Sunday, April 20, 2008
Spring Reign 2008
Having been to the country's biggest Ultimate Frisbee tournament for the last four years, I thought I had seen every kind of weather possible. At this huge sports field complex on the banks of the Skagit River in Burlington Washington there have been frigid north winds coming down from Canada, thunderstorms that would roll through like freight trains, gale-force winds, hail, and of course, rain. But after a pleasant first day of the event, which drew teams from as far away as central Canada and San Bernadino California, on Sunday, we were about to "make history" as long-time Ultimate Coach Ben Goldfarb predicted as the day began.
I woke up at about 630 this morning at the Cocusa Motel, where Savi and I had stayed Saturday night. With yesterday's prediction of good weather, I made a pot of coffee, not even thinking to check outside. I finally peaked outside as it was getting lighter and was shocked to see the motel grounds covered in white, with the tropical blue of the swimming pool glistening in the snowy courtyard. Wet snow was coming down hard and piling up at a somewhat alarming rate, at least as far as the tournament was concerned. I walked to the nearby grocery store in a near blizzard, not believing this most unusual weather for April 20. As everyone says whenever the weather is unusually cold, "Must be global warming."
A couple hours later, the snow let up and some blue sky showed, but the damage had been done. The fields had an easy 3-4 inches of snow and it wasn't long before all the consolation games had been cancelled. Indeed, just a few of the championship bracket games were played before the tournament was cut short. Conditions, as one could imagine, were horrible. Frozen fingers, treacherous footing, indistinct boundary lines. Still, as is the spirit of Ultimate, players remained upbeat and made the best of it. Dozens of snowmen were made, huge balls of snow were rolled behind cars as a prank, and when the sun came out, sunscreen was applied with winter gloves.
It was unfortunate for the hundreds of friends and family who had driven to Burlington, only to find most of the games cancelled, but for those of us already there, it was a wacky wonderful day that we'll remember for a long time to come.