The Munich Miracle

A throw I’ve rarely tried has long been on my ‘gotta have’ list: the inside-out backhand break-mark throw. While we were living in Munich, we started playing pickup Ultimate again, and even a few tournaments. It had been years since I retired from Ultimate and it felt great dusting off the throws again! Pickup plus lots of drilling brought my throws back up to the Masters tournament level and I was just loving the game there. Once I worked my way back into shape, the other side often used the “don’t let Larry get the disc” strategy; a real mark of respect that I still had game. There were many memorable throws, and beers, at the English Garden pickup & beer stand field! The best was pulling off the dream shot.

I had gotten the disc around mid-field, on the far right sideline. My friend Toby knew exactly what I wanted, which was a simple, straight huck to the receiver on my right. Toby correctly faded hard to that side and shut down that option entirely. But he was slightly out of position for a break-mark throw to the left. My lizard hindbrain connected the barely-open throw to the left with a new receiver playing that day. We’d only done a bit of warmup throw&catch, but he impressed me as someone who knew what he was doing, and he was sprinting towards the far-left endzone corner. Mister lizard and the master brain simultaneously reached the same conclusion: try the inside-out break mark. My receiver did have a lengthy defender on him, and they were already nearing the front of the endzone, so making a catchable throw, in-bounds, that the defender couldn’t reach, was going to be really tough. Muscle memory kicked in at that point: I couldn’t even see the receiver. All I could do was fire at where his last trajectory looked like where he was heading: the back-left cone of the endzone. Fortunately the defender was on the inside; unfortunately, that left me with a target area about 3 steps in diameter, with tricky timing. The disc went out of bounds across the left sideline, then curved back in towards the back of the end zone. Blam! I hit him head-height, on his last-possible step to stay inbounds. The defender made a good play, but just couldn’t reach the corner over the receiver. I tend not to show much emotion when playing but I couldn’t keep in a primal scream of pleasure at pulling off the tricky, dream-world throw. 😉

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