Coaches Corner

Endurance - by (who else but) Ricky Eikstadt

"Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success."

This is Earnest Shackleton’s 1914 recruitment ad for sailors to board the ship “Endurance” to become the first crew to reach the South Pole. These words could also serve as a description of MagnUM’s annual journey beginning each September and culminating with our college championship series participation. Although the 

Endurance was bound, crushed, and sunk by pack ice and the crew spent nearly a year stranded in the artic, MagnUM’s journey through the polar vortex of 2014 felt particularly similar. Each season begins with a search for volunteer athletes. Optimism is high. Joints and muscles are healthy. And everyone starts the semester with an ‘A’ in class. The joy and competition of Ultimate Frisbee sets the hook, just like an ominous sounding ad might hook an adventurous sailor. And then we set sail...

We become acquainted with the ups and downs of ultimate, spending long hours with teammates in the cramped quarters of hotel rooms, mini-vans, and Michigan dorms. Some wins, some losses. But early on, you see that prize on a distant horizon. And suddenly...

You’re trapped. Winter sets in. It’s dark. Your body aches. The Oosterbahn seems impossibly small and the stresses of school, ultimate, and family feel, well... crushing. And Michigan winter shows no mercy for weeks and weeks and weeks. And weeks.

Our salvation is the college series. Just when you can’t go on mentally or physically any longer, the competition and finality of the series rescues and invigorates your mind and body. We’re rescued by adrenaline masking the pain of months of workouts and practices. The sun finally shines high in the sky; unforgiving ice is now merciful grass. And the honour and recognition of completing the journey is in sight. MagnUM 2014 completes their journey in just a few days. Like the Endurance crew, we will have a great story to tell.