Monday, May 22, 2006

Club Reshuffle #2: Option #3-Golf Cart Boy

I know it has been a busy spring for me, but most everyone must be Really Busy has I have received not one inquiry about what the outcome is to my Nov 3, 2005 post, "Time To Retire?". Clearly, this is a global oversight on the part of the masses as I have come to rely on the trust I have in the compassion and caring of my fellow Ultimate players.

For the very few that haven't been waiting in anticipation like those waiting for the "Lost" finale, the post began:

"Time to Retire?: I can hear the chuckles already. "Uhmm....dude....you play in the Mixed Division....doesn't that mean you have already retired?" (Sidenote: Don't you hate RSD posts that begin "Uhmm.....(insert smart ass remark here)."

I then laid out what I felt were my three options for 2006 (and the future):

1) Maintain status quo- Same level of conditioning as 2005 and probably a similar, limited role on 6TM
2) "Chariots of Fire"- Work harder, with the goal of bumping myself up on the depth chart
3) Retire- Focus on coaching, the BUDA Youth Program, NUTC, UPA admin work

As I began training in December, I felt motivated and was enjoying the process. As I documented in this blog, I was committed to very long runs, and I felt more focused about my lifting routines than I had in 2005. I followed this track through February, and then I slowly started to notice that my desire to compete as a player was diminishing. It was an odd feeling. I was training and preparing like normal, but I wasn't feeling interested in following up on the field. So why the change in attitude? I started to reflect on last year, and I realized that I had not played very well in 2005. I remembered my dissatisfaction with what I had to offer on the field. Finally, I realized that while having limited PT was hard, the hardest part about last season was not disagreeing with the subbers decisions about my PT. In a sense, I had come very close to the feeling that "the team I want to play for, talent-wise, is the team I would get cut from".

Around this time I became very busy with work, a music project, and coaching, and my training started to lose focus. As such, I started to lose touch with the foundation of my motivation, and I actually kind of enjoyed not beating on my body for the sake of preparation. It was around this time that I really started to acknowledge to myself that I was going to retire, and, honestly, I can't say that it wasn't without a small part of a sense of relief.

I have made hasty and perhaps even impulsive decisions in the past. I think I have had the time to consider this pretty carefully, though. I tend, also, to not make these changes in a subtle way, as I am either in 100% or all the way out. I have been asked, for example, "Are you going to play Summer League?" I don't think so, at least for now. If I am not in the shape to challenge myself at the highest level available to me and I am not preparing to do so, I don't feel that it would be beneficial to go out and hack away.

So, what does the future hold?

I do see myself focusing on moving forward as one of the unheralded benefits of mediocrity is that there are no "Glory Days" to dwell on. Last December, Mr. Dobyns, in one of his few blog entries, revealed with great poignancy and insight, the need to move on, without bitterness, from the days of being a legend in the relatively small world of a sport like Ultimate. I do not have to wrestle with such issues as my "career" could be summed up as a play in three acts: 1) unfulfilled potential, 2) absence from the sport, and 3) what could have been. It does not go unnoticed that my "peak" years of 1983(age 19) to 1994(age 30), in which I didn't play Ultimate at all, are the exact years upon which the actual greatness of KD are defined. Obviously, in my case, there is nothing but the future, and, perhaps, my endeavors going forward will make some small contribution to the sport.

I hope it has been apparent how much I enjoy coaching and the plan is for it to be front and center for the next few years, at least. I also plan on continuing my admin work for the UPA, helping to run tournaments, and teaching Youth clinics for the BUDA Youth Program. There are also some new opportunities like working at NUTC.

I am sure that my resolve will be tested in a few weeks when Mixed Easterns comes around. To work at a tournament and not play will be very difficult, and I imagine I will ask myself, not just a few times, "What the hell am I doing?" Hopefully, that will become clear in time. Maybe, in the meantime, I should develop some hobbies.....like customizing a really nice golf cart that I can drive around in at tournaments.

6 comments:

shiv said...

nice throw.
nice bid.
nice grab.
nice ride.

take the compliments that/while you can.


aging faster than ever,
shiv

Alex de Frondeville said...

Now that you're free the weekend of June 3-4, masters tournament baby! Saddle up and ride with the big boys from Boston!

gcooke said...

Shiv,
Well said. That is the truth.....

Al,

That is kind offer, but I am afraid I am only in type of shape that would embarrass me. Alan Goldberg says in his book "SportsSlump Busting" that conditioning is the foundation of confidence. One must be in shape in order to execute and perform.

I think my speed right now now is occasional pick-up. I will not be as concerned about my conditioning, and the low key environment might be about right in terms of enjoying playing the sport again.

-g

Gambler said...

George,

I'm glad that I got to play in the camper-counselor game with you before you retired. And I loved working out with you doing those footwork and circuit drills in the courtyard at NUTC.

Also good to hear that you still plan on staying involved in the ultimate scene even after retiring from playing. There aren't many who are as dedicated as you and I know that the other people your work affects appreciate it too.

Best,
Gwen

gcooke said...

Gwen,

Thanks for the commments. I think that there is a pretty good chance I might put on the cleats for the C-C game again this year. There is, after all, so much at stake.

I have a lot of energy for coaching right now, so it does not feel like a stretch to stay involved in that capacity. I do want to make sure, though, that I keep learning as a coach, so I want to make sure I stay in touch with other coaches, club play, etc.

-g

Marshall said...

George -

It's a nice post.

But don't think for a minute that I'm done with you yet.

- Marshall