Life Lessons from the Field

We recently re-read Marli William’s awesome article, What Ultimate Frisbee Can Teach You About Life, and it got us thinking of life lessons we have learned through athletics.

A game is just a game. Except when it’s not. Playing a sport is about more than running drills, memorizing plays, or learning different defensive strategies. When a team comes together, you may find yourself going beyond the basic motions of the sport and discovering that lessons learned in the game might just follow you off the field. So what life lessons have we learned on the ultimate field?

 

Lesson #1:  You Will Let Your Team Down

All-Stars vs. D.C. Scandal. Photo credit Steve Helvin

All-Stars vs. D.C. Scandal. Photo credit Steve Helvin

We all know the cliche: Not everything will go your way. As much as we would like to think of our bodies as well-oiled machines, we are only human at the end of the day. And humans make mistakes. We make them a lot, on and off the field. You bid and bellyflop, disc-less. Someone out-skies you. Your well-intentioned hammer morphs into an out of control corkscrew. The list can go on and on, but the crucial thing is to not let this list overwhelm you. Instead, focus on plays that go right, on the positive contributions you make, and on your energy that sparks and inspires. The game--and life--goes on.

 

Lesson #2: People Will Be Better Than You

Competition for the disc during the All-Stars vs. D.C. Scandal game. Photo credit Steve Helvin

Competition for the disc during the All-Stars vs. D.C. Scandal game. Photo credit Steve Helvin

If you’re aware of what skills you bring to the table and how to best exercise them, ultimate (and life) will be a game of fun, and not of frustration. Strive to play your best game, not someone else’s best game.

 

Lesson #3: Being a Supporting Player Deserves Credit

All-Star teammates during their game vs. D.C. Scandal. Photo credit Steve Helvin

All-Star teammates during their game vs. D.C. Scandal. Photo credit Steve Helvin

Maybe your contributions aren’t as flashy as some. Sweeper in soccer who has far more clears than goals? Defensive guru in basketball who keeps scorers at bay but with few points yourself? A leader with positive energy who inspires from the sidelines? Some ways of helping out aren’t measurable in points scored or discs caught, but you shouldn’t let this deter you. You are no less of a player or a person. Know that “behind the scenes” work makes a positive impact in whatever you do. 


Lesson #4: You Can Do Incredible Things

Qxhna Titcomb during the All-Stars vs. D.C. Scandal game. Photo credit Steve Helvin

Qxhna Titcomb during the All-Stars vs. D.C. Scandal game. Photo credit Steve Helvin

For every dropped pass, missed shot, or mishandle, you will have plays that not only work, but work well. When things click and come together for an incredible play because of your hard work it might feel like the planets are finally aligning. Appreciate this feeling. When you’re struggling in a game, in the office, or in class, remember that feeling of accomplishment and how it can propel you forward.

 

So, whether you find yourself in your weekly cribbage match, your part-time job as the neighborhood dog-walker, or in a pickup game of ultimate, there are plenty of lessons in whatever you do. So keep your head up and an eye out.

Sometimes the planets do align in the Ultiverse.

-TUPO Guru