Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Are you freaking out yet?

You. 5th year player. Nationals begins in 3 days; Your college career ends in 7. Has that reality sunk in yet? Of course it has. I doubt anything other than that reality has been on your mind lately. So, how long have you been freaking out then? A couple of days, a couple of weeks, or have the last several months come crashing down upon you? For most of you, the school year has indeed ended – graduations and commencements come and gone – and the only thing left is to figure out summer employment plans… and win a championship. Yet, in the rush of college life – sometimes the reality that this segment of your life is finishing goes unnoticed. Do these 5th year seniors realize that their college experience has ended? Nope.

This is the first time in the 6 years that I have been a part of the Hodags, in which I have not seen a 5th year player break down to tears during a team huddle when realizing that it was their last College Regionals or Nationals. Usually it's a captain or officer, who is overcome with emotion upon realizing just how much the team means to him. I vividly recall Dan Miller and Jimmy McMurray choking back tears when they tried to articulate what the team actually meant to them. I remember Dan Heijmen’s teary long-winded speeches, Rebholz’s moment to collect himself, and Rodrigo breaking down when the moment of realization came – all of these reflected in their dedication to the program.

And that is what Wisconsin does to its ultimate players. It makes them care. It goes so far as a sense of identity. Ultimate is not something I play – Ultimate is who I am. No wonder Wisconsin consistently turns out dominant programs – the players just care more. However, so far this season, no graduating senior has addressed the team in such a manner. Either the 5th years are especially good at controlling their emotions or it hasn’t quite hit them yet. As hard as it was for me, as impossible as it was, I hope this year's crop can push those thoughts out of their minds for at least one more week. It will be over before they know it. I have seen the 5 super seniors of the Hodags grow, develop and mature into stud players – and now I will have to watch them – like the many before them – learn to deal with life without college ultimate. Departing from a college team of your best friends is no easy feat. It's a death in your life. Your teammates will move away, your camaraderie and everyday interactions will fade to memory, and you will eventually need to cope that fantasy land is over and real life begins. But one more summer of fun can’t hurt anything…


Courtney said...

I am freaking out.

Holly G. said...

I am reliving the awful year that was my first w/o college ultimate.

Nutmeg said...


"Essential to appreciating this Stoic theme is the recognition of the difference between those things that are within our power and those not within our power.

Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, aversions--in short, whatever is our doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our doing...So remember, if you think that things naturally enslaved are free or that things not your own are your own, you will be thwarted, miserable, and upset, and will blame both the gods and men.(Handbook, ch. 1)

The only thing over which we have control, therefore, is the faculty of judgment. Since anything else, including all external affairs and acts of others, are not within our power, we should adopt toward them the attitude of indifference. Toward all that is not within our power we should be apathetic.

What upsets people is not things themselves but their judgments about the things. For example, death is nothing dreadful (or else it would have appeared so to Socrates), but instead the judgment about death is that it is dreadful, that is what is dreadful. (Handbook, ch. 5)

To avoid unhappiness, frustration, and disappointment, we, therefore, need to do two things: control those things that are within our power (namely our beliefs, judgments, desires , and attitudes) and be indifferent or apathetic to those things which are not in our power (namely, things external to us).

Toward those unfortunate things that are not within our power which we cannot avoid (for example, death and the actions and opinions of others) the proper attitude is one of apathy. Distress is the result of our attitudes towards things, not the things themselves. This is the consoling feature of Stoic fatalism. It is absurd to become distraught over externals for the same reason that it is absurd to become distressed over the past; both are beyond our power. The Stoic is simply adopting toward all things the only logical attitude appropriate to the past--indifference.

It is tempting to characterize Stoicism as an emotionally cold, not to say sterile, moral outlook. Epictetus certainly provides ample material upon which to base such a charge. Yet this is at least misleading. It is not so much emotion as passion understood as excessive attachment which is Epictetus' target. It is crucial to recall that Epictetus, as the other Stoics, was concerned to provide an account of moral virtue, not a general theory of value."

There is nothing beyond this weekend and our ability to affect each moment. I promise you, there will be tears after the last point is scored. 8 1/2 hours is a long time for contemplation.

Brian Frederick said...

I was trying to understand what it is about the spring that makes it IMPOSSIBLE for me to focus for more than five minutes at a time. Is it the weather? No. Well, only that my internal clock has told me that with X amount of daylight each day, it must be time for nationals.

The blog entry more or less sums up why I have this ingrained. It's who I am now. Like a giant pair of ruby fucking red slippers tattooed on my back.

I know the Hodag alumni will be well represented at nationals. It won't stop my heart from willing the creation of a wind that christens Evan's backhand as priceless.