I only had two goals in mind for Janus this year:
- Play to the best of my under-conditioned, out of practice ability.
- Have fun.
Saturday started with a brrrrrr. Cloudy, sunless and windy, it was like playing in New York in November. A Walmart run later, our car was equipped with warmer clothes and we made our way to the field barely in time to warm up.
Knowing the people I was playing with, I didn’t have high expectations for our chances this year. Last year we had a larger team with a lot more experience on it, but we struggled, even against teams that should have been our equal. This year we had a small team; three people new to tournaments, several that hadn’t played much with Pompeii lately and only four girls for a 4-3 pool.
We didn’t win any games, true, but we also didn’t let anyone else win easy. We fought for every point. We scored multiple break points each game. We went up against a few teams point for point right up until the end. I am convinced if the girls had even one more sub, we would not have gone 0-4 the first day. We had two games that were easily within our reach to win, but offense dictates killed us. Every time we went up a point, we had to keep three ladies on the field. It was only when we lost a point that we were able to let one sub out. By the third game of the Saturday two of us were injured, and we still fought for every point.
You know what we didn’t do? Fight each other.
We didn’t re-hash every mistake on the field against each other.
We did use huddles to quickly go over what we did well on and what needs work.
We didn’t storm off angrily when a play didn’t go our way.
We did get back on the field and fight for the next point.
We didn’t get upset when teams with more experience and more players put points up on us.
We did explain to the newer players how to move and change our defense to minimize their advantage.
We didn’t get negative.
Maybe I’m over attributing our play to the power of having fun and being positive, but frankly, I don’t think so. I’ve played on a lot of teams that implode when games don’t go our way. I’ve even written blog posts about the power one negative attitude can have on a whole team.
In all my years of playing Ultimate, and with all the teams I’ve played with, the one thing I’ve noticed is that teams that cheer each other on, that focus on having fun, that don’t get tight, that inspire each other; those are the teams that win. Or at least preform above expectation and possibility.
That was my goal for this tournament. To stay positive. And to try and keep other people positive as well. I can’t say how much I did or didn’t affect other people’s attitudes, but I know I managed to achieve my goal of staying upbeat. I hope everyone else had as good a time as I did!