2004 is when the summer Ultimate league, then known as the Columbia Frisbee League (CFL), now Columbia Ultimate (CU) was born.
From ’04 to ’09 I ran the league (with help) with a trial by fire type approach and captained teams (unknowingly needing help) with what can only, at best, be described as a fiery approach. My final season of participation in CU was 2010 and that was solely as a player.
The league was a very big part of my life. I put a ton on energy into making the league as widespread and competitive as I possibly could. Columbia Ultimate was very much a part of how I identified myself to others. Recruiting 100+ players every summer to make what I loved even possible was a hard task, but it was something I was willing and able to do. Forming and maintaining Columbia Ultimate was one of the few things in my life that brought out and showcased the drive and desire I possess. And for that reason alone, Columbia Ultimate will always be special to me.
Eventually I came to realize I just needed to move on. I was devoting too much time and attention to something that most people took for granted. The aspects that made the league great, were also the reasons CU was held back. At the time, I thought the main reason was because the league was mostly composed of Columbia players. Players who would never accept the true “Spirit of the Game” mentality Ultimate thrives on. Which, in turn, thwarted all my attempts to draw in players who weren’t from Columbia. But now I realize the double-edge sword wasn’t the Columbia players, it was me.
In a sense, I was delusional. My stubborn selfishness (which I interpreted as an overwhelming drive to dominate) as a captain reflected horribly on the league and is ultimately the reason for the leagues short comings. I kept trying to jam a square peg into a round hole with my approach as a captain, convinced that I wasn’t the problem my teams couldn’t win. Turns out I was the reason for my teams continued failure. Which is why I felt the need to participate as a player and not a captain in 2010.
After I stopped playing in Columbia Ultimate, I played one summer in the East Allen Township Summer Ultimate League in 2011.
Looking to re-establish my “game”, I thought the Allentown summer league was just what the doctor ordered, playing as an unknown entity and having no expectations hoisted upon me. But all the high hopes I had for myself came crashing down and my confidence was destroyed.
Playing against seasoned club and college players (some who could make plays like in the video below) quickly uncovered and exposed the fact that I was never really that great of a player to start with. I was a one-dimensional (if that) guy who didn’t have the instincts to complete at a high level. During the summer of 2011 I discovered whatever drive I once had for learning and excelling at Ultimate was gone.
2012 was the first year I didn’t partake in any summer leagues since the summer of ’03. I played only a handful of Ultimate games all year. I honestly felt all my desire to play Ultimate, even for fun, was gone. I didn’t have an identity as a player anymore and as I write this post, I still don’t have an identity. It’s kind of sad knowing I literally have no idea how to approach the game after devoting a portion of my life to Ultimate.
Which brings me (much to my surprise) to the Ultimate awakening I’m starting to experience. With CU on the brink of disappearing after record low turnout for the 2012 season and nobody stepping up to set the league up for 2013. A couple of guys including myself decided to not to let CU fold, making sure the league would live to see its 10th season. Like I mentioned earlier, the league represents something special to me. To see it come to an end, knowing I could have done something about it would have left a bitter taste in my mouth.
By getting involved with CU again, my interest for Ultimate is starting to spark. It’s been a trip laying out a game-plan to run the league again. I’ll be turning 30 as the league turns 10 and it’s funny how this process feels so natural, like I never stopped. Hard to believe I was 20 going on 21 when we first went through league preparations. I’ll be captaining a team for the first time in 4 years (WITH a co-captain) and looking to have a positive impact this go around. Both with my teammates, and as league President.
If you’re reading this and you live in an area close to Columbia and are able to play: We are looking for players to participate in Columbia Ultimate’s 10th season! Click on any of the league website links throughout this post to grab a sign-up sheet!