Monday, June 13, 2011

Ultimate Champions

There’s a joke in Japan “entrust your son or daughter, or grandson or granddaughter if you want to be Number l in anything in Japan or worldwide.” I lived to see the joke coming true, to my very happy surprise. I shouted, “Banzai! Banzai” (Hurray, Hurray)! She did it.

This Memorial Day weekend in May brought me fantastic news that my granddaughter’s Ultimate Frisbee team won the U.S./Canada Ultimate Championship in Boulder, Colorado. My daughter traveled there from California with a group of parents who rooted for their daughters and witnessed the moment of victory and domination over the 20 discreet women’s teams, including Michigan, Stanford, North Carolina - Wilmington, Ottawa, Washington, etc. Colorado was chosen as the central location of the U.S./Canada for the meet.

I have traveled to Coors in Golden and the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, Colorado. Had I known there was going to be a tournament with my granddaughter, I would have been there at any cost.

Although my wife and I now live in Japan, we often visit my daughter’s family, and were able to watch my granddaughter Alina’s growth in athletic competitions. In her high school days, my Alina was a cross-country runner, and I saw her compete in the high school league events in various places in California. I also saw her compete in track and field.

We were thrilled when Alina was accepted by many University of California affiliated Universities: Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, and Irvine. It was a tough decision for Alina to choose Santa Barbara, as it is the closest one to her home, but its chemical engineering department is one of the best programs in the nation. I thought she might drop long distance running and concentrate on her studies.

During our last trip to San Diego in 2009, Alina invited my wife and I to observe her frisbee game competitions for two-days at the UCSD campus field in La Jolla. It was our first experience to see the kind of game in which she was involved, and we learned the game basics, glossaries, simple dos and don’ts. One of the impressive codes is self-refereeing and the spirit of the game. No referees are around and each player (7 players on the field) are bound with a high ethical conduct of self-judging.

Frisbee itself has existed since the 1940’s. People say Yale students started it all by throwing pie trays from the bakeries.

Widespread these days are canine disc competitions, but humans were first establishing the “ultimate” form of sports, with a lot of running, requiring physical stamina like a tri-athalon athlete, plus aerodynamic throw & catch techniques, as well as strategic planning and tactics. It is more brains than brawn.

The name of the Alina’s team is the Burning Skirts and we liked the girl’s end of the game cheer and chanting to keep up morale and team spirit.

Alina gave us a souvenir frisbee disc of which she designed the graphics: a picture of a twirling dolphin, with a frisbee on its nose, and a shark gasping with his jaws wide open. This now hangs on our bedroom wall.

Best 10 out of 200 collegiate women teams in 2010 and 2011 listed as below.

1 comment:

Paul Dion, STL said...

Congratulations, Alina. Winning is euphoric, not just for the players but for their grandparents as well. I hope you've read Rio-san's account. You'll see what I mean.
Signed by "Not yet a grandfather."