Today, USAUltimate indefinitely postponed the Youth Club Championships that were scheduled to take place this summer.
It is — without doubt or question — the only responsible choice at this point in time.
This hurts. Jakob was a strong candidate to make the Philadelphia U-17 YCC team. He’s one of the better young handlers in the region… and I’m not just saying that because I’m his dad.
In my 15 years of playing competitive Ultimate, I made Nationals three times – once in the College Division, and twice in the Co-ed (now Mixed) Division. I can tell you everything about those teams. I can tell you about the games…
In 1991, on the Void, going to the fields the night before in Wisconsin and getting us psyched up, us beating Carleton in pool play, the party after we’d been eliminated, the drives there and back with my teammates.
In 1998, WUPASS playing in *ridiculous* wind conditions and losing in the quarterfinals in a total up-wind / down-wind game. The excitement in playing in the first ever co-ed nationals. Coming all the way back from an ACL tear to make it to Nationals when I never really knew if I’d be able to play at that level.
In 2000, with NYCE, the sod fields that you could make shake if everyone jumped up and down at the same time, the incredible spirit of that entire tournament, as best exemplified by being part of a post-game spirit circle that ended in a marriage proposal.
All of it. And so much more.
These moments are fleeting. For every dominant athlete who gets to play at the elite level year in and year out, there are dozens of athletes who only get a few bites at the apple. I consider myself beyond lucky to have made it to Nationals three times as a player. I know great Ultimate players who never got to go. And there are kids who were going to experience Nationals for the first time this summer who now won’t be able to. Some will continue on and go on other teams in other years. Others, this might have been their best and only shot.
And yes, in the face of 300,000 deaths across the world, missing out on Nationals is not that big a deal.
And yet, it is.
We will never be able to measure all that we have lost.