Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ultimate as My Religion

On the way home from the second of two end of the season bbq's, I had an epiphany while talking to Mrs. Spew.  That in most of the places we have lived, the ultimate frisbee community has been our primary non-work community.  It has been the group of people that we know, that we hang out with, that makes us feel a part of the larger city. 

Lewd Pelvic Gyrations (Wednesdays)
In Lubbock, this was particularly important since it was very much the case that for nearly everyone else, the primary community was one's church.  In Montreal, we lived in a mostly older neighborhood so we didn't develop many connections.  We sent our kid to private school so our daughter and her school did not help us develop connections either.  But ultimate produced friendships across the city and across linguistic lines.  Sure, at parties, I would often be confused when people would bounce back and forth between English and French, but they still made me and mine feel most welcome.  In Ottawa, we have had a bit less need of this community because we knew people here already, and it has been pretty easy to develop contacts and friends through the government and those interested in the government.  Yet still ultimate still has served us well.  Since I play on two different teams (I played on three in Montreal, but I am older now, cannot play more than two nights a week), ultimate in Ottawa has given me two sets of folks to hang with.
Flickless Neuticals (Mondays)

Yes, there are rituals involved in ultimate--from the pre-game cheer to the mid-game friendly (mostly) heckling to the post-game cheer for the other team.

Of course, religion isn't just the community that religious institutions provide/generate/support and the various rituals but also the values stuff.  And, of course, ultimate has many values that have helped shape how I see the world and what I value.  Sharing, of course, as teams with selfish players lose.  Disgust for misogyny, as not using your women on your coed team means playing four on seven, which is both uncompetitive and not fun.  Humility, as one of the most important aspects of being a good player, especially a handler (point guard/quarterback), is know one's limitations, and that is one value that I have increasingly appreciated as my abilities decline.  Trust, as one develops a team, one trusts that their teammates will anticipate the play and go to the newly open space on the field.  Yesterday's success was built on trusting our women to catch whatever we threw at them, and, geez, did we throw some lousy passes which they managed to catch.  Honesty as the game is self-referred.  Gratitude, as I am so very thankful for the fun and the friends that the sport has given me since I started playing seriously more than thirty years ago.  The spirit of the game as the central core belief that ties together the entire sport and the communities it builds.

I may have to change from religion on Facebook from Potter-ite to Ultimate Frisbeian.  Anyhow, not sure this is the key prayer of the ultimate religion, but it might be one of them:

No comments: