The Emerald Jewel

…and then there was one. Now it’s just me until I reach Minneapolis in a week. Benefits and drawbacks.

Yesterday and then this morning I made the long, surprisingly long, trip from Berkeley to Seattle. I’ve never really been to the Pacific Northwest before, so this is a region that exists mostly in myth for me. In no particular order: Clyde the Glide, Shawn Kemp, Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion (which, I was thinking, is something like Absalom, Absalom!, and then I was wondering who would win, Sutpens vs Stampers), The Decembrists, Jimi Hendrix, and, most of all, Nirvana.

I’m here in the home of my not-quite-stepbrother Ian, and his wife, Marita. (Ian’s father has been the partner, but not husband, of my mom for the last 15 years.) It’s a pretty wonderful home that they share with Marita’s younger sister, Marita’s older sister, her husband, their three-month old baby, and two dogs. Marita’s pregnant too. Also here right now is Marita’s best friend, visiting from South Korea, and tomorrow her mom’s arriving from Hawaii. Teeming with life.

I played with Ian’s team, TAG (Tongue In Groove), in their league ultimate frisbee game. Now, I know how to throw a frisbee just, fine, okay, but I’ve never played ultimate before. I figured I’d be okay. I’m athletic. I go to the gym sometimes. I know how to throw “the disc.”

Turns out not so much. We got beat pretty solidly by Gengis Khan Wild, 15-8 I think. Those boys can play. They work together, they’re fast, they’re athletic. They play that short game to perfection. They’re going places in this here second division. TAG didn’t play to its full abilities due to the absence of some key pieces, but I fear that I bear more than my share of blame for our loss.

First of all, this game is tiring. All this running back and forth, stopping and starting. And no beer halftimes! No physical contact either. More importantly, frisbees don’t move like balls, basketballs, soccer balls, baseballs. You’re used to looking up in the air for a millisecond and seeing this thing and then you instinctually know where it’s going. Except it doesn’t.


So whenever I’d get the deep throw or try to defend it, I would expect the frisbee to come down a few seconds before it did. Which meant, twice, that not only did I jump up, come down, and then jump up again, but that I forgot to check who was in front of me. Each time I knocked over multiple people, including Ian, my own teammate. It was pretty funny. People were laughing.  After the game, when both teams were forming a snake to say “Good game,” which I haven’t done in a long time and in no way approve of — the opponent is an enemy that must be dominated, psychologically and physically, at every opportonity — I said, “Sorry for running you over,” and the enemy just smiled.  They understood that I was a neophyte.

While looking for that last picture, I found this one and thought it was worth posting:


Song of the Day: The Man Who Sold the World, by Nirvana. One of my favorite Bowie songs, off of Nirvana’s Unplugged album.  This song would make a great movie, but it would be ruined by the casting of Keanu Reeves.  See sidebar.

Published in: on July 18, 2007 at 6:12 am  Leave a Comment  

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