Ultimate in Hawaii


Sometimes people get bored on the sideline of an Ultimate Frisbee game and need to do something with their hands 😉

This was at the Kaimana Klassik, a high-level invitational tourney in Hawaii. Simply incredible: beautiful, fun atmosphere and great players! The fields are in a partially collapsed caldera and mere steps to the beach: a state park that you camp in for the Klassick. I had worked hard on my throws for months in advance: you just don’t want to shank a shot in front of the world-caliber throwers who come to play and party at the Klassik! I almost goobered it though: taking a few hours of surfing lessons a few days before the tourney began seemed like a good idea at the time. But the constant paddling put an odd strain on my shoulder, my throwing shoulder! I had to bail out of the surfing lesson after a couple of hours to make sure I could still use the shoulder. My instructor got a little ticked off at my wimping out, but when I explained the situation, he got it and very kindly offered to take me out again after the tourney.
I was on the Spirit team: random players coming without a team. The Spirit team usually gets hammered by the tough competition, so I got to gamble more on long throws than normal to get the disc past the well-designed and well-executed team defenses. I made my only two called shots: two full field hucks, right off the pull, end zone to end zone. One was easy; a straight catch the pull and throw in the same motion. We caught them napping and my receiver was past their last man with a few steps to spare. Sometimes, just when the disc leaves your hand, you can feel that it’s perfect. This one came out as a real frozen rope, just zipping down the field, flat as a pancake, bang on target. A sweet, sweet feeling, and an easy catch.
For the second called shot, we knew we couldn’t pull the same wool over their eyes, so I took the pull and threw a slow & steady type pass up to another handler at the twenty yard mark. We had a couple of curl cuts to suck in the defense a few steps, and after one fake up field throw, the handler zipped a fast one back to me. Our fastest guy took off, sprinting down the right sideline. To give him a few steps advantage over the defense, I had to throw it before he made his cut, so he needed to know the where and when in advance. I told him I’d send an inside out backhand down the left sideline, pulling the defense further out away from him, and then curve it deep into their end zone, targeting the middle to give both of us a bit of wiggle room.
The defense forced me to release a little early: I was worried I might have overshot him and anxiously redid the intersection math over and over as the receiver motored down the right sideline while the disc zoomed down the left sideline. But he had great wheels and pulled a sharp curve into the middle once he reached the end zone. And zap! The disc curved in from the other side and hit him in the belly, at a dead sprint, 75 yards away. I kinda had to grin at that one: it’s a low probability shot that you’d miss more often than you’d make. But when a world class thrower mutters “good shot” as we walked back to setup again, you can’t help but feel good 😉

All the practice time was paying off. When we picked up a few new players for the last day, I overheard our captain tell them that when Larry had the disc, they should just cut to any open space: he could hit them anywhere on the field. Then the captain started to walk away, paused thoughtfully for a moment, walked back to the new players and emphasized “and I mean anywhere”; a great feel-good moment for me!

If only I hadn’t broken Michelle’s toe, just before the first game of the first day, it would have been a great weekend!

But she crammed her foot into her cleats before the toe swelled up, played hard all day and then danced hard all night. She was truly radiant with her happy, happy smile and exuberant love of life! She was also smoking hot in a bared-back, peacock-themed top I had picked up for her: “knuckle-bitingly hot” as a friend described it. Several times. 😉  And so the weekend turned out to be pretty nice after all!

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