Photo by Burt Granofsky – UltiPhotos.com
The following is a dispatch provided by D.C. Current defensive handler Erik Salmi. The MLU veteran in his third season with D.C. gives an inside look at what players go through to get ready for weekend game days.
Technically, playing for the D.C. Current is a second job. It doesn’t feel like a job because it’s so much fun and I am passionate about ultimate. But it can be helpful to think of it as a job. Especially when you start to juggle the demands of your career with the prep work for each game, the physical training and the need to have a life (hi, girlfriend!). All of the sudden, it feels like you’re scheduling in a workout like you would a meeting.
Sundays After Game Day
The day after a game is usually an off-day. Some guys, if they had a bad game or even just a bad point or two, might take out their frustrations on the track or in the gym, but for the most part, a day off on Sunday is a welcome mental and physical rest day. Also it’s Game of Thrones night, duh.
Monday is a gym day. During the season, it can be tough to work in a good lift. You want to be fresh for both practice and for the weekend, making Monday the best day to get in the gym. I’m lucky enough to have a lifting partner in my fellow D-line bud John Agan. We meet after work and tackle one of two or three different workout plans, usually one that mixes upper body and leg work since time is so limited. The workouts typically last around 45 minutes, and we’re always dripping sweat and out of breath by the end.
Then it’s home to spend some time with my wonderful girlfriend and my dog, Daisy. Or more recently, rushing to get in front of a TV to watch the Capitals and Wizards make their playoff runs.
Our Strength and Conditioning Coach Lizzie Cavaungh has designed shorter workouts for (almost) every day of the week. A few times I’ve skipped one to play some pickup basketball, because that’s way more fun. Sorry, I’m not sorry, Lizzie.
Tuesdays are often when video is released from the previous week’s games, offering a great chance to either re-watch the Current game and study where I played well or where I could have been better, as well as getting a sense of how the other teams did.
I love practice. Every Wednesday we have a two-hour practice. It’s great to see everyone. It’s a little more relaxed than on game days, but after warm-ups, the coaches jam all they can into a busy two hours and things get very competitive. The two D-lines get their shots at the O-line and at each other. We work on team-specific goals typically – either issues we had from the last game or preparing for the coming weekend. There are some skill drills and scrimmaging, but a lot more might be focused on a specific situations or game plans.
If we chirp at each other during scrimmages or after plays, it all ends with the final huddle after practice. We’ve run ourselves ragged – some guys drive more than three hours each way to be at practice and others come straight from their day job to be here, meaning they first left home at 7 or 8 a.m. and won’t be getting home until closer to 11 p.m. Worth it.
If most guys on the Current are being honest, there are two guys you don’t really want to run a track workout with: Jeff Wodatch and John Agan. They’re both fast and they both work very hard on every single sprint. There’s no phoning in a workout when you’re running with Wodatch and Agan.
Lucky for me, Wodatch is my roommate and Agan lives around the corner. I’ve always got track buddies (hooray?). Thursdays or Fridays are usually running with (or more correctly, behind) Agan and or Wodatch followed by a good session of throwing the disc. You can’t throw the disc enough.
Home games: Wake up. Watch some video and review any matchups and notes. Eat a big breakfast.
Then usually my girlfriend and I will head out to do something in the city. It’s not fun to sit around all day and think about the game, because you can get in your own head that way. So we might go check out a museum exhibit or walk around Eastern Market to get brunch.
A few hours before the game, the “biker gang” meets up to ride to the stadium together.
This weekend, however, will be our first road trip. It’ll be an early wake-up to make it to the bus and a full day’s ride to Boston. Guys will nap, play games, read, watch something on an iPad or just chat. If the bus has a PA system we might get into some dramatic readings. We usually get to field with a few hours to kill, meaning some disc golf or trick shots are in order.
Then we play and after the game is finished, the next week’s work starts all over.