“Go deep!” When I hear those words, I feel a surge of happiness that makes my legs move even faster. Then when my fingers close around that spinning disc, all the stress gets washed away, and I am totally at ease. I believe in the therapeutic power of ultimate Frisbee.
The first time I played that magical game, it was played with a water bottle and I had no idea what was going on. From there it evolved into my all-time favorite sport. Now, if you were to put a Frisbee in my hands, you would see me in my purest form. No matter how down in the dumps I feel, I can always have a game and come out of it feeling ten times better.
Maybe it’s the simple fluidity of it. The Frisbee becomes an extension of your arm, your whole body moves in that natural mechanical way to propel you down the field. Everything blends together and you make that last jump for the perfect catch. Maybe it’s the teamwork: seven people yelling “ultimate!” as loud as they can, than all working together to get that bright circle to the other end of the field. The glory of making a great pass, the playful jeers made at one another, all contribute to my essence of being when I play.
I played a game once on a canoe trip. It had been raining all day, the river was too high to keep going, everyone was miserable, but we had a Frisbee and a cow pasture. The game got going and everyone could care less that it was raining torrentially, or that we kept falling in cow dung. All that mattered was the game. We played and were happy again. Simple as that.
Toward the end of the game, someone will shout: “Next point wins!” All this means is that I have to do everything I can to get that Frisbee through the goal. Every thought, every muscle in my body is dedicated to this objective, and when it happens, I am pretty much in another world. The sky could be raining fire and I wouldn’t notice. At that moment, I am Me.
I believe in ultimate Frisbee. I believe that it has therapeutic powers. Better than massage therapy, or acupuncture, and all you need is a Frisbee and some friends. The simple things in life are very often the best.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.