I went to my first Mischief practice for the season today. It was at Baylands and, well, Baylands kept up its reputation by having just the best, gusty winds. I headed over late because, well, uh, can I just say some stupid game distracted me at an inopportune moment and leave it at that? Yeah, stupid game. I hate it.
So, when I arrived, and saw a big "Park Closed, Private Event" sign, along with a long line of cars out of the park entrance, I was simutaneously annoyed (the park is NEVER closed for a private event, you can reserve the picnic areas, but not the whole park; the sign was deliberately misleading to keep "undesirables" out), and worried (I was late, and needed to get to practice, and I was late, and Andy doesn't like when people are late, and did I mention I was late? Yeah). So, I pulled a yooey (sound it out), parked across the street and ran.
Now, the nice thing about running over is that you're warmed up when you arrive at the fields. I'm reaching here, to find SOME good benefit of being late. On my run over, I decided that, regardless of what happened at this practice, I would forgive myself any errors. Having spent all of these years criticizing myself for bad plays during ultimate, instead of immediately trying to figure out what I should have done instead, visualizing the correct action, and moving onto what I needed to do next offensively or defensively, I've decided that this season I'll be more proactive in what I think, instead of destructive. I figure, what I've been doing hasn't worked, why not try this?
Out of breath, and in a hurry, I dropped my stuff, pulled of my pantaloones and hoodie, exchanged shoes, and dashed out to warm up with the team. I noted the people who crossed the street in front of me, but didn't hussle over, had to do a warmup lap to get their legs going before jumping into the warmups. I admit to being pleased at my hussle-double-duty.
As has been the trend over the last 2-3 seasons, the practice was well organized, thought out and well run. We started with a series of warm-up cuts in a box, then progressed to a review (for returning players, and an introduction for new players) of our pull plays. We then ran them for a while.
Next up was 8 pull, where each team receives the disc and has one chance to score, the defense having one chance to score on a turn. I think the end score was like 2-4-10 or something for dark / light / and neither scoring.
At this point, I was tired. Not exhausted, but definitely feeling my lack of fitness. The next drill, however, focused on isolation cutting, and whoo-boy, did I not realize I how tired I was until after this drill.
The drill consisted of a receiver and defender in a 8 m x 8 m box, and a thrower about 3 m outside the box with a defender on him. The receiver can cut and move anywhere in the box he wants. The thrower needs to throw to the receiver by the end of a stall count starting on 5. The defender and marker are, of course, trying to prevent the completion.
When partnered up with Adam Leventhal as my thrower, crap, I could do no wrong in my cutting. With Adam as the defender and my marking, he could do no wrong. I had problems throwing to Adam, completing only 2 of my five throws. My iso defense wasn't as strong as I would have liked, blocking only 2 (might have been 3) of the throws. I really liked receiving from Adam, though he did zing one throw in hard enough to leave a nasty bruise. Need to up the vitamin K, I think.
I really liked the drill, as it gave me a chance to throw, throw, throw, granted in somewhat artificial circumstances, but it was still a lot of throwing in tight situations. I'm going to see if I can convince some teammates to continue this drill again some evening this week. Steffi expressed interest, so only 2-4 more people would be needed.
We then played a game to seven. Dark, my team, was up 3-1, before going down 5-3 to light. We brought the score back to 5-6, but eventually lost 5-7. The game was really interesting, though I was remarkably exhausted. I can't believe (well, okay, yes, I can) just how out of ultimate-shape I'm in. It's awful. The extra 20 pounds around my hips are definitely announcing themselves on my knees. I ate a fabulous breakfast this morning (vegetable scramble with cheese and a large odwalla citrus c), so now is a great time to keep up the good eating. Maybe I can get rid of those 20 in 10 weeks.
My hamstring, though announcing itself, wasn't too bad during the practice. A little bit of the topical aspirin, and I was running just fine.
The last part of practice was an elmination marking game. Essentially, two lines of players face each other, with the front of one line receiving, and the front of the other line throwing against a straight up mark. The receiver can't move (much) when receiving the disc from the thrower. Once a thrower throws, she runs to the front of the other line to mark, much like a three man marking drill.
Now, the trick of the game is, if the thrower overthrows, turfs, or is handblocked, she has to prevent a completed throw when she marks next. If she doesn't, she's out. If she does, then she continues to the back of the line. There are no penalties for the marker for a completed throw if she had a completed throw when she threw just before.
I managed to overthrow on my first throw, we were throwing upwind, which was the difficult direction. I then handblocked the woman I was marking, forcing her to block the next woman. Eventually, the chain ended and someone else was the first woman out (we split into men and women lines). I did well in the game, making it to the final 4 (I think, might have been 5), before throwing a crappy upwind throw that just went over my receiver. Liz Gannes won it all, having turfed her very first throw in the game. I really enjoyed this game, too, which should indicate how much I enjoyed practice today.
Though, I'm going to be really, really, really tired tonight. I'm happy.