If you’ve watched Shark Tale, there will be times when Lenny’s struggles of being a vegetarian shark will get to you, because life had also put you in a little box called stereotyping.
It happened to me, too.
“He’s tall, but couldn’t even play basketball,” said my classmate back in high school, ensuing laughter in the room.
In my place, if you don’t play basketball, you’re a sissy.
It was the first of the many bullyings I would experience later on in life, just because my ‘jock build’ did not synch with their reality.
And I started to loathe playing team sports forever, even when I’m super competitive inside.
So when a friend invited me to play Frisbee with his team (technically, it’s Ultimate; Frisbee is a company that makes the disc), my instinct roared ‘NO!’
When the raging voices have calmed down, a lone one, with an unassuming approach, whispered, “You don’t have the most exciting weekends; give it a try.”
And I conceded.
If things turn out to be worse, then I can just go home, blame myself (and that friend) and down a bag of Oreos.
On the way home, these two have been the biggest realizations on my very first Ultimate encounter:
Playing Ultimate helped me heal
Years of conditioning myself that people in groups are jerks, I dismissed the first people I saw in the training as, well, jerks, ready to outcast me within the first throw/catch fail.
Thirty minutes into the game, and I was shaming myself of the grave error in my pre-judgment. Some of the coolest personalities were in that game.
Not having joined any team sports since the last Ice Age, I was a mess in the first few throws.
But the raw passion most of the coaches have for Ultimate was so strong, that it kept them from totally shouting at the newbies.
Kidding aside, they were encouraging, nurturing and patient. Very patient.
‘We started just like you,’ one of the coaches said. That phrase is now as iconic as General McArthur’s ‘I shall return.’
This positive environment was new to me.
My past experiences, no matter how shitty they are, are not relevant to the present. It took playing Ultimate to knock me some senses.
And it cleansed my biases of the past I so clung to, in order to justify my continuous use of ‘playing the victim card,’ that kept my delusion of being special intact.
Which leads us to the next point:
Playing Ultimate proved I was not special
As long as I think I have these qualities, I am special.
Playing Ultimate shattered this idea with the sound of a hundred plates crashing down in the cafeteria.
Not only did I not have Jet Li’s motor skills, having spectacularly failed catching several discs, but my speed would have made the young Usain Bolt shake his head with disbelief.
I actually liked it.
It made me work and train harder to become better, because every time there’s progress with each passing week, the fulfilment is nothing short of amazing.
Better is the new special!
So how to get started? Read on.
If you were paying attention to my story, which you may have not, you’d notice I was not the most sporty type either. But still, I managed to play.
2) Is there an age limit?
No. Currently we don’t consider age as a limit. As long as you can move, scream and are willing to learn awesome new things, you’re in.
3) What should I wear?
Anything that is light and sweat resistant. Also, wear something that would protect you from the sun.
4) Do I need to have a disc before joining the training?
No. The training provides practice discs. Not recommendable to buy one right away, as you may be uncertain if you’ll like it enough and continue with it. (But I think you will).
5) Which is the coolest Ultimate training team in Manila right now?
6) How do I contact you guys?
Training is every Sunday, 8:30am, in Ateneo de Manila, Matteo Ricci field. Look for Popo. He’s the guy.
In case you’re having thoughts about asking the wrong team, we’re the only Ultimate group playing in that schedule.
7) Is there a fee?
Yes. 50 pesos for the field use.
8) What else should I bring?
Towels, water or energy beverages and sunblock (very important).
9) Can I bring family and friends?
10) Describe Indio Bravo in three words?
How about in seven pics?
(Green head band by Sweathawg; Air sofas by HanginBag)