Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The real grieving, the kind when you realize time refuses to stop and the world in all its capriciousness demands to keep going, hasn't even begun yet. Having grieved like this before, I know this, and the thought now is sickening.

I'm trying to just hold on to little pieces, going through some motions, looking for the appropriately sized frame. I sent the Hodags an email last year shortly after the New Year, and I'm not sure why but I'm compelled right now to share it with you it its entirety. I'm gonna ask that the current Dags read or re-read it, and you're free to read as well.

Also, the next post I put up momentarily is a letter from Dan Heijmen, former Hodag captain and '07 Callahan winner. He too is mourning.


From: CoacHh

Subject: Bromo Throw Sesh Philo: YOLO, (iow, DevChem)


Happy New Year to all of my working blues. Damn have we got a lot to do in these next few months. Because of the volume of information we'll need to take in, my goal is to send you this in manageable chunks via correspondence to supplement the limited time we have together as a group during practice. From a practical perspective, there will be times when much of this information will seem tangential to our larger goal of winning nationals; I offer that the opposite is true - winning nationals will be a tangential product of taking many of these little lessons to heart, and working hard to implement them in your lives.

In other words, if some of this shit seems ridiculous and overwrought, trust me, it ain't.

Today, I want to discuss your philosophy at throwing sessions with your brothers: what do I think about when I go throw with my teammates?

Ask this question of yourself and you're already on your way - the thing is, most people do not have anything in mind when they go and throw. They think nothing beyond "I'm going to throw some passes. I'm going to make some catches. I'm going to do it with my buddy." For most people, I advocate nothing further - chasing frisbees is fun as hell and being outdoors doing it when it's nice even moreso. If you're trying to win a national championship, however, more is required. First, though, let me talk about the concept of "you only live once."

"You only live once" (I will abbreviate it to YOLO, if I may), has been used often to justify behavior that is the *antithesis* of YOLO - to excuse stupid actions that lend themselves to, not only wasting precious time, but also severely shortening the life of the person yelling it out moments before they're killed. What should the fact that we only live once actually teach us? The prevailing philosophy is that you should do everything at least once before you die, and while that will definitely lead you to some exciting moments of adventure, it will often also lead you to moments where you're making decisions that run counter to a lot of other shit you hold valuable, like community, your health, respect, ethics, and a spotless criminal record.

But it is true - you only live once - and it's also true we're all going to die, soon. So maybe YOLO isn't meant to give us a pass on our mortality - maybe YOLO hints at something deeper and more humble. Perhaps, YOLO is there to remind us of our mortality, not forget about it. And if that's the case, maybe it's also there to keep us present and aware that our last action, our last effort, and our last impression, may be how we're remembered. And so, rather than try to do everything once, we are free to focus on the few things we do, so that we may do them as best as we can.

So what should you think about when you go throw? We should start by thinking about what we know of ourselves as throwers. Are my release points variable? Am I doing well when I throw away from my pivot? How windy does it need to be before my throws crap out? What was similar about my turnovers near the endzone at the last practice? By identifying areas where we'd like to improve beforehand, we're already giving our time throwing a purpose and focus, two things crucial for those looking to separate themselves from the challengers. Take moments during your throwing sessions to throw, attack, jump, and catch, as you would expect yourself to games.

As you become better at being self-aware, and fine-tuning and learning become as much a part of your throwing routine as the reach for a nalgene and disc that commenced it, you'll arrive at the real sweet spot of a throwing sesh with teammates - when you begin to adjust and fine-tune not for your own sake, but so that you can fall into sync with your teammate. When you learn to read his tells as well as an airborne disc; the shift of his weight as he pivots for his around flick; the speed, fluidity, and range of his backhand hucks; his go-to pump fake just before his i/o break; you reach a level of communication that plays out at a height above what our opponents can reach and adjust to.
In other words, an explicit focus on developing chemistry, first within ourselves and then outward with our teammates, is where our focus should lie. Happy throwing.
YOLO, Brodags,