Tuesday, April 3, 2012

College Season Highlights and Lowlights

I have been on the road since Thanksgiving and am coming off a stretch of running 5 tournaments in 5 weeks and 7 tournaments and 8 clinics in the past 11 weeks.  It's been a pretty ridiculous few months.  

I thought I'd recap some of the highlights and lowlights of the season before I head to Canada for the next month or so...

I've omitted names so as to not embarrass people / teams.  Some of these lowlights are funny, and hopefully the rest will be funny in a few years.  :)

- Walking out fields at Midwest Throwdown.  Wind had blown all of the Portapotties over and I was wildly underdressed (as usual) and was freezing.  After walking out the fields, the other organizers and I gathered in the heated bathroom and vowed to never run the tournament again.

- A college player I had never met telling me that I was responsible for the worst birthday of her adult life at Midwest Throwdown.  The weather was pretty miserable and I hope I have redeemed myself since then, but yikes!  :(
- A college player putting a dead bird in my messenger bag at Midwest Throwdown.
- Nashville field crisis.  3 weeks before the event, when I was re-confirming the total price to send a check, the Field Manager said that the price was not just the price per hour as stated in the signed contract, but the price per hour per field.  This caused the field price to skyrocket.  A migraine ensued.
- A team and guest coach dropping out the week of Virginia is for Layouts.  The result was chaos and a very tired planning team.
- A team not showing up for their first game at Virginia is for Layouts because they thought the tournament was in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
- Having to get a credit card sent to my parents' address and having my mother mail the credit card to a college player to bring to me at a tournament.  Pretty embarrassing.

- Sleeping in a van at the fields at Keystone Classic to prevent our gallons of water from getting stolen.
- Losing the Keystone Classic fields 12 hours before Sunday play without inclement weather or any advance warning... and then the next 24 hours that ensued.
- Seeing personal criticisms of me posted in public places.  I'm all about taking people's feedback to heart and constantly trying to improve, but at the end of the day, I'm just a normal person with feelings... and a pretty sensitive person at that.
- Seeing my "roommates" more at tournaments than at their house.  And by roommates, I mean the people who own the house and garage where my stuff is stored.
- My family and closest friends having close to zero idea where I am 95% of the time.  Being homeless is a pretty taxing experience.
- The way my brain feels right now: dead.

HIGHLIGHTS- The stuff that makes it all worth it!

- Getting to know Danielle Schrimmer, Kayla Emrick, and Margaret Rosano (Oberlin).  My friendship with these girls started in a small coffee shop in Grinnell, IA in January-- had Danielle not emailed me to set up that meeting, I never would have gotten to know them.  It's the little things.
- Breanna Stein (Vanderbilt) saving the day by securing fields for Music City Mash-Up.  It turns out that Bre is the little sister of one of my former club teammates, a connection we didn't make until the crisis arose.
- Getting to run a tournament with the last of my college rookies.

The players who trust me and give me a window into their lives.  These relationships impact me in a huge way and have reminded me that the most important part about my work is not the events.  It's about the relationships and the opportunity to make a difference for people.  
- Working with people like Adriana Withers and Steve Meyer who are among the biggest supporters of my work.  
- Friends across the country cooking me homemade meals and letting me do laundry.
- The incredible emails and conversations that have come out of Virginia is for Layouts.  Realizing there is so much more work to be done.
- Carly Maconagy, Nichole Smith, Jana Barmasse, and Tracy Custis having a "whatever it takes" attitude when it came to Keystone Classic.  I feel like our paths mostly cross in disastrous situations, but I am incredibly thankful to know people who are willing to go to such great lengths to help me.
- Anna Levine (Swarthmore) offering up two fields at Swarthmore for Sunday of Keystone, refusing to let me pay her team for them, and telling me "I read your blog.  I know what you're about- pay it forward."  First tears of the college season.

- Young alums from my partner teams (specifically from Texas and Wash U) who have done a ton of behind-the-scenes work for Without Limits this year.  These players are the small bit of hope I have that my work might have a lasting impact.
- Players from various teams (Michigan, Texas, Georgia, and Central Florida to name a few) being more than willing to help me with random tasks at tournaments- filling water, walking out fields, picking up cones and trash, carrying tents, etc.
- The positive interactions I had with the high school teams who attended my tournaments this year.  The future is bright.
- The few friends I have who are fiercely loyal to me and who love me even when I am hard to love.
- My family for being so supportive of this ridiculous journey.
- The few college players who keep me on my toes, keep better tabs on me than many of my friends do, and who make me laugh with their ridiculous behavior.
- The copious amounts of Diet Coke that teams brought me to tournaments.

I'm sure there's a lot more I'm missing, but off to Canada I go...

Thank you for being part of the Without Limits spring season.  Your support means the world to me.


  1. I've never met you but I'm a long-retired player and mother of a college player who has played at some of your tournaments -- I think you're doing amazing work! Just as long as you know that big-thinking TDs never have gotten the respect that they deserve, and probably never will. I hope you stick with it, you bring so much to women's ultimate!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. :)