By: Justin Pierce
For those who don’t know, Up Call is based in the northeastern United States – club region: Northeast, college region: Metro East. And this winter has been, as almost every winter is, both snowy and cold.
These conditions make it difficult for college ultimate teams to practice outdoors and compete in tournaments during the winter, particularly for those teams without large budgets or a realistic chance at making nationals.
The harsh winter, although not unique to the Northeast – see the North Central region – also makes it difficult for club players to prepare for tryouts and the club season the way they might want to. Although this is less of an issue since the club season takes place over the summer, there is still a 5-6 month period where players can’t do field workouts or throw outside.
So last week, when the first heat wave of the year came through my area, I was excited to get out and toss after a long six months on my couch, with the occasional opportunity to play indoors (pro tip: indoor turf is ok, gym floors are worse). In the 56°F weather, I texted a friend and asked if he wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and toss outside. Around 7 p.m., with the sun starting to set, we found a cleared patch of concrete and tossed for about an hour. While I was limited by my jeans, hiking boots, and the piles of snow surrounding us, it was a great first outdoor throwing session of the year. My throws were rusty and off target, my arm got tired quickly, but I’m almost certain my smile never faded.
Good college programs learn to either deal with the weather, or work around it. Some teams spend a lot of time conditioning and running, others head straight to the gym, and some get creative with whatever they have access to. These teams have my respect for their hard work and motivation through the cold months.
But after college, with fewer opportunities to get a disc in your hand during the winter, it was refreshing to go throw. It was refreshing to not think about being on the field. It was refreshing to not think about strategy, about a specific opponent or about a particular match-up. It was refreshing to remember why I love this sport so much.
For those of you who live in an area where it is still cold and snowy, be ready for those (relatively) warm days ahead and get outside. For those of you where this is less of an issue – I’m looking at you, southern teams – take advantage of your location and show us what you can do.