Monday, August 14, 2006

Jackson Retrospective

This past weekend I travelled with my favorite ultimate frisbee friends on my favorite ultimate frisbee team, Tyro, to Jackson, Wyoming for Jackson's annual tournament. It takes about four and a half hours to drive from Salt Lake City to Jackson which makes this the closest tournament venue outside of Park City (which of course doesn't count since approximately 99% of the residents of Park City make the twenty minute commute down to Salt Lake in their SUVs everyday). Once in Jackson, the first thing you notice is that it is overrun with tourists. Apparently the possibility of sighting Harrison Ford and the opportunity to pay too much for a hotel room really draws a crowd. Having been through Jackson just a couple of months ago on my Grand Teton slash Yellowstone adventure, I was somewhat prepared for this. However, that was the beginning of June and this was the middle of August -- also known as peak tourist season.

I made the drive up to Jackson with F., M., and G. in F.'s Honda Element. For those not familiar with the Element, it is a big box with four wheels, a relatively fuel-efficient engine, and plastic everything else. It seats four comfortably and holds everyone's stuff no problem. Put together, this makes it pretty much the ideal frisbee road-trip vehicle. Fred is such a playa.

Since ultimate players are cheap bastards, the team decided that it did not want to get hotel rooms for this tournament, instead opting for camping. Upon arriving in Jackson, the second thing you might notice is that there are no available campsites in the month of August. Undaunted, we kicked up dust in a camp area until we found a flat spot big enough to park the vehicle and throw down some sleeping bags. Since the weather was fantastic (as it was for the whole weekend), I slept under the stars and not one insect or arachnid messed with me. And for all the Thermarest biggots out there, I got to use my new Big Agnes REM sleeping pad for the first time and I assure you that your Thermarest is a pile of dog crap compared to my new pad. But at least it was more expensive!

Saturday's pool play was pretty okay for Tyro. We held seed by going two and two, beating the two inferior teams and losing to the two [far] superior teams. You might not expect Missoula and Bozeman, Montana to field powerhouse frisbee teams, but, in fact, they do. And they each gave us a nice little spanking on Saturday afternoon.

I've found that my enjoyment of playing ultimate frisbee is highly correlated to my fitness level. If I can run, I can compete. If I can compete, the game is fun. I have been relatively injury free this summer and so my fitness level has gotten pretty sweet. I was able to compete well in Jackson, so playing was as fun as ever.

Sunday in tournament play, we got handled easily by the local Jackson team, pushing us immediately into the beer pool. They had a guy nicknamed "concussion" who at one point took me deep, skyed up with me shoulder to shoulder, knocked both of us down and he came up with the disc. To you, Mr Concussion, I yield. The beer pool is certainly Tyro's comfort zone and it showed. We took Steamboat Springs and then intimidated Missoula-B into a forfeit thus securing the beer-pool championship. By the way, speaking of beer pool, for the record Mike's Hard Limeade is almost as good a sports drink as bourbon. In Sunday's game two, half a bottle definitely helped bring on my second wind. It is only the darn carbonation that puts it a notch below bourbon on the alcoholic sports drink chart.

Other highlights of the weekend included: using the shower and pool facilities at the county recreation center; watching the Jackson police pull over a man who was slightly darker than the legal limit in Wyoming and detaining him for over an hour (we watched this from the deck of the restaurant where the party was held); extending my dominance at the "Wah" game by defeating a former WNBA player named Skyla in the butt-wrestling round; and listening to G. and M. introduce F. to 9/11 government conspiracy theories at breakfast on Sunday morning thus ruining an otherwise fine breakfast at Bubba's. For those unindoctrinated in 9/11 government conspiracy theories, this video is a good place to start. In the photo you can see, from left to right, G., F., M., and C. You can't see F.'s face in this picture because he has turned around to tell M. to stop terrorizing him with her 9/11 theories. Good times.

[update 8/30/2006: removed names to protect the innocent.]

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