Coach Dani Glass reflects on a packed and successful first day of Ultimate Peace Training Camp 2013.
The sounds of Galaxy Quest and evening free time out at the fields is just barely drowned out by the noise of that glorious air-conditioner above my head. After an evening of teaching and running “Frisbee Knockout,” it is nice to sit inside in the quiet for a few spare minutes while I type out these words. In a few minutes I’ll return to the field for our group “Goodnight,” during which the CIT on my team, Yara, will be singing to relax us all. She tends to be quieter than others, so I’m very excited to see her step out and have the eyes of the camp upon her. We have just finished an evening full of stations of Frisbee games, including “Texas,” in which a group of players stand in a circle and everyone simultaneously throws a Frisbee across the circle, hoping for catches. We played “Frisbee Bowling, ran obstacle courses, and played small games against coaches. I’m excited to talk to the other station leaders to see how successful their domains were. In a society where basketball is played relatively infrequently, the game of “Knockout” was a bit difficult for campers to understand, but with the help and facilitation of other staff members, we were able to communicate the rules and competitive nature while the campers played. Most groups came to understand after a few run-throughs, and it seemed as though they enjoyed it. I can’t say it was the most success with a game I’ve ever had at camp, but I also think it was nice for the campers to try a new game.
I’ve just gotten back from the fields again (Yara did a wonderful job singing) and am writing in between sorting out first-night dorm questions and encouraging campers to get in bed. It’s a long process, but I feel lucky because they’re good kids, and we all can relate to that first night excitement of camp, sharing a room with friends, and having a few days away from normal everyday life. And a day away from normal everyday life it was indeed; the campers arrived before lunch, and after some throwing on the quad while we waited for everyone to arrive, we headed to the auditorium for some introductions and to meet those with whom we were going to be spending the week. Each team made flags to represent our team colors and names – mine is the ferocious Maroon Mamas. We discovered some quiet artists on our team and decorated our flag proudly. After lunch we had our first real practice – more than icebreakers and name games. The coaching teams were able to gauge the skill levels and experience of our players, and run through throwing, catching, and cutting drills. I have high hopes for our team to come together, both in skill and in chemistry. It’s hot, and they were tired by the end, but they seemed to be having a good time and were working hard, especially when we incorporated live action.
I think the favorite of the afternoon was our first Dinosaur point. The kids had no idea what we were talking about at first – T-Rex and Pterodactyl are difficult to translate, unsurprisingly – but once they got the idea it was all good from there. We had a few practice throws, and then the two teams – T-Rexes versus Pterodactyls – took the field, cleats and all. The first few throws were a bit iffy, but they got the hang of it. The cuts were a bit scrambled, but I guess that can only be expected when nobody knows where the throws will end up! They had been a bit tired, but our Dinosaur keepaway brought out the smiles and giggles. It was a great transformation to watch; they began pretty skeptical, looking at us coaches like we were crazy (though now that I think about it, that’s probably not an unreasonable response – we were making them run around looking like dinosaurs, after all), but after a few minutes they began to get the hang of it. We saw some decent throws, and it definitely worked on the wrist snap. But more importantly, it made the team laugh together. We got some Ultimate out of it, no matter how silly it seemed, but we also built the beginnings of our network as a team. Nothing brings people together like being in embarrassing or awkward situations, right?
All the campers have been in bed with the lights out for a while now, so it’s time for me to shower up and do the same. We have a long morning of practice tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to seeing the steps our Mamas will take. Our “Modern, Awesome, Marvelous, Attractive, Super Mamas, as our cheer goes.