Not at Worlds 2014 – Day 2


I feel faint. I’m not sure whether I feel faint or just like I’m going to be sick. Perhaps I’m going to be sick and then faint. My team are playing a top-of-the-pool game and the pitchside 3G connection has gone down. the tournament has been dark for 15 minutes and I have no idea what’s going on.

This is worse, way worse than being there. My job for Chevron is, was, simple. It is to hang around until someone needs to move the disc on, make myself available, receive the pass and then move the disc on safely to a team-mate. It’s also to catch the pull and move the disc on or to walk off field the pick up an out-of-bounds disc, bring it back, put it into play and then pass it successfully to a team-mate. I can do those things. I’ve been doing those things for 20 years now. I can train for them and I’ve been training to be able to do them for 20 years. These are things, some of the only things, I’m good at.

Being in the middle of a big game is easy, once you know what you’re supposed to do and know that you can do it. You control most of the variables and, if you do that right, the outcome.

Watching top level ultimate when you have a stake in it is terrifying. The disc, which moves so smoothly and safely from your hands to mine and then on to his in a game, seems almost impossibly fragile in flight when observed from beyond the sideline. How can this thing ever complete successfully when almost any change in circumstances between thrower and receiver could cause a turnover. How can those catches possibly be made when almost any minor misjudgment, any miniscule mis-alignment of fingers, will see the disc bounce straight back out again.

How can we catch when we could drop?

I have just come back to my office. Chevron are playing a German team out in Italy. From a distance the tournament seems to be in some sort of chaos and we’re dependent on twitter and texts from friends for updates. From what I can gather the format has been reorganised in the last hour or so to mean that the outcome of this game could well be the deciding factor in my team securing a top 16 finish. I don’t even know whether they know this. I’ve been walking around campus here constantly refreshing twitter on my phone and shaking shaking shaking.

We’re 12-9 up now. Things sound good. This is so much harder than move – catch – throw – move. Now it’s 12-10.