The whole “team chemistry” doctrine can be rather vexing at times. It ensures that a singular player’s efforts will only go so far in producing victories. Ideally, those countless hours spent preparing and honing individual skills would prove sufficient. But come game time, there are six others on the field with you whose actions are out of your control. As in any team sport, understanding the game of ultimate and knowing your own abilities is only part of the equation. One must also come to know their teammates.
But what of the chemistry created off the field? What of the camaraderie that’s organically built? It can be argued that there’s just as much value in the road trips and social gatherings as there is in the throwing and drills. Certain players may believe the bond created between teammates is at least a portion of their winning brand of ultimate.
This is clearly abstract thought. Camaraderie is by no means a substitute for understanding one another’s on-field abilities and tendencies. Neither is it a requirement. But a certain comforting, yet driving energy must exist within those who stand on the line side-by-side with good friends.
If they feel anything like I imagine, comrades push them to excel. The wins are that much sweeter. The losses are an even tougher pill to swallow. There must be some immeasurable incentive that comes with going to battle with those you care for not simply as teammates, but as human beings as well.
Such a feeling surely comes with a greater sense of responsibility, a will for selflessness. Personal concerns take a backseat to the greater good of the unit. You go all-out every moment of play, from opening pull to hard cap, with supreme confidence your crew of 20-plus is going all-out for you.
These are the people who are striving for the very prize you strive for; the ones who labor over perfecting the same craft; the people you embrace in your worst and finest hour. These are your people.
Maybe I’m just sentimental.
Feature photo by Christina Schmidt (UltiPhotos.com)