Today was the Grass Roots Ultimate summer league tournament. I started playing in GRU in the summer of 1999, so this was my 20th summer league. During these past two decades, I’ve probably played in a total of nearly a hundred leagues. So you could say GRU has been a big part of my life during my time in Colorado.
My team this summer put up a .500 record; it seemed like every week we’d win a game and lose a game. We continued that tradition today, winning the quarter-finals on a dramatic universe point, but dropping the semi-finals to the team who eventually went on to win the championship. Regardless of the score, it was a great team and we had a lot of fun together. Plus, we looked really sharp in our fluorescent orange jerseys.
My co-captain for this final season was Brenda, who was also on my very first summer league team back in 1999. She and I became good friends, and we co-captained probably thirty teams in the intervening years. It seemed fitting to finish this journey with her.
Last fall, my friend Jordan let me borrow her sparkly pink skirt for our tournament games. Today, she wasn’t playing in the tournament but drove to the fields to let me borrow her skirt once again.
Then she gave me the good news: I can keep it! I’ve added it to my ultimate wardrobe (alongside maybe forty jerseys from over the years) and will pull it out as needed. When I came home wearing it, Laralee almost fainted with excitement. Actually, that’s not quite true– I think her actual words were something like “If I hadn’t already married you, seeing you in that outfit would’ve definitely killed the deal.”
At halftime, a group of friends came over from other fields to present me with a plaque. Yes, a plaque!
It’s a little hard to tell in the photo, but that’s a piece of turf glued onto the wood backing, with a bare footprint carved out of it on the left. Despite the cheesiness of it all, I was really touched.
I took the opportunity for some selfies with friends I ran across on the field throughout the day.
These are only a handful of literally hundreds of people I’ve become friends with during my years in GRU. I love this sport, but even more, I love the people I’ve met while playing it. What an amazing community.
I still have a few more weeks to play some pickup games, and I’ll be assisting new league coordinators as I transition out of the organization, so I’m not quite finished with GRU yet. But I’ve played in my last game. Thanks for twenty years, everyone.