Wednesday, October 11

Los v Pike

a pint of wine and the song cry
a bit of this a bit of that
a nother 
a mazing
web-slinging spider
man.

I believed in who I was
I knew no more than what I was.

I chumped I fold.

There is this story to tell about a couple of teams
 tied together in a region which is no longer what it was.

Forget that VA-n-NC are tied at the hip
Forget that MD is the start of the confederacy...
That Mason-Dixon line is one thing but not another because
My Virginian father speaks these words:
"The south starts here, not there."

And yet that's all preamble to my frisbee ramble
 just setting the scene for a thing which can mean
 so many things to so many teams.

---

I killed myself for 2007.
I killed my self for 2007.

14-9?
Naw.... 9-14 bruh.

We were down.
We were dead.

I knew it and yet I fought on.
Check the tape.

I was still making errors,
 trying to throw Callahans, 
 trying to gift goals.

But that story has been told in words and pictures and videos.
Check this blog or that... I tell you what I told you:  
This is unbelievable, this is the dream, this is the thing that never happens.

There was heckling and winning and losing.
I was a part of team which had no business being at The Show
 but I didn't know that until after Waffle House.

I learned that.
On the beach-adjacent fields.
Those punks were scared.
Those punks on my team were scared 
AFTER THEY WON 16-15 DOWN 9-14!

They didn't know then.
But they were children.
They had never been there before.
I assumed I'd never not-be there.
Ever.

Then again...

What right have I to assume?
What fight am I trying to resume?

Forward to after the pain of 2008's total fucking failure
To the drive inspired in others in 2009.

There were these kids.  
These magnificent kids.
So many still playing now,
(Some having kids now
 some done been had kids before.)

There they were... 
So many never-been-here-before-rookies.

You a rook until you go to the show,
Forever you don't know until you go.

---

2009 then.
2009...

Los on the rise.  
Los earning their bid to the show
Los gonna dance with the non-gendered girl of our dreams.

Los gotta know.
Los gotta know.
Los gotta know what I know
Los gotta know what I know b/c how could they not?

What I know is in black and white in the rules.

I told my team that if we lose game two versus Los that we're dead.  We have no other games b/c the games are dead consolation as Los doesn't need to show us our nothing again.  We're chumps b/c we already lost twice.  I was ready to advocate losing to X-Rates just so that w Los would have to play in the game-to-go rather than waltz through a non-game.

Jeff George, to his everlasting credit, said that if we forfeited or lost on purpose that we would offend the ultimate gods and never live it down.

Truer words ain't never been spoke.  
To this day that ethos binds me to give full faith, effort and credit in every endeavor and fuck the rest let god(s or whatevs) sort it out.

Our team gathered at the corner of the endzone hoping that Los would lose so that we would have a chance to punch a ticket to dance w/ Sara on the beach.

Los wins (no kidding.  Them boys were filthy and terrified me.).

Los then does something I'll never forget... 
Los walks toward us and does the old rigmarole about "How soon can we start?"

BWAAAAAAH?????  
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?

We can start yesterday.
5min? 10min? I do not recall what the agreed-upon time was.  
Irrelevant... we had been resurrected.

Why?  I don't know.
Why? I don't kno
Why? I don...
Wait... what? Why? Why why? Why? 

Why the fuck would they *choose* to play us???

My mind reels...
(I do not share this at the time)
My mind wanders...

Do they not know?
 (Impossible... the rules of regional tournaments, like the rules of ultimate are published in black and white.  I have studied the formats and the consequences for years.  STUDIED.  I could tell you the underlying concepts behind tournament formats b/c I care so much.  I read the ultimate rules every week I had a tournament.  I read the formats manual every week I could b/c there was no analogous manual for any other sport.  I love reading instructions, looking for loopholes, trying to grasp logic[s] and the like.  I love that it is published.  This is why I'm here!  Open source sport!)

No.  They cannot not know.  
I've spent the previous week specifically looking at the formats.  I've spent the previous nine years studying up on ultimate's rules and formats.  Impossible that they do not know.  Impossible.

This conversation came up on the sidelines in preceding years (04?) Pike talked about it as we watched teams battle it out.  We talked specifically about how much better it would be to face LCN in the 75th game of the weekend than in the first.  Potomac had some great player suffer a wild broken bone injury on Sunday?  Or was it VAULT?  Point remains that we talked about it *years* before 2009.  I may have even referenced the Format Manual to the derision of my teammates.


So... why THE FUCK TO THEY WANT TO PLAY THIS GAME WHEN THEY CAN PUNCH THEIR TICKET W/O PLAYING????

My mind wanders as I try to warm up.
I don't warm up.
I'm too distracted.
I'm 100% certain that Pike will lose to Los in the game-to-go that Los chose to play in 2009.
 My team is ridiculously confident.  
 I have no fucking clue why.
 I look around and I see the same chumps who lost to Los twice already in one weekend.
 I look around and I see so few players I trust with the task.  I see chumps.  Chumps Chumps.
 I don't tell my team this, which makes me conflicted as I am generally very open w/ my team.

I think and think the same words over and over...

"WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY PLAYING THIS GAME???"

...

...

It is beyond me.

I've talked to players on my team and off.  
They all either knew the rule or don't know any damn rules at all.

WHY THE FUCK IS LOS **CHOOSING** TO PLAY THIS GAME??

...

And then then my answer, right or wrong, slaps me in the motherfucking face....

"They are choosing to play this game for revenge.  
"They are choosing to play this game to snuff PIKE out forever.
"They are choosing to play this game b/c they want to make a point.
"They are choosing to play this game b/c they want to stunt on us."

Fuck that bullshit.  
You're choosing to play against us b/c you think we're chumps??
Only I am allowed to think my team is full of chumps.
What the fuck kind of historical headgames are you trying to win?
You want headgames, motherfucker?  Fuck you.  Fuck you and fuck you and fuck you.

I finally feel the fury my teammates (who, as they've told me since then, were sure we would win this game... I was NOT on board with that.  I was, for the first time in my life, certain we would lose this game.  I needed to stir it up b.c I didn't know my team had that unshakable belief.  I fn told them this game wouldn't happen.  Why TF would they think we would win a game that wouldn't happen???) feel.

I finally realize that, beyond all reason, we have a chance.
I wasn't sure why we were given a chance
 (at first).

Now (at that moment back when)?

I am certain that the reason we have a chance to qualify for nationals is b/c our opponents choose to disrespect us.  If they respected us.... If they feared us...  they would never ever ever play this game.

So... FUCK LOS FOR THEIR DISRESPECT.
(again... as I thought back then)

The words I shared w/ O-line before the game?  
I asked them to tell us the ways they failed us.
We shared our workout failures,
Our mental hangups
Our lapses.

I admitted that I hadn't trained to win this year
 (which meant I trained to lose).

We all dumped those failures into the huddle. 
We asked that our teammates hold us up and back us up in spite of our flaws.

I told my O-Line teammates that there is nothing to do which can change the past.
 (The Past Is Dead)
The only the thing we can do is give our all now.
Whatever we have... 
We give now.
Whomever we are...
We show it now.
Whatever we think...
We can rectify it now.

I still, to this day (in my current brain), do not know why Los chose to play that game.
I've never had the courage to bring it up w/ the folks from Los I've seen since.
I'm afraid that they'll try to fight me.
I've read their words and heard things relayed to me.

I was at a beach house for the 2017 Beth Coltman Memorial.
 (I slept outside on the porch)
I was watching some AUDL on Saturday night w/ some folks (DC v NC).
I casually asked where these dudes were from (NC).
I asked the standard questions of who they play for and the like.
My man who engaged says "Toro."
I don't know what the fuck a Toro is.
I delve
And the story is that some of their men are from Los.

I feel The Fear.
I call Jeff George over b/c I'm literally afraid that a fight will break out
 (in part b/c I'm smacked and drunk and all else... and ascribe my worst impulses to the other folks in the room)
I tell JG that he should be ready, these men are from Los.

No fight happened that night.
I went on drinking and yelling about billiards.

NC beat DC in a fun AUDL game.

I never wanted to steal anything from Los.
I respected Los.
I feared Los.
I was shocked when they chose to play us.
I was offended when they chose to play us.

I used that nothing-fuel to do whatever I could to destroy them.

I not only assisted Pike's 2010 suicide,
I assisted Los's disappearance.

I never wanted either to pass past the realm of the real.
I loved them both.

I was nothing then,
I am nothing now.

I know now that what we love we lose.

Read More......

Tuesday, September 27

2016 USAU Women's Data

(This entry is best read in PDF form b/c I care less and less about formatting things multiple times for multiple formats and if you view it there, you can see all columns of all tables.)

So!  There I was preparing to spectate at USAUltimate’s 2016 Club National Championships in Rockford, IL.  I went to look up stats for the division I’d be watching (Women’s) and I was wholly unable to find anything useful.  Not on Ultiworld, not on USAU’s Triple Crown Tour page, not on Skyd, not on reddit/r/ultimate, not on team pages… nowhere.  

This is a problem as I like to have some concept of what it is that I’m watching.  I buried my head in baseball stats as a kid, dive into basketball stats year round, and play fantasy football largely without watching football games because I like numbers.  

I wondered what I was going to be watching at #NationalsIL and I couldn’t find much of anything. How many throws per game?  What’s the average completion percentage? What about Possessions per goal?  Which defenses give up the highest completion percentage?  Which defenses are most likely to convert their break opportunities?  Which teams convert the highest percentage of their “Shots” (aka throws into the endzone)?

I wasn’t concerned so much with individual player stats because without the background knowledge of overall team stats, individual stats are mostly meaningless.  I’m also certain that my “eye test” will tell me which players are outstanding and which fall in with “the great unwashed masses”.

So I sought out women’s games from 2016 against club competition (Not against All-Star Teams) and hoped they would be reasonably evenly matched.  I went to my team’s Ultiworld subscription and ended up with 16 games. With a few weeks between the end of my coaching season and the start of #NationalsIL, I had a bunch of charting work to do.  I charted the 16 games available from Ultiworld and then added 1 game filmed by Georgetown Ultimate at MA Women’s Regionals.  Since then, I’ve found more games (from folks like Hallie’s Dad) but simply lacked the time to chart them.  The games I charted are as follows (Team which received to start is listed first):

6ixers 13 v 8 Schwa ESC
Nemesis 13 v 5 Heist ESC
Underground 6 v 13 Phoenix ESC

Brute Squad 13 v 12 Molly Brown PFF
Schwa 8 v 13 Brute PFF
Nightlock 10 v 13 Scandal PFF
Scandal 11 v 13 Fury PFF
Traffic 13 v 10 Fury PFF
Brute Squad 15 v 14 Molly Brown PFF
Riot 13 v 11 Brute PFF

Brute 10 v 13 Riot PEC
Riot 13 v 8 Nightlock PEC
Molly Brown 13 v 6 Scandal PEC

Scandal 13 v 15 Molly Brown USO
Fury 11 v 15 Molly Brown USO
Brute Squad 15 v 7 Scandal USO

Scandal 14 v 11 Green Means Go MAR

Teams which received to start the game went 10-7 and outscored their opponents 11.71 to 11.00 per game.

There were 5049 Throws (3633 Off, 1416 Def), 542 of which were Incompletions (230 Off, 212 Def) for an average completion percentage of 89.27% (90.92% Off, 85.03% Def).  Of those 5049 Throws, 547 (374 Off, 173 Def) were “shots” (aka “a throw into the endzone”) and of those 547 shots, there were 386 goals (267 Off, 119 Def)  yielding a shooting percentage of 70.57% (71.39% Off, 68.79% Def).  There were 386 Points Played, 267 resulted in a Hold (69.17%) while 119 resulted in a Break (30.83%).  There were 595 Offensive Possessions and 330 Offensive Possessions yielding Off. Poss/G of 2.228 and Def. Poss/G of 2.773.  Overall Conversion % of Offensive Possessions were 44.87% while Defensive Possessions were 36.06%.

Offensive teams averaged 6.11 Throws per Possession while Defensive teams averaged 4.29 Throws per Possession (Overall: 5.49 Throws/Poss).  Offensive teams average 13.61 Throws per Goal while Defensive teams averaged 11.90 Throws per Goal (Overall 13.08 Thr/G).  Offensive teams took a shot at the endzone on 62.86% of their possessions while Defensive teams took a shot at the endzone on 52.42% of their possessions (Overall 59.13% of Possessions ended in a scoring opportunity.)

In the first half of games, there were 204 Goals (52.84% of Total Goals.  152 were Holds [74.51%], 52 were breaks [25.49%]) while in the second half there were 182 Goals (47.16% of Total Goals.  115 were Holds [63.19%], 67 were breaks [36.81%]).  

That’s a buncha numbers in paragraph form.  Let’s take a look at what the “average game” looks like broken out by halves and by Winning Team (left side) and Losing Team (right side):

H1

2016W





Winner
Loser






H1


Pts
G
EZ
Cmp%
Inc
Thr
Poss
Poss
Thr
Inc
Cmp%
EZ
G
Pts


O
5.24
4.65
5.82
93.28
3.29
49.00
7.88
10.35
60.65
6.12
89.91
6.18
4.29
6.76


D
6.76
2.47
3.47
87.16
3.65
28.41
6.12
3.29
13.24
2.71
79.56
1.24
0.59
5.24


T
12.00
7.12
9.29
91.03
6.94
77.41
14.00
13.65
73.88
8.82
88.06
7.41
4.88
12.00


















H2

2016W





Winner
Loser






H2


Pts
G
EZ
Cmp%
Inc
Thr
Poss
Poss
Thr
Inc
Cmp%
EZ
G
Pts


O
4.71
3.59
4.65
92.36
3.65
47.71
7.24
9.53
56.35
6.35
88.73
5.35
3.18
6.00


D
6.00
2.82
3.53
86.26
3.59
26.12
6.35
3.65
15.53
2.53
83.71
1.94
1.12
4.71


T
10.71
6.41
8.18
90.20
7.24
73.82
13.59
13.18
71.88
8.88
87.64
7.29
4.29
10.71


















GM







Winner
Loser






GM


Pts
G
EZ
Cmp%
Inc
Thr
Poss
Poss
Thr
Inc
Cmp%
EZ
G
Pts


O
9.94
8.24
10.47
92.82
6.94
96.71
15.12
19.88
117.00
12.47
89.34
11.53
7.47
12.76


D
12.76
5.29
7.00
86.73
7.24
54.53
12.47
6.94
28.76
5.24
81.80
3.18
1.71
9.94


T
22.71
13.53
17.47
90.63
14.18
151.24
27.59
26.82
145.76
17.71
87.85
14.71
9.18
22.71


The first thing to remember when looking at this is just how thin the margin between winning and losing is.  The losing team throws 17.71 Incompletions while the winning team throws 14.18 Incompletions.  That’s a difference of 3.53 Incompletions per game resulting in a final score differential of 4.35 (13.53 to 9.18 is the average final score.) Of course, that’s a little simplistic, which is why my second thing to look at is a table of simple derived statistics (Top five rows are the winning teams, middle rows are the losing team, bottom rows are the difference from Winning minus Losing):

Win
Possessions
Throws
Conversions
Pos/G
Pos/Pt
Pos/EZ
Thr/G
Th/Pt
Thr/Pos
Thr/EZ
EZ%Th
EZ%Pos
Shot%
Conv%Pos
Conv%Pt
Off.
1.836
1.521
1.444
11.743
9.728
6.397
9.236
10.827
69.261
78.652
54.475
82.840
Def.
2.356
0.977
1.782
10.30
4.272
4.373
7.790
12.837
56.132
75.630
42.453
41.475
Total
2.039
1.215
1.579
11.18
6.661
5.482
8.657
11.552
63.326
77.441
49.041
59.585













Lose
Possessions
Throws
Conversions
Pos/G
Pos/Pt
Pos/EZ
Thr/G
Th/Pt
Thr/Pos
Thr/EZ
EZ%Th
EZ%Pos
Shot%
Conv%Pos
Conv%Pt
Off.
2.661
1.558
1.724
15.66
9.166
5.885
10.15
9.854
57.988
64.796
37.574
58.525
Def.
4.069
0.698
2.185
16.86
2.893
4.144
9.056
11.043
45.763
53.704
24.576
17.160
Total
2.923
1.181
1.824
15.89
6.420
5.434
9.912
10.089
54.825
62.400
34.211
40.415













Diff
Possessions
Throws
Conversions
Pos/G
Pos/Pt
Pos/EZ
Thr/G
Th/Pt
Thr/Pos
Thr/EZ
EZ%Th
EZ%Pos
Shot%
Conv%Pos
Conv%Pt
Off.
-0.826
-0.037
-0.281
-3.919
0.562
0.512
-0.912
0.973
11.273
13.856
16.901
24.315
Def.
-1.713
0.279
-0.404
-6.562
1.378
0.229
-1.266
1.794
10.369
21.927
17.877
24.315
Total
-0.884
0.034
-0.245
-4.706
0.241
0.048
-1.255
1.463
8.502
15.041
14.830
19.171

The things which stand out the most to me are the differences in:
Defensive Possessions per Goal (Winning team at 2.356, losing team at 4.069),
Throws per Goal (Winning teams take 4.706 fewer throws per goal),
Shooting Percentage (Winning teams shoot 75% or higher while losing teams shoot under 65%),
Possession Conversion Percentage (Winning teams convert 54% of O-Line Possessions and 42% of D-Line Possessions while Losing teams convert 37% of O-Line Possessions and 24% of D-Line Possessions
Point Conversion Percentage (Winning teams Hold on 82.84% and Break on 41.475% while losing teams Hold on 58.525% and Break on 17.16%)


With that as a primer, what can we learn about the individual teams involved?

If we consider each team in aggregate (not splitting for O/D or by halves), and each team’s opponents in aggregate, there are some basic notions which emerge from the games considered:

  1. Throws per possession range from 4.034 (Phoenix in 1 game v Underground) to 6.986 (“Riot’s Opponents” in 3 games vs Riot).
    1. For teams with more than 2 games, Throws per possession range from 5.006 (Molly Brown) to 6.848 (Brute Squad)
  2. Completion Percentage ranges from 82.00% (Underground in 1 game v Phoenix) to 93.4% (“Nightlock’s Opponents” in 2 games vs Nightlock).
    1. For teams with more than 2 games, Completion Percentage ranges from 87.8% (“Molly Brown’s Opponents” in 5 games vs Molly Brown) to 92.1% (Brute Squad in 6 games)
  3. Conversion of Possessions ranges from 17.24% (Heist in 1 game v Nemesis) to 65.00% (“Nightlock’s Opponents” in 2 games v Nightlock).
    1. For teams with more than 2 games, Conversion of Possessions ranges from 33.53% (“Molly Brown’s Opponents” in 5 games v Molly Brown) to 52.70% (Riot in 3 games)
  4. Shooting Percentage ranges from 42.11% (“6ixers Opponent” in 1 game v Schwa) to 92.86% (Traffic in 1 game v Fury)
    1. For teams with more than 2 games, Shooting Percentage ranges from 65.17% (“Molly Brown’s Opponents” in 5 games v Molly) to 82.98% (“Fury’s Opponents” in 3 games v Fury)
  5. Throws per Goal range from 30.80 (Heist in 1 game v Nemesis) to 7.462 (Traffic in 1 game v Fury)
    1. For teams with more than 2 games, Thr/G ranged from 17.103 (“Riot’s Opponents” in 3 games v Riot) to 9.795 (Riot in 3 games)

Now for some theories:

Brute Squad is better at taking the easy passes than other teams I’ve watched this season.  Not just in Women’s, but in Men’s as well (I have watched on mixed game in 2016 and I didn’t watch all of it.  We had to travel to the stadium at the US Open to watch the Women’s and Men’s finals).  They have a tendency to take the pop-out (“dishy”) on shallow in-cuts which serves to change the angle of attack and get the disc to a thrower who will have seen the field before becoming the thrower.  I think this will serve them well at Nationals.  I’m not certain that ultimate requires “a crunch-time go-to option” the way basketball does.  It might, but that said… it might more require a group of players willing to just be simply and do what the situation requires before any individual excellence comes into play.  Then, when it is time for said excellence to shine, said excellence shall make all the difference.  More like soccer (a weak link game) than basketball (a strong link game).  A team needs game-breakers on offense and defense in ultimate, but would be wise to refrain from over-reliance on the top of the roster.

One way to compare a team’s aggression (taking shots) to their ability to possess (throws per possession) is to subtract Throws/Goal from Throws/Possession.  For every team which fails to complete 100% of their passes, this number will be negative.  In the Women’s division (in the games I saw on tape) these numbers ranged from -2.612 to -25.490.  Of teams with 2 or more games, Riot was the leader at -4.633.  The next closest? Fury at -7.267 (Followed by Molly at -7.472, Brute at -7.827, Scandal at -8.032, Schwa at -10.270, and Nightlock at -11.690).  The distance between Riot and the rest of the group is notable.  The interesting bit is should teams just shoot earlier in their possessions or must they develop more comfortable ways of maintaining possession until ideal shots present themselves?

A way to compare these is to use Throws/EZ to (and Shooting %) to determine the efficacy of Shots and the frequency with which teams take/generate shots at the endzone.  But… I’ll leave that alone for now.  I shall leave you, dear reader, with a decent amount of this data to sift through yourself.  I can type theories on this all night and day and on, but I need to pack for my trip to watch #NationalsIL (So Ill!), so here are some groupings of data.  I double-checked the underlying data (and speadsheet math) repeatedly, but I could well have messed up some things.  I did my best.  I hope they help illuminate your understanding of 2016 USAU Women’s Ultimate!

Read More......