Boston Invite 2008 - day 2


Okay, today was no where near as good as yesterday. I mean, aside from the fact I kept getting plowed into by my defenders yesterday, I didn't have any serious physical problems. I didn't think I was doing particularly better at making sharper cuts and stopping quickly to change directions, but the actions of my defenders said otherwise, as one after another ran into me on the field.

Today, however, I was knocked on my ass from a pivoting thrower who lowered her shoulder into me. Warren and Wade told me to step back, as she was deliberately drawing the foul, which I did, but thought I just made it easier for her to throw all of her throws. I probably should have contested the foul instead of accepting it: if I'm knocked on my ass, I'm pretty sure I didn't initiate that contact. If we had observers, I would have asked for their opinions.

That was, however, the least of my problems today. I woke up with stiff lower back that I couldn't loosen. I knew what was going on. I knew this was a physical manifestation of the frustration I've been having with myself. Knowing this does not make accepting it any easier. I tried to continuing playing, until I ended up dropping two very easy catches that I was WIDE open for, catches I rarely miss.

Eventually, however, my back completely seized on me, making even standing nearly impossible in the waves of pain. I stopped playing and took off my cleats.

And watched from the sidelines as yet another team cheated in a way that COMPLETELY infuriates me didn't help my mood any. Didn't help so much that I actually ended up in a fight with a guy from the other team about their cheating.

"We're not cheating."

"You have four people within three meters of the thrower. How is that not cheating?"

"There's another player in that three meters."

"Which means you get TWO players, not FOUR."

"They're allowed to be there."

"You know you can't have two people within three meters of the thrower right?"


"And your players are within three meters of the thrower, right?"


"And your players know they aren't supposed to be there, right?"


"But they're there anyway, right?"

"That's the way they play."

"So, they know they're not supposed to be there, but they do it anyway. That's the definition of cheating."

"Not if they think it's okay to be there."

"It's still cheating."

"No, it's not."

"How is it not cheating to have four people within three meters, all of whom know that only one person is allowed to be there? It's not like they're 10 feet away, they're like four feet away. The tall guy can touch the thrower!" I cursed here. "That's cheating."

"No, it's not."

How do you argue with blindness? How do you argue with people cheating? Worse, how do you accept a loss to a team that so clearly cheats, and thinks it's okay?

I couldn't. I walked away. I called Kris, waking him up at 7:30 AM, crying because I didn't know how to handle this confrontation, given how upset I was with the moron with whom I just had a screaming match.

To my surprise, the team noticed I was gone. Few people knew why, so I might not have been screaming as loudly as I feared I did.

We lost that game, and the last game of the tournament.

Boston Invite 2008, day 1


Today was strange. The tournament this year is the same as last year, in that it's a round-robin tournament where we play all the other teams. I note that I didn't write about it last year, despite Kris bringing me two cakes for my birthday. Oddly, I didn't have any tournament pictures either. Strange.

I didn't play much today, but that's not surprising. We have nine women, which is plenty. The team was very encouraging about my playing time, cheering me on when I did go in, which makes me smile every time. I nearly always hear Steffi and Will ("Go, Kitty!"), both of whose cheers make me want to play hard.

We ended up losing the first game to Hooray for Ultimate, Hooray in our first game, which was in the second round. Yes, it's easy to say, "Well, we had a first round bye, they didn't" and "we were still on West Coast time," and any number of other excuses you want to bring, but the reality is they played better than we did. Yes, we had some odd, uncharacteristic turnovers (the one I recall most vividly was Mark dropping a disc on an in cut, uncovered, while still looking forward (i.e. not looking to throw before catching the disc, which is the cause of many uncharacteristic turnovers)). Yes, our energy was low. We lost.

We heard later, after Hooray had lost every other game today, that they said they played out of their minds against us. I like stories like that, where the underdog plays with such intensity and drive that they beat the expected winners. That's why you play the games, because you can never be completely sure of the victor.

My only memorable point in this game was when I was cutting deep to set up an in-cut, and had turned for the cut slightly too soon. Someone had thrown to Lyndsay along the sideline, with the throw it was slightly too far to the outside when she went up for it. The disc bounced off her somehow, and macked up. I adjusted my cut and caught the disc low, with my signature thunk. I turned to see Mark cutting deep at an angle toward the cone on the sideline I was on, his defender right on his inside hip. I put up a loopy forehand that was high and around his defender, which Mark caught seemingly effortlessly. DanO later told me that he was thinking, "No! Conservation of greatness!" when I made the throw, but, eh, know your receiver: Mark's awesome, he'll catch it. Mark did, then threw for the score. Everyone erupted from the sidelines for me.

Doyle did say I ran for a few steps with my arm outstretched, his thinking "Don't run with your arm outstretched! Get there then reach out!" Emily Biss used to catch that way, running with her arms outstretched. It looked funny. I hope I don't get into that habit.

Our next game was against the British National Team, which is going to Worlds. We won the game 15-10, with my only memory of the game being of a very tall Englishman commenting that we were an arrogant bunch after the team rushed the field chanting "I see red!". I have to admit that I sometimes feel uncomfortable when the team does this, especially when the team doesn't really need it to psych itself up. However, I don't mind enough to actually care one way or the other.

Our next game was with Slow White, our cross-country rival since 2006. During the game, in which I played maybe three points (but was QUITE happy with those three points), I started talking with another spectator on the sideline. He commented to me, while pointing to the Mischief seven on the line, "that team isn't well know for its spirit."

I responded with, "You mean, around here, because they beat that team," while pointing to the Slow White seven on the line. I was particularly annoyed by that man's comments, sure he had some connection to Slow White, as I watched the Slow White players spike the disc time and time again after they score. Okay, so, we may cheer "I see RED!" but we don't spike the disc our way to a 15-11 victory.

I did have to wonder, though, if, because Mischief was a top team, that we were becoming Donner-like. Were we the Donner Party of this tournament? Of course, that brought up the speculation that perhaps Donner wasn't as awful as I thought they were, that maybe I was just annoyed/frustrated/spiteful because they were the better team.

Of course, the Donner thought is not new to me.

Our last game was against Puppet Regime, and was also quite unmemorable. We won 13-10.

Tomorrow we play another three games, against Bashing Pinatas, Team Fisher Price, and AMP.

Still learning those lessons


You know, there are times when I utterly despise my womanhood. Completely and utterly despise it.

Today is one of those days when I can't seem to function well. I can feel the strength returning to my legs, I know that I'm (finally) getting stronger, (finally) moving more quickly, and (finally) developing some endurance. So, what a crappy time to have to deal with that huge issue of being a woman, of needing to find a restroom to change some dressing to minimize the ongoing gush of iron from my system.

How's that for an introduction to how crappy practice was for me today?

Not that practice was crappy, quite the contrary. I'm enjoying practices as a general rule. They're well run, well organized, and very focused. I have only one complaint (that focused throwing happens before warmups, which means that, if you actually throw as you would in a game, you're stretched out much farther than your muscles are warmed up to, and GREATLY increasing the risk of pulling a muscle or other soft tissue), which is pretty good. I like that the team is also very focused and willing to listen and learn. It's a BIG change from the Rippit days when, at the start of a drill, we'd hear three or four voices whine, "but I don't want to drill, I just want to play ultimate. Can we just play now?"

I also like very much that Mark reminds us that we've all put in the effort during the week and even that day to make it to practice, so make that extra little bit of effort to make practice good, to learn something today, to become a better player.

And I also like that I hear a lot of Kris' lessons repeated in different ways with the team. Many of the ideas he tried to instill in the team have become near manifesto, which makes me all proud of Kris, even if he can't see the results of his effort, and the team doesn't remember the origin of what's being said.

What I don't really like, though, is being disconnected from the team. Having to dash off at the beginning of a drill didn't help. Being an afterthought in a discussion of defense positions didn't really help, either, in making me feel connected. There are times when I really think this practice player idea was the stupidest thing I've ever done.

And then I remember WHY I made that choice, why I wanted it, and why it is still the best decision for me.

Because I am allowed to make mistakes.

I need to make those mistakes to grow, to figure out what works for me again, to remember why I've spent the thousands of hours on this sport over the last 15 years, to understand why I'm willing to work out 3 hours a day to get back into the shape I was in 2004 and 2005, to realize why I've convinced several of my friends to throw with me, hoping to throw daily and fix the confidence issues I have.

Even if everyone on my team groans when I drop the disc on a dump swing because it RUINED THE WHITE TEAM's score, I need to care less. It's practice. Do you really think I'll miss that disc in a game?



Today's practice was at Baylands. There's one practice today and another one tomorrow, mostly to simulate tournament weekends, but also to give the team enough time to work on new concepts more effectively. Having not exercised yesterday in order to rest my ankle (well, achilles actually), I was fairly desperate to run around today, achilles be damned.

I played okay, but had stupid, intermittent problems, like overthrowing Lyndsay during the concentrated throwing at the beginning of practice, at throw 22 (of 25), causing us to start over, then following that up by turfing the disc at throw 11 of the next set. I also completely flubbed the start of the endzone play drill, until I figured out that TWO people cut for each swing. At least my throws had enough spin that the wind didn't affect them.

What I thought most interesting about practice, however, was that I was called handler a lot towards the end of practice, during the last scrimmage. I was puzzled about the call, given that I generally don't play handler and (hence) don't play it well. However, I did fine, receiving a dump a couple times, continuing the disc movement upfield appropriately, forcing only one teammate to layout. Fortunately, that teammate was Adam, and he caught it with grace.

Yeah, so why call me there in the first place? Well, eventually I realized that when I was called handler, the line consisted of two "real" handlers and five cutters. One of those cutters needed to handle. Now, recall that I'm a practice player. I'm not going to tournaments with the team (the one coming up being the exception to that statement), so, having me handle makes sense, as it allows the other four cutters to practice what they WILL be playing at tournaments.

Either that, or DanO is just my bestest friend and decided to call me handler because he knows that, even though I don't play the position well, I really enjoy playing in the handler position. Because DanO is good like that.

Oh, and I met Will's mother today. Given that she raised Will, and Will is awesome, she is, nearly by definition, awesome, too.

track workout 2008 06 17

Book page
I've thrown in some of the Snertz exercises during the plyos for fun.
As the season progresses and we drop down to shorter distances, we'll
probably see more.

800m jog
form running (high knees, butt kicks, side shuffle, etc.)
4x100m strides (50% effort... take it easy)

15 push ups / 75 crunches
4x15 "ground jumps" + 40m sprint (touch the ground then jump as high
as you can reaching for the sky 15 times then immediately sprint)
4x15 tuck jumps + 40m sprint (jump and tuck knees towards chest quickly)
15 push ups / 75 crunches

3x400m (around 90s rest)
3x200m (head back to start and add 20s rest or so)

cool down lap

Abs workout

Book page
From Shirley, on Mon, 16 Jun 2008 14:26:59 -0700

Along the same lines as Mark's email about squats, some of you have expressed interest in hearing about the various ab exercises we've done, so here are some suggested workouts. Strengthening your core should help you do other exercises more effectively. It's also really easy to do core work without a gym and on your own time.

Kris McQueen's ab circuit

This one is usually done with partners but you can do it by yourself with some modifications (only 2 exercises require a partner). Do each exercise for the same amount of time (between 30-45 seconds, usually). Some of these require a med ball but again, you can modify it slightly if you don't have one, e.g. go through the motions without a med ball, do each exercise for more time.

  • bicycles
  • russian crunches (feet on the ground with knees bent, palms together with straight arms, crunch up to lift your shoulders off the ground while pointing your arms alternately left, middle, right)
  • rowers
  • side to side holding the medicine ball
  • chest throw with medicine ball (partner stands on feet, do a sit up and throw the ball from your chest to your partner's chest in a quick explosive motion. Partner tosses the ball back to you as you start going back down)
  • overhead throw with medicine ball (hold the ball over your head and throw to your partner's chest as smoothly as you can as you sit up off the ground. Partner tosses ball back to you over your head as you start going back down)
  • medicine ball press (arms straight up holding the med ball, crunch straight up towards the sky)
  • superman
  • swimmers (on you back, straight legs, kick feet up and down as if swimming)
  • leg holds (go straight into this from swimmers without putting your feet down. Hold at 6 inches to start, then 12 inches for 10s and then back down to 6 inches for the last 10 s)

"Hannah's Hell"

Also usually done with partners, but you can do it by yourself very easily.

Hold onto your partner's ankles (or onto something sturdy, or just balance yourself). Do a set number of reps of each of the following without resting in between - butt raises, straight leg throwdowns down the middle, to one side, to the other side, back down the middle, and butt raises. (If you do it by yourself, they're not throwdowns, but "leg lowers" instead.)

Other ab exercises that you can mix and match with reps:

  • regular crunches, with feet on the ground, off the ground, or legs straight up - upper abs
  • crossed leg crunches (cross one leg over the other, bring opposite elbow to that knee) - upper, side abs
  • oblique crunches (lying mostly on one side, isolating the ab muscles on the side of your body) - side abs
  • "babies" (like regular crunches except legs in butterfly position) - lower abs
  • "side rowers" (not sure what these are called) (lying mostly on your side with your legs off the ground, straight, and at an angle from your body. Have the arm that's on the ground extended out for balance, your opposite arm bent behind your head. Start with your back flat and bent elbow on the ground. Crunch up, bringing your knees in and your elbow towards your knees. Return to flat position.) - everything
  • planks (like a pushup position but on your elbows. Keep your body as straight as possible. Hold for at least 30 seconds.)
  • side planks (body sideways, on one elbow only. Try with your other arm straight up in the air.) - side abs
  • any of the exercises from McQueen's circuit (bicycles - upper abs; russian crunches - upper, side abs; rowers - upper, lower abs; side to side - upper, side abs; med ball press - upper abs; swimmers - lower abs; leg holds - lower abs)

You can easily make up an ab circuit by picking 10 of these and doing 30 seconds of each, or doing a pyramid of 5 or 6 exercises (go up the list, then back down the list). Try to mix in exercises that target different ab muscles.

If you have dumbbells you can also do:

  • Side lifts (holding a dumbbell hanging down in one hand, lean over sideways on that side, then straighten back up, keeping your core tight. You should feel this in the opposite side.)

Working out your back is also good for core - things like supermans, pull ups, lat pull down, twisty exercises with resistance, etc, but I know less about good exercises to do for that.


Ryan loves me, this I know


Today's practice was at Corte Madera. I managed to miss exactly half of it, as I dashed off after the throwing drills to go fill the cooler. I had arranged for Sunday last week, but thought since Pickett had arranged for the "next one" (i.e. Saturday), he would be bringing the cooler. I was wrong, so went to fix the problem. I had thought that Kris might help me out by bringing the cooler somewhat closer to the fields, instead of his car trunk, so that I wouldn't have to drive all the way back home and back, but apprently helping the wife is less important than World of Warcraft. I drove back to the house, picked up the cooler, bought food and drinks, and drove back to the fields.

Great day for Keebler to show up to practice with us.

I did manage to be at practice for a couple scrimmages and the focused throwing, to which Paul complimented my throws as significantly stronger than previous years. Kris had made a similar comment, speculating that coaching the women's team helped me learn and fix my throwing issues. Regardless, I'm happy my throws are improving, and that people are noticing.

Definitely time for my new throwing coach to help me improve more.

The most important fact I learned today wasn't ultimate related, per se. Today, I learned that Ryan is apparently attracted to me.

VERY attracted to me.

So much so that, if weren't married, he would have asked me out by now (and probably more). Apparently the crush has been going on since he joined the team. Here's how I know this: Every single cut I make, every fake I make, every juke, step, clear and every fucking mistake I make, Ryan is there to tell me what did wrong. Every one. Every single one.

Now, the only way he could possibly see everything I do (wrong) is if he is watching me non-stop. And the only reason he would be watching every moment would be because he has a crush on me.

He lurves me.

You know my logic is irrefutable.

I just wish I had figured this out last year before I yelled at him for trying to direct every single step I made, from the sideline. Only Kris has a remote control for my feet. I should let Ryan know I'm married, in case he missed all of my snuggly with Kris last year at various tournaments. Then maybe he'll stop telling me I should stop cutting when I'm 30 feet open on my defense and cutting to the correct place to pull three defenders on me so that a teammate can be wide open for the score.


track workout 2008 06 10

Book page
800m jog
form running

2 sets 12 push ups
2 sets 15 lunges
25 single leg calf raises

4 laps of 200m fartlek (run 200, jog 200, repeat)

cool down lap

mischief track workout 080603

form running

2 sets 12 push ups
25 single leg calf raises
2 sets15 squat jumps

2 sets of 6x200m

cool down lap

More fist pumping!


Hot damn!

I've been invited to post in a group blog! I've never been invited to post in a group blog before. No, wait, that's not quite true. Mom and I have tried the blogging thing in 2002. That one didn't work out so well.

We tried again this year, but we pretty much suck at that one, too. I think we'll pick that one up again once I have rereuse.com up and going and have the "post about this" functionality working. Maybe.

Still, with two failed attempts at group blogging (but one seriously good success at solo blogging), I'm optimistic with the new group blog. Especially since the other people blogging are also posting regulars on their own blogs.

Yes, I'm very excited about this venture: Mischief's team blog, More Fist Pumping!