I have been on five teams in my career: Carleton-B, CUT, Syzygy, Sockeye and Fugue, but a more honest count is 24 teams. Each season, each team is different. Certainly there are similarities year to year, but the character of the team is different every year. Teammates change, expectations change, who you play and where you play and how your team performs; all these things are different and so the identity of the team is never the same. All of this means that the team you are on right now, the team that is coming closer and closer to the end of its season, will exist only this once.
One of the great delights of ultimate is getting to know my team each year. You’d think that Sockeye 2005 would have been the same team as Sockeye 2004, but they stood on opposite sides of a gulf: one team had a ring and the other didn’t. You’d think that CUT 1994 and 1995 would be the same: 13 of 18 players returned, but those two teams couldn’t have been more different. Even when seasons are tough and the personality of a team not what you had hoped (yes, a few of those 24 years were unhappy ones) there is a satisfaction in coming to understand something.
I’m not going to give you Fugue 2012. The joys and frustrations, successes and failures, all the hard work and growth; these things are ours and you have yours. Your team is like someone you love that you only get to be with for a little while and then they’re gone. You won’t really know them until the very end of the season. Endings are so critical to what we do that the character of the team won’t necessarily reveal itself until the very, very end. So when you go out to practice this week, when you hit the fields at Regionals this weekend or the next, savor and cherish the moment: you won’t get it again.
Feature photo by Andrew Davis