I am one of the newest members of the Chiang Mai Ultimate community. Prior to joining the regular pick up games, I had touched a frisbee only handful of times—in grassy meadows on a sunny weekend afternoon or with friends at a barbeque. I equated frisbee with leisure, relaxation, and my general incompetence throwing a disc.
Ultimate seemed intimidating, a confusing new sport with new people and new rules that belied my previous conceptions of the sport. When a friend invited me to come for the afternoon, I hesitated, nervous about the new context and my lack of experience. I didn’t want to get in the way or slow the game down. As a life long life-long athlete and sports fanatic, most of my sports experiences grew out of games I’ve been playing since childhood. Little was ever entirely new. I played basketball and volleyball for my college in the U.S. and in leagues until I moved to Thailand.
In hindsight, my nerves seem unfounded. The people that I’ve met through Chiang Mai Ultimate manage to embody everything good about sport: they are component and driven but always welcoming and willing to share their sport. They are patient, they teach, and they answer questions. People are relaxed, unpretentious, and more importantly- the men and women who come out to play genuinely care about each other, the Ultimate community, and love the game.
Ultimate has also given me an opportunity to learn a new sport as an adult. The experience has been humbling, exciting, painful (with plenty of bruises to show for it!), and fostered the sense of progress that only being entirely out of your element can bring. I am so happy I made the decision to show up and try something new.
I still may not be able to properly throw a disc (yet)—but I’ll keep showing up, trying, and learning form a great group of new teammates and friends.