Tuesday, January 10, 2006
PROLOGUE | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5
Saturday morning greeted us with what should have been a foreshadowing chill, but the mood was cheery as we drove to meet the rest of the team and caravan to the fields. I would be playing on an alumni team from arguably the most prestigious ultimate high school, at least the one that’s consistently produced all-star college and club talent, unlike that other prestigious high school where most of their players get to the bigger leagues and fade like newspaper in the sun.
This was also my girlfriend’s high school, although prior commitments had her playing for a different team. Anyways, the field spread its bawdy legs for our arrival, and everyone buzzed from the high you get when snorting elevated expectations. Tents lined the perimeter in what would become, at nightfall, a Bacchanalian Maginot line of fortified debauchery.
My girlfriend had a bye first round and came to play some points with us, so we joined the throng of players sweating anticipation by the headquarters and found our schedule and field site. We were joined at the field by the rest of our teammates and once gathered proceeded to drop on the nation the most phallic tank tops ever. I’d describe them in more detail, but the words Snoopy and sodomy together is an alliteration illegal in most states. Play began as the first of several DJ’s blared crunk jams adjacent our field, and we tore into our first opponents to a hip-hop soundtrack. As the game drew to a close, my girlfriend needed to leave to begin warming up, and she took my white Hodag long sleeve for herself and shared with me a nice, tender kiss. Let me take a moment to remember the moment fondly because it would be the last cordial embrace she’d have with me for the remainder of my trip…….ok.
She left, we prepared for our next opponents with warmed-up scoobers and pot brownies, and proceeded to trounce them soundly. Now, here begins a cosmic mystery, because despite not seeing each other for two rounds, by the next time I saw her she’d had a bouleversement; she was distant, and seemed annoyed to be conversing with me. I’m not sure of its provenience, but before this happened, there was an incident in our third game.
We were playing a team of mostly spirited players dressed in something resembling the UPS uniform. I say mostly spirited because all but two of the players on the team understood this was Potlatch, they were there for the fun more than the competition, and sometimes you get matched up with a team that is just plain better than you. Sometimes a shitload better than you.
Well, as chance had it I was guarding one of the clueless players for a point and called a travel on a throw that would have been a goal. I felt he traveled and stood by my call, and he, despite what at this point was a scoreboard resembling betting odds on a long-shot racing horse, threw a little fit. He started jawing at me and accusing me of making calls to win the game. I told him he traveled, he called me some names, and we tapped the disc in. He turfed it. And then it got interesting. He guarded me the whole point and really began laying into me, telling me the cloth I was cut from, asking me how my mom was, extrapolating about the size of certain parts of my anatomy, and overall being a real fucking asshole. Several passes later, I tired of him and as my teammate and friend Kyle Weisbrod caught a pass with power position, I streaked to the endzone with this vitriolic dode trailing. Kyle, who could throw perfect backhands into the endzone for his job, inexplicably threw this one high and floaty, and that was bad news for this dude, because I was coming off a great 12 week plyo program and reading the disc better than I ever had in my career.
I had to come back to get the disc, and ended up embarrassing this fool in front of friends and loved ones for the goal. I then wiped my ass with the disc and spiked it on the ground, and walked away towards my sideline. Three seconds later the disc slams into my back because as I walked away this dude had picked it up and decided he wanted to really escalate things. I picked it up, replayed my spike and reminded him of his place in the world. There was a moment when this guy toyed with his health, but cooler heads prevailed and I marched to the sideline and his teammates dragged him off the field and asked we keep the game spirited. The game ended with little other incident and after it was over it was quickly forgotten.
My team and my girlfriend’s each had one more game, and when we met before that round she was cool and distant, and instantly reproachful when I detailed the game’s incident. She left annoyed, and I felt put off as I joined my team for our final game, which we won handedly. We’d gone undefeated against weak competition and hoped our point differential would place us in more competitive games come Sunday’s play. After the game, we smoked a bit and drank some beers and although I was really enjoying my team, I was getting antsy to hang out with my girlfriend. She was nowhere to be found, however, and as the gloaming and alcohol took hold of the fields, I decided I’d kick it with my team for a while before going to look for her. I joined with the incomparable Bill Denver and for some reason threw Kirsten Unfried onto my back, then lapped the fields drinking and occasionally stopping to share stories and jokes with the dregs of our community. Gabe Saunkeah, Josh Greenough, Idaho, et al. Now, these fields are big, and the walk is long, and my ability to drink became more and more fluid as my ability to walk became less and less so.
As I approached the dance party, rumors of my girlfriend’s whereabouts became more frequent, and at some point in this twisted game of “Where in the World Is…?” I decided the most effective strategy given the fog and darkness would be to yell her name repeatedly as loud as I could and hope she’d hear me and follow my voice. Well, I think I was half right. I’m fairly sure she heard me but at this point my every move was poison to her, she was “encabronada”, and I think yelling her name only made it easier for her to avoid me. Late in the night with my voice and liver exhausted, I retreated to our tent and chilled until she arrived. She came in but had nothing to say to me, we slept facing away from each other without a word exchanged and a feeling taking seed in my mind that this trip would not go as planned.
Fuck. Sometimes, when you’re right, you’re fucking right.