Sunday, April 22

Beth Coltman Memorial, Day 2

After earning yet another first round bye by finishing first in our pool...

My car got back to Pike tradition by rolling up late. Of course, the rest of the team got back to Pike tradition as well and showed up at approximately the same time. It is only April, so no worries.

Our first round matchup was against the other DC/Balmer team, HOV Violators. We watched them beat out East River Yacht Club V 2.0 aka Seven-Ten Split aka the third men's team from NYC aka the 1200th team from NYC. I meant to ask them why they would call themselves Seven-Ten Split, but I forgot. That stands out as a really bad team name even in a sport filled with really bad team names. I hope the inside joke is really really funny. We were up 8-6 at half and then went on a 7-2 run to win 15-8. We were sluggish-- that'll be important to fix. Games in the morning count just as much as games in the afternoon. Got off a great pull in this game that pinned them in the back 4 yards of the endzone. It led to a really early turnover and a quick goal. THAT will be one of my goals this year if I continue playing D. Our pulls will be devastating.

The second round was a rematch vs Medicine Men and one-line rhyme, Bill Mill. Yet again, we were down early. Not really acceptable. Now I understand why the D team hates the O team. Sitting on the sideline watching your team get broken is really painful. I had always understood the disdain that the O had for the D ("Look at those dumb motherfuckers playing D. I bet they couldn't string five words together to make a sentence, let alone run a respectable offense.") but only now am I beginning to grasp the reverse. As mentioned earlier, the last time I was on the D team was in my first club season in 03. I didn't really grasp the difference between O and D points at the time and was basically watching both teams get scored on. We pulled it together in this one to take half. 8-7, maybe? In the second half, it became clear that at least a couple of our players were completely ignoring the new marking rules as their cannon-arm handler was constantly calling fouls. I don't think this is acceptable. We've got to work on playing good, physical and LEGAL defense as the season continues. As it became apparent that they were running on fumes, we exhorted our teammates to run harder and take advantage. It paid off.We pulled away to win to the tune of 15-10 as they ran out of gas in the second half.

There was another play in this game that caused some question in my mind regarding the rules. One of their guys was cutting deep on the far sideline from me for a pretty deep put. his defender was a step underneath him, and a help defender was coming over the top (much like a cover-2 scheme). The original defender trips, falls, leading the offensive player to get tripped on the way up, step on the original defender's head, take out the help defender and not catch the disc. "Foul!" "Contest!" I think that seems about right. Can we assume that this player would have caught the disc AND landed in bounds without getting D-ed by the help defender? I think not. Can we, in good conscience, say that the play was not affected by the defender who couldn't remember how to run and jump? I think not. The concept of a "good foul-contest" arises ire in some (For example, the Med Men player who, from 50 yards away told me that the receiver had actually caught the disc before he was fouled. Oddly, i was standing right near him and did not see that at all. I could be wrong, but so could he), but it seems logical to me. If the rules are meant to "simulate what most likely would have occurred absent the infraction," and we cannot determine what would have occurred absent the infraction, what are we bound to do? What if the help defender was a behemoth who, 90% of the time, is going to get that D with or without the foul? Well, what most likely would have occurred is a D. So is that disc "uncatchable?" This reminds me when I told an guy on O that a disc was uncatchable not because of where the disc was, but because of the combination of his limited catching ability and my defensive prowess. In any case, the disc went back to the thrower, we got the turn on that point and scored. Insert small pang of guilt due to different interpretations of the play.

Now, on to the finals. After Truck Stop pulled out the win against PoNY (despite a sweet late-game full-disc handblock by the aforementioned JDub), it was time for the second rematch of the day. We were again pleased to see them. This year will be a battle. Clearly both teams are missing key players and haven't practiced much, if at all, together at this point, but just like last year, I anticipate that we'll be killing each other at Regionals this year. For once, we got out to an early lead. For once, we didn't take half. Down 7-8 at half, we knew that our early season conditioning would help a bit in the second half. It definitely did. The D, exploring some new strategic wrinkles (and the re-dedication to and re-thinking of some old ones) pushed ahead to a 12-8 lead. The O team then played until a 13-10 lead. The d team scored and then pulled at 14-10, got scored on and then it took the O team two shots (14-11, 14-12) before taking the victory at 15-12. We Win! Hooray.

The every-other-year tradition of winning this tourney continues!

Thoughts from the weekend:

  • I play better when I spike the disc. This might be why I'm being considered for relegation to the D team.
  • I want my defenders to lay out and miss the disc more often.
  • As frustrating as it is to play O with the D-team, it is so damn easy to play O against the O-team.
  • I think my mark was surprisingly good this weekend without getting called for a single foul.
  • Whenever this "Tap the disc on the ground to acknowledge a goal" thing started, it can stop now. Not only do you look like a 7th grader, it is completely unnecessary AND looks just like a ground check. This caused confusion in at least one of our games.
  • Puppet Regime is looking like they'll make some improvements, if you're into the Mixed Division. Amp looks about the same as 06. That's not bad, but I'm not sure who, if anyone, they're adding to their arsenal.
  • One can do a lot worse than spending a beautiful weekend in Cape Henlopen State Park to open the season.
  • Shoulder held up.
  • Ankle held up.
  • Conditioning was good for April.
  • I repeat: This is not your father's Pike.
Workout Total:
3 games of ultimate


Bill Mill said...

I ran over to check out our guy (who was hurt on the play as well), and saw things a little differently from you. Here's how things played out from my point of view:

Med man to injured Pike player, as he's being helped off: "So, before you go, do you want to contest?"
Injured player: "I don't remember what happened"
Pike Player A: "Contest or no?"
Injured Pike: "I don't remember what happened."
Pike Player A: "You gotta make a call"
Injured Pike: "Contest?"
Pike Player B: "Was that a question?"
Pike Player A: "Contest!"

Disc goes back 90 yards to 10 yards deep in our own end zone, instead of at your goal line.

I'm not really sure what should happen here, but that play *really* looked like a foul to me - what does it matter if he would have caught it, as long as he had a play on it (which he did)?

Anyway, not bitter about it, I just thought it was interesting. What do you do in a self-refereed game when one of the parties is incapacitated?

dusty.rhodes said...

Thanks for the additional perspective. I should mention that I was on the other side of the field when all of this occurred, so my perspective is limited.

I did, however, ride back to Jersey with the injured player. As of Sunday night, he still didn't know what happened.

I hadn't even considered the fact that he couldn't make a call on the play because he had no idea what happened.

The first question I'm getting at here is "Did he really have a play on it?" You feel that he did. I don't doubt that he had a play on it (you had a better view than I did), but what % completion rate does this need to be to considered "a play?" Fouls called on greatest attempts (and LCN about that) or on ridiculous second-attempts (we have footage of this from ECC from a couple of years ago) are often vehemently argued against on the grounds that "You weren't going to actually make that play." It is pretty clear that if a guy has a 100% chance of making play without the foul (for example, has established good potition and a defender flies through on a bid and cleans him out) that the disc should stay there. What if that number drops to 75%? How about 20%? If that play is made by 1 out of every 1000 ultimate players (think of your favorite sick athlete) and a foul prevents that play, is it a legitimate foul? I'm 5'9". When I'm at my peak I can get my figers over the rim. Does this mean that if someone nudges me and prevents me from leaping for a disc floating 11 feet off of the ground in the back corner of the endzone I should be able to call a foul and not have it contested? I mean, in a big enough game, with enough adrenaline, I could make that play. Keep in mind that I'm not positing that the instance was or was not a foul, but rather hoping to establish where the line in the sand is drawn.

Similarly, where does intent enter into it? If I wide open receiver and his defender tangle feet and fall while running for an emminently catchable disc, what happens? I feel that the disc has to go back-- you can't assume that he would make the catch. It was definitely a foul, but you can't know if he was going to catch the disc. On the other hand, if the guy decided to make a conscious open-field tackle on that same receiver, I would argue that the disc should probably stay with the intended receiver.

In any case, I'm glad you're not bitter about it-- the important thing is to determine what should happen in a sitaution like this. I really don't know what the answer is. Stupid rules. If only there had been pick, disc space and travel calls at the same time...

dusty.rhodes said...

Wait... so the correct singular for Medicine Men is Medicine Man? Good to know. I've constructed some odd phrases as a result of not knowing what was appropriate.

Bill Mill said...

I make it up as I go along. Is a Red Sox player a Red Sock or a Red Sox? These sorts of questions are unanswerable.

Anyway, I see your point now. As for perspective on the actual play, I was actually further away from it than you - I ran over afterwards from the bench.

Let's look to the rules on your 2 scenarios:

Receiving Fouls:

1. If a player contacts an opponent while the disc is in the air and thereby interferes with that opponent’s attempt to make a play on the disc, that player has committed a receiving foul. Some amount of incidental contact before, during, or immediately after the attempt often is unavoidable and is not a foul.

2. If XVI.C.2.b.1 of the continuation rule applies: if the call is uncontested, the fouled player gains possession at the spot on the playing field closest to the spot of the infraction. If the foul is contested, the disc reverts to the thrower.

By this standard, I don't see how it couldn't be a foul. I see your point about the greatest call and the ".1% chance" call, but this didn't look that way to me - it looked like your guy tripped, fell into our guy, thusly interfering with his attempt to make a play.

Similarly, I think this standard gives the disc to the receiver in the example you mention. It's like fouling a shooter at half-court; he's not likely to make the shot, but by fouling him, you give him easy points.

(Also, I meant to mention that I hope your guy's alright - he seemed pretty shook up.)

dusty.rhodes said...

The real question regarding the Sox is: Is Manny Ramirez a Red Sock or a Martian? If the former, where's the evidence? If the latter, where's he from and when can other teams start recruiting them?

Under the first rule, I feel that "tripping and falling into your opponent" is both incidental and unavoidable. At the same time, it is a foul. I go back to the preface again and the part that states that the rules are meant to "simulate what most likely would have occurred absent the infraction." The words "most likely" stick out over and over again. If it was a true 50/50 disc, we don't know what would have happened. If it was a 6'5" deep poach d-ing me in the endzone, then the most likely outcome is a turnover.

I feel that the shooter at half-court example is not apt. The stated goals of the rulesets are not the same at all. Basketball is punitive, ultimate is not. Also, scoring opportunities in basketball occur far more frequently than in ultimate. You've got to admit that someone completing a 90 yard bomb into double coverage is a low-percentage play and giving someone those yards due to a guy tripping on his own feet seems unfair, at least from one persepctive.

As for the .1% thing, that is not relevant to this specific example-- He had a much better shot at this disc than .1%. That's just a theoretical extension of the discussion. I do not, at all, mean to imply in any way that this call was the same-- just that it is further down that path than most calls.

Anyway, my larger question is do the rules currently reach their stated goal of simulating what would have happened in all situations? What is the assumed level of competence of the player involved in each play? Do we assume that they can all catch equally? Do we adjust based on skill? Is there such a thing as a "good foul-contest?" And so on.

In this isntance, I think that the outcome was correct. He should have called a foul. The disc should have gone back. This is why I hate the rules and wish there were refs to do this crap for me. I don't know what happened. I don't know the standard interpretation for this rule. At least one player involved doesn't know what happened. At least one player involved couldn't see what happened. How can we come up with the correct ruling in the moment?

This is another step toward me coming up with my own damn ruleset Crazy Frank style.

Oh, our player seems to be okay. I mean, he drove from my apartment to his place after we split the driving duties prior to that between the other guys in the car.

Bill Mill said...

> This is why I hate the rules and wish there were refs to do this crap for me. I don't know what happened. I don't know the standard interpretation for this rule. At least one player involved doesn't know what happened. At least one player involved couldn't see what happened. How can we come up with the correct ruling in the moment?

I could not possibly agree with this statement more.

The fact that we just had this discussion, and still don't have a solid answer, is ridiculous. Train some refs, develop de facto standards that don't change team by team, and let us play.

Good to hear your guy is OK.

dusty.rhodes said...

I assume your teammate is fine, by the way. I seem to remember him playing in that game.

Bill Mill said...

Oh yeah, he was just a little dazed.

Anonymous said...

This is Mike Stephen, the guy with no conscience ;-) As for my perspective, I threw the disc from 10 yards deep in the endzone, so I didn't have the best perspective by any means.

The idea of rules simulating absent the infraction is true, but there is a sense of punishment. By committing a foul as a defender, you relinquish your right to make a play on the disc- essentially, if you had a legal play you would have made it. This gets dicey when there are multiple defenders involved, but the rules are a work in progress. Take the infracting defender out of the play, and look at what would have happened.

As a receiver, I don't call a foul unless I believe that I have a real chance to catch the disk. If I misread it, it is out of bounds, or another defender is obviously going to get it instead of me, just let it go. Likewise, if I get fouled on a throw, I generally don't call it if the throw goes where I want it to.

Another thing- incidental and accidental contact are completely different. Accidental is simply unintentional; however, incidental is minor contact that doesn't affect the play. Contact can be both, either, or neither. Spirit of the game dictates that all contact should be accidental, although some incidental contact is expected. I have actually heard people say that because they tripped the guy accidentally, that it wasn't a foul- I hope we can all agree that is not the case.

I also really appreciate your statement about marking and following the rules. This is why I enjoy playing Pike more than many other teams. Marking too close isn't okay just because the other team doesn't call it. Not to get too deep here, but a person's worth can be measured by what they do when no one else is watching. That is the essense of spirit of the game and self-officiating.

dusty.rhodes said...

Mr. Mike:

You know you've got no conscience. Don't pretend...

I agree with most of what you mention here. Anyone who argues that the accidental trip is not a foul is a fool. That being said, I remain entirely uncomfortable with giving the receiver in that situation the disc. If "accidental trips" become commonplace, then perhaps the completion should stand.

As I (not so clearly) got into above, how easy a play does it have to be to assume that it would be made?

I reiterate, just for my own conscience, I think your man was right to call a foul. I also feel that the disc should have gone back. Finally, I feel that the "disc going back" is a cop-out that is the result of self-officiating. Sure, it is used in volleyball and tennis but only from time to time. Ultimate gives too many second chances.

I'm sure we'll run into y'all soon enough-- hopefully our marks will improve and we won't have any convoluted foul calls or crazy injuries.