I played ultimate yesterday in my typical league. Even though our team eventually lost 15-13, I think I scored something like 8 or 9 of our points. Some of them I sky-ed over my defender, jumping up and snatching the disc at the highest point of my leap. A few I got because of great throws by my teammates, putting it to the open part of the field as I ran to the disc.
And I made one catch where time slowed down, inspired, no doubt, by my incessant consumption of sports on TV, where the slow-motion replay is a key device. My teammate had the disc about 10 yards out of the end zone. I made a poor cut, so I didn’t have much separation from my defender, maybe a couple feet, but my teammate decided to try to force the disc in there anyway with a hammer throw. It gets away from him, and it’s well behind me. My defender jumps and tips it further away from me. I’ve stopped, and jumped backwards at this point. And as I jump, time slows down. I see the disc start to float down, I see my hand reach out slowly to snatch the disc up away from the ground as I’m drifting horizontally towards it, I realize I shouldn’t land with the disc first because I might drop it, so I twist in mid-air to land on my back with the disc thrust triumphantly upwards, and time speeds up again.
It was a somewhat surreal experience – everything just stopped, and there was nothing in the world but me, floating through the air, and the disc spinning ahead of me. I can only remember two other occasions on which I’ve had it happen, so I think that makes this catch one of my top three most spectacular catches ever. The first time I remember it happening was in a Palo Alto hat tournament where the throw was terrible, several feet out of my reach in the end zone, but I dove and reached out full length to sneak my hand under the disc inches above the grass to grab it for the score. The other time was another one where it was way out of reach, and I just went to full extension layout with my left hand, grabbing it and tumbling several times.
So that was pretty satisfying. Even though we lost. Grr. Next week.
One thought on “Slow motion catches”
I have heard the perception of time slowing down as tachypsychia, typically in columns by the gunwriter Massad Ayoob, e.g., “He experienced, to greater or lesser degrees, the three most common perceptual phenomena that occur in incidents like these: tunnel vision, auditory exclusion and the slow-motion sensation of tachypsychia.” These three things, BTW, show up over and over in the incidents Ayoob investigates–including trained pros like FBI agents.