Thursday, July 09, 2009

Potlatch 2009: Arrival

As I arrived into Seattle-Tacoma Airport, my stomach and mind were famished; one for food and the other for answers to questions that had gnawed me hollow.

Among them:
How ready were my legs and throws to play quality competitive Ultimate for three straight days?
How would Downtown Brown connect as a team throughout the weekend?
What kind of response would we receive when the circle is opened to any comers? Would there be a response at all? (toward this question I felt as I had when filling out invitations to my grade-school birthday parties - what if no one comes?)
How would I react at a tournament that has such strong emotional memories attached to it?
At weekend's end, would I leave the Redmond fields with a sense of connection, family, and hope for my future, or would i leave feeling alone, rejected, and cut adrift?

This being my third trip to Potlatch, my prior two visits had answered most of my inward questions across the spectrum of the positive and negative. Aside from playing well, what I wanted most was to leave Potlatch confident, accepted, and whole.

These might seem to you as needlessly heavy concerns, considering that I was heading to a tournament many place atop the list of capital-F Fun tournaments. I acknowledge that. Thing is, this would not only be my first tournament since the end of last season's Club Championships, but in the interim I also fell into a dense fog of anxiety and depression that had made it difficult to accomplish much of anything without a Herculean effort, and it had only been a few months since I'd come out of it. The clarity I now had, and the difference from where I had been at year's end, were like cleaning a hundred-year old window in your room for the first time, and looking out of it. I feel good, and worry wort that I am, I wanted to continue on the up and up.

So that's the backstory to what was in my head as I touched down. I had reason to believe the weekend would be a positive one; my ticket there had been free after a fortuitous bump in a layover Denver-to-Madison, which not only got me the voucher, but also allowed me a week in Boulder with my brother and a trip to Breckenridge for my boy Whit's wedding to all-around hottie Jen. So good karma abounded.

Shortly after landing my boy Feldspar scored me a Double Whopper meal, so with one of my hungers satiated I waited until two DTB teammates showed up to carpool. We relaxed and ate, framed by a fashionably late sunset, and returned to the airport to pick up a Team Canada player before quitting the night. Never far from me, settling into a place alongside my travel pillow, was that nagging voice of doubt. "Dude, this might get fucked up." I was thankful to be too tired to pay it much heed.