Stall 9: Dalton Smith’s Layout Block and the Prove It Point

Summer camp memories, Doublewide's breakout series, and a theory of upsets.

Doublewide's Dalton Smith gets the D on the first throw of the 2012 USA Ultimate Club Championships.
Doublewide’s Dalton Smith (right) gets a massive — title-sealing? — block on the first throw of the 2012 USA Ultimate Club Championships men’s final. Photo: Jeff Bell — UltiPhotos.com

With ultimate still on its pandemic-induced hiatus, our new “Stall 9” column is an opportunity for Ultiworld staff members to share random opinions or reflections on what they’re thinking about or miss most from the sport. Just as is the case when the stall count reaches 9, anything goes.

When I first started playing ultimate at a small summer camp in Pennsylvania, I was thrust into the center handler role because I had a lot of unearned confidence and could passably throw a flick. (I’m also left-handed, so I didn’t need to rely on it as much as my teammates.) On our first-ever point against a team from another camp, I threw a three-fourths field huck to a teammate and we scored. After weeks of practice (and relearning how to throw after 10 months off), that was the moment I felt I belonged on the field. All the lingering doubts that we were good enough and anxious nights wondering how I’d respond to getting shut out disappeared. My team went on to win that game, then lose out for the rest of the tournament. But I vividly remember that first pass — the moment I knew I could compete at that level.

Call it the Prove It Point.

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  1. Alex Rubin
    Alex Rubin

    Alex Rubin started writing for Ultiworld in 2018. He is a graduate of Northwestern University where he played for four years. After a stint in Los Angeles coaching high school and college teams, they moved to Chicago to experience real seasons and eat deep dish pizza. You can reach Alex through e-mail ([email protected]) or Twitter (@arubes14).

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