Signed disc from the EZs
Last Friday, I headed up to New York to do a team clinic with the University of Rochester EZs. The EZs have been attending my tournaments for the past few seasons, but I have really only gotten a chance to get to know them over the course of the past year.
Kathy and Michelle's love for their team and for our sport really impressed me, and their commitment to making the EZs better really inspired me during my own challenges as a team leader this season. One of the things I have really appreciated about my relationship with them is their willingness to be open with me about the challenges they are facing. We spend time talking about strategy and practice plans, but I think it is the conversations about the "other" challenges that have helped us to develop a deeper relationship.
Last month, Kathy and Michelle asked me if I would consider coming up to Rochester to do a clinic with the team. I have a hard time saying "no" to things, but the timing was a challenge, as I already had plans to stay in Texas after Nationals, and knew I would be heading west for most of November and December. However, I knew I was at a point with the EZs leadership where drawing on a whiteboard via Google Hangout was no longer enough, and ultimately, the decision wasn't that hard when I considered everything I saw Kathy and Michelle pouring into their team. How could I say no to supporting that?
The sessions were productive and fun, and [I hope] that the players and leadership took away a bunch of things that they can use for the rest of the season. We did a Handler Practice, Vet Practice, and sessions on Man Defense and Horizontal Stack Offense. A handful of players attended all four sessions, which was approximately 12 hours of instruction over the course of the weekend. I also got to spend some extended time with the team leadership, which was very rewarding. I don't get many opportunities to coach- with most of the clinics I run, my role is primarily to organize logistics and provide background support for the coaches. That made this opportunity all the more special.
The EZs cap off Session 5 with a team game of Air Cupcake!
The EZs, like many teams, are slowly transforming themselves from a team into a program. They're learning what it takes to be competitive at the next level, and finding the balance between maintaining a fun and lively team culture, and cultivating a competitive team mentality. There are many challenges associated with this transformation, but the team is navigating them admirably. They have a lot to be proud of, and a lot to look forward to. I also learned that Kathy [and others] really like chicken. And that Nina is really proud of being from the Bay Area. [I am, too.]
A cool side-happening occurred on Sunday of the clinic. The EZs invited some other women in Rochester to attend the session I ran with the vets. I got to meet a Florida State alum who emailed me 3+ years ago for resources to build their program. That single email paved the way for a friendship with the Florida State girls who I hosted a Captaining 101 Clinic with last spring. It was awesome to have things come full circle at the EZs clinic! I got to spend my birthday with this FSU alum, the [in]famous Amanda Davis, and Kathy. We [surprise!] talked about ultimate for hours. I also had a cake pop for the first time [thanks Grace!].
The clinic was a fun way to cap off my 2013 events, and a great reminder of how little things are often the start of something awesome. I'm headed to Calgary on Friday to speak at the Ultimate Canada Conference, and then I'll be in California for an extended period of time to prepare for the spring season.
Thanks Kathy and Michelle, and the rest of the EZs for a fun time in Rochester! I'll be rooting for you guys this year, and I look forward to following your journey.