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The Definitive Guide To Sobriety At Wildwood

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Photo: Paul Andris – UltiPhotos.com[/caption]

This article was written by Pat Holland.

Most Ultimate players living on the East Coast have been looking forward to this weekend for the past 360 days: Wildwood, baby! A weekend of beach ultimate, friends you haven’t lost touch with, harsh reminders of why you’ve lost touch, and drunken debauchery.

Wildwood and drinking go hand-in-hand. But what if you’re like me, a sober ultimate player making the annual pilgrimage to Wildwood? What is there for us?

Plenty. You just need to know where to look. Below is my unsolicited advice, in no particular order.

Non-Alcoholic Beer

My uncle tells me this is a crutch. But he’s never tried to participate in a beer-in-hand Spikeball game with a Nalgene full of water. You look like a chump.

The best part of drinking O’Doul’s (or your preferred NA beer) isn’t the flavor. God, no. It’s the fact that while everyone else is covering up with coozies, or your way-too-intense teammate’s brand new Sand Sock, you can freely sip your ice-cold “lager” while the Draconian Fun Police™ (paid for by your bid fee!) can’t do anything about it. Probably.

When you buy your beer, or drink it on the sideline, there’s always going to be one comedian that says some variation of “O’Doul’s? Ha! That’s the mark of an alcoholic!” Give him (it’s always a guy) a high five, 'cause he’s pretty clever, coming up with that one on his own. You don’t tell him that of course you are an alcoholic, that’s why you’re buying O’Doul’s, you moron. Don’t ruin his day by making him feel like an asshole.

Window Shopping

As much as it's played for laughs in sitcoms (I’ve been binge-re-watching Friends since season 1 was released on DVD), going to a party where people will be drunk and vulnerable with the express intention of hooking up with them makes you a sexual predator. Don’t do that. But feel free to walk around the Bolero (or your buddy’s house party that’s going to be “totally off the hook, bro, I promise”) leering at anyone and everyone until 3AM, just don’t actually smoosh faces with anyone. It’s not creepy. Your mileage may vary.

Pokémon Go

Face it, you’re gonna spend half your time on the beach trying to get your 400 Magikarp candies anyway, so you may as well just double down and skip the fun parts of the weekend anyway. While your college friends that you haven’t seen since last Wildwood get drunk at the Bolero, you can walk the boardwalk by yourself and get that sweet, sweet XP. Camp a lure, drop a Lucky Egg, and catch and evolve everything that comes by. Hatch those 10km eggs you’ve got sitting in your inventory. If you level up enough times, maybe the tears won’t come.

Play Ultimate

Nobody goes to Wildwood for the ultimate. But since you’ve got nothing else going on, be that tryhard on your team (they all have one) and go all out. You can drink out of the trophy when you win your bracket on Sunday. Just make sure you go first, so it’s not contaminated with real beer.

Originally published at: http://ultiworld.com/2016/07/29/definitive-guide-sobriety-wildwood/

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1 Like

Thanks so much for writing on this topic! The ultimate communities that I’ve been a part of have had pretty heavy drinking cultures, but I don’t drink and find it uncomfortable when most others around me are not only drinking but have made drinking the center of interaction. One of the great things about ultimate is that people from many walks of life come to the community (though we do lag behind many other sports in terms of socioeconomic, educational, and racial diversity). This goes for nondrinkers and light drinkers, too! I’m not saying that ultimate players shouldn’t drink just because some people aren’t into it (or can’t participate because their sobiety is a matter of life and death!). I’m just saying that making it the CENTER POINT of interaction (instead of, say, ultimate, or other ways of forming human connection) makes participation in this great sport of ours more challenging, more limited, less rewarding, and less likely. Thanks again for speaking up for those who fear doing it themselves!