Monday, June 25, 2007

Boston Invite and Peaking

So this past weekend was Boston Invite. This was definitely an interesting weekend filled with ups and downs, cheers and jeers, and, best of all, stories.

You Can skip down cuz this next bit is all my club team

I guess I should start off with the level of play that we, Colt .45, exhibited this past weekend. First off, I really thought that we were over seeded and I was right. I was afraid we would go 0-3 in a really tough pool and we did. First game was alright. Came out hard against New Noise. Seemed like the beginning and end of the game were good, just the middle had some not great play. Ended up losing 12-15. Changed fields, and wind direction and a cross wind went straight into an upwind/downwind game which was not good for us considering we are a young team with young throwers and cutters and wind just fucks that all up. Seems like every team I have ever played for struggles in the wind. I suppose that either means that I suck, or I just play for young (grip and rip) squads, maybe a bit of both. In any event Mephisto had their way with us. Great team, kinda call heavy, but then again so am I. Couldn't get our zone O to work and everything down wind just kept going out the back. Red Tide followed, same story, different verse. I really get chills up my spine when I hear "Yeah TIDE!!" but they were a good team. Their #2 is a great player. So after going 0-3, we as a team decided to get drunk and bring the rucus to Outback steak house. Good times that involve eye poking, pieces of flare, 2 year old daughters, and fat jokes. Sunday was a bit better. I made some adjustments to my game, cut my turnovers in half, and we played better. Couldn't get our heads in on D against Gun Slingers and dug a hole we couldn't get out of. Then finally we got a game we could win. We played Q and didn't have much trouble. Our zone O worked great and our man D was fantastic. Club Team X followed in the semis of the "(insert letter thats not A, here) bracket" and they were pretty good. A lot of Umass/ARHS guys that have played a lot together. Played ehh in the first half and then went 7-7 in the second. All in all, it was an alright weekend, we still have a long way to go. Hopefully we'll hit our stride. Montreal this weekend.

Ok, no more Colt business

As far as the rest of the tourney goes, there was a lot of interesting things that happened. First and foremost, GOAT is having a great month. Win arguably the toughest tournament on the east coast after winning flower bowl, good for them. Secondly, eshk, looks like Boston is gonna have some trouble even getting out of the region. As much as I trounced on Boston's new ultimate scheme, I really don't wish failure on people. I don't want them to fail, I just think that the rationale behind all of this is a little suspect. Most obviously, and this is not a new point, the chemistry between players at the club level, I think, needs to be very high and well established to compete. At this level athleticism, throws, ups, etc.. are all pretty constant among really good teams and how they mix it up between them is more important and I think throwing together a new all star squad is gonna be a tough sell. As scary as an all boston team sounds, I think twisted alone or DoG alone could beat this team just because they have their respective systems worked out, and guys can focus on improving their team game as opposed to establishing it. I wonder if "not-choking" and "clutch play" and basic focus under pressue falls under this category of chemistry. I think it does because trust and good isolation on the field only comes with time together and getting just the right line out their at the right time could make or break you. Plus you have guys that know eachother and how to get eachother pumped so your sidelines are your good friends helping you out, not just fellow mercinaries looking for a gold medal. However, I have never, nor will I ever, play at such a level, so I can only make observations. In any event, I wish the boston squad good luck, you are gonna need it.

Another thing that came up, at least in my head, after this weekend is the concept of peaking. Now I know that this involves well organized training and conditioning to get in the best shape of one's ability at just the right time. However I think there is also something to be said for a team peaking as a single unit. Working in new guys, establishing your O and D lines, figuring out who plays well with one another, getting the kinks worked out of your offense, and developing whatever new scheme you want for the next year's campaign. Now because of World's in 2008 canadian nationals is now one of the biggest tournaments of the summer. This august, Furious and GOAT (and whatever other Canadian team) are gonna duke it out to see who gets to represent Canada at world's (2004's gold medalist). Now I don't believe furious even goes to Canadian natties on a regular basis because its an obstacle that they don't really need to prove themselves in, they just work to peak for club nationals. However, this year, they have to go and they have to beat a ramped up, fired up, we've already beat 1/2 your team twice, tournament winning, GOAT squad. I have no idea what sort of game plan furious has, but I will bet dollars to donuts that they've got one. It appears that furious is one of the more crafty teams out there. Just take a look at Chase's interview at the end of the 2006 club ultivillage disc. To sumarize, Furious basically phones in the regular season, playing less than stellar just about everywhere. They got creamed, at least on the score reporter, at solstice and they lost to GOAT in the finals at flower bowl. However, they do the same thing every year. Tournaments like Santa Cruz or ECC they do alright, nothing to brag about, while Sockeye demolishes everyone. However, I think Furious doesn't work to win during the regular season, because its not really a regular season. The only tournaments that matter are sectionals and regionals and they are gonna do every thing they can to get their entire squad top to bottom playing time and experience in their offense/defense to run the table at nationals (or at least try). This is basically what happens every year and furious goes from losing to sockeye 15-6 (check out the NACS games last year) to beating them 15-13 at regionals and who knows at nationals.

So what am I talking about? I guess the bottom line is early season tournament results are an interesting thing. You have a team like GOAT which is riding the gravy train now, but can it last. Will Furious get their game in gear and show why they won Gold in 2004 and take GOAT down? Same with Boston, will they get better once their team gets some practices under their belt? Is this something that can be done in the time frame they have to work with? First a few things. 1) Developing team chemistry takes a long time. I don't think you can do it in a year. Not only do you need experience and time with team mates, you need major tournament tests (ie nationals) to give your players the confidence not only in themselves but with eachother to play at the toughest level there is, especially if it is as windy as folks say Sarasota is. Take Sockeye 2005 for example. Not to take anything away from their 2004 championship, but a lot of people think that Furious had some trouble peaking twice, having to battle through the Condors to win worlds ~3 months before club nationals. Someone coined it the world's hangover and I think that has some merit. However, you have more or less the same sockeye team in 2005 (which still has a lot of pickups, nord, illian, idaho, wiggins, jimmy chu, etc...) going head to head with a focused Furious team and Furious wins 15-13. However, fast forward a year, the seattle guys have been playing together for another year, their offense/defense set is pretty well established, you have a squad thats basically untouchable, my pick to win at least this years nationals if not world's and next years UPA club championship. it just takes time and in this case ~2 years or so. 2) Peaking twice. Now this is something that is gonna be tough for Furious. Do they put all they have into Canadian nationals and do what they can at UPA club natties. I think you have to. In order for furious to represent canada they have to win and I think they'll leave it all on the field in August. Hopefully this current funk they are in will subside, and historically it does, but you never know. But if they do put in the hours to be ready for Canadian nationals, what about 2007 club natties? They managed to win both in 2003, which is kinda funny cuz the Condors got the USA representation without winning the UPA club championships. Who knows if they can get past GOAT and sockeye in a 3 month period? Then again, maybe I am over estimating GOAT's chances. They did beat Furious (a split squad) 16-14 at Flowerbowl, can they beat the real deal? Is this is even a concern for Furious? Being a big monkey fan, I hope furious roles through canadian natties and goes for the North american club championship sweep, but I don't know.

So I suppose this shows the ups and downs of early tournament success. My team had a similar pit fall. we get an 8-2 record at 2 tournaments that don't matter and we get confidence that may or may not be valid and then we get rolled. I think there is a lot of season left and I am optimistic, but this goes for other teams as well. GOAT is bad ass right now (and I can tell you, their jerseys are fucking SICK. Well, except for the numbers on the shoulder. The placement of the logo on the lower left (?) is bad ass, i want something like that. Probably the coolest jerseys I saw at BI). But can GOAT keep it up. Will they have anything new to bring to the table in August or is this the best they have? I don't know anything about them but I think Furious has got some tricks up their sleeve and I wonder if GOAT knows whats up. I also wonder if John Hassell will jump ship again if Furious beats GOAT. In any event, good luck to GOAT but if I know Club disc, its about winning the last tournament not the first, so while this win is huge, I wonder if its indicative to what we will see come late summer.

This peaking question also came up in Mixed. After ommegang I made some friends on Slow White and some undergrad buddies of mine are on Mischief so I made my way to the 1v2 game at the end of the day on Sunday. First off, the whole round robin, lets play everyone at BI strategy was kinda cool and I liked that. Very progressive thinking and shows that teams are concerned with knowing their competition and beating them in October not june. In any event, it appears that Shazaam is the team to beat. However, a friend on Mischief told me that he thought they were good but it would not be long before other teams figured them out. We discussed how perhaps they had shown all their weapns now and maybe wouldn't have anything to beat a peaked mishief or slow white or brass monkey come october. For Shazaam's sake, I hope they get Jimmy Chu back or something of that magnitude to stay in it.

Also, I wanted to dine on some of my own words. After spending some time with fun/good co-ed players, i think it'd be a fun experience. Some of the people I know on Mischief and Slow would approach me and be like "how can you hate co-ed?" and I guess at first I can't. All mischief does, it appears, is jack it, which is always nice. It also looks like at the co-ed level you can have more specialized/role players as opposed to all around studs. It also looks like it isn't as tough, with the training and conditioning and challenges of open. So by all means, maybe I am wrong about co-ed. however, after talking with some co-ed players long enough I managed to induce a few wrinkled eyebrows/frowns, so maybe I could play, but only if I was in a cage with some duct tape over my mouth ~50% of the time. In any event, I enjoyed both playing good co-ed at ommegang and watching it at BI. I don't think I am talented enough to make such squads and I will say from some light experience that playing on a less than stellar co-ed squad is probably hell on earth, so odds are I'll stay in open.

The only other thing that I wanted to say about BI was that seeing Jeff Graham on the segway was hilarious. Nothing is funnier than a segway. The thought that kept racing threw my mind was that I wanted to "terry tate: office linebacker" jeff off the contraption. Some team mates were offering 50 bucks to do it and another 50 if I managed to escape using the thing.

Tourney was fun. Needs to have a party though. Unless the fields are really expensive, $350(?) for a tourney fee without at least some festivities is kinda bogus.

match diesel

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

MLU, refs, observers, and SOTG

So after reading a thread on RSD about MLU I thought I would drop my 2 cents of what I think about officiated ultimate.

First off, one of the few things that I really despise about ultimate (and there are really only a few), is that depending on how important the game is, different ways of officiating and making calls occur. I think that this sucks. You have a game at lets say some sectional tournament and you may or may not have obervers. I don't even think we had observers at NE regionals, at least not on saturday. Now some will say, "well those games don't matter as much so we don't want to put resources into them (ie observers) and we'll devote them more to games to go, finals, etc..." Now I understand about allocating resources and money and time but this sucks. it bascially means that unless your team is stellar or you are competing to go to nationals, or at nationals, you are playing in a less important game. I know that there are great programs out there that deserve the scrunity and rigidity of observers and well officiated games, but I think as ultimate players, as long as we all play for established teams at established tournaments, we all deserve observers and what not. Thats what makes ultimate weak. One game is not necessarily equivalent to others. In other main stream sports, it does not matter if its a league game, bracket play, the playoffs or the championships, you have a ref calling fouls, travel, pass interference, etc... Every game is the same, the implications might be different but the observation of the rules is completely the same. I like this about basketball, soccer, football, etc... You have skilled people watching the game and making calls where needed. Ultimate should be no different, I don't care if my consolation game at Southerns doesn't matter, I have a UPA ID and a jersey and I paid my dues just like Dan Heijman or Jacob Goldstein and I deserve the same amount of respect and attention as they do. Having observers at every game is more important than having observers/refs at important games. I think that the difference is pivotal. The finals at nationals should be well observed and watched carefully, but so should every other game, at least in the series, because every player deserves the same amount of devotion from the UPA.

Secondly, I don't like that players have to make their own calls. This sucks because not every game is the same. Depending on how bull headed or cheap or passive or quiet a player is, it implies a lot of things about what sort of calls they will make. You also have players (like myself) that are out there looking for specific calls like travels. maybe they don't matter, but a lot of players don't watch feet as much as others and lord knows they shouldn't have to. However, if you have a guy on your team or better yet the team you are playing against that loves to watch for travels, s/he'll call them all day long and potentially swing the game in his favor, all while completely staying within the confines of the rules. I want to follow this with 2 statements: 1) I do think that travel calls and picks and questionable foul calls should be made (not necessarily by the palyers) becasuse a rule is a rule no matter how minor it maybe and 2) I do think that they can have a profound impact on the game. I remember the 2005 finals between brown and colorado. In that game brown called a lot of legit travel calls and it obviously disrupted the colorado flow. I think beau got 3 called on him on 3 consecutive attempts at throws. However, no one can deny that there are some impure motives at play here. Brown wants to win and they are gonna take very oppurtunity they can get (not to say that they are playing cheap, just very intelligent, very DoG esk). However, perhaps Colorado plays more in your face, I am gonna beat you to the spot and doesn't worry not worry about calls (and I think this is true because if they were worried about calls, their players would not commit so many infractions). This gives the advantage to brown because they can upset the rhythm of the game and potentially swing it in their favor. not to say that this got them the championship, but it helped. So I guess my overall point is that people are different. Some are anal about the rules, some are really intense, some are very vigilent, some don't care about the rules. All these inconsistencies make the game weaker. Players are responsible for making their own calls instead of just playing the game. If they break the rules, blow the whistle, and let an impartial party decide the course of action.

I guess I observers and better yet refs in games because I don't like inconsistency. i am a very black or white person and the human factor in ultimate makes it weaker. This is not an arguement based on fan appeal or increased acceptance in the community at large. I think that refs are good to make ultimate a better sport, and this may or may not increase popular appeal. I mean come on, its not like the world needs electrifying play to get into a sport. i mean take cricket or baseball or even soccer, these sports have no where near the velocity and intensity that ultimate has (at least for a sustained amount of time) and they all trounce ultimate in appeal. They are all, however, extremely well observed and players are respected for their ability to play the game within the confines of the rules. No one knows about rule nazi athletes (except maybe doug flutie and that drop kick FG) and players that break the rules or bend them beyond where they should get kicked out of the sport or punished (Mike Tyson, Vinnie Jones, Mark McGuire, etc...).

I for one do not want to see ultimate hit the big time because then it will be taken away from people like me. I am no Michael Vick but I still get to play the game at a high level. Very few people out there get to play basketball, football, soccer or hockey outside of rec leagues and I don't want ultimate to head that way. i think it is fine where it is. However, I do think that refs would be helpful. Observers are good and I will conceed that but the weakness is that a player has to make a call and if they are too shy to make them or too much of a dick and make too many, observers can be misused (or not at all). I like the idea of an impartial party running things, not only because it will make the game move faster and smoother, but every game will theoretically be the same. From fall tournaments through the club season, every organized ultimate game, not unlike high school football, college lacrosse, pro basektball, or anyother main stream sport, will be judged the same.

I think parts of MLU are good and I appreciate all the work that people like Ian McClellan and Wiggins have put in, but I don't think that making the game look cooler should be the motive, it should be to make the game more pure and distilled. As much as I don't want major athletes to take the game way from me, I do want the game to be pure and unbiased, very clean cut and efficient, very cut and dry. A foul should always be called and their should not be any ambiguity in it. Maybe some refs are better than others (as can be seen with ref criticisms in the NBA, MLB, NFL etc...) but at least the calls are coming from an impartial party. Game importance, human emotion, fear, desire, all those things cloud the game. Every game should be the same and that is what it means to be a professional. A professional does not get rattled at the foul line (not a good one anyway), a professional doesn't let the importance of a game affect how he plays it (at least not negatively) and a professional plays his game (or at least should) the same way whether it is week 1 of the season or the super bowl and that is what ultimate as a sport should strive for.

Now there is a lot of debate with things like money and what not and for all intensive purposes, the UPA is doing a great job, i understand that you can only have so many observers. But people should be focusing on how to make the game played at a crisper level, not a more exciting one. This isn't the XFL. If the outside community likes our sport (which most do after getting into it) things like a 2 point line, a stall count at 7, throwing out a new disc if another one goes out of bounds should not be saving us. It should be the respect of the fans and the knowledge that every player out there is equal in the eyes of the game and the only thing that separates them is their passion and talent. If some one wants it more then fine, they win. But if someone likes to make calls or knows the rules better giving them an adavantage, that just makes our sport look imperfect.

In the future I would like to see observers at evey game, not unlike refs at little kids soccer, baseball, football games etc... This will take time and I think the biggest thing holding us back is that there are just not enough people who care enough about ultimate to watch it as closely to make the necessary impact that an observer can make. This will however change as the sport grows (like it has been the last 30 years) and more and more people get into it. Once observers are skilled in making calls and watching the game and there are enough of them, the reigns should be passed off to them to control the rules so that players can just be concerned with the game, not the way it is played. Basically a referee, not an observer. Its not unlike a captain passing off line calling to a coach. A coach should/is impartial about playing time, he just wants the best for his team and taking that responsibility away from the captain allows the captain to focus on his game and the game of his team mates, not admin stuff like points played and stats.

These are my thoughts. I have a lot of other opinions concerning MLU outside this debate that I think are important but I will get to those in another post.

match diesel

Monday, June 18, 2007

Favorite Tournaments

So i just got back from Ommegang this past weekend, a tournament I had not been to and I must say that it was quite enjoyable. After playing in another co-ed, party oriented, fun based tournament I thought I would go on and on about my favorite tournaments and why.

First, probably my favorite ultimate experience, was Acapulco. This tournament is just more fun than should be allowed on earth. It takes place in January and the 85F sandy beach environment is a nice switch from the cold and bitter New England crap. I think it was 18F when I left JFK and it was like 80F in Mexico, that's a tough day to dress for. In any event, the tournament is put on by the oh so Mexican nationalist Fernando. This guy is a class act. Not your typical TD because the guy will swear and heckle and drink with the best of them and can run like the wind as well. A true pleasure to play with/against. Basically, the tournament fee is ~$400 (yikes) but, it covers all your food and alcohol, thats right ALL your food and ALL your alcohol. You can walk up to the bar at the resort with a nalgene and ask for a beer and they'll fill it up. The resort is small, about 40 minutes outside the city, but the scenery is beautiful and the beach is fantastic. You get your team assignments there (cuz its a hat tourney) and you play a combination of sand and grass disc (you have 2 separate teams). You play one in the mourning and one in the afternoon and it is bad fucking ass. You don't play between 1-4p because it is too hot and during the break you can hang out by the pool, go swimming, go site seeing, or in the case of me and my new buddy Jeremy, we did pot brownies and enjoyed life. The competition is also what is awesome. There aren't very many chumps (because its >$500 to play in this thing including air fare) but there are also not too many superstars. So if you love the game but aren't necessarily a juggernaunt (myself) you can have a great time and still do well. This past year my grass team actually won the tournament (a switch) and that was something I had never experienced that made it all the better. Plus there are all sorts of party shenanigans, kareokee, clubbing, etc... And the best part are the locals. The tournament has ~75% americans and ~25% locals who are so intense and into the game but also some of the nicest people I have ever met. I made so many friends with people I could barely converse with in english or spanish but they were so welcoming and cordial, a nice alternative to the bitter NE. In any event, the tournament was the most fun I have ever had at an ultimate function and I highly recomend it. Believe me, it is worth the green (looking at you Stu).

Another tournament that is just too freaking awesome for words, is Potaltch. Now this little hum dinger is pretty ridiculous even for the ultimate veterans out there. My first trip there was back in 2004 and I was a bit overwhlemed. Basically every major ultimate player in the country goes to Seattle for 4th of July and plays in one of the biggest tournaments in the world. There are something like 100+ teams on like 60 fields in this massive space in Kirkland, WA. The level of ultimate is about as intense as it gets (at least for co-ed) with some of the big open teams fusing with the elite women's teams to make absolute beats of competition. In 2005 team USA and Canada went and I got the chance to play against Canada (not sober what so ever) as well as watch and meet a lot of the team USA players, that was fun. But the tournament is also a huge party/festival sort of thing. You have everyone staying in tents on the same field so folks are just walking around with handles of booze getting wrecked. The tournament is also a 3 day-er (aside from last year which was 2) and you get a lot of games in. The competition is pretty intense though and a lot of teams take it seriously. Which makes it fun when you beat them drunk. Eventually most teams are gonna hit a pretty stellar squad not unlike the Portland team that upset team USA in the semis in 2005. The best part of the tournament though is the party. Now this is fucking cool. They get the whole bunch of 2000+ hippy drunk frisbee players and bus them out to the party spot which not only has 20+ kegs of GREAT micro brew but also a buffet style salmon dinner. I dunno about you guys but dry bagels and unripe bananas don't really compare to all the grilled salmon, salad and potatoes you can eat. This was awesome. And of course, not only do they feed you, but they also have this kicking party where all these fun loving sociable folks are mixing it up and bringing their regional party antics. I remember in 2004 my team (crab high reunion) set up shop right inside the entrance and we would escort people right to the beer as soon as they walked into the party. Not sure why we did that, Bilbo was in rare form. In any event, some of the most fun I have had. Wouldn't recomend playing drunk because I got really hurt on a nasty bid. But if you can get a team into the mixture, which as long as you submit the bid in early, as in March, you'll get a spot. A great time.

Wild Wood
Now, aside from grass disc, there is beach and the most fun I have ever had at a beach tourney has got to be Wild Wood. WW is pretty insane. Not only does it boast >200 teams but it is also in one of the shall I say this....asthetically humorous spots in NJ. Its basically a board walk and a beach town that is the personification of a used up Meth Addict. If you have ever seen requiem for a dream, it could have taken place in Wild Wood, NJ. The hotels are pretty dumpy, the board walk is riddled with white trash and shitty carnival games, but if you are in your 20s (or at least act like it) it is absolutely heaven. Its bascially Trouble in Vegas but beach and the fields are walking distance from where folks stay. Depending on how intense your team wants to be you can either play in the elite bracket (yikes), open, or non-competitive. Because my team (Trash Gets Picked Up) wanted to basically enjoy the beach, the booze and the antics as much as possible, we opted for the non-competitive and ended up in the finals of our bracket. My one criticism is the party which wasn't too steallar. Like TiV the surrounding environment encourages shenanigans on its own so you don't really need to sequestor folks in one spot, let them roll out. the format is also pretty bad ass. You play a game for time (1hr) and then you are off for an hour and then on and off etc... During your time off most folks go down to the beach to cool off and its a good time. I really enjoyed it. I wish I could remember the name of the motel we stayed at but needless to say it was pretty dumpy, we got into some trouble and we had a lot fun.

This past weekend was Ommegang which is a decent size tourney in Cooperstown NY. Good spot for a tournament, the fields are pretty nice, at least at first glance. A bit hard but, thats ok. The coolest part is the place where everyone stays. There is a camp site at the ommegang brewery, hence the name and you basically pitch tents, pull out BBQs and socialize before and after games. Folks get kegs and there is a party with a crazy african music band, who are AWESOME. Aside from that its your usual ultimate craziness. Folks going tent to tent playing "strip-OK" (as opposed to "drink-ok"), packing bowls and smoking up, keg tossing, water mellon stealing, heckling potential hookup-ees (thanx Korber), and your general shennaigans. The competition is pretty stiff, which I wasn't expecting but it was nice to have to work at it. Going down in quarters sucked, but hey, I still had a great time. You also have the baseball hall of fame, the lake, the local town near by and its generally a great time, provided you don't get horribly lost on the way to the fields.

Aside from these 4 there are also some great tournaments in some great spots.

Pres Day was always a good time at UCSD because the party was awesome (us sqids can booze), the competition is great, and you can't beat San Diego weather in february.

Trouble in Vegas was also a great time. The fields are absolutely horrible and, at least at the college one, really really windy, so that sucked. But all the big name colleges are there and you are in Vegas (how bad can that be). Party is kinda weak, but like Wild Wood, you don't really wanna party in a great city like Vegas, you wana go mobile, take it to the streets and gamble.

Jazz Fest is also good for this reason. Its basically what NE teams do instead of Potlatch for the 4th. Its in Montreal which is a really fun city and folks usually take it to the strip clubs and get high on THC and absynthe. I really enjoyed myself last year except for the fact that getting around enibriated in a city that likes to speak French can be a challenge.

Another notable fun spot is OMK (Ow My Knee) in albany which is similar to Ommegang, just open instead of co-ed, the TD is actually a good guy and the party is sweet.

I also really enjoy High Tide. A lot of snobby college teams think its a joke but it isn't, the competition is pretty good (at least for the second session), its run very well (except that we had to play a sectional rival twice in a row), and it takes place in Savannah during St Patty's Day. This deserves a bit more discussion. Savannah is the Irish captial of the South and River St is basically a mini-mardis gras. Folks go absolutely crazy. Titties popping out, drunken parents with kids, crazy t shirts, awesome bars and great great stories the morning after. I made off with an ATM sign back in 2006 which now resides above my door, love that thing. And the best part is, you are there for ultimate.

I also liked Purple Valley. This is an interesting tourney because it takes place right around halloween so everyone comes dressed up for the party. This party is pretty bad ass considering its filled with under age kids on a college campus and no one cares. its also in the middle of nowhere Williamstown, MA so you can wander around with a nice little co-ed and not have to worry, although better not get lost when you are blitzed by yourself.

Some other tournaments that I would like to go to but haven't yet are kaimana, paganello, and Poultry Days. kaimana is basically the ultimate nirvanna. Fantastic disc in Hawaii. Some of the best in the game come out and play for squads like Nada Mooger (Mike Grant's team), Voltron (Nord and some CUT guys), Ono (don't know), Grey Tide (black tide alums?) and SMUT (stanford's open team). This past year saw the 7 year streak of Nada Mooger come to an end. From what I hear the party is legit and come on its freaking hawaii, can't beat the scenery.

Paganello is a beach tourney in Italy in April. It has a lot of international teams which is nice but the weather is not consistent (from what I hear). No Tsu Ho (basically Nada Mooger on sand) wins it consistently but its supposed to be a good time. The only other draw back I hear is that you have to buy all your booze (ok thats fine) and you are probably gonna wanna take more than 4 days off work if you are going all the way to Italy.

Poultry days is like Potlatch but in Versailles, Ohio. The chicken dinners there are supposed to be the best food on the planet (one of many reasons why I want to get my fat ass out there). Team USA went to it in 2005 and won. A lot (60+) teams rock out here and I am sure have a raging good time. Something to mark on your calendars for mid June.

match diesel

Monday, June 11, 2007

20 team College Nationals Format

OK I wanted to spread my ideas around and not post every other day but I really want to get this idea out. It is somewhat new and someone has probably already thought of it. In any event, I am going to pretend its mine.

So instead of having only 16 college teams at nationals, I think that there should be 20. This will have a huge impact on the teams that go to nationals and I think it will make teams happy.

For starters, give every region 2 bids to nationals. This alone will make a lot of folks happy because it will give every region at least two teams to go to nationals. This is how club does it and there aren't too many debates at the club level of who gets to go to natties and who doesn't. For the remaining 4 bids, give them out as strength bids using whatever algorithm is currently in place. This algorithm uses something along the lines of, if you have a team make semis you get a strength bid but then if your region's 2nd/3rd team at nationals doesn't make quarters you don't get it or something confusing. All I know is that every region will get two bids and there will be 4 strength bids for the teams that deserve it. I think that size bids should be scrapped because they don't really make a difference. I mean the regions that usually get size bids are the metro east, the great lakes, the south and the northeast and I am sorry but those regions are the bottom 4 of 8 regions, at least in the last few years save Brown. You could keep the size bids and drop the strength bids or do a 2 and 2 mixture, fine. I for one think size bids are weak, but thats just me.

Ok match, now we have 4 extra teams, what are we gonna do with them? I wish I had a magic wand to say we would use the same field space, but thats not the case. To do this, you are gonna need 8 fields for nationals per division or 16 total fields. Right now there are usually only 12 offered for nationals and this is something I can't get around verbally. The only logical way I see of getting this figured out is to require that if a university or organization wants to house nationals, they have to be able to have 16 fields available. Now, I don't know what schools have this amount of field space but I do know that with some good convincing, Yale could put together 16 fields. I am not saying I want to have nationals here, because our fields suck but at leat we have the space. I think that other universities could offer similar space. I remember a lot of empty space at nationals in 2006, and I think with enough careful planning we could get 4 more fields in there. Maybe not in Corvalis, maybe not at OSU, but I think that 16 fields is not too much to ask. Centex does it with 40 (open and women's) teams, maybe folks don't want nationals in Texas (heat stroke much) but places like Devens, MA, which held nationals in 2001, could house more than enough fields. What, aren't like 70 teams on 27 fields going to boston invite next weekend? So I think that having 4 extra fields is not too much to ask, especially considering that 8 extra teams would get to go.

So now there are 20 teams instead of 16, how do you organize rounds? Well, with 20 teams, instead of having a pool on a bye, you just have to have a seed on a bye. With 16 teams a pool takes a breather per round so you have 4 teams off at one time. With 20 teams you have the 1 seeds, 2 seeds, etc... take a bye and then you still have 4 teams off during each round. You might have to shorten rounds a little bit because you will have to have 5 rounds instead of 4 but I don't think this will be an issue. As it stands now, you have rounds that last 2 hours each with a 30 minute break in between. With games to 15, I think 2 hours is good, but if they were 1:45 with 15 minute breaks instead you would save a lot more time and would be done by 6:15p if you started at 8:30a. I know that nationals wants to look professional with long rounds and breaks and what not, but at the expense of teams not being there? Now this also sounds a bit grueling, what with 4 pool play games and 1:45 minute rounds with 15 minute breaks but that is more or less what Centex, Southerns, Terminus, Pres Day, and TiV are all like and I don't hear folks complaining. Also, its only 4 games instead of 3. There aren't good tournaments where you only have to play 3 games on saturday, except Santa Barbara and Stanford and maybe some others. My point is, 4 games should not be that tough for good teams and if they have been doing it all year then they should be able to do it on friday at nationals. Plus, its only 1 more game to win natties anyway. You still have the same pre-quarters, quarters, semis and finals. I am not totally sure about consolation games, but I am sure they can be worked out with careful planning and scheduling, what I think Will Deaver should and is doing the month before nationals.

I guess my main overall opinion is that with 4 extra teams all the "should bes" will be at nationals. This year there wasn't too much debate concerning who wasn't there, but there was one team that shoulda been, Santa Barbara. It sucks to see a team not make nationals when they only lost 16-14 to the regional winner who went on to make the finals at nationals. Also, by eliminating the size bids, you will distill the talent and give the power house regions the representaion they deserve while not taking bids away from other regions. I suppose that this is a lot of added work for only 4 more teams and usually there is only 1 maybe 2 teams a year that should be at nationals that are not. In 2006 it was Carleton, in 2005 it was Dartmouth (lost 13-14 in the game to go), in 2004 it was UCSB/UCSD (controversial I know, but 3 shoulda come out of the SW), but I suppose one criticism that has got to bug Willy D is the idea that Centex is a better tournament. I don't think anyone can refute this, the best 24 teams in the country go to Texas and the winner is usually 1 or 2 in the country (Centex curse is now non-existent). I think that UPA college nationals should strive to match the level of competition that Centex has already achieved. 4 more teams means that the UPA top 25 will actually mean something because all the teams that should be at nationals will be at nationals and teams that are good at tournaments, not single games, will make it to the finals. I know that Florida was a great team last year, but nationals for them was a joke. They could have Tim and Kurt play every point and not worry because they would never have to play more than 3 games in a day. Nationals was not the grueling competition that it should be. Take a look at Club, 2 bids per region, 3 pool play games, then 2 more tough power pool games, then 3 more games to become #1 in the country. That is 8 games, and I am only suggesting 7 maybe 8 if some prequarters juggernaunt makes it all the way. I think it is kinda funny that the UPA is trying so hard to expand the sport and develop programs everywhere but they are not expanding the number of teams at nationals. You can't expand the bottom portion of the sport without developing the top. As it stands now, there are some regions where if you aren't Stanford or Orgeon, CUT or Wisconsin, etc... you will never play ultimate on Memorial Day and I think more teams can potentially change this.

I think that nationals will be a more exciting tournament with 20 teams instead of 16 and there might be some upsets. I think the best round would be quarters because for the most part, quarters is not much of a round. Other than the Florida/CUT quarter finals, there wasn't much competition. Stanford beat Texas 15-11, Wisconsin 15-9 over Oregon, and Colorado 15-10 over georgia. How awesome would it be if UCSB had been there and fought Stanford 15-13, or a regional rematch with Colorado, this time without high winds. Who knows? CUT of 2006 might have knocked off Staford in quarters in 2006 instead of Oregon losing, the possibilities are endless. I think 4 extra teams would a fantastic experience both for the teams and the audiences and I think that teams would relish the oppurtunity to get 4 more teams there, even if it meant paying $4, 5, 10 more per person to go to nationals. My thoughts.

match diesel

Friday, June 8, 2007

Women, men and co-ed

First off, I miss spell a lot of shit and I am sorry. Its "colt .45" not "col .45", I am retarded.

Do any other college men's teams out there have trouble getting along with their women's teams? I dunno about everyone else in the country but I have played for 2, albeit extremely different, college programs out there, and the dynamics between the mens and the womens teams seem to be identical. I find women in ultimate to be as complicated as women in general and I still haven't figured out exactly how to find a place for myself in the mix of gender in this sport.

First off, my contribution to most teams that I play for is loud, vulgar, crass and blunt, not unlike my blog. Most female players/teams don't appreciate this. There are some that do, but on the whole, women as a group have touble with my antics. I care not however, and will do and say whatever I want. I feel like at this stage in life (early 20s and on) most male/female dynamics cannot eliminate romantic elements from them. What do I mean by this? In general I feel that most women at this age like non-threatening, gentle, easy going, PC men. Whether it is for relationships or not, this is generally the trend, I think. When there is physical attraction a relationship may ensue, but if a guy is basically "Millhouse" on the inside women will like him. I on the other hand, am not like this and I don't think I should have to be, on the field. Most women ultimate players see me and players like me on the field and assume that I am this intense jack ass off the field. Now perhaps this is true, but empiracle evidence is still pending and I would like the benifit of the doubt. In any event, I have played for teams that are perhaps a bit crude, crazy, loud, fun loving, and a bit vulgar, but come on, how many ultimate teams out there are not. This dynamic, I feel, is at odds with womens teams, which I feel are usually very tight amongst eachother, very positive, very PC, very well behaved and generally decent human beings. This creates some drama, I feel. You have women that have an opinion of a group of males as retarded jack asses, and maybe when they are together they are, but on the individual basis, they maybe your ideal man. For men, at least for me, I like women to be fairly up front, open minded, and have a good sense of humor. On the whole, women's teams, I feel, band together to keep their general opinion for the retardedness of the guys team consistent and unwavering, and this makes them annoying and irritating to the mens team. Hence, they are at odds, the men are too obnoxious, the women are too reserved, they hate eachother. Perhaps these differences are worked out on the individual basis and relationships (romantic or plutonic) result and good for them.

For me however, I usually get the shaft (no homo) mainly because I am usually one of the leaders of the obnoxious crowd and therefore most female disc players see me as basically evil. This is why I am not a fan of women in ultimate. Now, I do not mean that women should not play, I just chose to avoid them and this does not mean that I think women's disc is not worth watching, playing, following etc... I fully endorse women's teams everywhere and hope that women find a place in ultimate whether it be womens or co-ed. However, you won't see me anywhere near them.

I don't know how people play co-ed. I am sure there are mild mannered, well behaved males out there who are great disc players and great co-ed team mates, but I just could never see myself doing it. I would get into so much trouble. I would do my "no bubbles" cheer and women would cry. I would get chewed out if I scream "sorry barbaro, thats a break" when our D line got us a break. I couldn't do pump up speeches, I couldn't explain my open side cuts in my usually vulgar and comedic manner, I couldn't tell stories during stretches, I basically would have to keep my mouth shut all the time, and thats just not gonna happen. I just can't see myself playing/coaching anywhere near a woman and have her maintain even the slighest positive opinion of me.

That is why I have never dated within the ultimate circle, that and most ultimate circles are about as incestuous as rural Alabama. I want a woman I am seeing, or maybe just a friend, to see me on the field more the way a cheerleader or spectator sees a player. Not from a peer level but as an observer (not the ultimate kind) and I think that works better for me. Women that know me from disc think I funny, entertaining, but foolishly obscene and thats ok. Not sure if most folks out there are like this, I just think that the standard boyfriend/girlfriend on the same co-ed team, or girl and guy captain couples from mens and womens teams is basically pretty unattainable and undesirable for me. Plus, I don't really find women's players all that attractive, something about grass stains and sweat thats just not a turn on. I do however know many gentlemen out there that love it when a woman gets a nice layout D or puts up a good flick break, just not me.

I suppose I am opening myself to some interesting heckles and I welcome them, I just have a somewhat unorthodox opinion of women in ultimate and I thought it was worth sharing. All those guys out there that can iso their girlfriend on the field or consult them for playing advice, good for you, you are lucky. I on the other hand would prefer to just have to explain the game to a significant other and let her be the ignorant, yet supportive cheer leader.

I sincerly hope I am not alone on this one, but there is a chance that I am and that is more than OK with me. That is why god invented women's B teams. There you have women that love ultimate, but aren't necessarily great at it, spend most of their time partying instead of track work outs and generally enjoy the company of retarded college guys, not unlike myself. Maybe not the kind of girl you wanna bring home to mom, but a spring break fling or the casual makeout by the keg is pretty solid.

match diesel

Monday, June 4, 2007

Boston 2012?

Cuz its not gonna happen in 2008.

So there has been this new thing in ultimate up here in the northeast this spring, the fusion of DoG and Twisted Metal (and anyone else who is good enough in the area). So folks are calling this team Death Meal or Twisted Glory, I for one am a big fan of "or (space)"...wait for it. Apparently, the powers that be have decided to make a new bad ass disc squad this spring and summer to challenge Sockeye for the title of best ultimate team in the US. Such an honor carries with it the UPA 2007 club title and the oppurtunity to represent the US at the world ultimate games in Vancover, Canada in august of 2008. Boston DoG won the gold 2000 after winning the club title in San Diego in 1999. The Condors got the chance to represent the US after finishing 2nd to furious (being the #1 USA team) in 2003 and got silver in 2004. So its 4 years later and its time for the US to pick another squad and boston wants to lay their hand down and see what happens. I for one think that this is a horrible idea and I hope this boston squad goes down in flames. Now let me tell you why.

First, I realize that all these guys are better than me, as can be seen with their -A guys tooling us at White Mountain Open in the semis. Second, I am a huge jack ass that loves the west coast and despises the east.

Now for some real discussion. I suppose my main criticism goes out to twisted metal. After learning the legacy that was this squad, I was very disappointed to learn that they were fusing with DoG. To my understanding, Jeff Graham, a great Umass player, was not a fan of the DoG squad so he started his own team and developed a stellar, albeit bottom 1/2 of club nationals, team of ultimate players to challenge the NE power house. This team has only been inexistence for ~5 years and has already shown to be a legit squad that deserves a spot at nationals, even if they don't make it into quarters. Coming from San Diego, just making nationals is a big deal and if you get to the play-in game, you have done well. It might not be bracket play, but you did well, and there is always next year, after all, a lot of these other teams have been around 2-3x longer. So I guess you could say I am a Twisted fan. Not unlike Revolver, they challenged the evil empire of their region and despite the fact that they haven't taken down DoG yet, they still are contenders. Maybe Revolver took down Justice League or Dragon or JAM now, but then again, JAM isn't as good as DoG and Revolver only had one more important game over Twisted and Twisted went 3-0 in weaker (not power) pool play. So what is my point? Twisted is good, they have a reason to exist, they are not chumps. So why join the evil empire? Why dissolve your team just cuz DoG wants to? Maybe it was Twisted's idea to combine, which is even worse. It'd be like if the boston red sox and the new your yankees fused to become one team just to topple the st. louis cardinals. I believe twisted totally sold themselves out and showed that being a part of general boston team and playing with regional rivals is better than being your own legit squad. Sham on Metal, they are better than this.

Secondly, this sucks because it just shows how much of a strong hold DoG has on ultimate in New England. Now I know they won 6 national titles in a row and will go down in history as one of the best programs ever, but so what. They won their last national title in 1999, can anyone even tell me who won the world series, superbowl, nba finals, or stanley cup in 1999? Respect they deserve, leadership, I dunno. Parinella is a great innovater of the game and so are a lot of the other players on DoG, but these guys are fucking snobs. They think they know everything about this game just cuz they won 6 titles. Now that sounds like a retared sentence, but let me follow with, just because you win, doesn't give you the right to think you are above the game, above your competition, above your competitors. Any real champion will congratulate their opponent in a game well played before touting themselves and any real champion will humble themselves before the game and thank their talent, timing, and team mates over telling the world why they are better. After reading some of Parinella's writings and playing against him, I can say that he is a really nice guy, but he thinks he is god and its fucking ridiculous. Its a game and just because you USED to win doesn't make you the end all be all. I mean parinella talking shit about us (col 45) after we beat his team at WMO on his blog was absured and the guy should've just said, "we looked past them they were a good team" instead of "It was disheartening to lose the quarterfinals after being up 12-9 and 14-12 in a game to 15, and against a team that is probably about an 8th-10th place at Regionals quality. No doubt about that feeling. " Sometimes other teams win, not you lose. Ok, so off parinella back to DoG. I hate seeing a team with so much clout totally take over/absorb a younger team just cuz of a reputation. I mean the hope is to be able to challenge the NW (not to mention Bravo and Chain) for the #1 US team, and DoG got beat by every NW team (thats 4 loses). So many people here in New England kiss ass to DoG, Forch, and Parinella and it is soo fucking annoying. Maybe their wouldn't be ultimate in Connecticut with out Mr Mueller, but come on, he's not god. And the same goes for other phenoms in the area. I have been wanting to say this for months and its my blog so yeah, Eric Pitt, you're a fucking homo who needs to get out of Teddy's ass. Guy is a great player and a nice guy, but stop sucking his cock you brown nose cock knocker. Get a freaking life. Ok a little rant, my apologies. So yeah DoG shouldn't get this much clout. Respect yes, admiration yes, but this much power? they don't deserve it and its kinda sad to see this happen. You would never see Revolver and JAM fuse (fingers crossed that this doesn't happen). I would hope that Nick Handler and the rest of the Stanford guys would tell Watson and Eastham to go to hell. Metal should have done the same.

Now lets look at the logic of this move. There are 2 essential things you need to win in this game. Talent and chemistry. Take a look at sockeye in 2005. Basically the same team as 2006 but hey lost 13-15 instead of won 15-13. Why? Well in 2004 they reloaded and boy did they reload. Their squad got Nord and soon after Ray Illian, Idaho, etc... However, you gotta play with your guys for awhile first. You have an all-star squad, yes, but your guys have to know the ins and outs of eachother (no homo). Fast forward a year, you have sockeye 2006 and they dominated, first team to ever sweep nationals since the power pool format. Good for them. How the hell is Boston going to compete with that? And what about Bravo, Chain, JAM, or anyother veteran squad of flatballers? You can't just throw some guys together anymore and think you can win natties. Its not gonna happen. Now, I would think that these 30+ year old players with their 20+ years of experience would know this and even the younger guys should, begging the question, why would you dissolve your break away kick ass team to play with guys you wanted to not play with just to try to win something you have no shot at? (at least not in 2008) Metal and DoG should think about 2 things, 1) why aren't we winning? and 2) lets be patient and develop the tools, the recruiting and the strategy to realistically win it all. Now maybe DoG has changed, maybe the rivalry isn't what it used to be, maybe their isn't bad blood anymore and DoG and Metal have come to a common understanding. That is still no excuse. A true team stands on its own and wins games, not gold medals. This is steinbrenner disc and it sucks. I hope they don't even make power pools.

Now lets take a look at their competition. First, DoG lost one of the most dominate players in the history of college disc and a very very good club player in Josh Zipperstein. Rumor has it that he is now trying out for, guess who, Sockeye. And not only is this a low blow but I have also heard that Sockeye is picking up Seth Wiggins, Kubalanza, and the worst of all, Tim Gehret. Yikes, I thought Sockeye was good last year. Now this specualtion comes from a source that was at Cal States this weekend, so I am going with what was told to me, but all this looks like pretty scary odds against Boston. With that in mind, how is it that Metal guys can think to themselves, well we can try and beat the NW by playing with our rivals or beat them with our team mates. Maybe in an ID4, bill pullman pump up speech, this is a pretty story that pits the underdog NE against the evil NW. But the NE are a bunch of arrogant douches and the NW are a class act of good players who respect their competition and the game they play above their own accomplishments, so fuck New England. So thats the NW/NE debate situation. But what about the rest of the club national squads. Sorry but Chain and Bravo are 2 teams that made it out of quarters and were better than DoG this past year. Neither one of these squads is losing anyone big and they are only getting better with the the maturation of the Hodag influence into the SW club scene (ie valdavia and tripoli) and chain just being good, I mean who saw simpson in the show case game? So yeah, even if "or (space)" is a legit, well polished, team, they have to go through sooo many better teams to get the golden disc.

Also, lets look at this world title for a second as well. Its a world title in Ultimate. Now, does that even mean anything? Ok, you get a gold medal if you win, you get to play against other countries, but is it really a world title? Is the winner of this world title the best in the world? And is the 2nd or 3rd place or 8th place, really that rank in the world? No fucking way. take a look at the 3 world championships currently. First there was the one in 2005 which will be in Asia in 2009. A co-ed ultimate tournament where the US sent a team based not on pure talent but via political reasons. I mean come on, Namkung and Willy D on the team over Nord? Where was Sammy CK? Damien Scott? Maybe some of the best had other plans, fine. But if we can send a team that arguably isn't the best, not unlike the olympic team USA basketball of 2004, and still win the gold, is the gold medal really worth that much? I know that this tournament only happens every 4 years, but I mean, we could have sent an entirely different squad of men and women (maybe hold on to miranda roth) and we could still could have won. This implies that USA is the best, ok, but not the team we sent. So world championship #1 is not so stellar

Now lets look at the latest one in Perth, Australia. Yes Japan won, but are they really the best in the world? I mean the two US open team there were Sub-Zero and Double Wide. Both very good US teams that have done well in nationals in the past but sub-zero didn't even make quarters and Double Wide didn't even qualify for nationals. So my point is, how good was the competition at this WORLD tournament.

Now, lets take a look at the best world tournament, the one coming up in 2008, which, in my opinion will crown the deserving #1 team and #2 in the world but thats about it. Furious and whatever US team will probably finish 1 and 2 just like 2004 but the rest of the pack will be forgettable. I mean team USA and Canada basically rolled over the rest of the world. The closest anyone got to team USA was finland 17-15 (ok close I'll give you that) but the next was the UK at 15-12. Team canada was even worse. Team USA fought them 14-12 in the finals but aside from that, Sweeden lost 17-12. So really, is this tournament really a test of the best in the world? My opinion is NO.

So why all this discussion? My overall point here is that a world title is more of a personal achievement in ultimate. The game is not big enough where the rest of the world can really contest the US or Canada and so a gold medal is great, but its like furious winning the Canadian ultimate championships, its just no biggy, I mean they don't even go to the tourney anymore. I suppose my argument is that dissovling a strong team that was made for a strong reason for a weak attempt at a weak title is pretty, well, weak. I think going to world's would be a lot of fun and you get to do the whole trade jersey thing and paly with other people from around the world and all that sappy crap, but realistically, there is more than 1 us team that could potentially make at least the finals at such a tournament, so what makes you think you are truly the best in the world? In my opinion being the best means beating the best. While it maybe nice to tell the guys at work you are going to british columbia to compete at World's for a sport that currently commands little outside respect, the ones truly in the know, understand that the world champion is crowned every October. Worlds is just a fancy/expensive tournament to tell the world something that, for those who care, they already know.

So why am I so critical, why so agains this merger. These guys just want to the chance to say they won gold, whats wrong with that? They sold out. They (metal) quit on the most elmental part of their game (their team) for a tangible piece of medal. They (metal) quit on their team, they (DoG) asserted undeserved power, and I hope they (or space) go down in flames. They won't and don't deserve to be the best in the world.

Go sockeye, go Bravo, go Chain, go Revovler, Rhino, JAM, Double Wide, VC, BAT, go anyone but Boston. These great and talented players that will become Twisted Bitch or Rusted Glory, or whatever, will go down in flames and hopefully I will be in sarasota this halloween to be drunk and tearful in my joy.

match diesel

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Intensity vs calculating

I think this is an interesting topic mainly because I am very one-sided on this issue.

In my opinion there are at least 2 distinct ways of playing good ultimate: 1) intense 2) calculating. I think intense is a good word choice, and I don't think calculating is, but its better than cool, I think, and its better than calm.

here are the definitions.

Intense - you run your ass off constantly, layout (basically all the time), put up hucks, attempt risky breaks/hammers, thrive on emotion, and heopfully intimidate your opponent. Davind "carne" Miller was one of my first captains in this sport and he taught be to play this way and that is how I am. Very loud, very in your face, very, very intense

Calculating - you always make good decesions, rarely ever risk a turnover, throws are always buttery, cuts are always safe and well made, not a lot of flashy plays, silently take over games, not the person to look to for pump up speeches.

I think that there are virtues and draw backs to both of these and I just had a really tough practice highlighting my weaknesses as an intsense player.

First, intensity, I feel, is an exaggeration of emotion. If you are up and happy, you intimidate and modivate pertinent ultimate players (ie oppoenent and team mate, respectively). However, if you are down, you really bring people down with you. I am one of the captains of Colt .45 and I was chosen because I am the "motional heart of the team" (co-captains words, not mine) and today, I was down. It was hot, I had a lot of would be chopping block players on my team, my plantar faciitis was bugging, I had a bad practice. However, I think lesson learned, I think my playing style is still useful. I just need to pull myself out of the equation when I necessary, calm down and then come back with the fire and energy that I have when I am up. Either that or ingest some serious stimulants, ie red bull, monster, or speed. I do enjoy my intense field nature and as long as I don't scare off recruits, I am not going to change much. This is also one of the reasons I can not/will never play co-ed. I am wayyy to much of a vulgar ass to be on the field with PC men and sensitve women.

Now lets take a look at calculating. These are players that are always on top of their game. We have a guy, Kevin Garrity, easily the most consistent and reliable guy on our team. Maybe doesn't make the huge layout D or put up the huck, but the guy rarely turns it over. Now, I love to play with this kid, 1) cuz he can handle like I wish I could and 2) he balances me out and we have a nice little 1-2 punch to use.

However, the reason I bring this up is because there are alot of teams that are generally one of the other, especially in college. You have Florida and Colorado who I feel, are not intense teams. They are all business. They don't thrive on emotion, they don't cheer excessively, and they have players that like to be sullen, quiet, yet very dominate as players. Then you have intsense teams like Georgia and Wisconsin. Armies of yellign players that want high flying antics, in your face D and painful cheers of elation when they score on you.

I don't think that either system is clearly better than everyone else and they probably are just reflections of leadership, ie the captain is intense so the team is intense or the same for calculating.

I feel like this also brings up an interesting point about east versus west coast ultimate. Earlier I said that intsense was high risk, layout D, scare your opponents domination, and calculating is calm, cool, beat them mentally. I feel like the west coast, at least at some point in the last 5 years was the former with the east the latter. I suppose this boils down to DoG versus the Northwest because most other teams on the east coast aren't as calculating/good as DoG (Ring would be up their but they are about as intense as it gets) and the Northwest is intense in the high risk sense of the word. Now, 10 years ago, calculating disc got you victories because it relied on simple throws and quick. It might have been boring, but it worked and it got DoG 6 national titles and a world title in 2000. However, now that the throws and the athleticism of the west coast have come around and players liek Sam O'brien, Seth Wiggins, Sammy CK, Chase, Jimmy Chu, etc... have the throws but also the hucks, the bids and the intensity (as I define it) to get the victory. So what is the east coast to do? As for now they are attempting to build a Boston all-star squad which I think is hilarious. I love how Metal totally bailed on their quest to separate themselves from DoG to win a world title in 2008 (which isn't gonna happen) and are involved in this hugely public distillation process to make the best boston/east coast squad. I miss my west coast roots, so sorry, I am going against my NE brethen at the moment and hope this team goes down in flames not unlike DoG against the NW at nationals lat October. I guess my question is what sort of game plan will DoG/Metal/Whatever come up with? They have the legs now, are they gonna go for parinella 101 or maybe some risky stuff? Who knows?

I know I started this off with intensity and it turned into a west coast/east coast thing and I will conceed that any player that makes this Boston team will invariably be as intense as it gets. I suppose a better word for the wes/east coast mentality would be flashy vs patient. I like and hate both and I think teams must find some middle ground which is basically what is occuring at the highest levels of disc, ok, boring, anyone could have said that.

But I wanna end with an experience that I got to have this past year that I think is very very interesting. At yale this year we had 2 junior players come out as freshman for superfly. One from seattle, Drew, and one from Massachusetts, Ian. They were both products of elite coaching, ie the Sockeye clinics and Tiina Booth's amherst camp. What was awesome was that when you would watch them play, they were both such representations of east vs west coast disc. You had Drew who was a very flashy, I am gonna make myself look good player and then you had Ian who was gonna beat you on O and D with fundamental skills. What I find interesting is that the DoG dynasty ended about 7 years ago and the NW dominace started about 5 years ago and I think that now a days they could be better described as all around talented. But the ripple is whats cool. The trickle down to the juniors took a few years and it still shows a shadow of what ultimate was half a decade ago. I feel like ultimate is a bad ass sport because it is constantly in flux and the game changes so much. The evolution of the force, the flick, over the top throws, the stack, the spread, zone, all of it has evolved from the original game and some in the last 5 years, awesome!!! I just think it is kick ass that I get to see these two freshman go at it and I wonder where they will be in 4 years. Will they evolve, remain static, hopefully they improve, but what will the freshman be like when they are over the hill grad students. If Sockeye and DoG develop a common manner of play to compete, will these junior players find one as well. I suppose it is on the coaches and leaders of the teams they play on to allow for this growth and I hope they trade notes on their ultimate tactics. I can't wait.

match diesel