Archive for the ‘flatball’ Category
This week is really starting to look up, after a great game of ultimate (“Dooooooooom”) and a wonderful care package from Ruth. The latter contained this season’s version of the Williams Rape and Sexual Assault Network’s “Ask” t-shirt (in brown, which is turning out to be this season’s color, as well) and a Montana Envirothon t-shirt from a thrift store somewhere in Montana (Red Lodge, maybe?), not to mention a mug from the Bad Ass Coffee Company (in Dillon, Montana, no less).
Ultimate tonight was just what I needed, too. I played well, we had fun, we won (for the first game that I’ve played in), and to top it all off I bonded with some other nerdy math and linguistics folks. So, for a week that started off with me in kind of a funk, things are going well.
Except for that Tibetan paper due in a week and a half…oops!
Bloomington continues to be great. I’ve more or less settled into a more or less regular routine of getting up more or less early, getting a bagel and coffee and reading all morning, although I’ve also migrated from Starbucks to a local place called Soma, trading smarmy jazz and other Starbucks-y musical stylings for indie pop and punk rock, and middle-schoolers and middle-aged people for tattooed hipsters and charmingly nerdy college town people, to say nothing of the decor. I could go on and on about the various quirks of each of the coffee shops in Bloomington (and probably will, at some point), mostly because these are public places that encourage sitting around and people watching while hopped up on caffeine.
Other than drinking coffee and reading about models of various levels of speech comprehension I haven’t been doing much. The two notable exceptions are cooking and playing ultimate. The cooking is getting harder, as I’ve cooked just about everything that I know how to and many things that I don’t (or didn’t, I should say). I also really wanted fish the other night, which as I’m sure you can imagine is in rather short supply here.
But ultimate—I finally got off my ass and signed up for the Bloomington rec league and went to a game (even managing to find a ride) last night, which was a lot of fun. Since I’ve been all but completely sedentary the last few weeks I expected to run for a point and then collapse on the sidelines, possibly due to massive cardiac arrest, but that didn’t happen. I even had a point and an assist, helping team Legion of Doom to their first ever double-digits performance, despite getting stomped by the Super Friends.
The general atmosphere—friendly, fun, and competitive—reminded me a lot of playing with the Blackfly crowd during various summer breaks. Except we had enough for all four teams to play with four-plus subs. The level of play was pretty high, especially the last few points of the game after our captain got frustrated by how badly our asses were getting kicked and we played a little harder and a little smarter. More than anything else, it was just fun to be out running around and chasing plastic and interacting with people.
It’s funny how easy it is to forget how important it is to have an in in a strange place, and how less alienated you feel after meeting just a few people that you have something in common with.
So I know I haven’t written in a while, terribly sorry and all that. But I’m still here! And I’m having a great summer! I’ve been working awfully hard the last few weeks, trying to fit a particularly difficult model so that we can finish up this paper. We’ve cooked up some ideas for experiments to run during the academic year, and I’ve gotten a fairly good start on (at least thinking about) a project of my own invention.
But the really exciting news is that I spent all weekend at the beach. Not just any old beach, but the fabulously kitschy beach of Wildwood, New Jersey. And I wasn’t just being a beach bum, either—I was taking part in the world’s largest beach ultimate tournament! Just like last year, it was hot and sunny and absolutely wonderful. Unlike last year, I happily managed to avoid getting badly injured, and consequently played both days and am now very sore and very pleased. I even have a battle wound to prove that I’m a real ultimate player who even lays out sometimes!
However, there are only three more weeks of summer left, and it feels like I haven’t gotten quite enough done yet. Granted, three weeks is a fairly substantial chunk of time, and I’ve been working on rather difficult and open-ended stuff, but it’s difficult to imagine how things are going to wrap themselves up in some neat, complete way in only three weeks. And that’s not even considering all of the non-work-related things that I wanted to do and haven’t really even touched (like my reading list, and my study abroad application).
I’m not too worried, especially seeings as I’m basking in the glow of sore muscles, sunburn, matlab proficiency and a new cell phone (finally!). That’s all for now, but I’ll be back sooner rather than later, so don’t fret.
I am back on campus, after hopping on the bus on Sunday after Mara’s graduation brunch (she’s coming to Williams! yay Bangor!), riding all day, and arriving in Pittsfield in the evening, where Jared, Erin and Noe picked me up, since Jared (a regular on the Bangor<–>Williams bus) warned me that the two hour wait for the bus to Williamstown happens outside the closed bus station in the middle of downtown Pittsfield—not an exciting prospect. Sunday night was a joyful-reunion walk with Ruth (who, previously unbeknownst to me, also got into town Sunday night). Monday was waiting until 2 pm (when the dorms opened) and then moving, which went without a hitch, thanks to Alex and his car, punctuality, and a bit of good luck. Now I’m sitting in the coffee shop, pecking away at the paper (that we started working on last summer!) and generally trying to be productive (which would be an improvement over yesterday). Finally, yesterday I played a bit of pick-up ultimate, and found that, while I can run circles around the Maine pick-up crowd, WUFO kids are a little tougher (but my cleats fit great!).
Oh, and to follow up on the books post, I’ve finished Flatland (was awesome), got sort of bored with An Adventurer’s Guide to Number Theory, and am getting my gumption to go get the rest out of the library.
Moral of the story: it’s good to be back and working and seeing Ruth and the rest of the Eph crew.
About a week ago I had another transcendent, remembering-why-I-love-it moment. For all intents and purposes, as of the end of the semester I’d stopped playing Ultimate for almost a year. Sure, I went to the BUFO vs. squash scrimmage a month ago, and played a few points in one of the games at Kraftees, but I hadn’t been to a practice since the fall, and the ones that I did go to were still when my arm was in a sling and I was just working on my lefty throws (still pretty good, much to my continuing delight).
But last friday I caught a ride down to Belfast with Hash (Aaron Hoshide—the Bangor High Eutyls wily Asian mentor and active advocate for youth ultimate development in Maine) and Corey (Bangor High class of ’03 and Syracuse class of ’07) to play pickup down there. The sun was shining, the field is right on the bay (I’m kicking myself for not bringing my camera). Play was intense and at a high-enough level so I didn’t get bored, but not so high as to make me feel like I was in over my head. My throws were working, except for a few long ones that got away, and I didn’t feel so out of shape as I thought I was.
It was a real confidence-booster for me as a player, but more importantly it was just a lot of fun. I might even go so far as to say that what was more rewarding than seeing my throws behaving themselves and my hands and legs working like they’re supposed to were the things gotten out of the game that can’t be measured by points or wins. Things like the people, a mix of old faces from summer league (including Hash and fellow ’05 red-teamers Larkspur and Neal) and friendly new folks from the Camden/Rockport/Belfast scene; or the simple joy of tossing around a frisbee on one of the most gorgeous evenings of the year; or talking at great length about something you’re passionate about with someone who’s passionate and thoughtful. All in all it added up to a sort of brief reconnection with the Ultimate Frisbee State of Nature, the innocence that helped draw me to ultimate in the first place.
Sure, I enjoy good, competitive play at a high level just as much as the next American male, but where I learned to play (Broad-effin-way!) keeping score was literally not a part of the culture. At the risk of hyperbole, I might even go so far as to say that the first game I played where score was kept (even briefly, at the end, as is the custom in most pickup games) was at the Frozen Butterball in November 2003 (the genesis of the Eutyls, when one of us got the crazy notion that we should go to a tournament)—more than two years since the wisdom that enabled me to put behind me years of humiliating failures to throw a frisbee (flick the wrist!) was imparted to me by a fellow mathlete at the south-bound rest stop in Kennebunk, Maine, beginning a (possibly life-long) obsession with throwing a frisbee.
But now I’m dangerously close to beginning a “why can’t everyone be like me” rant about my superior grasp of Spirit of the Game (which, for me, is at least partly a rationalization of my fear of really investing myself in the sport—and partly a romantic plea for the return of humanity and joy to sports). The point I’m trying to make is, I think, a positive one, about remembering how much, and why, I love this game, and how happy I am to be able to at least periodically reconnect with that feeling of unfettered, carefree joy.
(In case you’re not one to follow inline links, and in case you made it all the way through that, these might be interesting:
(in no particular order:)
- Seeing my sister for the first time since she went away to college!
- Seeing my family for the first time in almost three months
- woodstoves, dogs, and baked goods
- getting hurt again (grrrrr)
- running with Jue and Tony and finding out that I’m sort of in okay shape
- playing frisbee at broad-effin-way and finding out that my lefty throws are serviceable (even if that forehand huck isn’t quite there yet)
- catching up with reed, eating leftover-turkey nachos and making cookies
- feeling like there’s not enough time to do all the things I want to do/see all the people I want to see this week
- going to Rooster Brothers tomorrow with Steph and Jeff!
- getting really excited for the end of this semester, winter break, winter study (woohoo LEGO robotics!) and spring semester
Sorry this is a little addled, but I’m still processing this whole being home thing. This semester has been really hard in a lot of ways, not having the entry as a support system anymore being one of the main ones. Also, I think I forgot over the summer how much work school is, and how hard it is to juggle scheduled and un-scheduled time constraints. But now I’ve spent a lot of great time with my family who I missed very very much, and there are two weeks of classes left, and despite the large amount of work left to do I think I’m in pretty good shape overall. Then there’s reading period and exam week and then I come home again! Hooray!
It’s 11:45 and I am now more or less settled in, having greeted mom, Jeff, Bob, and Zoe (enthusiastically and at great length), played Jeff’s (awesome) new clarinet, had a cup of tea, marvelled at the wonderful assortment of plants growing in the sunny south bay window behind the kitchen sink (including a christmas cactus in bloom, a huge rosemary, the similarly-struggling flat-mate of my now nearly-dead oregano, and the last remaining cuttings from my wandering jew which are in fact doing quite well). Now that was a long and grammatically-complicated sentence! Summary: I am home, and happy to be here, and eagerly awaiting the arrival of my dear sister tomorrow night. I definitely need this break, to just get away from all the stressful things at school and the “crazy introspective Dave” circles that I was starting to drift into.
Tomorrow I think I’ll be visiting the ol’ alma mater to hang out in Mom’s calculus class and sing with chamber choir, and then maybe play frisbee at 3. If you’re in Bangor, lemme know and we’ll do the hang-y hang-y.
That’s the result of a (awesome) study that was reported in the Times:
Dr. Norden analyzed the Ultimate Players Association “power ratings” of private national universities over a decade (the ratings assess strength based on past performance), and he discovered a startling pattern. “All the schools with above-average ultimate teams also have above-average graduation rates,” says Dr. Norden, whose son is, not coincidentally, a serious high school player looking for a university with a good team. “They average a 90 percent graduation rate, while the average graduation rate for private national universities is just 73 percent. Statistically, that just doesn’t happen by chance.”
Furthermore, the private universities in the top half of ultimate standings had 208 Rhodes and Marshall scholars; the bottom half, just 15. The top seven — Stanford, Brown, Harvard, Tufts, Dartmouth, Yale and Princeton — had almost as many scholars as all the rest combined. (A followup study of public and liberal arts colleges found a similar correlation.) Dr. Norden cites another distinction: “Six of those top seven universities, all but Harvard, made Princeton Review’s list of the happiest students.”
Anecdotally, I think it’s definitely true: some of the best players on our team are also the smartest, and we have what seems to be a disproportionately large representation of math majors on the team, across all classes (not to mention clarinet players…hmmm).
I went to my first meeting of my “fuel cell” tonight (really silly name for WUFO preseason training groups), and I can already feel every individual muscle fiber in my abdomen curling into the fetal position thanks to Young Hahn’s Patented Core Killing Circuit: It Really Does Kill. I’m sure other parts of my body will be sore too, but I am now mentally preparing myself for what I know will be a type of soreness profoundly new to me tomorrow morning. I usually like to ease into a program of regular exercise, but jumping in hard, sore muscles and all, really seemed to work last semester (at least for a while) so I’m pretty optimistic about this. Working out with other people who I know is fun, especially in the gym environment, where I’m usually really uncomfortable owing to my extreme ignorance about the whole culture and practice of fitness.
Anyway. Tomorrow is friday, and this weekend is homecoming, and needless to say I am quite excited. I am also quite excited to be going to bed at 10:30 pm, whoopie!