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April 6, 2016

Our first weekend together

by Lauren Sadler

April 2nd we stepped on the field for the first time as the 2016 USA Women’s National Ultimate Frisbee team. The moment felt big. I was excited and nervous. I had been told that the hard work was just beginning. This post is about challenges, expectations, friendships, and looking forward.

huddleAfter being selected for the team there was about a 1-month wait period before our first practice. We emailed about how it might be challenging because we had never been in the same place before. We had Google hangouts with our squads. We exchanged bad jokes and talked about our favorite throws, cuts, and defensive match ups. Even with all this preparation it was realistic to believe we would look bad in our first scrimmage. Despite this realism, I had hoped that we would step on the field and magically we would be amazing.  That fantasyland of instant amazingness was very far from the truth and was shattered pretty quickly.  We looked terrible. It felt terrible at times too.

In many ways, this past weekend was some of the most frustrating ultimate I have played in a while. I was intimidated by my own teammates, lacked confidence, and over thought the game.  It was hard to be successful on offense when everyone I was playing with was new to me and in a new system. It was hard to be successful on defense when there were no easy match ups. I felt the pressure of the opportunity and instead of embracing that I found myself hiding, afraid to make mistakes.  I had expected the team to come together slowly, but did not think about how that would impact my personal abilities to play.  I left wishing I could have learned faster and given more. The next practice I am determined to play big, make mistakes, and have as much fun as possible playing a sport I love with amazing women!

Despite these obstacles, we grew a lot as a team. We started playing a system, got to know each other as people and players, laughed a lot, made mistakes, laughed some more, wore patriotic socks, and built a foundation for our season to grow from.  I had a lot of fun getting to know my new teammates on and off the field. After reflecting on this weekend, I’m glad that this first weekend was hard. I’m glad that I struggled. I’m glad we have so much left to prove and to give to each other.  I’m excited to get back on the field with my teammates to work, learn, laugh, and eat donuts. I’m sure the second training weekend will bring its own challenges and obstacles. This time I will be more equipped to deal with them and we will continue to learn and grow and laugh together.

Also, I learned how to make perfect rice (thanks Leila) and had a lively discussion about how the Pottermore sorting hat must be broken.