Italians have the best rules

One of the problems with pickup teams is you often don’t know the other people’s skillsets; who will lay out for a disc, who can make a deep throw, etc, who can bring down a jump ball, etc. I always try for a pre-game throwing session with everybody I don’t know, so they know they can make a break-mark cut, or go deep to either side. Laying out and catching skills are harder to showcase. 😉

At Paganello, fortune worked in my favor. Early in the first game I was cutting to the endzone and the thrower just horked the disc; it was sailing out of bounds, like, way out of bounds. But Paganello beach uses the ‘toe under the tape’ rule. If you can hook the sideline tape with your toes and drag it out of bounds as you chase the disc down, it is a good catch. And this was the perfect use case! The disc was going to land about 10 feet out of bounds. My layout catches have always been strong, and I remembered the rule in time to give it a try. I hooked both feet under the tape as I dove for the disc, stretching one hand out to the disc. I managed to get my fingers under the disc before it hit the sand and made the catch, right in front of our team’s bench. And now all the other throwers knew all they had to do was put the frisbee into my general area: the rest I’d handle for them. Throwers love a receiver who can clean up any mistakes, so you get a lot more throws in your direction!

This paid off the next day. Our best player was from a US champion contender, Sockeye. We needed a score to hit halftime with a lead and we were working the disc down the field; the short, easy passes were working, until our Sockeye player made a throwing error: the disc was too high, too fast, and heading out of bounds. Sometimes, rarely, my body finds a way to make a big jump; mostly I don’t have much in the way of ups. This potential catch was one of those cases. But not only did I have to elevate, a lot, for the catch, I needed to get a foot down quickly before I was out of bounds. I got up high enough to get a couple of fingers on the disc and slammed down a foot quickly enough to stay in bounds. Sockeye called out the catch later as the hottest catch of the team so far. 🙂

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