Saturday, June 23

Boston Invitational, Day One

"I've got to say, that didn't go as well as I had hoped."

That's what I thought to myself as we arrived to the field on Saturday morning. The trip up there, as I fully expected, was fraught with difficulty, as they say. The plan involved my brother leaving work at 5pm, going to Philly to pick up Wickner and then driving to Jersey City to pick up Julie and I, eat and head up to Boston.

Of course, this scheme makes no sense at all and all of the driving involved is through high-traffic areas at that particular time of the day. Even in ideal traffic conditions, this is a difficult maneuver to pull off. Executed perfectly, it could probably be done in a little under 3 hours. For those of you scoring at home, this means the vehicle's EPAT (Earliest Possible Arrival Time) at Jersey City was a little before 8pm. The LPAT (If you are unable to figure this one out, hire a tutor) was somewhere in the neighborhood of Midnight (Tangent).

This mean that there was a decision point during that time frame in terms of "Should we forge ahead tonight or grab rest while we can and then push on in the dawn?" I had been mulling this decision point over in my head for a couple of days earlier in the week and could only decide that it was a decision that would need to be made in the moment. Why? Because only at that moment would I know my feelings about either option.

As Jamie and Wicknah approached, I was asleep in anticipation of whichever option we ended up with. I was due up to drive the next leg of the trip. If we were going at night, I would need to recover from the 2pm margaritas at work not in terms of being drunk, but that drinking is more tiring than not. If we were going in the morning, I would like to start amassing some sleep now and try to hit a minimum of 5 hours. They arrived and the group was polled. As the moment came to decide, I realized that I had no particular benefit from either decision, stated that I was more than happy to drive no, and more than happy to drive in the morning. At least that's what I thought at the time. I may have groggily grumbled: "Either is fine. I have no opinion."

We decided to go in the morning. Departure time: 3:30 am for a drive that I usually do in 3.5-4 hours given moderate to good traffic. That should be fine for an 8:30 game, 7:30 arrival time. I wanted to get there by a little after 7 for some extra warmup after the car ride and a little extra throwing time to learn the wind, but if I didn't, it would not be a huge loss as I warm up well and generally adapt my throws to the environment pretty easily. A lot of that came from throwing in lotsa wind whenever possible over the last 4 years or so. On the beach, in stormy (non-lightning) weather, at East River Park, windy tournaments, whatever. When the wind picked up, I found someone with whom to throw, or took my bag of discs out and threw at a bunch of different angles to a targets in different directions. Each time working on the angle of the disc compared to the wind. As I did this, I realized that the release point was only indirectly responsible for the angle at which the disc traveled. The wrist snap is the key at every release point. If you can translate the force generated from your ankles, up through your legs, hips, torso, shoulders, and arms into the correctly angled and attenuated directional snap of the wrist, any release point (given the ability to generate the necessary snapping power in the required direction from that release point) is a possibility.

Assured that we would arrive on time, I slept easily.

At 3:07am, the first alarm when off. Oh, I think I mistimed my sleep cycles... That's why we have multiple alarms. I went back to sleep knowing that in 3 minutes another alarm would go off. At 3:10 I got up very easily. We gathered our stuff, and got into the car. Bob Marley makes for good late summer night drive music. An on-time departure! Perfecto! "Everything's comin' up Milhouse!"

The drive is a lovely early morning jaunt to Beantown. I honestly don't recall that much of it. Well, that is until I follow the directions that say turn onto I-90E from I-90E. I follow that, as crazy as it sounds, and about 20 miles later (due to the combination my nearly encyclopedic knowledge of driving follies on the way to Devens and my utter inability to get there right the first time) I realize that we've made an error. We pull over and look at a map, realizing that the directions I was handed were supposed to say "turn onto I-290 from I-90." Ah hell, now we'll just go on back to I-495N and head back on route 2. Sadly, this is something I've done before. But the original time was due to not actually having directions or a map, just a general sense of where Devens was. That was kinda fun. This was the opposite of that. The good side was that we had made good enough time and left early enough to get to the fields on time with breakfast.

We do arrive in time, and get to our fields. We were about ready to warm up when I realized that I had left some things in the car (notably, my first cup of coffee this morning) so I went back as the team started the jog. I caught up with them by midway through our active warmups (which after initial resistance have been near unanimously adopted) and worked myself through a slightly abbreviated version that I like to use for workouts and summer league. It really focuses on the hips, core and larger muscles. A quick set of stretches with engaged muscles through a couple key ranges of motion takes care of the smaller groups. Into our skipping warmups and the like. Then drill time. A little live play and some extra time for pulling and deep looks.

I looked around at some point and realized that we had no fewer than 30 guys. It turns out that we had 31 guys. The list broke down like this: Heckman, Trey, Brandon, TC, Jeff, Dono, Ian, Tim Johnson, Ben Kleveland, Dusty, Ringo, Fink, Schmucker, Tous, Heng-Scheng, Malcolm, Dan Yi, Jamie, Foss, Art Shull, Ed Resnik, Raphael, Ricky, Eddie Peters, Mutton, Spanish, Justin Illuzi, Perry Gorgin, Pribicko, Mio and Herschel. Subbing is going to be a bitch. Team focus is going to be difficult to maintain.

First game vs Medmen, 15-6.
I was surprised, I expected more from this team. It seemed like nothing was working for them all day long against any team that they played. Perhaps it is a hot and cold thing with them. Perhaps it all lies in the completion percentage on their unorthodox deep looks. If they connect? This team is no fun to play because they're making headway with passes approximately 100% of defenses encourage. When they're not completing them, it is clearly in the interest of the other team to play high-percentage ultimate.

Second Game vs PoNY, 10-15.
Ouch. The additions to their roster are paying dividends. The combination of a growing level of individual talent, team-level familiarity and the addition of Bailey and BVH (Despite Bailey's apparent inability to catch things thrown to him by BVH)
bodes well for this squad in 07. A lot of ex-Pike on that roster and it is always terrible to lose to guys you know. Unfortunately for them, Goat is again looking strong and while Boston doesn't' seem invincible, they haven't completely gelled yet either.

Bye round.
Watched a little of Amp v Mischief, Puppet v Tandem and Godiva v someone.

Third Game vs Boston, 8-15.
This was not fun either. Focus is definitely suffering for everyone at this point. Players have been out for too long. The offense is bogging down and the D is not converting when we are given/create our own opportunities. Kurt Gibson made his appearance for Boston in this one. That could be another great addition to that team, provided he fits in with whatever philosophy the new team has. Teddy seemed to be getting a lot of blocks on us. Losing this one meant that we had to play a crossover to determine if we were in the upper or lower bracket on Sunday. These games are never fun. The lower team is fired up and usually pretty tired while the upper team is pissed off and negative after not faring so well. This game was no different.

Fourth Game vs New Noise, 15-14.
This game was kinda odd. I felt like we were in control for most of the game, and at some point I looked at the scoreboard and was a bit alarmed. It seemed that a double game point was likely. to their credit, they were completing a ton of deep looks to some guy wearing what looked like scrubs. They were entirely unafraid to hang it up there and bet on their guy. And their guys were winning a lot while we were failing to adjust. I can't remember how this ended, as by this point I was doing a terrible job of staying focused. After being up at 3:10 and pushing through until this game that started at 5pm, I was just plain fading. I kept fighting, but it was hard when I wasn't in the game. While playing, I found it easy to play at a passable level, but not at my best. Kinda frustrating.

In any case, we retain the right to play in quarters and it turns out that we play Truck Stop at 8:30am. Nice. I like playing against this team as both teams hate to lose to each other. Not that I like or dislike them personally, but that I value their presence as opponents. These games are always battles.

Julie, Jame and I tossed in the beautiful weather until the sun was nearly down. That was a nice, relaxing way to round out the day and unwind a bit. Try to quiet the mind and think about the paths of the disc on the backdrop of a nice sunset.

We went to stay in Somerville with a friend of ours, Elizabeth, and had BBQ. It was good, although I was asleep by the time it came and had to be woken up to partake. Not a shocker for anyone considering the length of that particular day. Set the alarm for some early hour and fell asleep right away...
Workout Total:
8 hour ultimate tournament


Bill Mill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Mill said...

Correction: Friday night.