Looking back, I find it funny how I came across this sport.
Valentine’s night, 2014. Seven months after a breakup, I decided I didn’t want to stay at home so I dated myself. After all, it was my first valentine’s alone in three years. I bought a book, ate at a decent Japanese diner, and walked home.
As I was sniffing the scent of my new book while walking, I noticed all the couples walking with hands held, carrying stuffed creatures and bouquets of plant life. Suddenly, my book seemed a little less interesting. With a tinge of bitterness and a sense of humor, I updated my Facebook status saying something like:
What’s up with all the bears and flowers and couples everywhere?
Minutes after I hit the post button, a window popped-up. It was my friend, Harry. telling me something like:
Instead of sulking in bitterness, why don’t you join us in a friendly, frisbee pick-up game tomorrow in the university.
I have always wanted to try the game anyway since a roommate back in college invited me, but I had a lot of things going on for me then that I didn’t have the time. So, with nothing to do, I said yes.
15 February 2014, Saturday was the first time I tried playing the sport. Two minutes into the game, I was already panting. After a point, I just wanted to get out of the field and just lie down on the grass. I was definitely out of shape and have never ran that fast and that frequent.
My sports usually had a net in between. Volleyball, table tennis, and badminton never required me to run as much, but it was running in sprints that made me really interested in ultimate frisbee.
In the few times I entered the playing field on that Saturday, with no throwing skills and relying only on volleyball to always be where the “ball” ( in this case, the disc) is, I enjoyed every moment where my lungs was trying to keep up with my legs, where my eyes were entirely focused on the game, where people’s shouts were shutting off other thoughts I had, when things seem to be forgotten for as long as you were inside the field, and life was a bit simpler. It was almost peaceful.
The peace I experienced in those fleeting game points and the quest to be healthier made me want to learn the game more. Two days after, I joined a bunch of couchsurfing dudes in a beginner’s night at the Meralco Field in Ortigas, had diner after, trained for two months and became a member of the now defunct team, Laagan.
Laagan is a Bisaya word for Wanderer as most of my teammates were experienced travelers, great people who love great adventure. I learned a lot from them. In fact, several inspired me to travel alone, which I have been doing since then.
The thing is, only a few of them were really committed to the sport. People came and went, others only showed up in tournaments without training. Eventually, it became frustrating to those who were committed to improve their game.
I played from February until July of 2014. Then I stopped almost entirely as I had to focus on other things. I tried to get back in April 2015 but got injured in volleyball so it wasn’t until October that I committed again to the sport. By then, some of the Laagan made another team named Ultimate Bacon Experience (UBE). I trained with them hoping to be absorbed. But before the team’s first tournament, the team manager and one of the founders decided she’d be better off with a higher pooled team (we were in Pool D, then). So, it was uncertain where the team was headed.
Before the year ended though, some members stepped up and decided to rename the team with a serious goal yet a friendlier vibe. After one of our pick up games and trainings, the team Sentinels was created..
Never did I , as a recreational athlete, imagine that I’ll be part of team of nice and competitive players where my love for sports will be challenged and pushed to its limits…