Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ultimate Christmas Wish List - Part II the Philisophical Version

As practical as many of the gifts in the previous Christmas post were, let's take a step back and get more philosophical. I'll let a good friend of mine, Norman Farb, take the keyboard in his reply (essay like) to my question:

"What an Ultimate Player Wants for Christmas

There’s a lot of things an ultimate player could wish for at Christmas time, beyond the usual consumer goods like shiny new discs or the wicking-est swag. When you’ve reached the point when you no longer think that new compression shorts, gloves or visors are going to be the difference-maker to ultimate supremacy, what do you wish for?

Do you wish for skills? Crazy IO flicks that bust zones wide open? Jaw-dropping speed? Fearless 7 foot layout leaps that strike fear into hearts of defenders and offensive stars alike? Sounds good, but no man (or woman) is an island; no matter how good you are, a great team will bring a lone star shooting down to earth.

So then, do you wish for strategic prowess? Perfect field vision? Knowledge of every zone and how to beat it? Charismatic leadership powers to draw the most elite players into your fold? Surely with such a powerful squad, victory is inevitable; and at the end of the day, winning is what makes an ultimate player happy, right? Sure, right up until the day you wake up for a game and wonder why you’re playing.

But if winning isn’t what makes an Ulti player happy, then what should they wish for? I’ve played games where we’ve won and I’ve left the field feeling like crap, and I’ve lost games where I’ve had a blast. The difference lay in what I was playing for.

In games when you’ve got something to prove, like you’re better than the opposition (or your teammates for that matter), or that the training was worth it, or that whatever else isn’t perfect in your life is balanced out by a good display on the field, well then that’s a recipe for disaster. Failure ceases to become an option because you’ve got ego at stake. A loss means a personal failure, and that kind of thing leads to anger or despondency. Even a victory is rarely conclusive- how often do you know really know you’ve done well enough?

On the other hand, there are games where you just don’t care, where you’re playing to push yourself, stretch your legs, have some fun along the way. There are games when you don’t think outside the point you’re playing, you just play the point. Those points, I find, always work out, even the times you get scored on. It seems like one way to happiness in ultimate is to just stop caring; the trick is letting go when you’ve sunk so much caring into it. We can be our own jailers when our ego runs our play rather than inquiring as to what we can really do. When we are motivated by expectations of greatness instead of curiosity therein, it is hard to be satisfied and even harder to be pleasantly surprised.

So then, what does an Ultimate player wish for at Christmas? Maybe humility; a willingness to realize we and those around us will never be that perfect player, and in the space of that knowledge a willingness to see what happens anyway."

Thanks Norm,
PJ

8 comments:

The Cruise said...

I was going to wish for peace on earth, end to famine and for our troops to be safe.
But you make a good point. So now I'm wishing for Humility for the Players Around me.

and a Wii.

The Cruise said...

I was going to wish for peace on earth, end to famine and for our troops to be safe.
But you make a good point. So now I'm wishing for Humility for the Players Around me.

and a Wii.

The Cruise said...

I was going to wish for peace on earth, end to famine and for our troops to be safe.
But you make a good point. So now I'm wishing for Humility for the Players Around me.

and a Wii.

Anonymous said...

that's crap.

i just wish my teammtes were as good as me.

Naive said...

I'd rather wish for my skill to improve a bit.. and of course.. no big injuries for any game so i can keep playing long time! Wishing u all have a Merry Chrismas and a Happy New Year!

honeyhands said...

I dunno, wishing that you'd get better doesn't make you better. That's what practicing is for.

Wishing to not get injured seems like a good one- lot's of injuries going around lately (damn you indoor, with your torque-ee, torque-ee carpets!)

Naive said...

Okie it's good point that practicing will make me better.. so i'd rather wish for not so lazy to practice to improve *_^

wartank said...

i don't know dude. i never want to stop caring when i play. if i'm playing for fun, i still want to play well. mabye my criteria change, maybe i'm looking to distribute the disc more, less concerned about making perfect plays, but i'm always aiming for something.

if i care, if i have a goal, i am rewarded when i succeed. when i achieve my goals, i've achieved something. and that's far better than merely being okay with whatever falls out. if i don't achieve them, i'm disappointed, but correcting those wrongs is what makes me stronger and helps me look forward to the next opportunity.

i'm no die-hard goal setter, but i recognize the benefit of them. i think that the default goal that i often have is to play up to my expectations. if i play well, i am happy. if i play poorly, i try to correct the wrongs. so maybe this is more about the recognition that good enough doesn't mean perfect...

however, like i said before, you do often have to change your expectations. but i only use not caring as a last resort, when i'm stuck in a situation that won't allow me to perform or enjoy as i normally might.

also, there are always going to be situations when you have something at stake. to deny this on the field, to leave your cares behind, is to leave yourself unprepared when these situations come.

the fact is, putting something on the line helps me achieve. it motivates me and it fulfills me. now i could talk about what goal setting is but i'm no expert. suffice it to say for now that it needs to be something specific, and achievable. and it has to be something you have control over. i've had fun in games i've lost and been furious with games i've won. be reasonable, but always push yourself.