Well, this was an exciting weekend!
I spent pretty much all Saturday outside. That made me feel healthy. Mostly.
I spent pretty much all Sunday inside, and have, well, the peace-of-mind to show for it.
First Saturday: I’m going to watch Karen play on the women’s team at the Tampa-Bay Ultimate Sectional’s tournament! I arranged to carpool it up there with her, and she was coming by to pick me up at 8am. I brought my cleats just in case. We zoomed up the #75 highway in her 1999 Pontiac Grand Am (much like the car I drove while I worked for Microsoft). After a couple of stops at nearby gas stations for directions (don’t trust Mapquest any farther than you can throw it), we found ourselves at the University of South Florida, Tampa campus. And there were literally hundreds of people throwing discs around on six different fields. Beautiful! However, in all this beauty it was pretty difficult to locate the first person we needed to speak to. We needed to talk to the captain of Karen’s team, Emily Greenwell — and it took about 10 minutes to get pointed in the correct direction. But she found her team, and introductions were done. I introduced myself as a fan. That was returned with about a 50-50 mix of smiles and funny looks. I was the only guy there — I think that might have had something to do with it.
It was about 9:30am — games were set to start at 10 — so I took off from Karen’s team to see if I could find a team to play with. I went back to close to where we walked onto the fields — near the tables of water, cookies and bananas — and just started asking if I could speak to the captain of whoever I was talking to. Once I found the captain, I’d introduce myself and explain that I was looking “to pickup”. Being the hipster you are, you know that “picking up” is Ulti-lingo for “looking to be an extra player who’s not really on the roster and sometimes doesn’t have to pay fees or sign waivers”. Well, the first captain I spoke to referred me to another captain because he already had 20 people on his team; the second captain I spoke to had too many people as well and directed me to Rick’s team.
Rick’s team, Herniated Discs, is a “masters team”. Of course you know that a masters team is one where each player is least 30 years old, and that masters teams compete within a separate league usually hold separate tournaments. Perhaps what you didn’t know is that sometimes, as was the case at Saturday’s Sectionals tournament, tournament coordinators allow masters teams to play in non-masters tournaments. That was the case for Herniated Discs today.
So most of my teammates were quite a bit older than I was. I think the next youngest was about 32, with an average age around 40. As one of them put it, “with the young kids, they’ve got the speed but not the skills; with masters, we’ve got the skills but not the speed”. I like that — it’s an interesting tradeoff that I imagine you see in a lot of sports, but you can really see in Ultimate in particular.
Our first game was against a young college team named Vicious Circles. They had a lot of players — I imagine the average age was around 22 — and they were intense, doing pushups between points and at half time. Herniated Discs, on the other end, spent the time between points talking about how their knees hurt. We lost that game something like 13-5. It was pretty harsh.
Our second game went much better — we won, 13-11. One fellow on our team — Alex — that guy was superman-laying out for practically everything! He had no fear. He also ended up with a dirty shirt from bleeding elbows, but hey, he was feeling no pain — after all, running for a couple of hours puts you into a bit of strange state — and he, like many other Ultimate players, had prepped for the tournament by taking “vitamin I”, Ibuprofen.
During the 1/2 hr break between games I popped over to see how Karen’s team was doing. “Quite well,” when I checked up on her after my second game, which ended around 3pm. We arranged to meet by the entrance by 4:30pm, regardless of whether our teams had finished playing by then.
We won our third game too, this time 13-7. So I guess masters teams just take a little longer to warm up. 🙂 Around 4:15pm or so, Karen found me. “That was early,” I thought to myself. Turns out that it was indeed early — her team had gotten pummeled, so it was a short game. I was just wrapping up with my team, so I met her at the car, which she already had cooled with the A/C.
We made a pitstop for food and drink at a nearby Eckerds (think London Drugs). Orange Gatorade and Mesquite BBQ Pringles never tasted so good.
After I being dropped at home, I IM’ed Simon and asked if he’d like to watch Ghost World with me. I’d rented the DVD a couple of nights before but had not yet gotten a chance to watch it. We watched it at his place, and it was good — worth the rental — but nothing spectacular. Simon and I were both trying to place where we’d seen the lead actress — Thora Birch — before, without using IMDB. No such luck, our brains have atrophied on broadband. A trip to IMDB the next morning left me wondering how I didn’t remember — but I’ll leave that as an exercise to the reader).
Got up early on Sunday (8:15 am!) and futzed about on my computer for a couple of hours, really just enjoying the fact that I had an awesome night’s sleep. That’s one really great thing about playing ultimate — I always sleep well the night after, with no chance of insomnia. I did discover that he painful skin on the back of my neck and nose was a brutal sunburn! I now respect the Florida sun! Time to buy sunscreen!
We got to work around 11:45am, and Simon was prompty met with a chair that wouldn’t pull out from his desk. Turns out Hugo (a coworker of mine in the software group) and Van (our IT guy, totally pro-Mac) had been into work on Saturday and had used a few of those plastic fasteners to attach one of the legs of Simon’s chair to the powerbar underneath his computer table. Some of his food was missing from his cubicle, too. Simon got Hugo back by unplugging all his network cables just a tiny little bit. 🙂
I agreed to go into work on Sunday at the request of my boss — Carlos — to make sure the installer I was putting together was going to work properly. Late Friday night, I discovered that because of my lack of inclusion of two folders in the installer that were regularly included with the product, the installer deleted these folders from the destination machine — not my intention at all, which was simply to not touch them.
Anyway, Simon and I got that problem rectified at about 7:30pm on Friday, but it needed to be tested, so that’s what I did today. The software group at METI has never done a “system level” software test after an upgrade, so I was breaking new ground here. That felt good. It’s hard to believe, but until this point, all of METI’s system testing had been done in an ad-hoc, on-the-fly kind of way. I recorded all the tests I did on form I created using Word.
It was so nice being at work today — I was able to get so much work done! Simon found the same thing, so he wrote an email to Carlos asking if we could work Saturday and Sunday instead of Monday and Tuesday. We’ll see what happens. 🙂