I wasn't sure I was going to go to practice today. I was worrying about my knees from yesterday, as they were both hurting so badly in the last round that I could barely walk on the field. I wasn't sure if less than 24 hours would be enough for them to recover, or if practice would make them worse.
I went, though I showed up a ittle late (boo).
The first part of practice was very rough for me. I felt I was always a half step behind my woman on defense, and clueless on where to go on offense. I know that I haven't really played seriously for a long time, and that all of the training at velocity sports is supposed to help me, but my mental game is shot, and I wasn't having any fun.
About an hour into practice, after a particularly frustrating point, I walked to the sideline, allowing another player to sub in on my team. As I walked off, Doyle commented, "That was good defense on Steffi over there." I was surprised, as I was thinking I had done nothing but completely screw-up. His words were just enough to check my downward spiral.
The next set of drills concentrated on the horizontal stack. I lined up against a teammate who would be playing pretty much the same position as I do, so that I could listen to how the offense moves. The first time the ho-stack was run, I was a half step behind my player and she scored easily. Just after she scored, she called out, "Wow, I love ultimate!" She commented to her teammates about how easy the ho-stack was, which annoyed me.
Never one to miss a chance to learn, I adjust my defense and, on the next run, the offense attempted the same play. I stopped my opponent's out cut, forcing her back under to the disc, and marked very hard. She was unable to throw downfield, and eventually turned the disc over on a dump pass. Her teammates started talking to her about how she had to make that throw, she had to throw downfield in this offense.
No comment was made on how perhaps, just perhaps, my defense had been strong enough to stop that throw.
So, offense starts up again. I shut down her downfield cut. She received the disc back under and tried to throw downfield again. Once again, I marked hard, moving back and forth to prevent her throwing, trying to stay lightly on my toes. Her throw is downfield, but short and out of bounds.
Once again, her teammates (my teammates, too, but not at this practice) again start telling her what she needs to do. Once again, no comment is made about my defense.
Just as I thought it was going unnoticed, however, Paul walked by with a huge grin on his face and a little fist pumping. Okay, someone had noticed.
The next point, the woman I'm defending (same player) runs to the endzone. As the huck goes up, I key in on it, successfully position myself well, and knocked it away.
On the next point, the same flow happens, and the disc goes up long for my opponent. I run just as hard to that disc as I had previously, and successfully defended the next huck, receiving a clobber on my right arm which bruised spectacularly later.
At this point, practice doesn't seem so bad. Sure, I'm tired and sore, but I can still play this game. I need to work harder than some people, but, hey, that's the fun part.
I wonder if I can get Doyle to join Kris as the small voice in my head.