Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beach Ultimate Frisbee tournament in Beijing

Saturday at City Seaview

The sand was artificial and, at places, hurt like hell to land on (more on this later), but it was still a fun day at the beach, even if there was no water. Organized by the inimitable Jeff Orcutt et al., we split into four teams -- names drawn out of a hat -- and played four games each.

In the final game of pool play, my team, 1-1, went up against Jim's team, 1-1 as well, and we fell behind 6-1 in a game to 9. At 8-4 it looked particularly bleak, but I threw an endzone-to-endzone forehand score to Guy to make it 8-6 and keep our hopes alive (Wildwood rules, so an end-to-end toss is worth two). Then we got a D, and as hope rose in all of us, I took off for the end zone as Guy hucked a beauty of a disc that raced past a lunging opponent nicknamed Baby Girl as I chased it down for another two-pointer to tie the game at 8.

It was Universe Point. We got the disc when a pass intended for Jim sailed long and out of bounds, at which point I made a deep in cut and received a high throw from Guy. After a contested stall count, I scoober dumped to Roman and cut into the end zone, planted and made a quick break for the force (strong) side corner. Here I will note the main difference between playing in sand and playing on grass: sand shifts under your feet. This has, as far as I can tell, no benefit for anybody except those who don't enjoy playing with shoes; for most players, running on sand takes a lot of effort, with minimal gain. I point this out to set up what happened next: as I turned, the ground gave out underneath me; the disc went up anyway, along with Roman's groan, "Oh no!" The throw is high and looks out of reach, sailing out of bounds.

But, see, here's the thing: I'd made the mistake by slipping, so I had to do something to set it right; and everyone's watching because the other game ended early and the light is perfect for photos* and we'd all exerted such great effort and it was, after all, Universe Point, so I said, Fuck it. I'm getting this disc no matter what.

And here's what I remember: leaving the ground; going parallel to the ground; snatching the disc; falling to the ground. Pain. The sort that takes your breath away, when, say, the small bit of flesh and nerves pinched between your upper pelvis and skin gets thrown to the ground by gravity and crushed between the weight of your entire pelvis plus hips plus that mass+acceleration equation and a surface that can only accurately be described as concrete brushed over with a plywood-thin layer of sand. So what I felt was: more pain.

The disc was secured in my left hand but I flung it aside out of pain. After writhing around for a bit I got up and acknowledged that I was out of bounds, even though some folks tried to say the disc landed before my body did (true), and that the disc was in bounds (doubtful). Then I finished the point, which we lost. And the team that beat us happened to go on to win the championship after we played the 3rd-place game, which, fittingly, we won on Universe Point.

And then we drank beer.

Two players from the winning team, Yin and Gabe. [CORRECTION: Yin did not win.]

More of the winning team, which beat us to claim 2nd place after pool play.

Did I mention beer?

Like I said... a great day.

One more picture, this one from the restaurant where we had dinner:

*POSTSCRIPT: There's a great series of pictures of my layout catch that's currently on someone else's camera. As soon as he uploads it to the Internet I'll post them along with a video of the last two points of the finals. [UPDATE, 9/25: HERE.]

1 comment:

Unknown said...

wow. it's a small world. your friend gabe went to my high school (ACS) in ithaca, ny. we had 260 people in 6-12 grade.. weird.