Friday, September 20, 2013

Trust is not super lame*

Since running training is currently on the back burner due to Ultimate Frisbee season I wanted to write some more about my awesome team, Molly Brown.

Molly Brown has been a team for four years (this is our fourth season) and we came about as a joint effort between Rare Air and Box two Denver/Boulder women's teams. We've been blessed with an awesome coach: Catt Wilson and our new addition Jeff "Bev" Berget*. This season we experienced some turnover so our roster is pretty raw in terms of Elite tournament experience which meant we had our work cut out for us on day one to hold our Pro status with USA Ultimate.

We've just completed our regular season of play which involved participation in three tournaments: Terminus in Atlanta George, Colorado Cup in Colorado, and the Pro Flight Finale in Davis California. We are gearing up for regionals this weekend in Colorado with the season ending at Nationals in Frisco, Texas. Don't be fooled by the term "pro status" as it does not translate into million dollar contracts and episodes of MTV cribs (is that still a show?). We started off the season without a true gauge of where we were and what we needed to do to get to where we wanted to be at the end of the season. With three tournaments under our belt I think we've got some of that figured out and more.

Things had been rough. There was frustration. There were close games we lost, games we should have won, games we came together and won, but it all came down to something our team had to do as a whole to turn the page; trust. A few weeks ago our team met with Scott Gurst, a sports trainer who focuses on the mental as well as the physical aspects of sports. The biggest piece out of our discussion was trust, and trusting our teammates unconditionally without them having to do anything to earn our trust. With a lot of new faces it was hard for each of us to trust that our new teammates where in it the same way we were. I believe this underlying lack of trust resulted in tentative playing and split second, second guessing in early games. I really think the first time I felt that we as a team turned the page was at our last tournament, the Pro-Flight finale. Our pulls which haven't been one of our strong skills were on point, our deep game was being utilized, and we came back on Sunday after going 0-3 on Saturday to win our last two games and finish 5th. It's hard to pick a defining moment, but you know it when it's there and for Molly Brown it's there.

This is the time of year when I really love my team - not that I don't love them the rest of the year. But this is the time of the year when we (a) have no choice but to love each other because we're together so much and (b) everything comes together for some beautiful post season ultimate. We've also figured out how to win as a team and that is only possible because we trust each other. It's beyond, "I trust that Cuz is going to layout for any disc within a 10 foot radius of her body", I trust that Cuz is doing everything she can to make us successful on the field and off the field.

And she looks really good in her USA gear.

Physical prowess often trumps all other aspects of athletic endeavors when assessing a sport/game/race. "She's a faster runner, he has the most accurate throws (and throws 7 touchdowns to completely kill me in fantasy football), that team has won nationals 5 (6,7..i've lost count) times in a row". So when an underdog wins it's hard to grasp how they did it. Underdogs win because they trust and that trust allows them to play the best they can at that moment which means sometimes they beat the better team/person who is not playing the best they can at that moment.  I honestly feel my team is on the verge of that perfect combination between trust and physical ability. We may not be 100% there, but with each tournament, game, and point I believe we chip away at the barrier of performance loss.

Trust is also trust in yourself. Think back to when Usain Bolt won the 100 meters at the Olympics. One piece that almost everyone remembers is him turning back, milliseconds shy of crossing the finish line in Beijing, to celebrate. While this showmanship to some seemed careless and risky as well as a mockery towards those behind him, I invite you to think about it from a different perspective. Bolt's an amazing athlete, the fastest man alive, no one doubts his physical ability. Some may say that if he wasn't so fast he wouldn't get away with that show of bravissimo. But what's overshadowed is while Bolt and the world know that he is fast, know that he as the physical ability to beat anyone on any day on the track is that Bolt completely unconditionally trusts his ability. His last second slow down at the end of the 100 meters showed just how much trusts in his ability. Now I agree that it was sort of a dick move, but tell me you don't wish you had that same trust in your abilities to do something like that?

As Molly Brown heads into Regionals tomorrow and beyond I can honestly say I trust my team and teammates unconditionally. I know that BTown's roller pulls are going to roll out giving our Fiona Trap the position it needs to get a turn on the first pass. I know that Bev and Catt are going to call the best combination of pods to get the disc back when we're on Defense. I know that when I'm trying to catch my girl going deep that I'll hear 16 voices on the sideline telling me exactly where I need to go. Most of all I trust that everyone of us will put on our Molly Brown Jersey and USA Ultimate approved accessories and step out into the rectangle and do the best we can at that moment with no second guessing. Who's Town is it?

*Talk to Bev about super lame - he'll teach you the ropes