Monday, April 22, 2013

Season Recap

It feels nearly impossible to recap the whirlwind that has been the past few months, but I think reflection is a huge part of learning and growing, and I want to try to capture some of what I have been reflecting on with all of you.

On many levels, this was a great season.  My partner teams were excellent, the teams attending my events were overall very well behaved and respectful, and the relationships (both old and new) that I built with players this season were extremely rewarding.

This was my 5th (official) year of partnership with Texas (only counting the years after I graduated), my 5th year of partnership with Wash U, and my 3rd year of partnership with UNC.  These teams are all incredibly special to me, and I am grateful for their loyalty, their leadership's vision for their events, and the way that they embrace their responsibility as leaders in the college women's division.  Plain and simple, I love these kids and would do anything for them.  Thank you.

This season was the first where I did not overlap with any current players in college ultimate, and I thought that I would feel very out of touch with teams.  While an age gap is clearly beginning to emerge (What is Snapchat?  What does "ratchet" mean?), I am deeply appreciative of all of the teams who allowed me to be part of their journey this year.  Thank you to all of the players who shared their struggles, worries, dreams, and victories with me.  The hours spent talking strategy, building season plans, working out team issues, and discussing challenging life situations reminded me that organizing events is only a tiny part of what I do, and that the most important and meaningful work is what happens long after games are over for the day.

Real Talk
For the past few weeks, I have been feeling like I am suffering from a stress induced concussion.  It's the result of an entire season of bad weather and bad luck, an introvert being stretched thin for 2.5 months, and perhaps a few too many challenging situations being thrown my way.  The past few seasons have been challenging, but this one in particular took quite a  toll and will necessitate a bit of self-reflection.

And perhaps most importantly, the time spent on the road 
away from family, friends, and teammates who I love, and who deserve my time and energy, is very difficult.  I want to be my best self-- and that self includes being a daughter, sister, teammate, captain, and friend, not just an organizer.

Season Take-Aways
A few life reminders that I'll be taking away from the season.

Be available.
There is always time to listen, talk, or lend a helping hand.  The times when I (think I) made the biggest difference were during the busiest, most stressful stretches.  Those situations, while not the most convenient, were huge opportunities.

Be kind.
On Saturday of Centex, a tough situation arose after a week of challenges and Brittany, a RecSports Supervisor (who happens to be teammates with one of the Melee girls on the UT Club Soccer team), was a huge blessing to me.  Filling water with her that afternoon and having the opportunity to talk with her reminded me that a little kindness when we are "just doing our job" can make a big difference, even to a stranger.

Be excellent(...)
I can be be amazing at putting out cones and providing ample water, but at the end of the day, being excellent at what I do only matters because it is a means to an end.  I don't want to be excellent just for the sake of being excellent.  Being excellent is my way of showing players and teams my investment in them, and that opens the door for building community, cultivating meaningful relationships, and making a difference in people's lives.  And because of that, I will gladly give my all toward being excellent at putting out cones and providing ample water.

As the season winds down, I have been receiving some amazing emails from college players.  I am so appreciative of these emails as they have come from some of the players I respect most in the division.

This short email encapsulates what I hope every player takes away from my work. (It is being shared with permission):

"I appreciate what you have done for women's ultimate and most importantly the mindset you have modeled and encouraged in leaders and players--that we are here to love and serve our teammates and our community and that our teammates are far more important than any competition goals."

Best of luck to those of you who have advanced to the next stage in the Series.  Work hard, love well, and I hope to see many of you soon.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thank You

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." - T.H. Thompson and John Watson

I apologize for the delay in posting this.  I've been struggling with how to express my gratitude to all of you.  "Thank you" hardly seems to be enough...

Shortly after my stuff got stolen at Layouts, a few of my friends enlisted the help of the ultimate community in raising money to replace my stolen belongings and to buy me a bed.  (Yes, it is true that I have not owned a bed in over a year.)  Their goal was to raise $3,000 for me and I was told that they met that goal in < 24 hours.  Wow.  Knowing that I could afford to replace my stolen items made a very stressful situation much more manageable.

I cannot even begin to thank you for the kindness and generosity you all have shown me.  Thank you for alleviating the financial stress of a terrible situation, for reminding me that there are amazing people in the world, and for all of your kind comments and encouraging words.  I don't yet have a full list of everyone who contributed to the fund, but I have been overwhelmed by the list of names I do have.  The list includes current and former teammates, collaborators, friends, opponents, college players I've invested a lot in, newer players on teams I've been on, co-workers, people in my home ultimate community, alums of teams who have attended my tournaments for years, college players' parents, customers I've worked with through VC, college players I've never spoken to... the list goes on and on.  I have cried multiple times reading people's comments (and laughed reading the funny ones, and shuddered in fear reading the ones about birds).  It means the world to me to hear from so many of you the impact I have had on your ultimate experiences and on your lives outside of this sport.

A few days after my stuff was stolen, Adriana gave me a pair of headphones (the free kind) and a phone charger.  I was teary eyed because I could listen to music and charge my phone again.  Needless to say, I cannot describe how I felt when Adriana presented me with a BIG (both in size and amount) check and an iPad just a couple of days later.  When you can fit everything you own in your car and you are as nerdy as I am, getting your iPad stolen is crushing.  Having a new iPad handed to me was a tangible reminder that there are good people in the world and that kindness goes a long way.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for rallying around me and helping me so tangibly during this rough patch.  I am grateful to know such amazing people, and I hope that we all continue to pay it forward and take good care of each other.  The world will be a better place because of it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

By The Numbers

Number of...
Solo miles driven: 9,908
Events run: 9 (+ coaching Swarthmore on their spring break trip)
Events impacted by weather: 7
Oil changes: 3
Total teams at spring events (not unique): 245
Clinics organized: 8
Nights sleeping in my car: 2
Nights at home since January: ~5
Other places (hotels or friends' houses) crashed at: 14
Teams that dropped out mid-event: 1
Dead birds received: 0
Pieces of identification stolen (from me): 4
Credit cards stolen (from me): 5
Autographs requested by college players: 1
Trips to Costco: 9
Times my car broke down: 1
Breakfast tacos eaten: 2
Text messages from college players asking about the weather forecast: 1
Trips to the Genius Bar to swap out my iPhone: 2
Portapotties ordered: 18
Mix CDs received: 3
Former co-captains a meal has been shared with: 2
Jars of Nutella purchased: 64
States visited: 14
BIG checks received: 1 (still owe you all a post on this!)
Times I begged my way into buying spray paint without identification: 2
Emails received about future projects in the past 24 hours: 4

Too many to count:
Bags of garbage picked up
Emails received
Emails sent
Hours spent on Score Reporter
People who have told me I'm the unluckiest person they know
Comments received about how crucial brownie bites are to Without Limits events
College players who now know that I don't own a bed
Servings of Diet Coke consumed
Items printed at Kinko's
Tanks of gas filled
Meaningful conversations with college ultimate players
Tears cried (happy and sad)
College players asking me to get Snapchat
Emails from my mom asking if I am alive
People who have pulled me through the past two months