I have a confession to make. I have never been a big fan of organized sports. I did not encourage any of my children to participate in sports. Emily played t-ball when she was little, but she was much more interested in looking at the clouds than in watching for the ball to come her way. Sam joined a summer soccer league, but he didn’t enjoy it much and didn’t continue once that season ended. Ben played basketball in elementary school. He hated it so much that one Saturday he hid his sneakers. After searching the house and, finally, announcing that it was too late to go to the game, he showed us his sneakers and confessed what he had done. A lot of Ben’s friends row crew and they have repeatedly invited him to try out for that sport, but he has steadfastly declined.
At McQuaid Jesuit, where Ben goes to school, there is a lot of pressure for the young men to play a sport. A lot of pressure. Playing a sport is seen as part of being well-rounded. We encouraged Ben to find a sport because we knew it was part of the school’s philosophy. He gave a half-hearted attempt at a couple of sports, but did not find anything that captured his interest until the end of last year. That’s when he discovered Ultimate Frisbee. Last year was the first year that his school participated in the area’s league and Ben became a founding member of his school’s team. (His all-boy school and the all-girl Catholic school, Mercy, formed a co-ed team.) They had few players. They did not do very well. But, Ben loved it. We were not surprised when he wanted to play again this year.
It has been a rough spring for Ultimate Frisbee in Rochester. Rain has caused many games to be cancelled. The fields have been a soggy mess for the games that have been played. Ben has been muddy, muddy, muddy after each game. As the weeks have passed, I have kind of fallen in love with this sport. Ben has become really good and works very hard during each game. He takes it a lot more seriously this year than he did last year. His team has won most of their games. It has been amazing to watch them progress.
Which brings me to today. This glorious, sunny, warm day was the day of the playoffs. McQuaid/Mercy’s team, named “Carpe Discus” hit the field at 10:00am for their first game. Their challengers were tough, but McQuaid was tougher, winning after a good game. The second game began at 11:30am. Their opponents were a very good team, a team that they had narrowly defeated a couple of weeks ago. It was such a good game. The score was close. The teams played hard. Then, two of the three girls on the team had to leave. A game is played with seven people of the field and two of those must be girls. With only one girl left to play, McQuaid/Mercy had to play one person short. Amazingly, they were able to continue and WIN! That left them with just one more game to play – the Final match, scheduled to begin at 1:00. Unfortunately, the Seniors had their Baccalaureate Mass at 2:00 and were unable to stay and play any of that game. After talking with the other team in the finals, it was decided to postpone. The spirit of Ultimate Frisbee is that teams want to play their best and play when their opponents are at their best. Playing a team that barely has enough players to field a match was not the way the opposing team wanted to win the finals. The match will be rescheduled soon.
When Ben started playing Ultimate Frisbee, I thought it was a silly sport. I thought it was just throwing a frisbee around a field. After watching Ben play for two seasons, I have grown to be a big fan of this sport. The teams play really, really hard. They run up and down that field. They leap into the air to catch and block. They push themselves and each other to constantly improve. They have great camaraderie. They are good sports to the other teams. Most of all, they have a lot of fun playing a sport that they love. Ben looks so happy out there on the field. I feel so proud of him as I clap and cheer from the sidelines. I never would have believed I would love watching any sport this much.