Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Best of Betsy 2008

A quick foreword:

Starting around 1998, Betsy began writing "weekly emails" to the Beijing Ultimate community. These were memorandums that contained a bit of everything -- a look ahead, a look back, a funny anecdote or quote -- all underscored with the author's wit and charm.

Some of Betsy's earliest writings have been lost, but much, if not all, of her most recent work was recovered from a community forum. My job, as I saw it, was to pore through this abundance of primary source and pick out her best to give readers a glimpse of her genius -- and, if it may be said, her soul, which is best glimpsed through writing.

This project was not easy. Betsy, the first queen of Beijing, is no mere diarist, and as such I could not treat her work for what they appeared to be: message board postings on Google Groups. She is a legend, to say the least -- she has more engagements than Heidi Montag, a job more worthwhile than Joel Osteen's, a work schedule more demanding than Howard Kurtz's, a heart nobler than Warren Buffet's and a mind sharper than Alan Muth's -- and though we risk crossing into pretension by calling her a chronicler of days, it somehow seems appropriate.

Overdogs and underlings, average Joes and quidnuncs, sybarites, babbits and bon vivants, moobats and sots, ninnies and nymphets have all passed through and disappeared, but Betsy remains, sentinel of time with an all-seeing eye that radiates warm, life-affirming light. (Just ask any of her former beaus.) She is impressive not only for the profusion of her output -- striking for the consistency of its quality -- but also the diversity of her insight, from "joe and his post-coital monologues to himself" (9/18/08) to the fungibility of a term like "bafflegab" (4/30/08) and a heartfelt goodbye to Jason Cox (8/28/08). There's also an obsession with Matt Flynn, but we won't get into that.

A compilation of Betsy's greatest work finds literary parallel in translations of Homer and dissertations on War and Peace -- that is to say, achieved only through long hours of toil, yet still not as good as the original. There were other problems, attributable to imperfections of the adjudicator (I will raise my hand) and difficulties every critic must confront: how does one cull a Beatles discography for its best song? pick Virgil's best line? identify Sports Illustrated's "hottest" swimsuit model or the world's cutest baby? In all these cases there are too many candidates and too few points of separation. So keep in mind as you proceed that the following is only one man's opinion -- sort of like the picture, which is an approximation of what Betsy would look like if she were blond -- and that reasonable men can differ.

But I also ask you keep in mind that -- though this needlessly lengthy preamble would suggest otherwise -- in the end the answer as to Betsy's "best" is unimportant, because after all, who's better, Greta Garbo or Marilyn Monroe?* One can't go wrong with either.


  1. Pre- and post-Shanghai tourney, 6/17/08 and 6/24/08
  2. "lovepower, love power, lovepower!!!" 4/9/08
  3. Biggest Frisbee week of the year, kicked off with a ditty, 3/25/08


Which of the following is your favorite titcomb:

a) xtehn

b) vehro

c) rohre

d) qxhna

BEST UPCOMING EVENT (because it was mentioned the most often), 2/21/08


Jeju is the last weekend in April, the 26th and 27th. To get an idea of what it was like last year, check out this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SEd5iuCWzc

Big Brother is looking to send two plus teams. The hitch of course is that it's a gnarly nines tournament. everyone who went last year knows that the roster limit can make things tricky. But don't worry, we'll find room for anyone who wants to go. This tournament is too fun for anyone to miss. Look for more details about the tournament in an email tomorrow.


every week, betsy gets a lot of emails inviting her out on dates, complementing her on her leadership skills, asking her ultimate related questions, and wanting to know who she is. the mailbag is where she answers these questions. as always, these are real letters from real readers.

Letter #1:

dear betsy,

whatever happened to the committee that we've been hearing so much about? are they still in charge of beijing utlimate? what provisions do we have for succession of power?

the ultimate patriot,
robo gabe

dear rg,

betsy has been waiting for this question. beijing ultimate has abandoned its short lived experimentation with democracy faster than betsy abandoned her new year's vow of celibacy. instead, we've gone back to our old apathigarchal system. currently, the beijing ultimate line of succession is as follows:

1. betsy
2. jason cox
3. charmian lam
4. joe pellicano
5. gabe monroe

thanks for writing in gabe. we were looking for someone to fill in that final slot.


Letter #2:

dear betsy,

why does it seem like the only time i make it into the weekly email is in association with chip? i'm an individual. i have a distinct personality of my own. i want to be acknowledged for my own merits.


dear yin,

i have no idea what you are talking about.



The Weekly Rumor That Must Be True: Have you seen the movie Minority Report? Then you know that Tom Cruise played a cop from the department of Precrime who could discover criminals before they broke the law. Well, it turns out that Betsy has the same precognitive abilities, but in terms of future hook ups. Here's a preview of the juicy rumors you will be reading about this spring:

After their relationship goes down in flames, Julia is going to start hooking up with Shen, and Reid is going to be making time with Debbie (you'll meet her in late March).

Two nights before the Ratties, thinking the votes have already been tabulated, Sandy breaks her vows of abstinence and goes home with a visiting ultimate player from the Colorado School of Mines. She regrets the decision when she wins the Mousetrap award for being most likely to hook up.

Thinking that it was just going to be a one night stand, Barbie and Ryan are surprised to celebrate their 6 month anniversary in May.

Remember folks, you heard it here first.

BEST WEEKLY RUMOR THAT MUST BE TRUE, Part 2, 2/26/08 (edging out all rumors involving Julia, like the one where she makes out with Doc)

Many of you know that Ryan has a strict policy of never hooking up with anyone that has previously gotten with Zahlen. So observers watched with great interest as the two of them went head to head this sunday at frisbee. Both Zahlen and Ryan pulled out all the stops as they flirted incessantly with the frisbee newbie of the moment. It appears that Ryan has the early edge as he managed to wrangle a dinner invitation for sunday night. Stay tuned for future developments.

As an aside, it seems that neither Zahlen nor Ryan are aware that Gabe Wildeau dated the young woman in question last summer, when they were on the same summer league team.


The Monopisparacy


for you newbies, the weekly quiz is a game where betsy asks a few simple questions, and it's your job to provide the correct answers. as always, googling is prohibited. this week's winner will receive the last remaining bottle of award winning czech mineral water sitting in zahlen's fridge.

this week's category: celebrity jeopardy. remember you have to answer in the form of a question:

a) this color rhymes with urple.

b) this is the only month that begins with feb.

c) the beatles white album is this color.

as for last week's question,

barbie's lame response that this is 2008 and the oscars are for 2007 doesn't really constitute an answer, nor is it correct. but no one else was able to come up with the correct answer, so i am going to arbitrarily award this week's prize to ken su. congratulations! you've won a movie night courtesy of reid and julia.


Ed.'s note: These have included Calvin and Hobbes comics, the color orange, and an abomination to Ultimate players everywhere, the Frisbee-catching dog (that can catch Frisbees better than you). But here are Betsy's three best, in no particular order:

As Betsy once said, "don't take betsy for granted. she could disappear from your life without a moment's warning."

Have truer words ever been uttered?

*ANSWER: Neither. Betsy beats both of them hands down, in any competition -- beauty, trivia, wrestling -- in any kind of match -- bra and panties, evening gown, buck naked -- on any surface -- mud, water, bed.

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