Since my first stay on the ship back in 2011, I've played ultimate frisbee with crewmembers from dozens of countries, with varying skill levels and language fluency; on different surfaces including concrete, sandy beaches, and dry and sometimes squishy muddy waterlogged soccer fields.
I remember in Sierra Leone, where we walked up bad-boy lane to the school up the road to play in a dusty field; for some reason I specifically remember one game on someone's birthday, every time that person (DC) caught the frisbee, Ali would yell "Happy Birthday DC". I remember thinking this community is really remarkable.
So many weeks I planned around the Friday frisbee game, because I knew that getting sweaty and dirty and sprinting around on the field in a competitive yet not too too competitive game was absolutely the best thing I could do for my emotional, mental, and physical health. I've left anger, frustrations, irritations, blood, sweat, and tears out there on that field. For me, it's been a healing game; an opportunity to practice patience, teaching others how to play; an opportunity to love this community in a different way and shape and time and place.
Last night was my last frisbee game; I will desperately miss this piece of this season. Thank you, Frisbee players, for welcoming me into the fold; for welcoming everyone into the game, for teaching me patience and how to lessen my competitiveness, at the same time as giving me a socially acceptable place to work out my irritations, aggressions, and still allow my competitive side to show up. I will always remember with fondness the Frisbee Friday sunsets, playing until we can hardly see; the stinky car rides back to the ship, the glorious shower afterwards, and the incredible community represented in the game.