Reflections on the last two weeks

Posted: August 11, 2010 11:02 AM

This August, 44 of the best youth Ultimate players in America will be traveling to Germany to participate in the 2010 World Junior Ultimate Championships. But first, the Open and Girl’s teams will meet at Amherst College next week for a weeklong training camp hosted by USA Ultimate.

Five members of Team USA have agreed to blog about thier experiences for - Bethany Kaylor, Sally LandefeldMaddy RoorbachNick Stuart and Matt Barnes. Follow their progress here as they train, travel and compete throughout the next few weeks.

One of our last blog posts come from Maddy Roorbach as she reflects on what the last two weeks ment to her.


I woke up Monday morning alone in my room, only walked down one flight of stairs to get to breakfast, and then took off on my morning run—alone. Two days later, I am still amazed at how different it feels to not be surrounded by 20+ other people at all times; people that had become my best friends (admittedly, when you’re all sleeping in a classroom and showering together it’s hard not to bond just a little).

I have an anecdote I’d like to share about my Worlds experience; something I’ve already shared with my team and coaches, but I think it’s the best way for me to illustrate what Team USA now means to me (and I promise it has a happy ending).

When I got to training camp in Amherst, I was less than psyched. For whatever reason, I’d started to fall out of love with Frisbee in the last year and was seriously considering taking a break after Worlds. To make matters worse, I came down with a nasty stomach bug the first day, and sat underneath our shade tent with Dr. Jamie for the first two days of training camp (and don’t get me wrong, Jamie is awesome, but I was itching to play). By the time I was on my feet Thursday, I was beyond exhausted from a lack of eating and being sick (and I’m pretty sure it showed in my performance). Luckily, I was no longer sick when we headed to the Boston airport on Friday, but the time change and lack of sleep did not help my mood. When the concert kicked off at the carnival Saturday night around 10, after I hadn’t slept since Thursday night, it was all I could do not to scream.

When I awoke Sunday morning, I felt better. I ate my first real breakfast in days, and we headed to practice. After our scavenger hunt that afternoon with the Australians and Israelis (and dinner), things were looking up.

As the days progressed, the tournament finally opened with the Parade of Nations (coolest thing ever) and we started to play, my spirits lifted more and more. We all adjusted to our classroom, and had grown to love our communal showers and nightly slumber parties (and girl talk!). Every day, the bonds between teammates strengthened. I was having the time of my life. When we weren’t playing chilly offense or in-your-shorts defense, we were starting dance parties, playing Ninja or eating ice cream—and laughing non-stop.

When we lost in the semifinals to Colombia, we were all crushed. I think I can speak for most of the team when I say it was a struggle to smile through the post-game game and picture (which every person did, with grace). We finally sat down all together, passed around two huge bags of M&M’s, and talked. There was nothing accusatory or derogative; it was all praise and heartfelt comments and a general consensus that every single person had given it everything they had.

The next morning, with a maturity and focus and determination that I have never seen so uniformly in a team, we got up and played Australia with the gusto I know we would have had had it been the gold medal game and not the bronze medal game. Then, in a move that only reinforced how wonderful every person on my team is, we went to the gold medal game and cheered the Colombians on as if they were our teammates. Our boys played next, sweeping the gold medal game, and we rushed the field to congratulate them. Saturday night was a blur of eating at weird hours, going to the carnival, truth or dare, and not sleeping—it was a blast.

I started my Worlds adventure not sure I was going to continue to play Frisbee. It wasn’t something I told many people, because a lot of my friends eat, sleep and dream Frisbee. Now that I’ve finished, though, I don’t know how I could quit. As the week went on, I remembered why I play Frisbee; why I worked to start a team at my high school. I play Frisbee because it’s intense and fast and overwhelming, but with the overarching Spirit of the Game. I play because I then have the honor to call people like my teammates friends. I play because we sang every Disney song we could think of en route to the school at the end of the day. I play so I can learn from people like my coaches, who know more about Frisbee then I ever will. I play because I automatically have something in common with girls from Australia, Israel, Finland, Latvia and Japan. I play because at the end of the day Frisbee is more than a game; it’s a way of life. That sounds cheesy, but if you’ve ever had an experience like the one I just had, I think you’ll understand what I mean. And if you haven’t, I sincerely hope you have the opportunity one day to play on a team where there is no weak link in ability, spirit or general wonderfulness as a person. Even sitting in the airport in Boston, approaching 24 hours since we’d left Germany, the small group I was with was still laughing.

I wouldn’t trade the last two weeks for anything. I have great respect and love for everyone associated with Team USA. Potlatch 2011, here we come! Oooouuuussssaaaaaa!