Life vs. Ultimate: A Real First World Problem
By Eric Meyer
While growing up, my parents helped me mature in a lot of ways, but they never indicated how impossibly hard it would be to set up your priorities. Obviously, there are the necessities like pay your bills on time, take care of yourself, and call your mother once a week to let her know you are okay. Then there are the secondary concerns which you can’t really rank; each has a significance that mixes around from time to time. Right now I’m in what Socrates might say is a “dill of a pickle” when it comes to a decision on my priorities. One of my friends is getting married in Poland, which happens to be at the exact same weekend as club regionals.
This decision is an unbelievably hard one to make. In all logical sense, there is absolutely no reason for me not to go to Poland. I have more than enough money to get there, I love to travel to new places, some of my best friends will be there, and it is a rare opportunity I will likely not be afforded again. On the flip side I am the captain of a club team, this will be my fifth club regionals, and likely my 80th or so lifetime Frisbee tournament in which the odds of us going to nationals are seemingly small. By sheer reason alone, it seems Poland is the only clear choice, yet my hesitancy leads me in another direction.
Obviously, Poland would be amazing for a plethora of reasons, but ultimate’s gravitas cannot be understated. If we look at this in a utilitarian sense, I have put a vast amount of time this year into getting better; hours of working out, practicing, and an incalculable amount just thinking about the sport. For me, regionals is the pinnacle of our season, it is what we are working towards from the beginning and it is the one tournament that could keep me out of Europe. If I were to go to Poland, it feels as if I were just throwing away a complete season of work to miss the biggest tournament of the year. Most importantly, I don’t want to let my teammates down who have put as much time into the season as I have.
The “what ifs” are what is really driving me crazy. What if we make nationals? What if Poland is the greatest trip of my life? What if we do terrible at regionals and finish dead last? What if Poland is not what it’s cracked up to be? It seems that no matter what decision I make will be a gigantic regret, and there is just no way to around it. Eventually, I have to make a decision one way or the other, and this is what ultimate players have been doing for years.
You will always see those shirts that say “ultimate is life;” but in reality ultimate is just a part of it. What do we do when life and ultimate intercede? How do we compensate one way or the other? I have made sacrifices on both sides; I’ve missed tournaments for weddings and weddings for tournaments. It is a similar decision all of us have made and we’ve had to live with it. The decision will be a pyrrhic victory; meaning no matter what I will not be satisfied knowing I missed out on something tremendous.
At this juncture, I have gone against all reason and decided to play regionals, but it was not one made with great confidence. I still may change my mind and end up going overseas, but at this point in time I am set up for the tournament. If I were just to tell any sane person that I could either go to Poland or play eight games of ultimate in what will likely be crap weather, they would think I was insane for even considering the options. But that’s what ultimate is, a big chunk of my life that I cannot just exorcize. Ultimate may not be life, but it certainly has a lot of influence in it.
There is the third option: The regional coordinator helps a brotha out and moves the tournament…
Feature photo by Jeff Bell – UltiPhotos.com