People in Ultimate usually fight over which team gets to be black. Even though the shirts can be beastly hot in the summer due to black's heat absorbing properties, people still fight over the black shirts.
As an aside, I did get some field burn as the photo below demonstrates. Also, these photos date from the era in which I had long hair. I was also still wearing the ace bandages I bought in 1990, which is ridiculous.
In 2007, I had the pleasure to be chosen to be part of a truly great summer league Ultimate team.
My good friend Andrew "Little" Hamilton drafted this insanely good team in the South Bend, or more specifically Michiana Ultimate Summer League (MUSL). Since no one really knew the Kalamazoo contingent, Little filled his team's roster with our car pool of folks coming down each week to play in South Bend.
Prior to 2007, only a few of us had played in South Bend and were "known" commodities. Our car pool to South Bend is the birth place of our Kalamazoo Ultimate Disc League as we asked the question: how come we don't start our own league? We all enjoyed the car rides together and our discussions, and yet in 2006, we formed our Kalamazoo league. Some of us continued to car pool down to MUSL once a week for a couple of years, though we all mostly bailed by 2008, preferring to stay close to home, which was the whole point of starting our own league.
Because the South Bend captains did not know well the talent level of the Kalamazoo players, Little was able to draft Jacob Meyers in the seventh round. In our Kalamazoo league, Jacob was drafted in the first round, and some captains considered him the first all-around pick out of all the players in the league. Like Jacob, all of the Kalamazoo players were under-valued and ranked much too low, and so Little was able to stack his team with top talent.
I am not top talent, and yet I was honored to be drafted on the team. I was probably Little's last or next to last pick. But he likes me, and we enjoy joking around, and he knows I make the occasional great throw or get a block, so I have my role and my uses. In the end, Little was wise to draft everyone, even his friend "Big," who was tournament only, because of what happened to Little in the Finals.
Surely, Little will remember the events of the tournament day better. He has an eidetic memory for Ultimate games, which is pretty impressive given how many he has played. I will try to recreate events as best as I can. I remember that tournament day was HOT, especially for August. The fields were dried barren scrub. Nearly all the grass was dead, and there were gnarly sections of field not really covered with grass at all.
We played our way into the finals. I remember throwing one sweet forehand for a score in the semi-finals. I ran well and made some plays. In 2007, SIX YEARS ago, I was younger and running better than these days. No heavy hitter as an athlete, I held my own against my match ups for the most part.
And then the worst possible thing happened, just before half time in the Finals, our team down a couple of scores to a very tough South Bend team stacked with club players, Little collapsed in heap, having town his ACL. Our captain was out for the count and unable to keep playing.
Our team rallied, and we came from behind to win the finals and take the league championship. It's an impressive thing to have a team click like ours did, especially coming from behind to win the game and the tournament for our fallen captain. Little was overcome with emotion during the award ceremony. Not only did it mean a lot to him to beat his friends in MUSL and take a championship with his skill in captaining and playing Ultimate, but the way we played and won for him made a huge impact on my friend, Little, an me, too. It was a very emotional win for all of us.
This 2007 win at MUSL remains one of my favorite moments in all my twenty-nine years of playing Ultimate.
- chris tower - 1305.20 - 14:49