The one about celebrity worship

Pro Ultimate is a weird phenomenon. Scratch that. The entire sport is a weird phenomenon. It’s hard to explain to people that aren’t involved in the sport.

One of my favorite things about it is these “homegrown” stars, the guys at the top of the stat sheets, who everyday are pushing and pushing for this thing that they are passionate about, while juggling school, work, family problems, significant others, and myriad of other issues.

This weekend, we were up in Valpo for a scrimmage, and some of the guys on the other team were giving their captain grief for “being in love” with our captain. I mean who could blame him, Travis is a fantastic athlete. He’s a great guy and amazing at what he does. And I understand why people randomly come up to him (or us) at tournaments and say that they love his Callahan video, or they saw him at some tournament.

It’s so funny to see people like that, when its someone you actually know. Like, he can sky the crap out of anyone on the field, but NEVER follow him on a roadtrip cause he follows the GPS and still gets lost. His no-looks can shred a defense in a few seconds, but it takes him a good 30 seconds longer than anyone else to get a joke. He lays out fearlessly on defense and offense, and he is the most patient person I have ever met.

Playing with guys like Travis and Cameron Brock and Joey Cari, men who stand at the top of stat sheets, is such a humbling experience. Its so awesome to get to know them and their lives and struggles, and getting to share a passion with them is an incredible experience. I’m thankful for these moments and the chance I’ve had to get to know the men at the roots of (what we hope) is the next great worldwide sport.

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No, this is Patrick!

I got to spend some quality time with a few of my teammates this weekend. Two or three of us spent basically the entire weekend together, going to Dirty Dan’s, watching Lord of the Rings, jamming to some sweet licks… It was a lot of fun. It’s funny, being part of a team like this, because you’re kind of obligated to hang out with each other when no-one else is around. Like, you do friend-type activities without actually being friends, but along the way you realize that these people are so awesome and you end up becoming best friends.

Then last night I did something stupid.

We had a couple of inside jokes after the weekend, and since I was around those people again, I brought up my favorite one. It’s directed at one of the guys and inherently embarrassing, but I had to go and make it worse. Another teammate and his girlfriend were with us at the time and neither of them knew what was going on and they started asking questions and yeah, it was a train wreck. At the time, I didn’t even realize how bad it was, but later, he mentioned how embarrassed he’d been.

So I texted him later and apologized for being insensitive and he replied and was honest about how he felt and forgave me. We’ve moved on. I felt so old and mature and still so foolish though. Foolish for what I did, but mature for how I handled it.

For a long time, I’ve been trying to get a handle on what maturity is. I think there’s a lot to be said for how well we maintain relationships. My teammate and I spoke honestly about what happened and moved on.

My sister and I had a phone conversation the other day, wherein we discussed something that we were both pretty passionate about. Opposing sides, of course. And we had to keep saying things like “No, you’re right, I should have worded that better,” or “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for that to make you feel that way.” Guys let me tell you, this is about a thousand times better than how we used to argue.

It’s been a while, but in one of my classes we talked about development and how kids can only see from one perspective. Empathy is a learned skill, and it takes a long time to acquire. I think even through our teen years, even when we ‘know’ how a person feels, we still don’t connect that to our actions. We have to come to the point of “My actions had this effect on you, and made you feel this way, which made you act this way.” Not to say that everything is our own fault, but the older we get, the more we see similarities between ‘their’ situation, and our situation.

I think the maturity looks different from day-to-day. Some days it means shutting the door and finishing a paper, and other days it means seeking and finding forgiveness. It’s putting an arm around a brother who is hurting, and also singing out loud if a song is stuck in your head. It’s recognizing when your sweet potato crepes didn’t turn out the way you planned and making something new up on the fly.

So I’m proud to announce that I’ve matured a little bit. Leveled up. Still not ready for the boss level, though.

 

“When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”
Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet