By the time you are reading this, you will have taken part in your first SCAB practice. Hopefully you got your first taste of the joys of playing ultimate as well as belonging to this incredible group of guys. I’m writing this letter to you all in hope that it will not be your last.
Around this time last year, I too had my first SCAB practice. Like your’s, there was a sea of new players I had to compete with. By the time we were ready to go to Las Vegas, only Cheese, Maverick, Bucket, Afro, Top-Shelf, FedEx and I remained. Over the next few weeks, many of you will decide that ultimate is not your sport, or that you simply cannot make the time commitment. That’s perfectly fine. For those that do like ultimate, and the people who make up the SCAB community, I would like to share some words of advice.
We do really mean everything we say when we wax poetic about SCAB. However, we do sometimes forget to tell you about the tough parts. If you were to take the informational meeting as gospel, anything short of the greatest experience of your lives would be a disappointment. I’m sorry to inform you that the beginning isn’t all blue skies and idyllic male bonding.
Learning an entirely new sport is hard, and as self-conscious nineteen and twenty year olds, you will be aware of how awkward you will look while learning it. You’ll be frustrated as you struggle to throw a flick that doesn’t wobble worse than a drunk freshman. You’ll be confused when we tell you to cut to the “breakside” or mark “no around”. The learning curve will be steep, and you’ll be inundated with advice from returners at every opportunity. Do not get discouraged. Have patience, and understand that all of your teammates want to you to succeed. If you put forth the time and effort, you will improve as an ultimate player, I promise.
Of course, ultimate is only part of what SCAB has to offer. SCAB is a great group of guys who you will come to know and love off the ultimate field. Put the emphasis on “will come”; it will not happen right away. You guys are newcomers to a well-established culture and network of friends. While all the returners welcome your presence, do not take it personally if we seem more interested in talking amongst ourselves than reaching out to you all. Don’t try to make us like you; just be yourself and we will love you. One of the great things about SCAB is the diversity of personalities. As long as you don’t come off as fake, you’ll find a home in SCAB.
As you get assimilated into SCAB culture, you will probably find yourselves slotted into the role of little brother. You’ll buy upperclassmen Bronco, pick up the cones after practice, and do all the other things (wink wink) that get passed down to the rookies. For some of you, being a little brother is old hand, while for others, who are used to being the oldest child- like me- it will take some getting used to. Try to embrace the role as best you can, you only get to be a rookie once (flawless logic, I know).
One of the most important parts of your rookie experience will be getting a nickname. I wouldn’t blame you if you were the tiniest bit worried about getting a terrible nickname—I was too. You can exhale as no one on the team has a blush-worthy nickname. If you embrace your nickname and take ownership of it, it’ll become cool, even if it’s something as simple as ‘Crust’ or ‘Bucket’. It’ll become part of your SCAB identity and a symbol of acceptance into this family.
Even if we do not always outwardly act as such, we do hope you chose to become a permanent member of the SCAB family. We recognize that you guys are the future of SCAB, the boys to whom we will pass the torch, and the men who will one day lead SCAB. But for now, get used to picking up cones.