By James Hron
Over the weekend, a few members of Drag’n Thrust were able to participate in an all-sports tournament called the Tenacity Tournament. This is a tournament featuring competition between a number of sports such as badminton, volleyball, basketball, dodge ball, ping-pong, and floor hockey. A local high school Physical Education department ran the tournament, and all proceeds went to the school’s Physical Education program.
In an effort to maximize talent and skill throughout the tournament, Drag’n Thrust came together and carefully chose the only 6 teammates who were available and interested in playing a bunch of sports for two days straight. The official Drag’n Thrust roster for the Tenacity Tournament is listed below.
Jess ‘Holla’ Haller: All-round athlete.
Josh ‘Shwa’ Hemmesch: The volleyball ringer.
Anna ‘Banana’ Hettler: Experienced sportist.
David ‘Backhand’ Shirley: Has a great backhand (think racquet sports).
Sarah ‘State Champ’ Meckstroth: The badminton ringer.
James ‘Lumberjack’ Hron: Played basketball in high school.
Drag’n Thrust was pretty confident entering the tournament at 6pm Friday evening. Our first volleyball match ended in victory, and our confidence continued to climb. Then we played dodge ball.
We were matched up against a local high school team, captained by a guy named Danny. Danny had a sleeveless shirt on. He had a mullet. He had a red bandana tied across his head. The other guys on his team were fashioned the same way. Slightly less confident, we started on the back line, and the words “Dodge ball!” were yelled. The game was on.
I don’t know exactly where it went wrong for us. Maybe it was underestimating the speed of the balls. Maybe it was the experience the high school team had with dodge ball. Maybe it was in the fourth game, when we were actually winning, and I got a 50mph gator-ball to the chest thrown by a 15-year-old red haired girl, who probably weighed half what I do. No matter what we did or how much we tried, we got picked apart by this high school team. They were good.
Unfortunately, dodge ball was single elimination, so we never got a second chance. However, we used our saved energy well on Friday and all day Saurday, taking second in volleyball thanks to Shwa’s direction and Jess’ sets, as well as taking second in basketball. Sarah, David, and Anna managed to collect first, second, and thirds in badminton and ping-pong. By the end of regular play on Saturday, we found ourselves in first place with points!
The tournament finished Saturday evening with a small competition of floor hockey. Anna and David had played floor hockey before, but the rest of us had little experience with this sport. In our last game of the tournament we fell to an opponent we had beaten earlier in basketball, scoring a measly 4 goals to 11.
Besides playing lots of sports, I found a few things that made the entire tournament exciting. It was interesting how different aspects of Ultimate translated to areas of play in other sports. For example, our shooting in basketball was absolutely horrid, but our zone defense was excellent. In volleyball our athleticism was able to keep the ball alive, even if we were out of position. In dodge ball, well, we didn’t get hurt.
It was also very fun talking to and getting to know athletes there from other walks of life. We were wearing our red jerseys, and a lot of the adults we played against asked us what sport we played, and if we were really sponsored by Surly. Somehow word got out to the high school students that we had recently won the national championship. Many of them were astounded, and asked if we really were going to Italy to play in the World Championship.
Despite taking third, it was a great time. I had a lot of fun watching Sarah pick David apart during a badminton scrimmage, and playing sports I haven’t played in years. Although I am still sore on Monday morning, I would participate in a tournament like this again, especially since it supported Physical Education (check out the Merits of Teaching Ultimate in Physical Education). I think that is the most important reason I play Ultimate (and why I became a teacher) is to improve the community I live in. I am looking forward to more opportunities like this in the future.