Even Co-Champions Can Still Win

You can still define your YCC experience on your own terms.

Seattle Bankroll’s Abby Hecko. Photo: Jolie Lang — UltiPhotos.com

Dear YCC Co-Champions,

For those of you who have been to the National Ultimate Training Camp, none of this is new. But hopefully a reframe of what happened on Monday will offer you a different way of looking at it all.

First of all, having the finals delayed/delayed again/canceled/’everyone wins’ is the biggest effin’ uncontrollable in my memory of youth ultimate. (And I think I remember it all 😊). I was furiously typing my fury along with many of you. We had campers and friends everywhere at YCCs and I was invested in watching the finals. And then nothing.

I understand what was taken away from you all. You missed that sweet, sharp moment of actual victory, that last catch before the swoop and swarm of your teammates. Everyone works toward that priceless moment all year.

And what remains was in some ways worse than losing. Messy and unsatisfying results are not why athletes compete. Slumping to the ground after losing is at least authentic. Your pain is clear and your team will regroup.

What will not happen is that the team will be the same next year. Club players self-select about their future playing opportunities. For those in high school and college, the last game of the season is much more than that. You all are saying goodbye to your seniors and all they brought to the team. That is where the real pain lies, I believe. The team you played with this weekend is gone.
And you are not the only ones feeling terrible. Your coaches, parents, and families were also denied a clear ending. They wanted their own moment in the sun with you. And while it is definitely not your job to console them, please be aware that they may have wanted it as much as you.

So do not allow three hours of mayhem to define your season. Do not give away your power. Sure. Send an email or two if you are so moved. (I have also been on the USA Ultimate side of calling a tournament because of weather and, believe me, it is stressful beyond belief.) But make that a hobby, a distraction from what should be your main focus: celebrating your teammates and all they meant to you through your time together — the work, the laughs, the tears. After all, every other team that didn’t make the finals hopefully did that.

Having that final moment of team love taken away is not fatal. You just need to work a little harder to find it. And it’s just below the surface, available only to your team and still just as precious as it ever was.

  1. Tiina Booth
    Tiina Booth

    Tiina Booth is the director of the National Ultimate Training Camp and a co-coach of the University of Massachusetts men. She founded the Amherst Invitational in 1992 and co-founded Junior Nationals in 1998. In 2006, she published a book about ultimate with Michael Baccarini, entitled Essential Ultimate. She has coached teams to numerous national and international titles. Her ongoing passion is sports psychology, and she offers clinics to coaches of ultimate and other sports. Tiina will be inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame at USAU Club Nationals in October of 2018.

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