Recently I took an UPA survey about college eligibility: when it starts, when it ends, what events count as exemptions to prolong your eligibility years, etc etc. There might've been a section on whether being in graduate school counts as part of your eligibility years. I'm so glad that I have had the opportunity to play ultimate in grad school. If it weren't for sMITe, I would be a lot less happy, a lot fatter, and a lot less sane (although that point is debatable).
People have been asking how many years of eligibility I have left since I was in my first year of grad school and their response has always been, "Really?! You have so many left!" or "You still have college eligibility??" Well, yes... I started playing ultimate during my senior year at Northwestern and I came straight to grad school. Now this is my fourth year in grad school and fifth and last year of college eligibility... so sad, and exciting!
I'm sad to think of what I'll do at the end of a frustrating day at lab when all I want to do is race back to MIT and run around the field and play ultimate with my teammates (my lab is at the VA Medical Center in Jamaica Plain and it takes about 40-45 min to get there). I'll miss the collaborative spirit that's part of college ultimate and such a big part of sMITe, especially in the fall. I feel like there's a very comfortable learning environment or aura if you will, during sMITe practices where all the returners teach all the rookies how to play. And it's okay if you misthrow or drop a disc or try hucking for the first time because you get excited when you see someone going deep for you (or is that just me...), you're a rookie and as long as you made a well-timed cut or you're patient with the disc, the returners will be impressed with you.
I'll also miss the series in the spring. It's super exciting to see how far the rookies have come since the fall and also how much the team as a whole has improved. In the last two years, there has been a lot of activity in the Boston-area college women's scene. There is a lot more competition now and teams really have to fight for those spots at regionals and nationals. I feel like the competition in this section/region has just started to heat up and this is my last year to participate in the action!
I've been thinking a lot about what I'm going to do during the school year when I can't play for sMITe anymore. MIT has a lot of different activities going on... I've thought about joining the crew team, to be a rower or a coxswain (but 6am practices!), or learning taekwondo or aikido (my brother did taekwondo when he was younger), or picking up tennis again, or ballroom dancing! Ideas anyone?
Anyway, I still have another year before I have to decide and in the meantime, I'm going to make the best of what I have left on sMITe.