On Saturdays they have pick-up where anyone with any skill level can come and play. So three Saturdays ago I went and played ultimate for a couple of hours, which got myself out of the apartment and meeting people -- double plus.
During the beginning of the game, I kept hearing people shouting "árboles, arboles!" (trees, trees) and "grafiti, grafiti" (graffiti, graffiti). I thought it was a name of a play or something, until someone else asked about it 15 minutes into the game. It was how they were calling the force! (In ultimate, you often choose to force the opponent to one side, either "home" (the sideline where your team and all your teams' stuff is) or "away," (the opposite sideline) while playing defense. The field where we were playing had trees on one side, and a wall of graffiti on the other side. This was interesting to me.
That Saturday, there was mention of a fall league on Thursday nights. If you were a socio (a paid member) of the group, you could play in the fall league, which started that Thursday. Wednesday night practices and Saturday pick-up are technically open for anyone, socio or not, but the team has to pay to reserve the fields, so if you regularly come they'd like you to become a socio.
I thought it'd be fun and good for me to join the fall league, so early that week I signed up and on Thursday I played my first game on team Río Aluche. Here's a summary of the first week's games (My team played in the Partido 1 -- the first game). There are four teams in the league (much, much smaller than MUFA. Not even comparable), so there are two 40-minute games each Thursday night.
At the end of an ultimate frisbee game in MUFA, the teams line up on the field and we walk in opposite directions towards each other, giving high fives and voicing "good game." Then, the teams have the option of doing a cheer for the other team, all part of the Spirit of the Game. In past teams, sometimes we do cheers at the end of games, sometimes we don't. If we do, it's usually a play on the opponent's team name, or something notable that happened during the game.
At the end of our first game that Thursday, we kind of walked around and gave unorganized high fives, and then the captains called us into a circle. Both teams mixed up so that everyone was standing between two people on the opposite team. Then everyone put their arms around each other, standing in a circle. The captain from my team spoke for a little bit, making comments about both teams, how we played, thanking everyone for a good game, that sort of thing. Then when he was done talking everyone clapped, then put their arms around their neighbors again while the other coach spoke. And then everyone clapped again. Then one team entered the circle, the other stayed on the outside, and by walking in opposite directions we were able to high five everyone. And then we played a quick game together, ninjas or something, which concluded my first fall league game.
Between that game and the next, there were emails going around about a tournament the weekend of the 21st in a small town an hour from Zaragoza (total 3.5 - 4 hrs from Madrid). It was a tournament where all levels could play, and the Quijotes wanted to bring as many people as they could. It wasn't clear how we would get there, when/where we would leave, nor the tournament schedule; but I decided to go. It would be a good way to meet more people on the team, a break in routine, and a good way to keep improving at ultimate.
To be continued with Part 2: Un torneo en Rivas