html xmlns="" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: On playing catch.

Monday, March 19, 2007

On playing catch.

With the long evenings, I want to play catch more than ever. Playing catch is so pure, such a complete activity. Everything about it is right. It brings you to a park where lots of people are doing lots of things. You can adjust it to fit your mood and your energy. You and your friend play catch together, with some attention to each other and some attention on the disc and some leftover attention on the light and the clouds.

Catch usually starts out the same, walking together to your field, flipping a disc. Then someone goes out and the first throw is up. You send it back, maybe off-target for a few throws, until your arm and your body loosen up and you find the motion. After a while your breath comes easy and you reach out for the disc without thinking about it so much. Maybe you start to take a couple steps to catch something overhead and maybe you want to stretch it out even more. So you back up and overthrow your friend, making him jog for a throw. Maybe you point and start to jog before the throw, telling your friend where you want the disc. Some throwers will send it to you and take off running; you catch, turn, send it ahead of him and take off, ‘til you’re both running the whole time.

It is so basic, but there’s so much potential in every throw. You might make an overhead snag that spins you around. Or look all casual when you send a cool, chest height backhand the length of the field to drop into his hands. Maybe you’ve been working on a big arcing throw and he only barely has to step to catch it. Or, maybe, you got to talking and completely miss a catch that bounces off your hands. But it is just catch! Pick it up, say that you’d have caught that in a game situation, and send him a hammer.

After a while you shorten the range, walking closer between the throws until you’re easy talking distance. Then you chat about your day, while you’re throwing in rhythm. Catch with a clapping sound, flip the disc over for a forehand, step and throw it. Talk and laugh while your body takes care of the catching and throwing. Vary the throws if the conversation lags, so you still have something to do. You can play games, too. Chris’ll play catch, but he’d rather play three-flies, so as soon as we can find a third he comes over to post me up and try to take my discs. He’s got hops, but that isn’t always enough. You can play flutterguts and laugh at your goofy tries to catch one-handed. Or you can decide you’d rather check out the volleyball players and set a golf hole all the way over there. There’s so much evening and the sky is so high and you have a friend and a disc and nothing better to do.


Blogger Erin said...

I did this very thing with four friends, all of whom were Ultimate veterans, yesterday. The experience reminded me that I need to learn how to throw outside of a group, or from non-Ultimate players. I don't know how to do any of those things you describe, and only get the disc to where I intend to aim it about half, maybe two-thirds of the time. If I had more experience, I think I would feel more like you do about a game of catch. Next time I'll have to get some one-on-one schooling.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I would teach you, sugar.

5:06 PM  
Blogger Erik said...

I did this on spring break, but it's sadly still too cold here for about a month...

5:35 PM  
Blogger Dubin said...

When I was about to go out on a first date with TJ, I confessed on the phone that I couldn't huck a frisbee. I was surprised he still wanted to go out with me. I said, no, really. I CAN'T EVEN huck a frisbee. I dunno, go figure.

5:56 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

TJ is a good man to look past that.

5:59 PM  
Blogger Noel said...

You make me want to move to California. We had snow last night.

4:11 AM  
Anonymous jon said...

beautiful....this post, like throwing a disc at sunset, is just right...

5:18 AM  
Blogger bryn said...


8:14 AM  

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