Hope, Spirit, and Circular Plastic

I feel God put me on this earth to share stories, and that is why this post is a long one! If you stay with me until the end, thank you. If the writing is longer than you have time for right now, thank you for visiting and sharing my little corner of the internet for however long you are here. πŸ™‚


My ultimate (flying disc) journey had many ups and downs. When I started playing I had no idea how much joy throwing and catching round pieces of plastic could be –including the joy of landing in the zone and scoring a point! And this joy of playing the game was just the beginning!

During my first year playing, the immense fun of the game kept me intrigued and keen. Mostly I played in social leagues and pickup games, but as soon as I’d learnt to throw a forehand better than my backhand – after nine months intensive practice! – I sought to play more competitively. Having been a soccer goalkeeper for fifteen years, I had a good understanding of defensive positioning and knew the importance of effective and timely communication.

Little did I know, wrapped up in all this was a deep enjoyment for learning, adhering to, and sharing the rules of sports! Ultimate, as a self-refereed sport, means my keenness to understand the rules, and keep up with them as they change, comes in handy. (As a relatively new sport the rules are consistently being updated to improve the game, so as a players I need to keep up!)

In the next ten years, I represented New Zealand twice, once on a men’s team and once on a mixed team, and I played many mens and many mixed tournaments throughout New Zealand. Over this time I realised I enjoyed playing mixed ultimate more. To explain one reason why:

Ultimate is a non-contact sport. What ‘non-contact’ means to players is interpreted differently, from the level you’d expect playing a game of chess, all the way up to the grappling and jostling with each other like basketball. In games and tournaments of mixed ultimate I get to play with all my friends, regardless of gender, and I also found the level of contact to be more akin to my interpretation of non-contact: making every jump, dive, and bid for a disc with the intention of avoiding any contact.

Of course, like anyone playing high level sport, at times I failed. A small number of times I unintentionally caused injury. This is not ok, but I learn. Every time I make a mistake I try to ensure I don’t make that same one again. I think this is true of most ultimate players, the intention to play safer when having erred.

So, over my eighteen years of ultimate I have won the New Zealand Men’s Ultimate national title four times. A great achievement, which involved much hard work each time. But up until this year at the New Zealand Mixed Ultimate nationals I had placed 2nd to last, 5th, 3rd twice, and 2nd. On a few of those teams I felt at times I had let myself down in terms of level of play and demeanour. Sometimes I had not listened to opposition players perspectives, and sometimes I had not listened to my own sense of justice, that a call I’d made was unfair because the outcome of a play wasn’t what I wanted it to be.

Over the past four years I have worked on being a better active listener in my life as a whole, and in particular during the intensity of a game of ultimate. I have tried to communicate effectively from the sideline to my team on the field, and encourage players from all teams, not only my own.

The most recent World Club Champs were earlier this year in July, in Cincinnati. I trialled and was selected for the mens team representing Wellington, New Zealand, and had decided they were going to be my swansong where I gave everything I had, before hanging up my cleats. At least for a while in the competitive scene. WUCC didn’t go as planned (read: Covid) so I was left feeling deflated. I wanted one more attempt at a competitive tournament, knowing this would require gym sessions, team training, and extra practice to keep my throwing sharp. Lo and behold, I was invited to play with a club which from the outside looked to value fun, inclusive, and high level ultimate. Named ‘Huripari’ (after a former team-mates bilingual dog), it seemed a great fit. After a few trainings I knew it was. Good people, good ultimate, and playing with the intention of upholding the spirit of the game at all times.

Awesomely, fittingly, perhaps better than I could have written the script, all the practice paid off! For the team and for me! I am proud of how I played, including the spirit with which I played. Playing hard and fair has allowed me to feel a greater sense of achievement, at finally winning the New Zealand Mixed Ultimate Champs, in 2022, after my ultimate playing career turned eighteen years old! Playing the best ultimate we could, with great spirit throughout the tournament, coming together as a team on and off the field, is just …

… awesome. There are no words (in English) which I feel completely capture how fulfilling it felt.

Thank you Huripari. For being an amazing team around me, and reminding me I was an integral part of the team – every player was. Thank you to Huri Puppers, our second team that trained hard with us and did themselves proud at the tournament too.

And thank you, dear reader, for being part of this ultimate journey of mine – the sport part and the life part.

Keep on keeping on being awesome.



13 thoughts on “Hope, Spirit, and Circular Plastic

    1. Hamish says:

      Thank you very much, Cheryl! ❀️ A very Merry Christmas to you and family! I will be more active here in the new year and very much look forward to reading more of your poetry. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  1. K.L. Hale says:

    I’m so proud and happy for you, Hamish! 18 years of wins, losses, wisdom, friendships, and a legacy of love! What a way to end! That circular plastic has given you opportunities to share so much! God bless you my friend! Sending blessings and hugs this season and each day!πŸ’šπŸŽ„πŸ™πŸ»

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hamish says:

      Thank you, so very much. 🧑 This blog and the beautiful connections I have made here are because I started the blog as a way to record and process emotions and thoughts during ultimate tournaments!

      Next year I will be more active here again and I look forward to reading more of your updates and encouragements. 😊

      With more grace and love than I have on my own (God’s provides for us all there though) thank you for your encouragement, your confidence in God, and your courage to share. God bless you and your family this wonderful Christmas season. πŸŽ„ πŸ™ ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. K.L. Hale says:

        You’re so welcome, my friend! πŸ’• I’ve been reflecting on why I wanted to start writing, too. It’s been only 3 years since I began blogging, but the words have been in my heart and soul my entire life. The connections here came at a crucial point in my life.
        I hope to be more active too, Hamish. The treatments can be hard on me, thus, keeping me from being here. I thank you for your encouragement and friendship as well. It’s just so cool to meet someone across the globe and share the love of Christ and life! God bless you and yours too my friend! πŸ’šπŸŽ„πŸ™πŸ»

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hamish says:

      It has been a journey, and I am thankful for God being there every step of the way!

      God is leading me to married life (February 4th) which is very exciting! Intertwining two stories, and sharing joy with our families and friends as we do. God is also leading me to finish writing my novels, to share stories of hope through adventures and obstacles achieved and overcome. Enjoyable stories, with one my aims to remind us all of the beauty in caring for others with our own gifts, and that we can’t overcome obstacles in our path alone.

      How are you this Christmas season, Gary? I will be more active here in the new year and look forward to again keeping up with the beautiful photos and stories you share. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gary Fultz says:

        I and our household are doing well during this winter season so far. We have a couple feet of new snow to deal with and very cold weather coming, but we are as prepared as we can be.
        You have a lot of life changing plans. exciting. Glad God is leading and not an after thought.
        Take your time catching up…glad you are working on the book as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Cathie says:

    Murray and I are very proud of you and what you’ve achieved- so far!!!. The future beckons and we look forward to journeying along with you and Jessie in whatever life looks like. You’ll be pleased to know we watched the Haripari game from the YouTube link.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hamish says:

      Thank you for your words of kindness. ❀️ It has been a worthwhile journey, and I look forward to the next season, continuing life with Jessie, our families and friends, sharing more stories of written word, musical magic, and outdoor adventure.

      Thank you for watching the game, and thank you for your support of Jessie and I.

      Meri Kirihimete to you and Murray. 😊


    1. Hamish says:

      Thank you Navin, very much. It is always good to hear from you. 🧑 I look forward to reading more of your poetry as we embark into the year that will be 2023. 😊

      How are you finding yourself as this year draws to a close?

      Liked by 1 person

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