If rap music taught me anything, it’s that money, drugs and sex form the holy trinity of life. Now that Skyd is broke* and refuses to send me drugs, coupled with the fact I don’t want to sleep with anyone on their editorial team, this blog must end. That, and the AUDL season is over.
*Editor’s note: you’ll soon be able to support Skyd’s 2015 programming through our annual fundraiser.
Before I forget: the book that I Kickstarted, The Last Two, has finally been printed! In what can only be called a calamity of miscommunication, the press I used promises they will have them to me by the end of September, three months later than anticipated. I sincerely apologize. It was outside of my control. For those who missed the Kickstarter, I ordered some extras that you can order from my website. Also, I only have few copies of my other childrens books left, and I’m not sure if I am going to order more– constantly distributing books is annoying. If you want to get one before they’re gone, head over to www.beausbooks.com.
I very clearly remember a certain Monday a while back. It was the day after winning the AUDL championship in Toronto and the day before I left San Francisco to embark on Italian trip marked by a tournament I’ll just call Worlds– I don’t know what it’s really called because they seem to call some tournament Worlds every year, which is really annoying when I have to explain it to my constantly confused mother.
The reason I remember this Monday is that it was that space between two pages in the book of my life. Both pages are about ultimate, but the page I had just left was logistically simple and a financial positive; all I had to do was play, and they paid me for it. As I sat in that crease, I remember staring at the next page I was about to read, skimming over poor logistics that would drain every last penny the previous page had given me. It’s a crazy world: I play ultimate to pay for ultimate. My love supports my habit. I am not saying one page is better than the other because I can’t. I can say I learned a lot this season, some bad but most of it good– in my book, learning anything is almost always valuable. The reason I would consider some of it bad is that some lessons were repeats but with the expectation of something different, which I believe is also the definition of crazy.
Here’s my list of learning:
Thanks to my wingman Evang, I learned I can still act like a spoiled little munchkin who got no ice cream for dessert. I don’t actually like ice cream, but if I did, this would surely be me:
I also learned I can still get sick with excitement before a big game. Being on a pro team that is the best in country is something I always dreamed about as a child, and the elders always shunned me for it. Yes, I understand I am a long way off from being a real pro athlete who buys his wife multi-million dollar sorry-babe-bling-ring when he gets caught cheating. But winning the AUDL championship is small step towards that lofty goal.
I learned Canadian astro turf is made from fire and ice called Fice. Fice is an interesting compound, probably designed around Canada’s desire for every sport to be like hockey. This strange greenish compound causes one to slip at every turn, but at the same time will burn your skin to a tender medium roast if you fall on it. It’s a passive aggressive way for Canadians fans to let you know they’ll eat you alive if you don’t appease them.
I learned that Mark Lloyd is good at ultimate after he D’d me up twice in one point, and, by extension, that I will have to attack the disc from now on when he is guarding me.
I learned about Brodie. I must admit, I wanted to create a rivalry between me and him for the sake of ultimate. I wanted to paint him as the egocentric bad guy who only desires fame and fortune. But after hanging around him a few times and seeing him with kids, I can’t do it. He himself is just big kid who wants to make a living doing what he loves. Whether it’s for show or out of genuine kindness, he treats the kids who adore him the right way, which to me is one of the most impressive and underappreciated things a human can do. (Side note: thanks to all the good teachers, counselors, and coaches out there. Y’all deserve way more credit than you ever get, especially from brats like me who treated you with contempt yet secretly learned lots.) So if I play next year I guess I will have to paint myself as the bad guy, which is fine. I’ve always wanted to play that part, and I already own an evil coat and a bowler hat fit for the job.
I learned about readers and responders. This being my first real blog and all, I was actually quite shocked by the ill-conceived conclusions that some people leapt to and the negative ways they lashed out. I would be lying if i said I wasn’t hurt sometimes by some of the things that were said by the community I am part of, a community that I thought was more open minded, thoughtful and educated than YouTube commenters. On the other side, there were a lot of people who didn’t actually comment but have come up to me in person and thanked me for my writing. Although I am not particularly comfortable with complements, the positive reinforcement gave me the fuel I needed to keep chugging along.
I learned the team owners in the AUDL are quite the cast of characters, which you might expect of people willing to buy ultimate teams. I got to hang out with some of them at a bar in Toronto, and it was entertaining to overhear their gossip and trash talk. There was talk of money, talk of easy winning, talk of how to play ultimate, talk of players’ skills. While I don’t know anything about money, I know a good bit about the other stuff they were talking about. And let me tell you, it was like watching blindfolded kids swing at a pinata: they were confusing a parental setup with success. Yes, some blindfolded kids are going to hit the pinata, but that does not necessarily mean they are doing it better than any other kid. I’m not sure that analogy works but it’s the best I got right now, so I am sticking with it. The AUDL owners should start a reality TV show where they all live in mansion and say what’s on their minds. It would be great.
I also learned about ideas for the AUDL’s future. I’ll tell you about some of them and then give you my blunt opinion on each:
- A 2-point line. I don’t like it. It was already tried at Potlatch one year and it was not good. Every team just played a zone D, letting the other team have free passes until they were past the 2-point line.
- Getting rid of the double team. I heard this idea from a lot from different players. There were two reasons for it: first, they didn’t like the way it slowed the game down into a series of little throws. Second, it is impossible to ref correctly. When we played the Radicals, they double teamed and fouled pretty much every time you pivoted or released the disc, then would run away like they didn’t touch you… and it worked. Neither really bothered me, but I can see why one could be annoyed.
- Using a smaller field— People are saying the field is too big to cover, that defense is impossible to play. I agree it is harder yet also wonder if that is because people just aren’t use to playing on this size field.
- Make a Callahan like a safety in football: you get a point plus the disc. I like it.
- Getting rid of a travel being a turnover. This is probably the best suggestion I’ve heard. And no, it’s not because I travel– over two seasons of pro ultimate I have only had one travel call made against me, and I appealed it at moving violation court and had it dropped from my record.
This Segways right into stats (that’s an intentional use of Segway, as it works just as well as segue and is a better word for modern times). With ultimate moving into the spotlight, stats will take on a larger role– or at least a more visible one. Here is my advice to the youngin’s out there: don’t care. Stats don’t win championships. Over many seasons, I have learned the only stat that matters during the season is team improvement. Unfortunately there is no stat for that because it is impossible to quantify.
Lastly, a big question: what will happen in the offseason? Like almost all players, I am a free agent, and contract renegotiations are in order. I will definitely be trying negotiate for a Tesla again, but aside from that there are some really interesting questions in front of me. What is my value? What about ultimate players in general? Do we need a union? Do we need agents? (Probably not yet, but the time may be closer than we think.) I don’t know if I am strong enough to play both club and pro next year; going straight from a four-hour Revolver practice to a three-hour Spiders game really put the hurt on my old bones, and other players said the same thing. What about the value of Revolver? Should we try to combine Revolver and a pro team? The Revolver Spiders? It would be sad to break up the Spider vs Flamer rivalry. There is a lot to think about this off season. I hope I can have my cake and eat it too, but I understand the philosophical quandary that poses.
Thanks to Skyd and the AUDL for allowing me to write whatever and however I want. I am off to finish my children’s novel. On that note, if you know a literary agent or children’s novel editor, let me know. I have black Spiders jerseys from this last season to give as tokens of gratitude for anyone who helps locate such people.