Normally, the idea of playing ultimate frisbee for four straight days would be very exciting. Unfortunately, the entire good weather quota of the Netherlands was used up in the first two weeks of May (which were beautiful), and this week we had a more traditional weather forecast (read: cold, rainy, windy).
So Thursday morning I drive down to Rotterdam for the annual “Harbour Ultimate” tournament. Strangely enough, the fields for this tournament are right across the street from where my MBS school campus is.
I’m told that historically “Harbor” was one of the best tournaments of the year, with as many as 40 teams participating and a lot of quality ultimate. This year though, there were only 20 teams, and many of the best teams in the area did not sign up.
As it was, our Utrecht team only had nine people. You need seven to play, so we had a very limited amount of subs. The nice thing was that we only had one game in the rain before the sun came out and the weather actually turned very nice for three or four hours while we finished our second game. We won both games (one very close one in which we came from behind to win), and had a great feeling at the end of the day with the sun in our faces and two wins under our belts.
Friday we were not as lucky. Our games started at 10:00 and we played three extremely wet and windy games (losing the first two by wide margins). We were still only with nine players, huddling in the changing rooms between games trying to avoid pneumonia while shivering in our wet clothes. By the last game the fields were so soaked that every step you took would throw up explosions of water and my legs were covered with mud. We lost our first two games (both against very good ultimate teams who were just better than us) but in our third we beat the Airbreakers (who I have some history with) by a wide margin, did the post-game huddle in record time, and got the hell out of the rain.
I love ultimate, and playing in the rain isn’t all that bad, I’d take rain over wind any day, but the combination of the wet and the cold made for just a miserable day without much opportunity to really get any enjoyment out of the entire exercise.
Since I was already in Rotterdam and had to go to school that night I called up one of my group classmates who lives in Rotterdam and asked if I could use their shower instead of driving back to the Hague. I’m not sure if she’ll ever let me in her place again after seeing all the mud and grass in the drain, but it was a huge benefit to not have to drive back to the Hague and allowed me some time to actually do some of the readings for class. I got home at 10:15 completely exhausted.
Today (Saturday) I bailed out on ultimate because I had to go to school (I am sitting in class as I write this, listening to boring presentations on Leading Strategic Change from classmates). I have to say, as I was driving through the drizzle to school I was not one bit disappointed to be staying in a classroom all day.
The index toenails on both of my feet are now dead and will turn black and fall off over the course of the next four weeks (this happens usually every season regardless of my efforts to try new shoes out). My legs are sore and hurt when I extend them too far. I have some weird bruise/pain on the inside of my wrist. My back is sore (because I’m becoming an old man and my body doesn’t appreciate all the abuse I am giving it). And I have scrapes on my ankles from where I was tripped a few times (once by my own feet).
I go back for one last day of ultimate tomorrow, and hopefully it will not rain as much and I will not break myself any more.
Ah, the things we do for our hobbies…