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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Frisbee enlightenment: Your throw isn’t everything

<rning: this column will talk about frisbee. I’m sorry, I know you thought you would at least be able to escape it in the viewpoint section of the Carletonian. I promise it’s just a method to talk about something much less bland.

Pete Kerns has this t-shirt that says “the way you do anything is the way you do anything”. Yay college! Following that logic, the way I treat throwing a frisbee (which has probably been my #5 most time-consuming activity at Carleton) should probably tell me a lot about myself. So I wanna talk about that.

I think learning how to throw a frisbee follows a standard learning process: we watch other people do it, get a loose idea of how it should work, practice it ourselves, and gradually get better at it. Some people pick it up faster than others, sometimes it’s frustrating, a lot of times it’s fun and rewarding, and eventually we get comfortable with it and stop learning as quickly, like riding a bike. And then some people (or at Carleton, a lot of people) learn how to do it way, way better.

Throwing a frisbee has been pretty important to me. Last year, trying out for GoP, it was something small to obsess over, something I could constantly work on and figure out to help me make the team. Although I made it and I’ve gotten much better at throwing, the way I treated it then has stuck with me. I still approach it almost scientifically, breaking down the entire motion into small variables, constantly experimenting, working towards a better understanding of the mechanics. It’s usually not automatic, rather something I’m always consciously tampering with.

But now, I realize I’ve always treated throwing a frisbee as if there’s a best way to throw and that I can teach myself how to do it, no matter how weak and inexperienced I am compared to the people I try to emulate. This is stupid, though. I’ve spent two years restlessly trying for unclear, probably unreachable ideal, frustrating myself because of my blindness to my misconceptions and misguided effort. Although I’m a decent thrower, I haven’t been focusing on really understanding what is important: getting the disc safely to my teammate, being reliable and consistent. Throwing is really just a small piece of the much bigger pictures of being a good ultimate player, of being part of a team, of finding fulfillment in something.

More often than not, I think I’ve approached most things in the same way I have throwing, be it interacting with someone or deciding how to spend twenty minutes of downtime. I jump into it energetically, without much concern or consideration. It sucks, and it explains a lot about me.

A lot of this is just taking the whole smarter, not harder thing to another level–even when we think we’re doing smarter, not harder, there is a bigger picture we’re not looking at. It’s hard to know when we’re frustrating ourselves, especially with the annoying way the end of the term at Carleton takes our attention away from the most obvious things in front of us. But hopefully taking a step back and distancing ourselves from each individual paper and final, those knots in our stomachs will ease up a little bit. It’s all small.

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