Friday, December 15, 2006

Ultimate Road Trip

Every tournament I've been to is usually great for one reason. No, it's not the ultimate, the parties, visiting other cities, or even winning. Sure, each of those is great, but what I love about the ultimate weekend is the trip.

As you travel to the tournament city, you're usually going to find yourself in a car with two or three others. During the next one to ten hours, depending on the distance you travel, you will go through a process of meeting or familiarizing yourself more than you could possibly imagine.

Think about a general day in your life. How many times do you spend more than an hour with a person without distraction. Sure, maybe this happens with your children or significant other, and these are intimate relationships. Well, the ultimate trip has a similar affect. Let's call it intimacy by force.

But like all social situations there are rules/gudie lines. Here are some rules I've come up with:

  • On the way back at least one person needs to stay awake with the driver.
  • Try and involve everyone in the car.
  • Keep the music at a reasonable level so conversation flows.
  • Talk about ultimate. It's a guaranteed topic that people are interested in.
  • If someone in the car isn't an ultimate player, then make sure you talk about other stuff.
  • Lulls in the conversation are okay.
  • Try not to make the driver laugh too hard, it can be dangerous.
  • Stay away from risky topics, and avoid language that people won't accept. In other words, stay within the boundaries.
I've met some of the greatest people on car rides, and an added benefit is it will make your team much tighter. For this reason, it is a good idea to mix up who goes with who on a trip to make your team tighter. This can be useful to bridge across team cliques, like new an old team members or even women and men on a co-ed team.



lexanator said...

I have to say that the long ride to a tournament is also one of my favorite parts of the sport. I feel it is especially important as a new member of an already pretty tight team, a chance to "crack the code". I found that after one tournament, I was able to gain a thesaurus of sorts to the teams inside jokes and one line renditions. For example, embarrassing yet hilarious moments, past tournaments and favorite Internet sites constantly quoted that, until this point, had gone right over my head. It definitely made practice more enjoyable, once I was no longer surrounded by gibberish.

Additions to the car ride list that I personally enjoy are...
-snacks! The homemade trail mix is always a big plus in my book. about anything that can be passed around with little mess is great to have.
-mixed CD contest. Fun way to share your taste, bring the team together and can start some great conversation over the judging of songs. Plus it is a way to connect the whole team, no matter what car you're riding in.
-breaking of the bubble. You can always feel closer to your team after you wake up and find yourself entangled under a mass of sleeping bodies of everyone else in the back seat. Extra closeness for the drool spots you discover later on.

Another other off field favorite of mine is sharing the single motel room. Sure it can get smelly and cramped, but I find the best stories come from or out of that sort of situation. I truly believe that ultimate players invented spooning.

Anonymous said...

how about, dont spill the bong water.

Anonymous said...

car rides suck. i hate my teammates.

single motel rooms are worse. my teammates stink and snore.

mix tapes are an interestign idea, but i'm pretty sure that it would cause physical altercations with my team.

i much prefer to fly in style, sleep comfortably in a spacious room with 2-3 others and kick ass.

spending all of the hours from friday evening to sunday's late afternoon with my whole damn team is more than enough. i'm happy y'all enjoy those parts of ultimate, but i cannot stand them.

then again, i like winning more than most everyone i know.

(and yes, that double meaning is on purpose.)

and before someone follows this with something crazy, i know i take this fringe-sport filled with half-athletes way too seriously-- but it makes me happy beyond belief in spite of the car rides.