One thing was made abundantly clear at HOV practive. The difference between the elite teams (a position to which HOV aspires) and middle level ultimate (the place I've resided for a few years) is all about fitness. The throws people exhibited were marginally better than those I've seen, and about equal to those I have (when I'm playing well, which sadly I was most certainly not). But the running is insane. I have been near the top in fitness (or at least able to cover shortcomings) on pretty much every team I've played for lately. I played a ton of points at Poultry Days. I played a ton at the alumni game. I played about 80-90% of tournament points with Moby Flick, etc.
I was winded well before we even got to the full field full length scrimmage. To say nothing of my condition during our full field sprint relay race (2 times up and back). Then to top it off we scrimmaged another team. All this after I went for a morning jog and had to bike down to the fields. I was just toast. I think some of it is diet (not eating well or regularly), but frankly most of it is just straight out physical training. These guys are in good shape. Which means I have no earthly conception of the conditioning for Sockeye or Jam.
I mainly played long. Or wing in the Horizontal offense. I scored a bit, skied some people. I got burned on defense some by people who were faster under the best of conditions. In the second scrimmage I played alright. I forgot until I started writing this that I scored one of our first goals on a great upline cut. What I remember and replay over and again are my two throw aways. I'm used to having permission to throw whatever I want on the teams that I play with. Here I need to reign it in. I don't have some of the stronger throws (they're good but there are many with better ones here) and I certainly didn't display very good judgement. It's a large transition to focus on one thing--cutting.
As for the guys themselves. Generally they were fine. A little hornier than I'd prefer (a bit too much talk of sex). A little less friendly than I'd like. With some being dickheads. But in general most guys were nice and made an effort to learn my name and were just what you'd expect from frisbee players--decent fellows whom you'd be happy to spend a weekend running around shouting No Break with.
Tomorrow is a chance to play with a mid level coed team. We'll see this may be more my speed. I'm trying to force myself to accept that in order to play at a higher level I'm going to have to go through some nasty learning moments. I won't get better just because I want to, I'll have to run till I feel like I'm going to vomit. I'm going to have to listen to people yell at me to cut here and don't throw that. I'm just hoping I can move my legs tomorrow, that'd be a great improvement over their present condition. Oh yeah, I biked a couple miles home after the final scrimmage...my legs and I are going through a rough patch not quite a break up, but quite close to a break down.