Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Oklahoma trip

Wisps of air perpetually shoot through and along the side panel of the car door as my hand coasts flippantly through the billions of air molecules. The feeling of the wind coursing through my hair is one of the most tangible episodes of freedom I have. As the sun looks on from away and above, me and my two favorite allies head southwest to brave America's interstate highways and experience a unique journey to a place only one of us has been before.

Air conditioning, driving music, a full tank, a bite to eat, no shoes, no parents, no bosses, no schoolwork, no problems. We pass cars to show them who's boss. We alternate turns sleeping in the backseat, driving, and riding shotgun. We lament our lack of preparation as we scrounge for solid directions, bereft of a fully functional GPS and with no correct Mapquest directions printed. The countryside is dark at night, and lively in the day.

Our destination is a fence, on the other side of which is a massive clearing of grass. There are woods to our right, a dead end in front of us, our freshly traveled path still glowing with the remnants of its metaphorical blaze. This is Oklahoma. You've made it. Now turn around.

A Frisbee is a fascinating object. Much like a kleenex or a band-aid, it is actually something else. Frisbee is the name of this toy Wham-O came up with. Referred to simply as a disc by its manipulators, the frisbee is the sole purpose of our trek. Without it, I would have been home this weekend.

The true destination of our trip was yet another vast clearing. This one in which hours upon hours of Ultimate Frisbee (referred to as Ultimate due to the aforementioned brand thing) were played. As games went on, Classic and I occupied ourselves trying to occupy ourselves. After long hours, we succeeded in this battle, as Conor took up the task of impressing his peers and higher-ups in the frisbee community.

Overall, the game strives to be fun. It provides a previously untouched niche that ties together the laid back and the competitive, separating sport and serious in a way very few games do. Ultimate is a community. The game has very, very few fans, merely because if you like the game, get off your ass and play it. "Community" goes beyond a game to 13 points. "Community" stretches throughout the course of the entire weekend, with free beer, rampant pot smoking and friendliness and sociability. I came here with little more to do than to judge these people, and left with little more choice than to  respect them. I also left sunburnt.

As we left Tulsa, diving deeper into the state of Oklahoma to Conor's home city of Norman, I admired the landscape and the 75mph speed limits. Eventually we came to Conor's house and relaxed. We did this for a period of over 24 hours. It was more like 44 hours. I got to know some of Conor's frisbee friends (because "Ultimate friends" is too complimentary for a group of people that don't belong to me). I liked them, and can hope, free of the threat of consequence, they liked me too.

We left Norman on a day and began driving. Eventually, we realized how ridiculously far away our endpoint was from our point of departure, and all of eight hours later, we parked in Columbia, Missouri, outside a sports complex in the middle of MU's campus. Volleyball was played. I saw a couple friends of mine. It was nice. In this city we slept. We awoke bright and annoyingly fucking early, and drove home to Springfield. I, in the back seat of the car, slept for the first time all trip, drifting off as we left Columbia, coming to as we headed down Veterans Parkway into the heart of Springfield.

I got about half of my things out of Conor's car (leaving behind two pairs of shoes, a pair of shorts with my keys and wallet in them, and my phone) and went inside. There I saw my brother and mom. I went to sleep. When I woke up, I was still home.

How was the trip to Oklahoma? Good, thanks for asking.

--Eliot Sill

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