Monday, December 31, 2007

Throwing your Fire

After moving to the east coast I realized that there is a major ultimate tradition that didn't make it to San Diego and that is "throwing your fire". Because ultimate manages to rally around Ro-Sham-Bo, someone, somewhere decided to start the tradition of "throwing fire". Now the thing about fire is that it beats rock, paper AND scissor making the person that throws fire usually the winner of the Ro-Sham. Now because fire is so powerful, it can only be used once in a ultimate players life time, so most players like to save it for a really special occasion. However, fire can be beaten by water which loses to everything else, so if you think you are gonna get a fire your way, throw water. I am relatively new to the idea so I don't know too many good stories but I do know one. This one revolves around my co-captain of Colt 45, John Korber. He was an all-region cutter from Tufts back in 2005 and threw his fire to an unsuspecting freshman. Here is the story:

Towards the end of John's stint at Tufts, a lot of folks realized that he had yet to throw his fire and were curious to know if and when he would throw it. At an end of the year Tufts function, someone brought a shock party game. For those that are not familiar, people each grab a paddle with a solitary button. A tune plays from the center console and when it ends, each person must press down on the button as fast as they can and the last person to push the button gets a mild but very noticeable shock of electricity (really dumb I know). After several rounds of this activity John found himself going head to head with a Tufts freshman. After completing the game several times, the team mates decided to up the stakes, basically see how much more dumb they could be.

The new challenge was to place the paddles on one's genitalia and allow the game to shock you. This is not uncommon ritualistic macho behavior, but hey it's a party, lets have some fun. In any event, the selection of the poor soul to get his jewels jolted was to be determined by a Ro-Sham. The decision to resort to a Ro-Sham was Korber's idea and once this was announced, the surrounding upper class men realized that this may be the moment where John was going to let his fire loose. With a smile and wink to his peers, Korber signaled that this was not going to be this poor freshman's lucky day.

At first, the freshman resorted to bargaining tactics, "best 2 out of 3" he said. John would have none of that and said "we go once, the loser has to shock his junk". The poorly informed freshman thought to himself, "these are 50-50 chances, I could get this senior to zap his piece in front of all of my team mates. If I win, i'll go down as the guy who got KORBER to drop his sperm count. If I lose, yeah....that would suck. Fuck it". So the two agree to go for a best of one Ro-Sham, loser fries his unmentionables.

Wanting to be a part of history, the crowd surrounds, knowing that John is about to rock this poor kids world. Keeping this poor kid in the dark borders on the criminal, but hey, it's all in good fun. 1, 2, 3...and a way we go. The freshman throws paper and John comes out with the back of his hand facing his opponent, fingers flickering like the embers of a devastating inferno. The crowd jeers and John smiles, "sorry kid". In unanticipated confusion, the freshman is not exactly sure what is going on. What is this guy showing me? This isn't scissor, or rock or anything I have ever seen before. He sheepishly asks the crowd around him, "what gives?". To which the jovial crowd replies, "Korber just threw his one and only fire against you!!!". In a continued daze of shock, the freshman realizes two very powerful, yet very contrasting emotions. 1) Fuck, I have to zap my bidness, this sucks and 2) Wow, someone really good at ultimate used their fire on ME!!

As you might expect, this somewhat reluctant yet mildly honored freshman strapped himself with this shocking device and prepped himself for the ride of a lifetime, well at least the night. The apparatus winds down, the freshman is ready, and sure enough once the music stops, BZZZZZZZZZZZZ, his manhood is rocked with what seems to be 10,000 volts of electricity. The crowd loves it, they all cheer. Everyone is all smiles. The battered and beaten freshman is relieved that it is over and happy to be a part of such an event.

So this is how it goes. A great Ro-Sham opportunity presents itself and a true ultimate player will know when it is the time to sacrifice his/her one and only fire. I have yet to throw mine and I hope one day I will be as confident with my decision as John is with his. I have never heard of someone successfully throwing water when someone throws their fire. That is a circumstance I would not want to be on the wrong end of. In any event, ultimate players out there, cherish your fire, use it wisely. Like losing your virginity, it will be a moment you will never forget so make it a good memory. There have been a few moments where I have considered dropping my fire, but I have resisted. Unlike my body, my fire will not wither with age. One day when I see the opportunity to see or receive or be a part of something great, I will unleash "el fuego".

I find this to be a really great tradition and I also like how it emphasizes the "Spirt of the Game" because it depends on the honor system. You only get one and you alone keep track. Hopefully there are some great, great stories out there concerning this issue. I hope to have my time to shine and when that day comes, hopefully I will have an audience like Korber to share it with. Either that or I will just talk about here, who knows.

Feel free to add fire throwing stories, I love hearing these.

Just my thoughts

Match Diesel

Sunday, December 23, 2007

How and what cleats to buy

So it's almost christmas and I am sure there are a bunch of college disc players out there looking for the best cleats for the coming season. I have had a fair amount of experience in this area and I thought I would toss out my two cents.

Now there are a lot of questions that people should be asking before they even think about buying cleats. In my experience, the more questions you ask, the better idea you will have of what you are looking for and the happier you will be once you find whatever it is you want. So what are these questions?

1) What kind of cleats do I want to buy? Soccer, Football, Lacrosse, ultimate?
2) What brand of cleats do I want to buy? Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Gaia?
3) Where do I want to get these cleats? My local sporting goods store? Online?
4) How much do I want to spend? $50? $100? Doesn't matter?

I can't say what is the best because I am definitely not the best, but I can tell you that I have been very happy with my cleat selections for many reasons so I am going to run down my approach to picking cleats.

Answer to question #1:
Buy football cleats. Soccer cleats are common for many reasons: they are lighter, they are cheaper (sometimes), they are easy to find, and most disc players played soccer at one point in their life so they go with soccer cleats. I will say that none of these criteria matter, as far as I am concerned. When you are looking for cleats you should look for the best pair that will give you the best performance for what you want to do. For the most part, ultimate is very similar to football. It has the same kinds of cuts, you are running as fast as you can in short-medium bursts, you need to be able to jump as well as plant and you need performance in all kinds of weather/grass lengths. Also, soccer cleats are designed for running AND kicking. The top part of the cleat is just as important as the bottom so if you are buying a $100 pair of cleats, you are paying for the development and production of both a running and a kicking tool. I dunno about you, but I don't do a lot of kicking in ultimate so I don't care what the surface of my shoe is going to look like nor do I care about its development. Maybe this isn't a consideration for folks out there, but if I want something that is going to make me a confident and effective disc player, I would rather be wearing what a solid wide reciever wears, as opposed to a striker. People sometimes buy lacrosse or ultimate cleats and that is fine. I will say that I don't trust cleats from sports I don't know how to play (ie lacrosse) and while it is good to invest in Gaia because it is an emerging ultimate company, I would rather put my money into a pair of cleats with millions of dollars and years of development behind it. Gaia's stuff is expensive and I don't trust it.

Answer to question #2:
I like Nike. I never played soccer so I can't really speak for Adidas. Eveyone knows my Beef with Gaia. I feel like Nike has spent a lot of time and money developing varying sports and most importantly, they have their hands in most major football contracts. If you look at the cleats of Terrell Owens and Randy Moss or on the defensive side of the ball, Brain Dawkins and Champ Bailey they all wear Nike. Now I am not an advertising retard, I am not gonna buy Sony because Peyton advertises for it, but if i want to cut well, wearing what Andre Johnson wears might be a good idea. This isn't fool proof but if you are unsure of what to buy, this might be a good way to start. In addition, if you look at elite ultimate players like Jimmy Chu and Ron Kubalanza they are all wearing Nike. Actually almost everyone in the finals of 2006 was wearing Nike.

Answer to Question #3:
Buy your cleats on line. Do not buy your cleats at a sporting good store. Sporting good stores are good for rookie cleat runs or for people who don't know what they are looking for. Buying your cleats on line ensures that you will not only get EXACTLY what you want, but you can also compare prices, are not subject to availability and if you buy Nike, you can customize your cleats with colors and characters. There are a ton websites that are potentially useful for this. The vendors (Nike, Adidas, etc...) and ebay are automatic but people also use East Bay for great cleats at good prices. The only draw back to this is sizing. I will say from experience that Nike runs their cleats small and they are usually very narrow, especially their soccer cleats. If you have wide feet it would be a good idea to figure out what size you need for your cleats at a sporting goods store, but DO NOT buy them there.

Answer to Question #4:
A lot of players, rookies especially, will buy whatever is cheap. They will go for the hideous lime green soccer cleats for $35 at Dick's or whatever. This is only a good idea for 1 reason, if you are not sure you want to play the sport. if you are just considering ultimate (and no one reading this is) you can go for the cheap stuff, but if you are really thinking about playing ultimate seriously, buying cheap cleats is a bad idea. I can think of so many players who love to say they "just bought what was cheap cuz it doesn't matter" and they are DEAD WRONG. Do you see any elite players wearing crap cleats? No, I am sure they are extremely particular about what they wear and rightfully so. If you are going to be in your cleats 2-4 times a week you better like them. They better be comfortable, they better hold up and you better enjoy playing in them. Now, if your price range is limited look for cleats via second hand resources such as ebay or east bay. I have a friend who buys cleats all the time because he gets them cheap and there are always posts on RSD about cheap cleats on ebay, especially Super Speed TDs from 3 years ago. I dunno how Mike Grant does it, but he still plays in a fresh pair of these. If you ever get the chance to buy a pair, DO NOT HESITATE, THEY ARE THE BEST CLEATS EVER!!!!

Ok, now that some questions have been asked/answered, what sorts of models should players be looking at? I was a big fan of the super speed TDs but they don't make them anymore. If you can find variations over the last few years such as the 2005 model or the latest you should be fine. The latest version are the ones that the entire Florida team had this past year. Here are some models that I have experience with:

Air Zoom Blade Pro

These are the cleats I currently have and I am very happy with them. For me, they are as close to the old speed TDs as it gets and they are extremely comfortable. I can play in these things all day and my feet don't hurt. They are a bit heavy at 14 ounces, but I love them. Unlike a lot of other Nike cleats, they will work as well with wide feet as they do with narrow ones. They have significant ankle support which will come in handy if you are a bigger guy like me. Most performance low cleats will result in many rolled ankles but if you wear them long enough, you will develop the ankle strength and the calices to handle it.

Nike Mercurial

Now these are extremely popular at the elite level in ultimate. Most high level players have these cleats or some that are closely related including Sammy CK, Jolian Dahl, Chase, and Beau. I tried these out and I hated them. They are extremely narrow, they put a lot of weight on a small region of your foot and I developed plantar faciitis from them. I chose these because I thought lighter cleats would work well for me and I thought I would try soccer cleats. One of the reasons why I think football are better.

New Balance

These are a cleat type that I am only somewhat familar with. i throw them in here to mix it up and also because a friend of mine has them and he loves them. Like my Air Zooms these are a little big but they are very comfortable. A lot of people talk about how long a pair of cleats will last or their weight, but I think the #1 reason for buying a pair of cleats is if they are comfortable. Playing 4 games in a day on a pair of spikes that point up, not down, is no fun and I am sure we have all been there. Comfort should be up there for determining factors and I have played a little bit in these and they are like little pillows for your feet.


Reebok makes decent cleats and they have professional athletes like Steve Smith and Chad Johnson that wear them. I don't know of any elite level players that wear Reebok but my cousin Alex loves them. They are cheaper than Nike's and I am sure they are comparable. If you want performance at a better price, Reebok might be the way to go.

Gaia G4

I complain about GAIA a lot but their cleats are getting better. My main problem was that they fell apart which is not the case anymore. They are engineered for ultimate which is nice, the design is getting better and I hear they are very comfortable. Gaia also has a great warranty system for these cleats so if they do fall apart, rest assured you will get a new pair. They also can't be that bad if our Championship Director wears them. I will say that these are the one pair of cleats I would not but online. Gaia usually drops the price if you buy them at a tourney and they are usually really cool about letting you demo cleats before you buy them. Plus, you are supporting an emerging ultimate organization.

I just want to emphasize that cleats are the only expensive thing an ultimate player needs to buy and players should take extreme care in their cleat purchases. This is not a piece of equipment that is insignificant or interchangeable. Anyone who has ever worn Speed TDs will tell you about that first practice where they strapped them on, it is a feeling you can't describe. A good pair of cleats will give you confidence on the field as well as the performance and comfort you need. When in doubt, just buy whatever a mentor or someone you look up to in the sport wears. Odds are they are wearing a particular cleat for a reason and they could work for you too. Just don't buy crap, they won't last, they will give you blisters, and you will look ridiculous.

Just my thoughts

match diesel

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hot Women in Ultimate

One thing I have thought about over the last 5 years or so (and I am sure I am not in the minority) is attractive women in disc. I thought I would give a little run down as to who I thought were some very beautiful albeit talented women in our sport. I would also like to say that my criteria limited me to people that I don't know directly as well as well moderately well known women in the sport (or at least those I could find information on). I should also say that i am fully aware of the back lash that I might get after writing something like this but I don't really care. I feel that the ultimate community is great but can sometimes be overly sensitive. Sorry to those folks out there, stop reading now. For everyone else, enjoy.

Enessa Janes

First off, this girl is absolutely phenomenal. She was on the cover of the 2006 UPA college championship magazine. Wait, wasn't that the year Florida went 43-1 or whatever? Yep, but this hottie got the cover. Why? Well she just so happened to win her 3rd national championship in 5 years, not to mention made the finals 4 out of those 5 years. She only made semis in 2004. In addition she just won her 2nd straight Women's club national championship with Fury and is probably on her way to winning a world title in Vancouver next year. Oh and did I mention that she was not only an undergrad at Stanford for Land Management but she also got her Masters in Environmental Communication and Journalism. In case you are curious to know what she is up to now, she is a PhD student for Architecture and Planning at University of Colorado, Denver and Health Sciences Center. Here is a link that talks about her accomplishments without her cleats and an article that she wrote . Wow.

Anna Nazarov
Once upon a time there was this Women's ultimate team that made the finals at nationals in THEIR 3rd YEAR OF EXISTENCE. That team was UCLA BLU (Bruin Ladies Ultimate). 2003 was their first year in existence, and 2006 was their first trip to nationals. This year they were the #1 seed at nationals but lost in semis to UCSB Buring Skirts. In addition to being very beautiful, Anna just so happened to be the #1 woman in the country and earned herself the Callahan MVP award. Wow, where do you go from here? Good thing she was a Civil and Environmental Engineering major as well as being involved with the Hogue Research Group. What is it with ultimate players? My god!!
Yes I have an asian thing, I am sorry, thats just how god made me. This isn't the best picture of her, i actually think she looks better in this one in the lower left but she is not the center of attention. I will say that, once again, BLU is a phenomenal team. I have a friend on SAMUG and he continually reminds me of how dominant this team is and I really think they are going to remain a serious powerhouse. I would like to offer more details outside of her being a stellar cutter and defender but I just can't find anything. I will say that I think that she is a huge Jon Stewart fan from her BLU profile and I think she will be one of the great remaining players on BLU after having lost so many seniors last year.
Ok, along with being hot, this woman just so happens to dominant at the elite women's level. She was on team Canada in 2005. Here is her profile with some Ultimate accolades at that point in time. She currently suits up for Riot who is sort of an elite women's team out of Seattle. Check out her player profile. She is also an actuary outside of ultimate. Now I am not all that familiar with what an actuary does, hence the wikipedia reference. But I do have a few friends that are trying to become one and it is no easy task. You have to pass like 7 tests over the span of a few years. But they make bank. Good for her and yeah, enjoy greatness, you are in good company.
Getting back to my asians, Angela Lin has always grabbed my attention since she was an alternate on Team USA in 2005. I think what I find most appealing is the fact that she is also, not unlike most people on this list, very educated off the field. Aside from playing/captaining at club nationals for OZONE she is also a research engineer at Georgia Tech meaning she puts together stuff like this. Wish I could find my name on pubmed. I get the feeling the dyed hair is probably a look she isn't sporting anymore, but I thought it was a cool picture.
First off I want to say that Gwen Ambler does a much better job at conveying women in disc so I refer you to her description of lindsey. Aside from being a standout at Michigan State, UNC Chapel Hill and on Backhoe, she also has her shit together and is a physical therapist at Duke University. I wonder who she roots for in that college basketball rivalry?

Then there the unknowns. I have come across some pictures of some very attractive female flat ballers. I wish I had more information on them because I am sure that they are exceedingly successful off the field as most folks are in this game.

Whoever this is, you are hot. I think she plays for Rough Riders. This picture was taken at NW regionals in 2006 and when I looked up the team, there are about 8 asian women on it and there is no website or images to speak of. Oh well, I am sure she is very talented and educated, not unlike every other woman on this list.

Another lady flat baller that is nameless as far as I know is her. No idea who she is or where she plays. Once again, I am assuming the best combination of talent, athleticism, and education.

I should say that the top of my list belongs to be the hottie with the body, the Brass mus-TASH, the one and only green-OUGH!!!

just my thoughts

match diesel

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Henry Callahan: a name every ultimate player should know

What do most folks think when they see something like this? Callahan right? Ok great, but where does that name come from? Who was "Callahan" and why is a catch block D in the endzone named after him? Why are the rules named after him? Why is the college ultimate MVP award named after him? Two years ago, I didn't know and I think most folks out there still don't.

First and foremost his name was Henry Pfau Callahan. He was born on December 11th, 1957, in Waukegan, Illinois. His mother and father were Joan and Harold Callahan. Henry was the youngest of 4 boys (Joe, Pete, Jay, and Henry) and he also had 1 older sister (Melissa) and 3 younger ones (Charlotte, Shelagh, and Amy). He attended Lake Forest Academy, in Lake Forest, Illinois for high school and graduated in 1975. Henry was a standout athlete in high school and loved basketball, long distance running, and golf. In addition to being very athletic, Henry was also extremely independent. His mother, Joan, lovingly referred to Henry as always being a "free spirit". Rather than attend the University of Illinois, as most of his family had, he headed westward and attended the University of Oregon, in Eugene. As a student at U of O, Henry studied Finance and was drawn to sports of all kinds. His competitive nature can easily be seen with his relationship to his older brother James. On a visit to Eugene, James lovingly goaded his brother that Henry had never beaten him in golf. In response, the never-quit Henry dragged his older brother to the course, day in and day out until Henry was finally victorious.

It is not exactly known how Henry was turned on to ultimate. Maybe he was shown disc golf and then ultimate and the idea of running AND playing frisbee appealed to him. With skills in basketball, golf and long distance running, it is no wonder he liked disc. It takes skill, patience, talent, endurance and athleticism, things Henry had stockpiled in his closet. In any event, at this point in the late 70's there was only 1 other college ultimate team in the Northwest, Washington State University. This was insufficient for Henry and he took it upon himself to start the first Ultimate Club at the University of Oregon. He pitched the idea to the club sports office at UO and on October 5th, 1978, the first Oregon Ultimate club was born and the team was given $300. The next task was to come up with a team name and Henry and his disc friends quickly settled on the "Low Flying Ducks". A name which Oregon loosely held onto until 2001 when they went from the Ducks to a name better suited for an elite but sophisticated group, the "Eugene Gentlemen's Organization" or EGO. In addition to this, Henry also made some pretty powerful friends and convinced a young entrepreneur in Phil Knight to donate $10,000 to this new team as a sponsor. EGO still wears this sponsor's logo today, you might recognize it as a NIKE swoosh.

It was after this formation of Oregon Ultimate that Henry really began to impact ultimate. He knew the potential for this game and he wanted to see it come to fruition. He had a vision of an intensely athletic, albeit spirited game that should be played in parks and college campuses throughout the country. He began to lobby the UPA to change the rules of the game to favor more athletic and fair play. At this point in time, things like a stall count were non-existent, or loosely followed at best and Henry wanted to accelerate the game and make it more challenging yet more fun. Another thing that was fantastic about Henry was his commitment to "spirit of the game", perhaps when SOTG wasn't even that well known. He was notorious for playing extremely intensely, yet he never contested fouls. His belief in the game was that "karma will play out here". Nearly 30 years later, I am sure that most ultimate players will agree that when it comes to poor calls, most of the time, the universe tends to unfold as it should.

In addition to lobbying the UPA, Henry also worked tirelessly to improve not only his own game (with daily 7 mile runs and more sprints than his team mates would have liked) but he also wanted to expand the sport around him. He started and taught ultimate PE courses at UO and these still exist today. He is also credited with starting the Darkstar Alliance, which has been an ultimate organization that has lasted for many years and is responsible for putting on tournaments in Eugene as well as competing in both open and coed club tournaments. One of my favorite things that I have read about Henry is that he thought that "the nature of the game brings out the cooperation in people". Even 30 years ago, folks competed against one another but they still wanted to "have a good time and meet new friends". Henry always encouraged his teammates as well as his opponents to go out for beers after games and really be friends as well as competitors. This camaraderie still exists today and most of the friends I have in the ultimate community have come from playing intense physical contests between opponents and then celebrating our mutual love for the game afterwards. I am not sure where this trend was begat but I am glad Henry perpetuated it.

After graduating from Oregon in 1980, Henry returned to his roots in Illinois but only as a pit stop. Henry was a free spirit and wanted a change of scenery. After a brief stint in Waukegan, Illinois, he headed back west towards California. In January of 1982, he stopped to visit his older brother James, in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to more golf matches between these two, Henry fell in love with Boulder. The urban yet small town feel and beautiful scenery probably rivaled Eugene and Henry found his calling. He decided to stay in Colorado and he took a job at Bennigan's Tavern. This was not his most lucrative option, seeing that he was offered a job at a more "upscale" restaurant (The Greenbriar). However, Henry was very light hearted and figured Bennigan's would "be more fun". Given his charismatic yet friendly nature, Henry quickly moved up the ranks and became Headwaiter. Not long afterwards, he had his sights set on entering Bennigan's manager training program.

However, fate would have other plans. On June 23rd, 1982, a heroin addict and career criminal, Robert Wieghard, robbed Bennigan's. Robert had been convicted for multiple crimes that included armed robbery, possession of narcotics, larceny, fraud, and breaking and entering. Henry, being the rock and headwaiter of Bennigan's, dealt with the criminal as he demanded money from the cash register. Robert got his money and without reason or cause decided to take the life of a man infinitely more evolved and honorable than himself. Henry was murdered while seated with his hands in the air. At arms length, Robert ended Henry's life with a solitary gunshot to the head. After committing this horrible atrocity, Robert left the restaurant only to be later arrested, tried and convicted. His criminal mind would not end there as he attempted to bribe a Jefferson County Jail inmate to travel to Michigan and kill the eyewitness waitress in the case for $3,500. Luckily, this never happened and Robert was sentenced to life in prison and was up for parole in 20 years. One of the many sad things about this story was that at the time, sentences for crimes like this were relatively mild. If this crime had been comitted 3 years later the sentence would have been doubled. The family wanted the death penalty but the prosecutor (Alex Hunter) was "wimpy" and wouldn't push for it. He would later go on to air ball the JonBenét Ramsey murder case 15 years later. Robert came up for parole in 2005 at which time I first learned of this story when I read this post by Charles Kerr on RSD. In retrospect, I find it sad that there were only 9 responses. Hopefully Charles got the support he was looking for. In any event, Robert was denied parole which he is up for again in 2010. Recently he has applied for "community corrections halfway house placement" which would allow him to re-enter society on a limited basis. The Callahan family staunchly opposed this and he was denied but he can re-apply every 6 months.

In the wake of Sean Taylor's murder, I realized that I did not know anything about Henry Callahan. I did not even know his first name. I knew that he was murdered, but aside from that I was ignorant. After asking a few friends if they knew anything about Henry, they sheepishly replied "not a thing". His legacy should and will live on. In 1983 at the World Flying Disc Championships in Santa Cruz, California six Oregon players stepped out on to the line. Henry would join them, however, and his remains were laid down in an urn on the field as the 7th player. These 6 Oregon players gave it there all and when they scored that first point they lovingly cheered "That one's for Henry".

The UPA has not forgotten Henry and in 1996 they named the college MVP award after him. Keith Monahan (Oregon State) and Val Kelly (UPenn) won the award that year and I am sure they both held their awards high in remembrance of Henry and all he has given to the sport. I am sure he would have been proud in 2003 when two Oregon players (Ben Wiggins and Chelsea Dengler) won the award. I like to think the sport has become what Henry would have wanted. Today there are over 500 college ultimate teams that travel all over the country to compete in a game that "Henry lived for". They embody not only the hard-core dedication to athleticism that Henry held near and dear to his heart, but also the spirit of the game, the friendship, the respect between players. I may not be the athlete that Henry or many other ultimate players are but I like to think I hold the mutual respect and love for my fellow ultimate players. The subculture that ultimate has developed over the last 40 years is amazing and spectacular in its own right. However, without people like Henry Callahan, the sport would not have grown to the strength and respect it has today. We are all in Henry's debt and hopefully his story and legacy will live on as our sport develops worldwide.

On a lighter note, Henry's niece Katie Callahan (who he never got to meet) plays soccer for the University of Tampa. Recently, they made the final four in the Div II NCAA college soccer tournament and beat Grand Valley St 2-1 in over time. This allowed Tampa to advance to the finals for the first time in the school's history. Katie and the rest of the Tampa Spartans played Franklin Pierce on Saturday December 1st and managed to win the NCAA Div II finals in a shootout earning the school's first DiV II women's soccer national championship. For more information click here

I would like to thank James (Jay) Callahan (Henry's brother) for his help on this article. He has been absolutely fantastic in giving me his own personal thoughts on such a difficult subject as well as share documents relevant to this story. Jay also helped me find some of Henry's old team mates (Steve Mace and Pete Crosby) who have been invaluable sources, both factually and emotionally.

Check out this article from 2003 for more information about Henry.

Lastly, today would have been Henry's 50th birthday. Please remember his story. Tell it to your rookies. Spread the word about Henry because as the years progress his memory can potentially fade. This is not the first article regarding his life and I hope it is not the last. I just wanted to remind everyone out there who a great man in ultimate was.

match diesel

PS sorry Chicken, nothing but love. At least you are playing in the finals at club nationals and Honda is just married and fat.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Jerseys to Sport and Jerseys to Burn

So I was thinking about all the jerseys out there that I wish I had and for symmetry I was also thinking about all the jerseys out there that I wish I could watch burn. Ok maybe not burn, but jerseys I don't like.

Top on my list to own would be the Stanford's 2002 jerseys. Great White/Black backgrounds with a sick red logo. These things are awesome and Stanford went an unheard of 37-1 that year managing to win Chico, Santa Barbara, Stanford, Davis, Easterns, Sectionals, Regionals, and Nationals. They also made the finals at Kaimana but lost to this team with some guy named Mike Grant on it. Notable Holders: Bart Watson (Jam), Nick Handler (Revolver), Mike Whitaker (Bravo), Jit Bhattacharya (Revolver), Danny Cox (Revolver). Truth be told however, I actually like the 2003 Stanford 2003 Stanford jerseys better but that was the year they failed to make nationals. There was actually a guy on my winter league team last year that has one, Cameron Shelton. I woulda mugged him for it, if I could catch him. Their new ones are also pretty bad ass and I especially like how they have the names of each player on the back.

Next would have to be Team Canada from World's 2004 . I like this one because the blend of the Furious Monkey and the Candian Maple Leaf is pretty stellar. This team also just happened to be the best team in the world at the time. I would have this one at #1 but I already have 2 Furious jerseys so I suppose I can't be greedy. These things are freaking sweet though. Notable Holders: Mike Grant, Andrew Lugsdin, Oscar Pottinger, Al Nichols, Jeff Cruikshank, Kirk Savage etc..(Furious). I also think that their new red jerseys are awesome, but we all know what they did this year.

One jersey that has been constant through the years and always seems to strike fear into the hearts off opponenets everywhere is the Colorado Gold. I know that UCSD has fallen to the boys wearing these more times than I care to count. I think this jersey is particularly awesome because the logo is very classical and the gold is a color that I don't think anyother major college team can boast, making it unmistakeable and just as intimidating. They wore this jersey in the 2005 finals and lost so I guess it can't be that intimidating. Then again they wore black in 2004 when they won it all and in 2007 when they lost in the finals. I suppose its a crap shoot but if you see gold on the other line, you know you are in for a tough game. Notable Holders: Richter, Beau, Chicken, JV, Jolian, Parker etc...(Bravo)

Another one that comes to mind that I wouldn't mind sacraficing something significant for is a 2004 No Tsu Oh jersey. No Tsu Oh is a pickup team of basically the best 15 guys in the world and they play at a beach tournament in Italy every spring called Paganello. No Tsu Oh is a team that is loosely connected to the orginal Houston Houndz, a club team out of Houston. The name is not exactly creative, just Houston spelled backwards. They have won this tournament several times and they have awesome jerseys every year. In 2004 though, their jerseys were particularly sweet, what with the retro Houston Astros layout. Notable Holders: Mike Grant (Furious), Damien Scott (Jam), and Mike Namkung (Jam). On a sad note, No Tsu Oh failed to win this tourney this past year and the grass equivalent, Nada Mooger, failed to win Kaimana stopping their streak at 7 in a row. Tough year, but hey they all have overflowing trophy cases anyway.

Following this trend of all-star pick up teams, I think the absolute holy grail for jerseys would be an MLU NW Wolves jersey. This team was the ultimate (ha, play on words) fantasy team in that it was the combination of the two best club teams in the world (Furious and Sockeye). The colors weren't great and neither was the mascot but to be able to wear a jersey that carries such a symbol for elite ultimate has got to be pretty awesome. The best part about the UvTv footage from Potlatch that year was the time outs. I mean you have Buruss or Lugsdin calling plays in the huddle and he is rattling off, "I wanna see Moses, Shank as dump, Al Bob at the front of the stack etc.." I mean come on. That'd be like Steve Nash in the huddle and calling on Kevin Garnett to get the rebound, dish it to Kobe to make his own shot and if that doesn't work, give it to LeBron to go the hole. I wonder if there is a team out there that would be able to beat that MLU team (given sufficient practice time). I also like how the names are on the jerseys and they have the numbers on the front and back. To be totally honest I think the SW Entourage jerseys were probably the best MLU jerseys. Most original team name and logo, but the NW won it all and so their green and grey stands for quite a lot. Notable Holders: Mike Grant (Furious), Chase (Sockeye), Alex Nord (Sockeye), Andrew Lungsdin (Sockeye), Roger Crafts (Sockeye), Al Nichols (Furious), you get the picture.

Lastly I think another jersey that I would love to have in my closet would be the Black 2001 Carleton jerseys. This team was absolutely stacked and half of them are now on Sockeye. Nord was wearing this jersey when he made his epic concussion sky and when he toed the line against UCSB in the semis. They also had white and red jerseys at nationals that year but I like the black and red ones better. Notbale Holders: Alex Nord (Sockeye), Sam O'brien (Sockeye), Chase Sparling-Beckley (Sockeye), and Jimmy Chu (Condors). I think it is also funny that Carleton makes just about every color permuation of logo and jersey you could ever imagine and who wouldn't, their logo is probably one of the best ever in ultimate.

Ok now for those jerseys that I wouldn't miss if they vanished from the face of the earth

First and foremost, those god awful Black Tide series jerseys. Oh do I hate those things. Every year we would see Santa Barbara at SoCal, Santa Barbara Invite, Stanford, Centex, Vegas the works and they always have the same black jerseys with the same oil rig logo on the back, no numbers, just BLAAAACK TIDE (yuck). Anyway, for sectionals, regionals, and nationals they pull out those atrocious two toned POS. I suppose the advantage is that you never have to chose between light and dark, you just always have yellow dipped in blue. There are a lot of folks out there that think that these jerseys are the absolute best ever and I could not disagree more. I think that they are original but if I never saw another one of these the rest of my life it would be too soon. Notable Holders: Mike Namkung (Jam), Greg Husak (Condors), Brandon Steets (Jam), and Jason Seidler (Condors). I am sure I am going to get some angry responses over this one and I will say that I have nothing but respect for the players that pulled these jerseys over their heads, but I don't have to like them.

Another jersey that has left some visual stains in my brain is the Brown 2005. I mean come on, when has there ever been a champion with weaker jerseys? I mean they have made progress, they changed it to some sort of fish thing, but anything would be better than just "BROWN" across the jersey. I will say that there are probably some nostalgic reasons and maybe some pride issues concerning these jerseys but boy are they just butt ugly. When I saw these at nationals I thought 2 things immediately 1) Wow, Brown is the real deal, that #2 is legit and 2) So thats the best an ivy league ultimate power house can come up with in the jersey department? What? Aren't there like graphic design or whatever majors at Brown? I make fun but they are good, everyone knows that, but the last time they won it, their jerseys sucked. Notable Holders: Josh Zipperstein (Chain Lighting) and Colin Mahoney (Tandem).

Now in 1999 DoG was the best and they knew it. Everyone knew it. During the late '90s, DoG was far and away the best ultimate team and maybe the best in history, or at least tied for that title with NYNY. This team came to San Diego and won their 6th national championship and earned the right to represent the US in 2000 in Germany for World's. Now the only thing worse than having a team kick ass like this and really beat everybody in every way, is a team that does all this and has these jerseys. I mean come on, not even a logo, but more of a drug induced halucination with the psychodelic color scheme to boot. I can't believe they got Forch to put this on. Well I am sure he was humbled with the oppurtunity, but over the years they developed (slowly) to a decent logo but yellow and black? At least they had an OK logo which Parinella simply describes as "art". As of their final year in existence they had come a long way and I am sure Forch was glad to finally get something a little more stylish. I will say that having your team name on a jersey that says Team USA Germany World's 2000 has got to be pretty sweet and I am sure thats why Parinella still plays in that old rag. Notable Holders (DoG 1999): Jim Parinella (DoG), Fortunant Mueller (Boston), Justin Safdie (Jam), Steve Mooney (DoG).

Just my thoughts

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