’s a good moment to learn a thing or two from the mistakes and find a solution to come back better and stronger.