Sunday, November 25, 2007

Ambush Story

So most folks are aware that Ambush was strapped with two suspensions this past club series. I wanted to write a piece on this story because I think it is 1) a very interesting and compelling story and 2) another major event involving the UPA and suspensions. I am lucky that I have friends out in the ultimate community and I could not have done this without the help of an Ambush player and friend of mine, Iana Aranda.

First I wanted to start with a little bit about the team and where they come from. Ambush is a women’s team that is based out of New York City and this year marked their 10th year of existence (hence the Hamilton dime jerseys at natties). The team is made up of young female professionals and students with the average age being around 25. In addition to being talented female athletes they also bring the ruckus and enjoy a good party, (cough) Tucker. I asked Iana to give me some background on Ambush and one thing that really stuck out in my head is how difficult it is to play disc as a woman in NYC. First, there is basically zero field space. Combine every downtown you have ever lived near and that’s NYC for +180 city blocks. I dunno how NYNY was so dominate. There are fields off the island (an hour away) and it is no surprise that teams struggle for patches of grass. I have heard from several folks that fields in dangerous neighborhoods riddled with broken glass are not uncommon. Not only does this bring some major challenges to all disc players but I can only imagine what this would be like for a woman. Having to put yourself in harms way, in a bad area, at night, repeatedly? I cannot imagine what this must be like. And as if this were not enough of a challenge, you are also living in NYC. The poor college kid mentality is non-existent. People in NYC laugh at 40-hour workweeks. The 8a-8p workday is not uncommon considering that the cost of living rivals that of any major city in the world, and it's not like NYC is the safest place. In addition, the average duration of living in NYC is 3-5 years for most people. Folks are always moving in and out to try the city out, work a little then they take off to an easier city to live in, go back to school or take their life/career elsewhere. Needless to say, I just wanted to articulate that playing in NYC is no picnic and any team, men’s, women’s, co-ed, masters, is brave and noble for even trying. In addition, I didn't realize how difficult this region is to compete in. Unlike college, NYC is in the Northeast region (it's the metro east in college) and has to compete with not only all the Boston/New England teams but Eastern Canada as well. Having to start/develop/maintain a team in such an ominous region (not unlike the NW) has to be extremely difficult and hats off to these women for making it to nationals in the face of such adversity.

The main story revolves around two players, Amanda Goodin and Alison Kling. Amanda is a cutter and a defender, not to mention Ambush's tallest player and veteran. After accepting a clerkship for a judge in Baltimore mid-season, she moved out of NYC. Despite this departure, she still maintained her commitment to her team and made the 5 hour weekend trek (each way) to NYC, healthy or injured. She also volunteered to call subs, and coming from a club captain, having someone else call subs makes things infinitely easier. Alison Kling is a long time club ultimate veteran who was playing for Ambush for the 4th time in the series. She was a second year captain and a main handler for Ambush. As described by Iana, Alison was "an ideal captain" who is "the first to teach and the last to criticize". I thought this last comment was particularly interesting because it is often that those that teach also criticize the most and having Alison's pairing would be quite nice in a teammate/captain.

When the team first submitted their series (sectionals and regional) roster Amanda was mistakenly left off by Alison. Regardless, Ambush as a whole competed in the club series and earned the 4th and final bid out of the NE by defeating Storm, a women’s team out of Montreal. The problems ensued once they made it to nationals and had to re-submit their rosters. When you make nationals you have to re-submit your roster of players that are going to compete because you pay per player for your team. When the UPA received the roster for Ambush, and compared it with their series roster, there was one name that was not on both lists, Amanda Goodin. Once the UPA discovered this, they notified the captains of Ambush to let them know of their invalid roster status and that potential punishment would ensue. Alison, the team's roster/organization captain, quickly protested the possible suspension of Amanda because it was her (Alison's) fault that Amanda had been left off the roster and it was simply an oversight. The UPA convened to determine what they thought to be the most appropriate course of action.

Possible punishments could be 1) suspending the entire team (which has happened many times in the past), 2) suspend Amanda, or 3) some other combination of suspensions. After deliberation, the UPA decided to suspend Amanda, the ineligible player, because she was not on the original series roster, and then as a penalty for playing with this ineligible player, they suspended Alison, the captain in charge of rostering. Obviously this hurt the team in more ways than can be articulated here. A team already limited in numbers (16) was now cut down to 14. However, the tickets had already been paid for, the journey was already set in motion, the question then became, what next? At the request of the entire team, both Amanda and Alison decided to attend Nationals, despite the fact that, as of now, they were not allowed to compete.

In a desperation move to try and sway the UPA, Becca Tucker sent a letter to the UPA and simultaneously posted on RSD concerning the situation that had occurred. Ambush felt that this punishment was too excessive considering it was simply a "clerical error" and the resultant punishment was quite severe and unjust. After all this is club, not college. There are no eligibility issues regarding how long a person can play and the only 2 major restrictions concerning a series roster is that 1) a player must be on it by the due date and 2) they cannot be on any other roster. Because it was simply a clerical error, surely having these players compete at nationals does not compromise the competitive nature of the sport. However, the UPA is strict on their rules. The guidelines for registering a team and submitting rosters are announced with sufficient time to put together a roster while abiding by their limited restrictions. Considering that other teams had committed similar moves like this, albeit in college disc, the UPA felt like they were lenient in suspending only 2 players as opposed to all 16. Never was there a more prominent case of this situation than in 2004 with UCSB Black Tide (check out blog entry Sports Scandals - Ultimate, 7/25/07).

After posting the news/response on RSD, the team captains of Ambush discovered a rule known as the "Captain's Clause” which stipulates that "A game may be played under any variation of the rules agreed upon by the captains of the teams involved. In tournament play variations are subject to approval by the event organizer". They took this to mean that they could contact the 15 other women’s teams competing at nationals and ask for their compliance in allowing these two players to compete, thereby over ruling the UPA's suspension. Despite this Hail Mary effort to save their teammates, the action was staunchly opposed by the powers that be and was rejected at the captain's meeting even before a vote could have taken place. Most of the teams in attendance were in support of this utilization of the "Captain's Clause" and I am curious to know what would have happened had a vote actually taken place. Regardless, Ambush would have to compete with 14 players and 2 devoted fans.

Ambush then set out to compete minus these two players. The words that Iana used to describe the situation are far better than I could ever muster: "We banded together as a good team should. Our resolve was strong even if our numbers were not. At nationals, you compete against the best of the best in the country. Every player is crucial. Every play is full of energy. Our small squad took a serious beating. Injured players pushed themselves to critical points. Exhaustion set in both physically and emotionally. Alison and Amanda were a permanent presence on our sideline. We played for them. It was painful in every sense of the word. We needed Alison's strong and accurate throws and Amanda's smart cuts and long reach. We needed them desperately but we are women of integrity. Neither of them played a single point."

When the dust settled, Ambush was scratched and scarred, battered and bruised, but they still gave it their all and competed at the highest level in a manner that is worthy of pride and acclaim. They are women of integrity and for their efforts both on and off the field and for their unlucky teammates they were awarded the spirit award. Despite the events that precipitated these suspensions they still exhibited class, composure, and as far as their peers were concerned, the spirit of the game.

One of my biggest questions for Iana was, "What advice would you give to team organizers out there? " To which she responded: "On a practical note, I would advise team organizers to share the task of administration. Captains have immense responsibilities. Mistakes WILL happen and team organizers cannot bear the entire burden of a time consuming job. Furthermore, the UPA needs to help these hard-working, dedicated athletes do their jobs better. Yes, there are automated notices of roster additions currently sent out, but additional checks should be provided earlier in the season. Whether physically at sectionals or via improved online rostering cross-referencing tools."

Considering that this team overcame similar obstacles in the past and made nationals in 2001, I am sure that they will have little trouble overcoming this set back. This situation should serve as, if nothing else, motivation for next year and the year after and so on. Coming this close only makes teams stronger and helps to recruit and continue the success that has already been reached.

The only regret that I have for this situation was when I asked Iana if she was aware of previous teams that had been suspended due to ineligible players before this situation occurred. To which she replied: "Honestly, I wasn't aware of previous teams prior to our situation. At this point, however, I'm quite familiar with a number of squads who've endured similar circumstances." This is one of many reasons why I write this blog. The history of ultimate is not about the rosters, the titles, the numbers, or the dates. The history of this game is in the stories, both good and bad. The legacies and the failures. The legends and the unknowns. Sad stories like that of Ambush are not uncommon but they should be. Players all over the world should have learned from Santa Barbara but that wasn't the case. I suppose this could be one of those lessons where you never really learn it until you commit the mistake. I for one am very glad I have the best administrative captain out there, Jacob "Assman" Kravitz. I am also thankful for another player in my past, Jake "Bamboo" Chang, for taking care of me and the rest of the UCSD Air Squids. Do not overlook those rosters or the people that organize them. They are as important as all the practices and track workouts and play makers out there.

I want to say that I make NO judgments concerning this story. I have been on the positive side of this situation and have celebrated the strict nature of the UPA, so bashing the UPA would make me a hypocrite. I have also been on the administrative side of this situation and can say that organizing rosters is no easy task. I will say that I hope this story, along with many others, are not soon forgotten. The mistake of Ambush should serve as a lesson to teams at all levels out there. The UPA is the real deal and should not be taken lightly. However, the perseverance, team dedication and devotion of Ambush in response to this should serve as a positive affirmation to every player out there that this game matters to all of us. We as players should do everything in our power to honor, respect, and protect our fellow players, both teammates and opponents.

match diesel

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ultimate Upsets

I was watching my favorite college basketball team (Kentucky) get rocked by Gardner-Webb by 16 the other day and it made me think about upsets in the ultimate community.

I first want to say I think that tournaments outside the series are basically irrelevant. I can understand that there are a lot of great games out there, but looking at non-series tournaments is a bit too subjective. You never know about injuries, when teams are gonna peak, and who is trying their hardest (especially in club). With that in mind I thought I would talk about a few upsets that I think are interesting.

Delaware 15 Florida 13, College Nationals 2007 (Pool Play)
First and foremost, probably the biggest upset in college ultimate over the last few years has got to be Delaware over Florida this past year at nationals. I made predictions for college nationals and this was the only game I got wrong. I mean come on, Florida, former champion, the 2 seed in the tournament, favorites to make at least semis. Delaware, an up and coming team, has never played in bracket play at nationals, the 11 seed and WHAM!! They take down Florida 15-13 in the first game of pool play. The year before Florida only had 15 points scored on them in all of pool play (actually it was 22, but who's counting). They also played Delaware last year and took them out 15-5. However, in 2007, minus TG, the gators get upset HUGE in the first game. I wish I could have been there to watch it but I was over at the Stanford/Georgia game. Regardless, Delaware really showed in 1 game that the Metro East isn't all that bad. I have a friend on the team, Dan Cuoco, and he told me going into nationals 2006 that they were gonna turn some heads at nationals. Didn't happen that year but it DID happen in 2007. Good for Sideshow. Too bad they left it all on the field and an absolutely gassed team got their tits lit by Oregon 15-3 and they lost again to Indiana 15-10. Oh well maybe Delaware will make Pre-Quarters next year, good luck to them.

Georgia 17 Colorado 16, College Nationals 2006 (Quarterfinals)
Another huge upset that I also think was really interesting, albeit depressing for my region, was the Georgia over Colorado quarterfinals game at nationals in 2006. This game was actually really exciting to watch because Beau and Dylan were absolutely tearing it up. I think that Colorado came in wayyy over confident and it hurt them in the end. They had been to the finals the previous 2 years and had a great team with Jolian, Beau, Rabbit, Chicken, etc... However, the previous day they pulled out an AMAZING double game point win against Stanford. I feel like this should have been a wake up call to Mama Bird letting them know about their weaknesses. In my opinion I think the major weakness of Colorado that year was their D line. Their O Line was ridiculous and like most elite teams now a days, they played a strict O/D line game. However, this is college, everyone is bound to screw up at some point. I think that Colorado assumed their O line was perfect (and it was close) and their D line would get them the breaks they needed to win. However, there are some good defenders out there and they got breaks that Colorado wasn't expecting. In the Georgia game, the Colorado D line could not put the disc in the end zone. They have some great defenders, and they would generate Ds, but they would just give it back. I guess that’s what happens when your best offensive players are on the sideline. Anyway, by the second half, Georgia was already up enough and despite the fact that Beau and Chicken played every remaining point, they didn't have the time to get back in the game and they lost 17-16. This game showed me two things, 1) Dylan is really good. He played so well and I think it was when he peaked. He didn't seem as good in 2007 but this game, he was on. 2) Beau is ridiculous. I mean he had jumped over David "Runner" Flock at Regionals that year but I can remember a huck going up to Dylan and maybe Jolian was covering him. From half way across the field Beau comes a running and as usual, skies the piss out of both of them. Guy is an athlete.

UCSB 15 Colorado 11, SW College Regionals 2004 (Finals)
Keeping with the Colorado upsets, I think the UCSB/Colorado regional finals game in 2004 is another great example of an epic upset. Since I have played disc Colorado has always won the SW. They won it this year and last year and the year before and so on. However, arguably the best Colorado team (2004 Champions) lost in the regional finals to a soon to be DQ'd UCSB Black Tide team. Now this team got DQ'd but Nate Bouxsein was not one of their marquee players. He was a better version of Sean Laing. An experienced guy with good disc skills that was there to support the team, not dominate, so despite the fact that he got UCSB booted form natties, doesn't mean he really helped them get there on the field. Now I have talked about this game a number of times, and I just want to express how big a deal this game was. I mean this Colorado team had everyone, there weren't any "just graduated" players worth mentioning. Richter, Parker, Beau (at his best), Rabbit, Chicken, JV, they were all there. This was the Colorado team that beat Cal 15-7 to win nationals and they lost to UCSB? Black Tide? Yeah they were good in the late 90's and what not but they hadn’t made a nationals run in some time. Yet their zone D completely shut down Colorado's offense, in a stadium no less. How do you do that? Regardless, this game was amazing to watch not because I liked UCSB (in fact I hated them) but just because I was there, I got to witness a perfect team get pwned. It did suck however because then UCSD had to play a pissed off Colorado team and Beau went up and down the field on Kubiak and Colorado won 15-11.

UNC Wilmington 17 Carleton 16, College Nationals 2001 (Pool Play)
If you look back a bit further another great college upset that needs to be remembered (and I think Gerics will agree) is the UNC-Wilmington/Carleton game at nationals in 2001. This was the last time a team lost a pool play game yet still won nationals. In Devens, the year Nord went horizontal over a Colorado player and knocked himself out, they lost a pool play game. UNCW beat them on double game point (17-16) in the second round of pool play. That has got to feel so bizarre. You beat a team that wins nationals AT nationals. This is similar to the Delaware/Florida game in that UNCW didn't manage to win another pool play game, but at least they took down CUT. I really think a game like this should never be forgotten (well maybe forgotten by that CUT team but no one else) because it goes to show you that not every national champ is perfect. I know Wisconsin basically treated the competition at nationals this year like asian schoolgirls at my house this past year but these teams can still lose. Florida can, Colorado can, CUT can. As Chris Berman says, "upsets are why we play the game" and I think college players out there should know that a seed or a ranking is just an arbitrary number and any team can have a bad game, any team can lose and any team can win.

UCSD 15 Georgia 6, College Nationals 2005 (Pool Play)
In keeping with the college theme, another upset that was awesome was the UCSD/Georgia upset in 2005. I am biased cuz I was a squid, but that game was so cool. You have Georgia, a team that was really breaking into the elite circle with their first 1 seed (4th overall). They were the 13th seed in 2003. First pool play game was against UCSD, the 9th seed, and the Air Squids took Jo-Jah down 15-6. This was awesome because it was totally unexpected. I thought Ice (UCSD A) was gonna have some serious trouble against such a hot team but Georgia's composure really was not there and they went down without much of a fight. This game was the main reason UCSD made semis that year, because this, and Georgia taking out UBC, spring boarded us to win the pool and we got to skip pre-quarters. Georgia did come out on top in pre-quarters but had to play a very experienced Stanford team. They were so close to winning that game but a costly huck perpendicular to the field on double game sent Stanford to the semis AGAIN and Georgia out of it.

Oregon 15 Stanford 13, NW College Regionals 2003 (Semifinals)
Another college upset that I think is HUGE is the 2003 NW Regional semifinals game between Oregon and Stanford. What is worth mentioning is that Stanford had won nationals the previous year with a 37-1 record (one of the best teams in history), but for whatever reason, there was only 1 bid for the NW the following year. In any event, Stanford and Oregon meet in the semifinals. This was Wiggins’ 5th and last year and this game is where this picture of Nick Handler comes from. However, apparently, everything went Oregon’s way (or so a friend of mine, Cameron Shelton, who was on the Stanford team tells me) and Oregon made it to the finals. I wish I had more information concerning this game, but I just can't find it. In any event, I think Oregon went on to beat Oregon State in the finals and Ego made it to nationals as the 2 seed but lost in the finals to Wisconsin. This is probably the 1 game I wish I knew more about. I would also like to mention that since 2002, this was the only year that Stanford has not made at least semis at nationals. It also seems like Stanford and Oregon have a serious rivalry, very Wisconsin/Carleton esque. In 2006 Stanford was the 1 seed going into Regionals. They rip through their pool and Western Washington to make the finals against Aaron Bell and Ego, who had just taken out Oscar Pottinger, Morgan Hibbert, and the rest of the 2nd seeded UBC Thunderbirds. In this game, Oregon completely blew Stanford away (something that just isn't done) 15-10. I don't know if Stanford was over confident or what. However, it did set up a great Robbie vs Oscar game in the backdoor finals and Stanford made nationals. I would also like to add that Stanford did get the last laugh though. At nationals, as if by some stroke of good/bad luck Stanford and Oregon meet in quarters after Stanford toppled Michigan in pre-quarters and Oregon had won their pool. This game would be all Stanford though and they won 15-11 making semis AGAIN and managed to be the 2nd team to upset a pool winner that year. Oregon was relegated to a consolation game with UCSD to see who would get the strength bid, the NW or SW and Oregon did what they always do to UCSD, won, 15-11. One of the few reasons why I butt heads with Greenough.

Rhino 14 Justice League 13, NW Club Regionals 2006 (Pool Play)
Taking a break from college, I think another great upset was the pool play game between Rhino/Justice League at NW Regionals last year. You have Justice League (aka Jam) and they are up and down all year, talented but not polished. They did win Solstice by by beating Rhino. Actually there is a great ultivillage interview after that game with Kevin Cissna where he acknowledges that Rhino is good and will be tough to be beat in the series, foreshadowing? Needless to say, JL was an elite team, period. However, Regionals was not their tournament. There were 4 bids to nationals that year and all JL had to do was get past Rhino or Revolver. They had beaten Revolver 13-10 at sectionals but boy did they have a tough Regionals. They lost to Rhino (6 seed, JL was 3) in pool play 13-14, ok, lets not panic. Then they lost to Revolver by the same score in the backdoor semis. Ok, now it's crunch time. The prospect of not making nationals is becoming very real. Justice League now has to beat Invictus and then Rhino to take the last bid to nationals. They take out Invictus 15-9 but then get taken out BIG time by the same score only it was Rhino 15 and JL 9. This was really surprising. I suppose it just goes to show you that winning is about a team effort and despite the talent, Rhino was just a better team and peaked at the right time. They had a forgettable performance at Nationals but boy I am sure they relished that JL upset. I think the bigger story than the 4th place game, was the pool play game. Justice League was really knocked down a few pegs by not winning their pool and I think it put them in a huge hole. They would have to go through the best young teams in the country to get out of the region and I think all those games just go to them. Had they won that pool play game and been playing from ahead in bracket play as opposed to being the under dog, maybe they would have made nationals. Regardless, they came back with a vengeance this past year and made semis. Good for Idris, Cissna, Watson, Damien, Gabe, Hodges, and the rest of the Frisco gang.

Rival 15 Shazam 12, Mixed Club Nationals 2007 (Pool Play)
Another awesome upset, and a game that is analogous to the Carleton/UNCW game, is the Rival/Shazam pool play game 3 weeks ago. Here you have Shazam, everyone's favorite to win nationals by leaps and bounds but they lose in pool play to Rival, the 8 seed?!? Shazam had only lost once the entire year (Brass Monkey 13-11 at Labor Day) yet they go down relatively big 15-12 to the 2 seed in their pool. This must have been huge for this Atlanta based team seeing that they had not beaten a top tier team all year. Kendra from Slow White told me that their offense (Rival) is awesome and considering the lack of wind early at nationals this year, I suppose the results aren't too surprising. Too bad they never got to face off again, I wonder what Bestock and the rest of the Seattle folks would have done to Rival in bracket play. AMP would get the honors and got the better of them 15-10 in quarters. I do hope that this game, as well as the UNCW/CUT games are not soon forgotten. As JP said in Angels in the Outfield, "It could happen".

Vagabonds 16 Team USA 15, Potlatch 2005 (Semifinals)
Thinking about coed, another game that must have been spectacular to be on the winning side of was the Vagabonds/Team USA game at Potlatch in 2005. Now this isn't a series game, but it's still a pretty cool story. You have Team USA, who was hand picked by the UPA and coached by Ted Munter. Now let me make sure I articulate this well. This Team USA was going to World's in Germany. This is not like the WUCC World's in Perth last year or the WUGC World's coming up next year in Vancouver (confusing I know). This World's is a coed tournament where the players are chosen, it's not like a team earns the chance to make it to this particular World's. This Team USA had a collection of all stars that were chosen not only based on their ultimate skills but their service to the game as well. It had greats like Zipp, Watson, Namkung, Miranda Roth, and Chase. However, it was not a team per se, like Sockeye will be next year. Anyway, you have this all-star team (Justice League-esque) playing at Potlatch as a warm up for World's. They had already won Poultry Days and looked like they were the best coed team in the country (better be). They managed to take down Canada in the showcase game (great game) and were looking good, at least to make the finals. However, the Vagabonds, a pickup team from Portland, had other plans. They took down team USA in the semifinals, I don't know what the score was, I had to catch a flight. This propelled Vagabonds to the finals where they lost to Team Canada. I think it is worth mentioning however that team USA probably got a wake up call and went on to dominate at World's beating Australia 13-11 in the gold medal game. I would imagine Keith Monahan gets drunk at bars and talks about how the Vagabonds were the best co-ed team back in '05, at least I would. But he's got a few club championships to keep him happy.

Truck Stop 15 Furious George 10, Club Nationals 2007 (Pool Play)
Another game that is a huge upset (and I don't want to write this but I will) is the Truck Stop/Furious game a nationals this past year. I think this is up there as the biggest upset in recent club ultimate history. I think Furious was better than 15-0 in pool play over the years and that loss to the boys from DC was probably earth shattering. Had Furious actually pulled that game out they might have made a decent showing at nationals. It seems like Furious doesn't enjoy losing and really doesn't play their best once the odds are heavily stacked against them. I think everyone in the country was surprised by this game. I am curious to know what feeling was more intense, Furious' depression or TS's elation. I would like to go with the latter, but I think it's the former. In any event, hopefully Furious re-groups after this and I think TS will be able to pick up some serious talent now that they have a win like this and a great overall nationals performance under their belt.

Illinois X 16, NC State 14, College Nationals 2003 (Pool Play)
I am going to be honest, I don't know a whole lot about this last game but I know it was a big deal. NC State was looking very good this year. They were 37-1 going into nationals, they had 3 tournament wins (probably some combination of Terminus, Southers, Easterns and Ultimax) and because Stanford lost at their regional tournament, they were granted the #1 seed at nationals. Now this pre-dates Centex so there was no nation wide tournament before nationals that really helped establish who was the best in the country. Oregon had won Pres Day (the best college tournament on the west coast at the time) as well as the NW region so they were given the #2 seed at nationals. Wisconsin and Carleton were the other 1 seeds. I like to think that this NC State team was not dissimilar to Queens-Kingston back in 2005. They were a team that had a good record but hadn't necessarily seen the best in the country. Needless to say they took out Michigan (the 3 seed) 15-10 but then played a really close regional rematch against Georgia 15-13. This left them moderately gassed for Illinois X (2nd seed, 8th overall) who took them out 16-14. NC State then went on to pre-quarters against another regional rival, William and Mary, and lost 15-11 sending them from the 1 seed all the way down to a 12th place finish. I think it is also worth mentioning that at that same nationals, Colorado (10th seed) went from a 1-2 pool play showing all the way to the semis with huge wins over higher seeded Ohio State (7th) and Illinois (8th). They were also the only team at nationals that year to score more than 10 points on Wisconsin, 15-12 in semis. Lastly, the Oregon/CUT semis that year was probably one the best games in the history of college disc. The epic Chase/Seth picture (cover of Parinella's book) is from that game. Can you believe that Chase (CUT) and Seth/Ben (Oregon) are now team mates on Sockeye? And Jimmy Chu (CUT) used to be in that mix as well before he moved to LA. That just seems weird to me.

I am sure that there are a ton of other games out there that I have neglected to mention. Feel free to contribute.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Parallels in Ultimate

I had an interesting thought today and I thought I would share it.

In the wake of the 2007 club championships I have realized some things that I find really cool. Take the recent champions, Sockeye. Forget about how dominate they were/are and take a look at their roster, who do they have? A lot of superstars, but one in particular, Tim Gehret. Now this kid is just the balls, absolutely ridiculous. Now the reason he came up in my head is that he has the chance to do something that only 1 other person has done, win a college national championship, the callahan, a club championship and a world title. Few people in the world can even enter the realm of this achievement and TG has 3 of the 4 now and with this national championship it will be possible for him to get the world title. He is in good company in that if Sockeye remains at the top for the next year, Alex Nord will also have the ability to get all 4. Aside from this though, I thought about how Tim Gehret is similar to the other player that has all 4, Fortunant Mueller, or Forch. The similarities are actually staggering and really amazing when you think about it.

First off, Forch was a national champ and callahan winner at Brown University. He was there from 1997-2000 and won nationals in 2000. He got his national championship (2000) and the callahan (1999) in different years, but has them none the less. Now TG is more of the same. Won a national championship for Florida and won the callahan in 2006. Ok, who cares?

After college they both went on to join dynasty ultimate teams. Forch played for DoG in 1999 before he graduated and was on the team that won their last national championship and has played in Boston since. Tim moved from Florida where he played with Vicious Cycle and is now on Sockeye. I doubt most folks will say that Sockeye now is as dominant as DoG then, but they are at least comparable. They also have a regional rival within 2 hours (DoG - NYNY, Sockeye - Furious) who seem to be the only team that can get the better of them when it matters.

Take a closer look. They are both very similar players, both in play and in appearance. They are both smaller players at 5'10", they are both "all around" players meaning that they are very versatile and can cut as easily as they can handle. They are both work horses in that they run their opponent into the ground and they are both very, very good defenders. And they both have single digit numbers. Well that last one really doesn't matter. I also want to say that their height is really a thing of interest for me because there are very few players out there that can dominate at this level on both sides of the disc yet not be in the 6'2"-6'5" range that you see of a lot today. Zipp is another good example as is Dan Heijman and most of Stanford.

Now back to Forch and TG. I think this comparison is really useful because it can help predict the future. I believe that Tim Gehret is going to be a club juggernaut. I was watching the ultivillage ECC footage of the Sockeye/Buzz Bullets final. In the first point or so, Sammy CK makes an UNREAL incut layout grab. Now, what most won't realize is that immediately after getting this layout in-cut catch (around a speedy buzz bullet defender) he mistakenly threw it away while attempting a dump to Sam O'Brien. However, as if someone had scripted it, TG gets a HUGE layout catch block 3 throws later around his opponent. It was as if he could will his team to victory and would succeed despite anyone else's play (in a team game no less). This is not unlike what Forch is known for on Boston. After watching the Boston/GOAT regional final, I began to realize why Forch is so revered in New England. For most folks across the country, Forch is not all that well known, I didn't know of him until I got here. However, he is a local hero in New England and being in Connecticut where he used to live, people really, really, really like this guy and I am beginning to see why. In that game, Forch made an unreal D that was very similar to the one I previously mentioned. Huge layout catch block between 2 defenders, on double game point no less, followed up by an enormous layout goal to win the game, the regional title, and trip to Sarasota.

So with this comparison, I think that Tim will be the next Forch. Now this is also interesting because with Forch's emergence into the club circuit his team performance has dwindled (albeit barely). After Forch joined the team in 1999, Boston went on to win the club title in San Diego. This allowed them to go to Germany where they won gold. However, since then Boston has yet to repeat, even a finals appearance. Now Sockeye has just won its 3rd national title in 4 years. Not as good as 6 in a row but hey, pretty freaking good. Does this mean that Sockeye's performance will falter as well? I definitely do not believe so, but it’s an interesting comparison. I think Boston is a fantastic team and their lack of championships is mostly due to the rest of the country improving, not Boston sucking. In any event, I think that Sockeye has aligned themselves nicely and I really am looking forward to seeing what Tim can do in Seattle over the next 5-10 years (if he stays).

This also got me thinking a lot about other players out there that one could make an analogous statement about. The first one that comes to mind, in the wake of TG and Forch is Ben Wiggins and Jim Parinella. They are also both extremely similar in the ultimate community. Jim is a competitor and a true student/teacher of the game. The guy wrote a book, not to mention won 6 national championships, a world title and now a masters championship. Ben is also a fierce competitor and brilliant student of the game. He has traveled across the country giving seminars about ultimate subjects such as marking and coaching and has worked as hard to improve the ultimate community around him. They also seem to be very cerebral players that rely on their strategic approach to the game, rather than just athleticism. Parinella basically invented the idea of taking what the defense gives you (a game plan that every NE player tries to utilize). I also remember hearing about Ben spending a lot of time working meticulously on intricate parts of the game such as release points. With this sort of comparison it is easy to see that they are not necessarily fantasy all stars, but none the less still vital components of their respective programs. I am sure their eyes for the game are the best in the business and I am sure that they both offer extreme expertise on the sideline. It is also worth mentioning that they are also of similar build at 5’10”. However, I think that their playing presence is slightly different. Parinella seems to be more of an offensive AND defensive player where Ben is a huge offensive impact factor. I would say that at 26(?) Ben is well on his way to writing a book or at least achieving the same sort of accolades that Parinella can boast. I am very interested in wondering what the relationship between Forch and Parinella, and Wiggins and TG is and if they are/will be similar. I also wonder if Wiggins is half as good at Goaltimate as Parinella is.

Another other example out there that I think is equally interesting is Richter and Mike Grant. They were both very good in college, Josh won the Callahan at Colorado and Mike Grant helped build UBC to be the program it is now. However, I think that their best performance in the game was at the club level. I think that Richter is very good but probably was not the best player the year he won the Callahan (2004). I think Chase was. However, as he has matured he has really shown himself to be a leader on Bravo at all fronts. Intensity, work ethic, defense, offense, the works. In watching Ultivillage footage of him over the last few years, it appears that Richter is definitely the rock that Bravo guys can depend on and draw inspiration from. Beau, Jolian, and Popiel might make the big skies but Richter will keep every guy motivated to beat their man to the spot and not quit till the game is over. Chicken comments on this on Disc 2 in an interview. When I first saw this interview I was didn't really take notice because Richter was part of a regional rival but after watching him in the 2006 open series, the college Nationals showcase game and now in 2007, I am very confident he is as good as he is intense and I think Bravo utilizes it a lot. I think Mike is very similar for Furious. Over the last 10 years or so, he has gone from a youthful phenom, to a true leader exhibiting focus, intensity and consistency. It always seems like he has his head in the game, never commits mental mistakes and really is a person that his teammates can depend on. I believe that this role is also huge because it allows the younger players on the team to play more relaxed considering they have a bail out, or someone they know will make a difference, taking some pressure off. I think Richter will continue to establish himself in this way and what is more interesting is that he is a serious veteran for Bravo despite the fact that he is only 25(?). His youth is definitely as big an asset as his skill and intensity. I think with his presence (not to mention the 10+ guys they have over 6’10”) will help keep Bravo strong and potentially a national championship team in the future.

Another example I think is cool, is Chicken and Lugsdin. These two are very "Poster Boy" esk players. They are both very well spoken, very inteligent, and very talented. Chicken, who was a molecular biologist at Colorado, is a very solid and smart player not to mention an articulate person on Bravo. Always seems to be the guy talking to Rob and in person he is really nice and approachable. In the 2 or 3 conversations I have had with him he seems like a really grounded person, something that I wasn't expecting for a national champ and club all star. Lugsdin is more of the same. Physics major at McGill, very nice guy, very smart and approachable. Lugsdin is a bit taller but they both play good disc on all fronts. Have great throws, great composure, defense, fundamentals, leadership skills and best of all they aren’t overly arrogant (at least not in my experience). They seem to respect their opponents and the game itself, something that I wish more players did. Also Lugsdin is #9, Chicken is #10. Although I gotta say the blond goatee and hair-do Chicken is sporting is suspect, as is the pink hat he used to play in.

There are a lot more examples that I find interesting but I won’t go into too much more detail. I think that Nick Handler will become a player similar to Will Deaver. They are both springy as hell, ridiculously tight defenders, and seem to always have a mental advantage on their oppenent. Jacob Goldstein has the potential to be the next Jeff Cruikshank. They are both gifted offfensive players, have exceptional throws, and play surprisingly good defense given their over shadowing handling abilities. Kurt Gibson could be the next Damien Scott because he is tall, fast, and has basically every tool in the game to pull from. Both players seem to control the game at will and seem to play better with more pressue on them. I will say that I don’t know what Kurt is like on the party front and I hear Damien is one of the best.

I also find that if you look at ultimate like this you can potentially see where the game is going and what one can potentially expect. Not to say that these players have to succeed in the ways that some have in the past, but I think it is similar to comparing A-Rod to Hank Aaron, or LeBron to Jordan. Another reason why I bring these things up is that in my opinion a lot of people out there think disc is different across the country (or maybe its just me). The west coast is known as a more flashy/tall game and the east is more conservative with smaller players. However, the game is changing. Players are moving across the country and playing disc in a variety of cities. The country is shrinking and the play is getting better everywhere. Teams like Madison in the North or Florida in the South, Stanford in the NW, Brown in the NE, and so on. However, if you look at these sorts of players you can see that the kinds of players out there and the impact they have on their respective teams is uniform across the country. Perhaps the influence of ultimate is moving westward from the east (New Jersey, where it was born) across the country. I suppose the game in 20 years will become more homogeneous or maybe I am just spouting out the things that make good programs and its the same and will be forever. I hope that it’s the former. I wasn't alive in the early 1900s to see football, baseball, hockey or basketball become the sports they are now, but I am at ground zero for ultimate and the next 30 years are gonna be really cool.

just my thoughts

match diesel

Thursday, November 8, 2007

College Disc: 1st Big Weekend

So this weekend is probably the first big weekend for college ultimate. I for one love college disc, probably more than club, because there is so much history, pride, spirit, and best of all, turn over. You have teams like Florida that came out of nowhere to win nationals in 2006, UCSB has been off the radar for awhile but they are coming back with a vengance, Oregon looks like they are ready to make it back to the finals. Also, there are teams that are close to the top every year. It has got to be extremely difficult to be among these teams because players can only play college for so long. Wisconsin, Stanford, and Colorado all did very well last year but they have been at the top for so long, which should serve as a reminder that these are "true programs" and will always be at the top.

So with that in mind, this weekend there will be 5 tournaments scattered throughout the country that will pit some of the best programs against one another. These tournies are 1) Sean Ryan in Santa Cruz, CA, 2) Missouri Loves Company in Jefferson City, MO, 3) Delaware Showdown in Newark, DE, 4) Sundodger in Burlington, WA, and 5) Brown in Providence RI. Of these 5 tournaments 10 of the 2006 college nationals teams will be playing: 1) Wisconsin 2) Colorado 3) Stanford 4) Carleton 5) Oregon 6) Indiana 7) Ohio State 8) Delaware 9) Brown 10) Kansas. I dunno about other folks out there but I am amped for the college season and I wanted to talk about each of these tournies and some others that have happened or are happening soon.

First off I should say that these are fall tournies and the results are pretty worthless. A lot of these teams are going as split squads or only sending certain players so they are defintely not at their best, but it is nice to have these teams play eachother so early. I can remember a time when most of the best teams never saw eachother outside of centex, ultimax, southerns, or nationals. Now they are playing in November?!?! Awesome.

Sean Ryan
This is a tourney that is dedicated to the memory of Sean Ryan, who was part of the Santa Cruz ultimate team from 91-95. He was an avid outdoors men and became a park ranger after college. However, he died tragically during a resuce. In his memory, the UCSC team created the Sean Ryan Award for a person on both the men's and women's team that embodies the spirit of Sean Ryan. Sammy CK won this when he was an undergrad there in 2002. This tourney is the first really bad ass west coast tourney. It used to be that there was only this and SoCal in San Diego. The SW teams went to SoCal and the NW teams went to Sean Ryan. However, this year there will be teams from all over the west coast in attendance. First Stanford, ok their my boys, and they have won this tourney. They have been to the semis at nationals 5 times in the last 6 years, they are gonna be awesome this year. Oregon is also gonna be there. A team that used to win tournies (NW regionals and Pres Day back in the Ben Wiggins era, 2003). They won regionals in 2006, made quarters at nationals this past year and they are arguably the best young team in the country. They are ready to break into the top 4 at nationals. Black Tide will be there as the 3 seed. This team is ready to make another nationals run. They gave Colorado a close game at SW regionals last May and they are ready to take that 1st/2nd bid out of the SW. UCSD will make their first apperance at this tournament. When I was there, it was only SoCal in the fall which kinda sucks. I am really glad they are sending a team this year. UCSC and Cal will also be there and my sources say that they were the top teams at Santa Clara last weekend. LPC is also a quality team that seems to be the rock in a lot of elite team's shoes due to their cagey veterans and experience, thank god for Div III nationals. Other SoCal notables include UCLA and Claremont. It is nice to see that the SW is finally playing tournaments in the fall, something that should have been done a long time ago.

Missouri Loves Company
This is probably one of the top 3 fall tournies. I would say #1 is Classic City Classic, #2 Fall Collegiates and this would be #3. This year it will be the first look we'll get at Wisconsin and Colorado. I would say Wisconsin is the pre-season favorite and there are the annual Beau rumors circling about eligibility and what not. Carleton will also be there. Despite losing Goldstein, I think this team is the real deal. They picked up Christain Foster (2006 Junior World's #1 scorer) from Connnecicut College. I got the chance to play against him a number of times. Definitely fast, great throws and plays bigger than he looks, too bad he isn't as well liked off the field. Maybe he'll like North Field better than New London. Indiana, Ohio State, and Kansas will be there, not to mention Wisconsin Whitewater (2007 Div III national champs). Michigan will be there as well. Probably hoping to get back on that nationals horse. Too bad there is no Texas, we'll have to wait till CCC to hear that "Texas Texas Yee-HA!!" cheer (yuck).

This is a tournament I am not very familiar with but exciting none the less. There aren't any nationals qualifiers but there are 3 programs that will be making their '07-'08 debut in Washington, UBC, and Western Washington. I think Washington is a good team, they have been at nationals recently although not withouth Ray Illian. UBC is also another team that has shown signs of greatness. I think they were at their best in 2006 when they still had Oscar and Morgan and made the finals at Stanford. They had a good showing at Canadian College nationals, despite losing 15-11 in the finals to Toronto. Morgan was on the team in Vancover, I wonder if he is still on the team now. I also like seeing a new face in NW college disc in Western Washington. They have been knipping at Stanford's, Oregon, Cal, and the rest of the NW's heals and they are right at the edge of breaking into late Sunday play at regionals. I hope they can at least make semis at regionals this year.

Delaware Showdown and Brown
I wouldn't call these elite tournies persee but they will have Delaware and Brown at them. I wonder what the weather in Newark is gonna be like because Providence is gonna SUCK. Hopefully no one gets hurt or frostbitten.

There have also been some good tournies that have already happened in Fall Collegiates, Purple Valley, and Coffee Cup. I suggest reading Mike Gerics' write up of the UNC/Pitt final at Fall Collegiates on RSD, sounded like it was a GREAT game. Purple Valley had Harvard winning the whole thing. They have this kid, Zirui Song, from Johns Hopkins. Guy is nasty, very Will Chen esk. Played against him and Johnston while they were with New Noise. Not sure of their eligibilty status, but they can really help out a veteran Harvard team coached by the psychotic Josh McCarthy. Coffee Cup wasn't as exciting as it could have been. Weather made it only a one day tourney but Williams managed to win the thing.

Classic City Classic is also coming up December 1-2 in Tennessee. This will be the first chance we'll have at seeing Florida, Texas and Georgia. I am also amazed at what teams go to this thing. I don't know who plans it, but Cal has been in attendance in the past and I can't believe Colorado and Wisconsin are going to this and MLC. Those that think that disc is just a sport in the spring aren't paying attention to all these tournies. I am excited.

match diesel

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sockeye/Bravo Finals Thoughts

Now that Rob has posted the Sockeye/Bravo finals, I had a chance to take a peak and I had some thoughts about it.

First off, I think the weather must have been an issue. A friend of mine was there and he said it was really windy. I also heard that Sunday was the first really bad day of wind and teams had potentially not adjusted yet and this game would be not as crisp as previous ones. With that being said I am sure that playing top shelf disc in said weather is difficult, especially offense. However, this is club nationals, this is Sarasota, its always this windy in the finals and these teams are the best. However, considering that they are the best in the world, I don’t think they played like it. This game looked much more like a college finals than anything else, I mean Bravo was down 5-3 and then went on a 4-0 run? Took half 8-6, but lost 15-13? That doesn't happen in the finals at Club Nationals. I wouldn’t call it sloppy but it definitely was not what I was expecting. Now, this is very presumptuous of me to say seeing that I am about 2 or 3 light years from this playing ability but I still have some observations.

When I saw that Bravo made the finals, I was really stoked. They made semis last year, a really good bunch of players, very experienced, very athletic, and so on. However, this was their first finals appearance and it was for the ability to play at World’s. That is a ton of pressure and I think it got to them. You have really stellar play from a lot of great players but there were also some HUGE mental mistakes like easy throw aways and hasty decisions. I don’t want to knit pick a team that just made the finals, but it just did not look like they played their best offense. I mean you have a team throw a callahan AND drop a pull. You look at just those two things, no way you predict Sockeye to win the game. That should be 2 easy breaks, which should be all you need at this level. However, Bravo tossed up some poor spittle and Sockeye made them pay.

This is by no means the end of the world for Bravo and I feel like this sort of loss has to happen for a team to improve. It has got to be damn near impossible to just swoop into the finals and win the first time, especially against a team that is playing in like their 5th finals, their 4th in a row. This is not dissimilar to the GOAT/Boston regional final I keep talking about. A great team has to learn to be great and situations like this teach them. It would be nice if these lessons can be learned verbally but I think that Chicken will be a better handler now that he has had a tough loss like this. I am sure every dump throw he tosses will be perfect from now on and a cutter going up the line better be DAMN open and NOT covered by Mike Caldwell for him to toss that outside in flick. I have had some really poor moments in my career and I can say that events like this really precipitate improvement, they haunt you forever but they make you better. That is how experience is earned and I will say that I think Bravo is going to be the team to beat next year. Sockeye will have to peak twice to win it all next year, something that hasn’t been done by the previous 2 world title holders. I think Jam or whoever else will give Bravo a game next year but the boys from Colorado will have all the tools to win it all in 2008, experience, athletes, and the memory of 13-15 silver medal.

Ok, Bravo lost, way to kick them while they are down Match, dick! Now for Sockeye. This is a weird team. There is so much footage of them so folks like myself have seen them play a lot, despite the 3,000 mile separation. However, they sometimes seem to play to their opponents, not their own game. Take last year for example. The 2006 finals was an extremely well played game. I remember watching the score reporter in lab and seeing that Sockeye had taken half 8-6. At that point I knew Furious was screwed and they were, down a few breaks to a team like Sockeye and your chances of victory are pretty slim. Elite Open ultimate is all about possession, ie not turning it over. These elite squads have the ability to play games with less than 10 turnovers, it is almost expected at this point. With that in mind I think Sockeye really wanted to beat Furious last year, a team that had sprung their proverbial bear trap on the Fish in the past. They played patiently, their cutters were on fire and they took advantage of a few Furious mistakes, not to mention 2 HUGE breaks in a world greatest and the Skippy hammer incident. However this year, not unlike 3 years ago, Sockeye was not playing Furious in the finals and they played less composed and more aggressive. There were many big plays, skies and hucks, but there were also A LOT of turnovers and layout Ds. Layout Ds are really nice, and in college they happen a lot because handlers are not as good. They see a guy and think he is open and a defender either makes up some serious ground or comes out of nowhere. In club though, these handlers are conditioned by years of mistakes so they know when to throw and when not to. In this game however, there were so many layout Ds, I mean watch last years finals and you will see some HUGE bids, but most folks came up empty. Valdivia, Beau, Jolian, Caldwell, JD all made great plays (although technically not a layout D by JD). But the throws that allow these Ds should not have been tossed in the first place. I suppose playing in the North East has made me slightly more conservative and it just amazes me that at this level, a game like this happened. Also, like the Sockeye/Jam finals there were a lot of turnovers, especially on game point. Double game point in 2004, I think each team had 2 chances to score. Last weekend, Sockeye needed 3 possessions at 14-13 to seal the game, and that is 2 too many. I mean Tim's outside in flick to Seth with Beau covering him? Really? On game point? However, considering the composure status of Bravo, its not surprising that they got it back and won the game.

Aside from being an ass, my main reason for articulating this point is that I think Sockeye has their work cut out for them at World’s. Japan is a really good team and they are going to take advantage of miscues like the ones Sockeye made on Sunday at nationals. Their defenders are top notch and if Sockeye thinks they can just play their deep game and hope to generate Ds here and there, they have another thing coming. I think they have the personnel, the time, and the motivation to be the best in the world but it is by no means a guarantee. There were a few points in that ECC final where the Buzz Bullets got pretty close to sealing that game and they will be hungrier than ever before next August. With that being said, I think Sockeye will be ready because they know what Japan is capable of. Wiggins exhibited an amazing amount of class and respect when he spoke with Rob after the ECC final regarding Japan. The Fish know their competition, and I wonder what their game plan will be.

Ok, way to bash the two best teams in the world, how about some positive points.

First, I was really impressed with Nord, he had a really great game, something like 2 goals and 3 assists. Over the last 2 years or so I wasn't sure if Nord was playing his best. He is so big, I mean the guy is like 6'5" and he is lanky as all get out. Chase is also tall but he is built like Brian Urlacher and Nord is more like Nowitski. Going into this tournament, I was curious to know if his size was becoming an issue and if he could move the way he used to. I mean if you watch the finals from last year, he just doesn't really make that many plays, which is fine, he was probably covered very well. However, this year, it seemed like he was back to his 2005 status when he had huge performances at regionals and nationals. He made so many great plays in the air and downfield, not to mention that he was just really heads up the whole game. Come on, that snatch and quick toss for a score? Someone was paying attention. I am glad to be proven wrong and it was really nice to see Nord dominant again. Hope that thumb isn’t too badly injured.

Another fantasy allstar in this game was Hector Valdivia. Wow this guy played well, on both sides of the disc. His quick huck score to Beau off a turn was absolutely beautiful, as was his SICK layout D at 9-8. I also like his scoop score from Popiel to take half. I really didn't know who he was before this tournament but I know who he is now. I also like seeing guys that can play all sides of the disc. I think he finished with 3 goals and 2 assists.

Another player that I think had a great game was Mike Caldwell. Over the years the only real thing I can say about Mike is that he isn't Roger Crafts. It seems like they look a lot alike, what with the shaved heads and facial hair. Plus Crafts is #2 and Mike is #20. However, this guy played awesome. He had a great catch to tie the game at 10s (his 2nd goal) not to mention his biggest play, which was saving Sam O'brien's ass getting an EPIC layout D after the dropped pull. I also know for a fact that Caldwell is an insane athlete (watch the celebration after Sockeye won it all last year and you will see him jump like 3 feet in the air) and it is nice to see him kick ass. I wonder if his son will be as good a player as Dad.

I think Chase had an interesting game. Most folks (myself) consider him a deep cutter because of his size but he was putting up hucks left and right. I also like the hammer he tossed to Nord (who skied Seth, his own team mate) for a goal. Interesting to see him throw the hammers in the finals instead of catching them.

I also like seeing Jolian Dahl and Ray Illian play well. I think both have tough situations to deal with in ultimate. Ray was a stud at Washington but didn't really have much of a supporting cast plus he had to compete with all the talent in the NW so he was overshadowed a lot. I think he is a great player and I don't think enough people know that. He had a great game with some great scores, skies and defensive efforts. Jolian is similar in that he has played with Beau for so long and they appear to be similar players, except that Beau jumped over a guy once. I will say that Jolian is straight up filthy. He is a GREAT player who carried Colorado at college nationals and seeing him get that hugtastic layout D on Sammy was really cool.

There were also just a lot of really cool plays to see in this game. Parker's out side in flick score to Whitaker (actually I think he meant to throw it to Beau) was awesome. Chicken's callahan was pretty cool. I didn't think TG would toss something up like that. It also should serve as a lesson to kids to work on their pulls. A back corner starting spot is not fun to work with. Richter had a nice layout score followed up by his patented head spike (I tried to get him to do it at the college nationals showcase game, but he wouldn't). I also like how Sammy quietly threw 4 scores. I also laughed a little bit when Parker claimed a disc was up when it literally bounced off the ground.

All in all this was a really entertaining game. I think many lessons were learned on both teams and I really think that Bravo is taking the steps to really become a giant in elite disc. And can I also say that none of my writing would be possible without Ultivillage. Thanks a lot Rob, you are doing a fantastic job. Aside from buying every UvTv subscription, your DVDs, and plugging you weekly in my blog entries, is there anything else I can do to support your company?

match diesel