First of two consecutive planned days of rest today. I've got to recover from this jetlag.
Over the course of the Hawaii trip we did a ton of throwing in high wind on the beach and the like. Always fun to toss in the ocean.
Your daily bit of breaking news: The HBO show "The Wire" is dope. No two ways about it. Great way to make the time pass while traveling with an ipod.
Once I get caught up on sleep and at work, the aforementioned updates will be coming. One of the other things I'll be doing is a review of the pre-Kaimana (aka first offseason) workouts.
Wednesday, February 28
First of two consecutive planned days of rest today. I've got to recover from this jetlag.
Tuesday, February 27
I had a Pluot today. Apparently this is a cross between an apricot and a plum, but not in that order. Tasty and different. Possibly completely unnatural... but whatever.
Finished reading The Botany of Desire recently. Pretty good work by Michael Pollan on this one. I suppose there is a good reason that it was a bestseller. The sections on the apple and marijuana were both very enlightening. Of course, telling people you're reading a book on botany makes you sound like a freak. This perception only intensifies when you mention that your favorite chapter is on pot.
Lost another basketball game today. 51-47. We had to give the other team 4 free throws to start the game because two of us (myself included) couldn't manage to bring our league-provided shirts. I put out an APB for said shirt, but to no avail. As a result of that debacle, we started the game down 3 points. Could the UPA institute something similar? For every idiot who won't bother to wear the team shorts, the other team gets to attempt a 70 yard goal with no defense. I'm sure something better could be cooked up, but I don't want to at the moment.
I had the pleasure of matching up on the other team's stud. This guy was pretty solid and a good deal quicker than me. That being said, when you get bumped and bodied and boxed out for 44 straight minutes, even guys like him get tired. More than that, he got frustrated and started throwing them 'bows. I'd say I played very good defense overall. He got a couple of easy buckets because I was originally forcing him left, but he's got a quick crossover to his weak hand which helped him get to the bucket a couple of times. I had a couple of steals on him and a couple of deflections as well. Offensively, I distributed the ball well and probably picked up 6 or 7 assists to go with 9 points on 5 shots and ~5 boards. One TO on a miscommunication. Classic PG play, if you ask me.
A couple of highlights included:
- Burying a fan favorite "look down at the line and step back for a three" at the end of the first half.
- On a trip down to the offensive end against their irritating zone, I sized up one of their guards in the 2-3 and felt he was ripe for the picking. I took a jab step to the right and then crossed back left. Stayed there with a slight hesitation move, and then crossed him back to the right as he said "Ahhh, fuck..." which lead to drawing two big men and dishing for an open jumper.
- Tossing the perfect no-look alley to the big man running the floor... only to have him bring it in and dish for a jumper to someone else... no oop.
- 7 seconds left, inbound pass to me. I see the both guards in the 2-3 converge on me to try for the steal . Jump up to catch the ball, and see my man Zac (who must've scored 25 of our 47 points) out of the corner of my eye, wide open for three. Touch-pass to Zac... Shot looks perfect, hits the rim, bounces around... rims out. Fuck me. Sometimes you do it all just right, and you're just off. No worries, ever-- you get the right man the ball and he takes the right shot. The rest is just a percentage game.
This game made me think of a couple of things in ultimate:
1. Who is your floor general? Who is out on the field providing your team with leadership and giving playmakers a chance to make plays? It doesn't have to be a flashy or even a highly skilled player. It merely needs to be a player who has an understanding of the flow of the game. He needs to be able to make plays on his own, but more importantly, he needs to know who needs the disc and when. This could be the uber-reliable dump on your team who is always open and gets the disc to the next person every single time. It could be a cutter who works over and over to get the disc just before the offense loses rhythm. It could be a defender who can always man up and take the other team's best option away. It could be a thrower who has a "knack" for completing bombs to streaking receivers because he knows where each guy likes it. You need a leader on the field who takes charge of the game and molds it to meet your team's criteria for success. Find him, and you'll likely learn a lot about your team.
2. Why are ultimate players such ninnies? I really feel that there should be more contact in ultimate. More like soccer or basketball and less like checkers or backgammon. Bumping and fighting through that are part of most (all?) field sports, or even court sports (when not separated by a net, of course). What's the aversion here? What's the problem with some contact here and there? I know that the rules state that it isn't allowed, but Why?
45 Minutes Cross-Training (Basketball)
I don't remember what that means, but if I had to pick one hat tournament to go to over and over again, this would be the one. Like many players, I find hat tourneys an exercise in frustration... but at the same time, it is always fun to play. This was well run and the local players (even the inexperienced ones) were very good at throwing in the wind.
John Hammond was carried by my girlfriend to a title.
My team was carried by my license to swill to one point losses to both teams in the finals.
Can anyone explain why when you're in the airport baggage claim that everyone stands approximately 1 inch from the carousel? Wouldn't it be fantastically sensical to stand 4 feet back all the way around to give more space for luggage pickup and to provide a better view? This is like the idiot spectators at finals of any given ultimate tournament that lay down with their noses on the line. Group idiocy is upsetting.
Things that will be seen here soon:
- A return to daily entries
- Workout plan for the next 50 days.
- Maybe more on Kaimana
- Possibly going back over the last however many days and filling in some blanks with post-dated entries.
- Leftover ultimate thoughts from my travels
- More captivating basketball recaps
- Thoughts from Pike tournaments/practices as that starts up
Tuesday, February 20
Kaimana was, as anticipated, a blast. I you haven't gone, you're missing out. If you have gone, well, what more do I need to say?
We lost in the quarters to Nada Mooger 15-6 (8-5 at half) as the wheels came off due to the extreme fun that was had over the course of our stay.
The only other loss was our pool-play loss to Onolicious, the eventual champs (Santa Barbara guys). We lost to the Doughboys as well, but I missed that game due to, uh, travel issues.
The team came together well considering that many of us had never actually played together before. Roster: Eugene Yum, Dan Furfari, Butter, Kazan, Bhavin, Josh Weisstuch, Zac Roy, JP, Jamie Rhodes, Dusty Rhodes, TP, Jimmy Bendernagel and the Thorpe. I think that's it.
Oh, only downside this year? Going to bed in the early morning rain and 20mph winds is not easy. Then again, you're still in HAWAII!
Plans, of course, are already brewing to return in 08.
That's all for now... back to relaxing on Maui for a week.
Thursday, February 15
Driving to Philly to fly to Kaimana in 3 hours. I'm amped. Playing with Philthy and hanging out in Maui for the week following the tourney.
Played basketball today. We lost. It was an exciting game though-- my floater was dropping and my passes were on. My jumper was failing and my defense was full of fouls. Also, my team forgot how to shoot jumpers halfway through the game, and no one else could get to the bucket. Tough loss.
I might manage to put something up over the next 12 days... I likely won't. I'll be back on 2.27. Perhaps the sun will conjure up some thoughts for me. Perhaps I'll be able to remember some of the tournament...
45 Minutes Cross-Training (Basketball)
Wednesday, February 14
The quick 10min circuit workout for today was from Never Gymless:
Burpees x 60 sec
Pullups x 60 sec
Squats x 60 sec
Pushups x 60 sec
Burpees x 45 sec
Pullups x 45 sec
Squats x 45 sec
Pushups x 45 sec
Burpees x 30 sec
Pullups x 30 sec
Squats x 30 sec
Pushups x 30 sec
Burpees x 15 sec
Pullups x 15 sec
Squats x 15 sec
Pushups x 15 sec
Quick and draining.
Dispatches from the Waimanalo Weather Desk show that the first weekend in paradise will be...
Rainy and Windy???? What the hell? I wonder if I can still throw in the wind...
As learned in a previous trip, rain in Hawaii is not the same as rain in, say, the Greyt Northeast. That being said, wouldn't you rather not have rain?
I know you're all sending pity my way.
10 minutes Circuit Training.
One of the sites I stop by regularly, Functional Path Training, has a response to some crazy ultimate player asking for advice on how to prepare for a tournament.
The basics are to create a 9-week cycle of training. This actually approximates some of the Pike track workouts of 06, with some differences. The thing to note, of course, is that the thoughts given by Vern are not in concert with what actually happens near the end of an ultimate season, where, quite often, teams will play 2 (sometimes 3) tournaments a month against quality competition.
One thought on that is that you need to prioritize tournaments in terms of preparation-- playing at ECC/Labor Day/Tuneup/Chesapeake/whatever is NOT as important as Regionals, which, in turn, is not as important as Nationals. So, while some preparation should be given (and more importantly, ample rest afterward) for these tournaments, the focus must be series tournaments.
As the season progresses, I'll be tweaking the aforementioned Pike workouts to incorporate some of the ideas Vern put out there. Generally, his advice is pretty solid, and I think that this will only require minor adjustments to what I've already got planned.
Tuesday, February 13
C-Webb is still a little bitch.
I know he's flourishing in Detroit as a passing big man, but he's mailed it in and played like a big softy loser for far too long. I'm not sure if I despise him of Vince Carter more. I think the odds are on Webber because he spent time with the Sixers and nearly (or actually) caused me to throw various items at the TV.
Just because you're playing with a losing team in a situation you don't like does not give you the right to be a lazy fuckhead.
The best part? Detroit has unwittingly sealed their fate to not win another title any time soon. You simply can't do it with a player like Webber. Then again, he does make me irrationally angry-- Perhaps I am not seeing this clearly.
Monday, February 12
Went to the ERP Pickup again. Way too many people this time around due to the very nice, though chilly, night. Bailey made a rare appearance. I don't think he got hurt, but full details will be on Sportscenter this evening.
Created a couple of opportunities on defense again. Yet another was tipped for a goal. My catching seems to be off at this point in the season on both O and D. No worries. As daily touches rise, drops, well... drop. The good sign is that if I focus on defense, it turns out that I can play it pretty well (there was some precedent for this, but not much). This is good to know. As mentioned in a previous post, one of the end-goals of focusing on D is to understand the D mindset so that I can switch between D and O effectively in a given point and between points.
Starting to work on the calculus of the hammer and how to cover the endzone against a team that uses it effectively and regularly. The calculations are different when the completion rate is high enough to require more honest defense. This is the perfect game to work on it.
I'm also working on the notion of creating chaos on defense. To look at it from a game theory perspective, you need to optimally balance your mixed strategy to increase the odds of your strategy being the perfect counter to what the offense is doing. If you constantly do the same thing, the offense will have no need to change their game plan and will settle in to tear you apart.
In other news, Martyball is done in San Diego. If ultimate were the NFL, who would have been fired from Jam? More importantly, how does this affect the draft position of Tomlinson in my Fantasy League? We'll be keeping a close watch.
2 hrs pickup
Sunday, February 11
Did a quick 15 minute interval workout today. Had to get it in after missing the last couple of days, but still didn't have that much time. Solid, but not exceptional.
One of the things I've been noticing in reviewing video is what happens in high stall-count situations on both O and D. The initial expectations we have about high stall-count passes is that they favor the defense. I'm now getting the impression that this isn't exactly accurate. Late in the count, the defense will often incorrectly assess a couple of factors, leading to surprisingly easy completions.
Now, this is the first mention of this thought (and the evidence is anecdotal), so the video will need to be examined more stringently to get an accurate read on reality, but there is a chance that offenses are not accurately evaluating risk v reward in regards to stall count.
The second bit of this is how downfield defense will be affected by the new "infinitely long stall count" in the 11th edition. It is absolutely to the thrower's advantage to extend the stall count on any minor violation as the downfield D will not know that this has occurred. Timing will be adjusted and defenders will likely be lead to incorrect conclusions. The flip-side is that this can create stagnation in the cutters as they cannot anticipate disc movement to get open. This will be interesting to monitor as the season progresses.
Of course, this all came to mind when thinking about that goddamn loss to Sockeye in the 04 semis. Blades to Chase are no fun for the other team.
15 Minute Interval Workout
Saturday, February 10
Woke up in "the part of Philly that looks like Brooklyn" late this morning.
Much fun was had in the preceding evening. It was good to see most of the usual suspects at the lanes. Heckman and Nic seem to be the bowlers of the group. Neither is all that surprising, really. Entertaining comment from the evening courtesy of B-Lo concerned the similarity of bowling styles to throwing styles. Of course, this means that a large number of my teammates look exceedingly awkward on the lanes. Especially the ones with hitches in their throws. Some people have no touch at all, some have candy-arms.
It was a good time... I'm very excited for the season to begin.
Also saw Eugene who is on the Kaimana team. We, of course, expressed how we've been unable to contain our excitement about going since the plan was fleshed out in November or whenever. No way to say it other than: This is going to be the balls.
Going to dinner with the family tonight because my sister is leaving for Australia for the semester. She is, of course, taking a course in philosophy while there. She's the athlete of the family, by the way. Always good to see the family-- an evening of non-linear trivia-filled stichomythia.
Friday, February 9
One of my goals for this season is to watch more ultimate on video, with a purpose.
Some of the relevant thoughts:
Well, the things that I'll be examining over the course of the season include:
Details for exactly what I'll be tracking and which portions of it I'll pay attention will be added as I progress. There is a lot of stuff here, but I've got a whole damn season to invest myself and digest the info.
Thursday, February 8
No workout later-- scheduled rest day.
Fill that gap with a trip to a crazy vegetarian restaurant with Julie, and hilarity will no doubt ensue.
I really don't like vegetarian food that much-- it is always lacking something essential. Something vital... some sort of burned flesh perhaps? It isn't the flavors so much, because good vegetarian cooking is, on average, very well conceived because you can't hide the taste with a slab of beef. Now, if I could just take a great vegetarian meal, and get a bit of taste-palette-matched meat to go with it, it'd be perfect. A wide variety of flavorful veggies/fruits, and an tasty, lean cut of something that used to be an animal is ideal.
Wednesday, February 7
Did the explosive workout just before the Duke-UNC game. Hansborough really reminds me of Eric Montross. Is it just because they're both tall, strong, red-headed, mean-spirited Tar Heels? Or is it more than appearance?
Either way, the Sixers don't seem to be getting the message to LOSE as many games as possible. Herm Edwards be damned, we need a stud in the draft this year.
Oh yeah, Dwayne Wade is still the hardest working man in basketball.
35 Minutes Explosive Strength
10 Minutes Core Work
Tuesday, February 6
Often, when I'm walking I like to try to stretch out my hip flexors. I try to lengthen my stride until I can feel the stretch in my hips and, occasionally, in my hamstrings. It looks a little funny, but considering how much time I spend sitting and shortening my hip flexors, it would behoove me to do something to counter that. I'm walking for ~20 minutes to and from work every day (~40 minutes total), so why not use that time to work on an aspect of my game?
Another goofball thing I do when walking is to imagine a random path of a disc intended for a person walking near me. What would I need to do to get to that disc first? What is the straightest line to that point if I'm starting from a walk? A Standstill? A run?
Doing these calculations can't hurt, right? Perhaps I can supplement the way I understand my experience with abstract thought exercises.
Did an abbreviated Interval Workout today. Got the heart working and the muscles moving.
10 Minute Interval Workout
Monday, February 5
The basketball team is now winful! Thanks to a quality all-around game from one Zac Roy and some pinpoint passing by yours truly, the game was never really in doubt as we opened up with a quick run and led for the rest of the way. The team actually made shots and went to the boards this evening. I finished with about 8 points and 7 or 8 assists with no turnovers. The refs still called the game, uh, interestingly, but this time around they pretty equal from one end to the other, which is vital.
There was also a trash-talking incident that continued after the game between the best player on the floor (a guy on the other team) and one of our players (the athletic slashing fouler) that involved some, well, harsh words. I believe "ice-grill" came up a couple of times as well as "snuff you out." I, of course, paid this no mind because it's fucking rec-league basketball. After the game's over, it's over. Not important enough to continue it past the paint.
Ah well. Maybe this winning thing will take off as a popular trend as the season continues.
Skipped the workout today for the game. Back on the Hoss tomorrow.
45 Minutes Cross-Training (Basketball)
Sunday, February 4
The question at our Super Bowl gathering was "Will it be more irritating if Peyton Manning or Rex Grossman wins the game?"
The answer was Peyton. He's so obsessive about the intricacies of the game that he misses out on the intricacies of being a great leader. If you were a firefighter would you choose to follow Ray Lewis or Peyton Manning into a burning building to save a child? I'll follow Ray any day. Peyton doesn't inspire that same level of visceral respect. He leads with his brain, not with his heart. Ray leads with his heart, brain be damned.
If you were walking into a streetfight, would you pick Peyton Manning to back you up or John Elway? I'd feel safer with Elway and I don't even like him much. The thing is that you need to feel like your leader has your back no matter what happens. He may dress you down later, but in the moment, he's there to help you win, no matter what happens. You have to believe, in a visceral way, that this person's goals are aligned with yours and that the goals are more important than blame or any other personal quibbles.
You never get that sense from Peyton. You can read it in the way he deflates after interceptions and looks at his receivers as if they messed it all up. Even if they did, what can you do to make it better?
I want to see more of Devin "I Fucking Dare You" Hester. He was fun as hell to watch at Miami, I'm happy his return game translated to the pros.
Congrats to the Colts. Can the Eagles win now?
Saturday, February 3
Finally slept in today, what with it being TOO FUCKING COLD to play NJ pickup today. Must've gotten up as late as 10 or so. Very odd for someone who loves the sun rising slowly on cold fall/winter mornings.
Did some film review, looking for clues for dump defense. Watching a lot of foot placement at ECC to find out waht I can about successful/unsuccessful dumps and their defenders. Interesting but draining work. Gotta put in the time in order to succeed-- even if you don't feel like going outside in the bitter cold.
Friday, February 2
I just found out that one of the tutors who works at The Princeton Review is a good friend of Bill Rodriguez. He also remembered "some guy named 'Dennis'" who was tall and really talented that he hated matching up with but regularly had to. Turns out it was Cribber. Yeah... he might qualify as tall and talented.
Probably the first person I've spoken to at any job that didn't say "Frisbee? [Insert something vaguley demeaning here.]"
Anyway, I did my explosive workout today and that was pretty intense. Jumping is good for you! Jumping with your arms is good for you too!
40 Minutes Explosive Strength
15 Minutes Core Work
Thursday, February 1
Each time you go into a game, you are faced with a unique set of challenges. In a perfect situation, you have an opponent who will work against you and that is all you are faced with.
In reality, you've got the weather, injuries, teammates, spectators, fields, timing, travel, fatigue, and other to deal with. If you focus on them (as Dr. Goldberg mentioned at UCPC) you are focusing on the wrong thing. You're focusing on things that are out of your control. You need to stay focused on things that you can control.
The way that I've always done this is by using the notion of impermanence in a somewhat competition-specific manner. This is the only chance that I'll get to overcome these challenges in this combination. This instant will never occur again, so I had better take full advantage of it. This is also the only time that I'll have the opportunity to fail to overcome these challenges. They do not get to revisit me again in the future as no two situations are identical.
In this way, one exalts the moment as special while deemphasizing the outcome. There is no other moment just like this one and as a result, I will value it as such. Infinitely unique in that nothing before it determines what happens during it and nothing after it will repeat it. It has no precedent and sets no precedent. You must value it while it occurs but not place any importance on it either before or after.