Friday night, our last sunshine for three days.
Two weekends ago, I played beach ultimate for the first time in my life at Flat Out in Nelson. I've played grass ultimate for years, but just don't play many social tournaments so the beach never happened. On Friday morning, I piled into a van just as so many of my tournaments in college started. We drove five hours up the coast before cutting inland to Nelson, the sunniest city in New Zealand. It is the second time I've made that drive and it was just as beautiful. Oddly, I didn't travel up with any Kiwis. I was with two Dutchman and one American.
When we got there, we headed over to the tournament gathering. While on the way, I heard my name shouted from across the street. I looked up to see David Hogan, one of En Sabah Nur (University of Pittsburgh)'s players calling my name. I knew he was in NZ and should be at the tournament, but didn't expect to see him until the next day at the very least. Yeah for it being a small world.
After a long night, we woke up early and headed to the fields. It was grey out. It was a little windy. At the fields, we were assigned to our random teams and started to figure out who we'd be playing with. I knew two of our players from Christchurch. We were set to play eight 35 minute games before the day was through. That is a lot of ultimate when you are running through the sand and out of shape. It got to be a lot more ultimate when we lost both of our male subs, forcing us to play an extra woman against a man or just play our men ironman/savage. It also began to feel like a lot more ultimate when the rain started to come down and it never warmed up.
Cold lunch breaks.
I think the cold, wet, windy weather defined most of the weekend for me. It wasn't nearly as bad as predicted, but it certainly wasn't pleasant either. Too tired to play and too cold not to play was my personal theme of the weekend. I loved hopping in a hot shower at the end of the day. My team ended up finishing 5-3-3 which put us in 5th place. If we could have turned one of those ties or losses into a win, I think we could have gotten 4th. Instead, we got to get a great seat to enjoy finals. I think playing a tournament made my legs plenty unhappy, but will be good preparation for nationals later this month. I might even be excited to play beach ultimate again in the future.
Instructional photographs of me: