Sunday, September 30

Mid-Atlantic Regionals, Day 2

This morning hurt.

As soon as I woke up, I was pretty confident that I wouldn't play at all today. I couldn't really straighten my leg and it hurt no matter what I did. Well... get ready like you're going to play and we'll see from there. This included stopping at CVS, stretching out a ton, and constant massaging to keep my right quad warm.

The day was another gorgeous fall day. Abundant sunshine indeed.

I made the decision/came to the realization very early that I wouldn't be able to play more than a game or possibly just a half if I managed to play at all. I discussed this with our captains, Dono and Heckman, and we agreed that I should only warm up if there was a fourth game today. Okay. Time to get my coach/fan hat on. That's the round one that keep the sun off of my head. Especially with the new haircut.

vs Los, 15-13.
We got the disc on D for the first 5 points of this game and only converted one goal. That's terrible. It was very frustrating to watch as that is pretty much my job on the team-- to help us convert break opportunities. We had different personnel on the field for long stretches and we were running different O's than we would with me in the game. Unbelievably irritating. They had the advantage of an overall bigger team across the board than we had. Both teams tried pretty hard not to win this one, but we learned that these guys are very aggressive defenders (in a complimentary way) and we learned what to expect if we saw them again.

vs MedMen, 15-10
We started this while I was in the bathroom. I missed the first couple of points, but by the time I was over there, we were up a break or two. By about halftime, it was pretty clear that MedMen were handing us this one to rest up for the next one. Crazy formats... Not that I blame them.

I got a chance to check out the end of the Ring/Truck game and I overheard something about how efficient Ring's offense had been to the tune of no turnovers for most of the game or something ridiculous. 15-8 Ring victory. Ouch for Truck.

The end of the Burgh/Los game was a bit more exciting, although Los's vets seemed to make the difference late in the game, and Los won their first matchup with Burgh when it counted, after losing the previous 4. Wow. Not shocking, but still... that sucks for Burgh.

vs Truck Stop, 6-15
Hmmm.... That is not at all how I pictured this game going. And I won't ever picture it that way against anyone. They just kept making little runs on D while we may have gotten one or two breaks. By about halftime, the decision was made that we had a more important game after this one and unless we could string something together immediately, we should be resting our top guys. Nothing materialized, and the bench emptied. Congrats to Truck Stop, y'all beat us hands down.

Now, the time has come to awartd the last bid to Nationals from the Mid-Atlantic. Los (who managed to dispatch MedMen) vs Pike, who lost to Truck Stop. I didn't see any of the Los/MedMen game as I was trying my damnedest to get ready to play. Items used: Copious Tiger Balm, 2 Heating Pads, Ace Bandage, Tape, Compression Shorts. Get that thigh as HOT AS POSSIBLE to keep it loose. Take some painkillers/anti-inflammatories and figure out how to make all of the normal motions on an ultimate field without putting undue pressure on my quad. This meant changing acceleration patterns and carefully anticipating certain types of direction changes. Get my adrenaline up and remind myself that pain isn't the same as weakness...

vs Los, 16-15
We got the disc early and often on D, but did not convert. My pulls were pretty solid at making them start from their own endzone, but I wasn't getting quite the hang that I had earlier in the week because I couldn't really push off of my plant foot with full strength. I managed to throw a pretty much perfect huck in this half, but it was dropped by a normally phenomenally sticky-handed receiver. I then threw a Callahan later. Possibly in the same point. It had been a while since I did that, so it was good to end the streak. I was getting worried that I might never throw one again.

At half, it was about 4-8 Los or so. They had broken us and while our D team had put some great pressure on them early, we had not converted a break yet. As the second half started, they got up one more break and we traded for a while. It was clear that we were down big. I talked to the D on the sidelines and tried my damnedest to make my teammates believe. When our O scored, the D came out with blood on our minds. We made a three point run. I needed a sub. One of these points was possibly the longest endzone O in the history of ultimate. Tim Johnson and Trey worked the disc back and forth in front of the goal line somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15 times from side to side. I was stuck in the stack and wanted nothing more than to get into the handler motion. Eventually I got my chance, and joined the dance for a little while, trying to attack the D and force them to give something away. Then it happened. I got to throw the break to Jon Fink who then threw a goal to the breakside of the endzone. This was the last of the three-point-run, methinks, and I needed a sub here after the three previous points. I think that I helped force two turns with my mark as the guy I was covering didn't seem too overly comfortable with the disc.

After I came out, we scored another D point, which I think tied the score. There was some amazing grab by Matt Schmucker in there as well. (Note how all of the shorts numbers make it easy to identify the players in this picture.) Game to 16 with the cap going on at some point. Los scored the next goal. Our O came on, down 14-15 and turned the disc over somehow ON THE FIRST PASS. Los worked it up to the endzone and turned it over. Unbelievable!!! I don't recall how, but I know I was shouting from the sideline at the time. Our O eventually got a huck off to Trey, who was completely uncovered. The throw came back on some sort of call. Huck goes up again, perfect bomb from Brandon. Goal!

15-15. Double Game point. Starting on D. WOOOOOO! Love this sort of stuff! We had a great line out (Me, Tim Johnson, Trey, Dono, Spanish, Schmucker, Player X [Who I suspect to be Ben Kleaveland]), and Los ended up turning the disc over. We started working it up. Eventually, I end up downfield somehow. I cut under, my guy falls down, so I go deep. The throw goes up and I know that there is someone behind me. What I didn't know is that it was Trey, flying in to save the day. (You can see me either cowering/protecting myself from big people in the right of that picture) He then threw it to someone else (Spanish?) who then threw the goal-to-go.

Holy Hell.

Every feeling other than joy left my heart and mind. I couldn't even stand up. I just kinda fell over in disbelief. I laid there, loving it. We ended up in a huddle soon thereafter and realized that *well* over half of our team has never been to club nationals before. It was great to get them there, and to have them play instrumental parts in getting to the best tournament in the world. The Show. It was at about this time that someone informed me that we were down 9-14 at some point in this game, and in fact made a 7-1 run to close it out. Unfuckingbelievable. That is the greatest comeback that I have ever been involved in in any sport, ever. It was incredible to be on the field with the crowd getting into it (So much so that I thought about them when I was pulling the last two, which both went OB. I suck.) with so much on the line with my teammates. Fantastic.

Los gave us a great challenge, and we rose to the occasion. I managed to get through the injury and play at least one game. I took 1 D point sub during this one. I, also, apparently, got a deep D, although I don't really remember it.

My car went to Waffle House in celebration and watched Ariel's footage of the game-winning point to much applause. That's right, the whole thing is on video and is a fantastically exciting game to watch, even if the quality of ultimate is not the absolute best from either team (long weekends do that to everyone).

The ride home was solid, much better than the terrible ride home last season after we lost. Now that we've got the team to Nationals, we've got to get the team prepared for Nationals. The competition is unlike anything you see anywhere else, no matter who you play. Peak Form. The best teams in the world (though there are obviously other great teams in the world, these 16 teams can generally hang with any of them). The Beach in October. Everything about this is incredible...

All the work was put in in anticipation of this day and the days that now follow was worth it.

It was worth it a thousand times over.
Workout Total:
Qualified for Nationals


Brandon Silverman said...

hey dusty

dono sent a link to one of your earliest posts at the beginning of the season and i didn't know it was you who wrote this blog. i mainly thought, "i don't know who that person is, but they're crazy." but since then, you've been a real leader on the've played awesome all season and not to mention your effort and workouts made me want to keep up (albeit poorly) and made me a better player for it. congrats on setting a goal, working your ass off, and making it happen. its great to be on the same team as you and i can't wait for the first game in sarasota.


p.s. you got the deep d. i remember it. :)

Bill Mill said...

Congrats, you guys earned it. I wish we could have given y'all a better game - in particular Trey beat me deep twice in the first half - but nobody deserved that bid more than you guys.

If all goes well, we'll reach up to Pike's level next year. Until then, keep that third bid warm for us :)

ryanpvance said...

The deep D was just before the perfect huck that was dropped. The drop was actually my "D" from the sideline.

1. As the throw went up, your guy just hit another gear and smoked his defender.
2. I say "(Insert sticky fingered Pike player here) is so good"
3. Said player drops disc.
4. Everyone curses me out on the sideline.

I echo BillMill's comments. You guys definitely deserved that bid, and the experience really showed.

J said...

That 'sticky' dude should be cut. Gacking a play in a game like that ...

Jackson said...

I've started to edit the 3rd place game. I'm doing a rough edit of the full game to be put online first. Later I think I will do a highlight video. While I was editing, I came across this clip.

I think this is the Deep D that is being referred to. I don't think you touched the disc (can't really tell in the google vid, but in the uncompressed version, it's pretty clear that you don't touch it), but you definitely forced the receiver into a tougher catch. And the bid itself was awesome.

ryanpvance said...

Indeed J. Mr. Sticky should probably be forced to drink an extra volcano at Fool's next year.

dusty.rhodes said...

Yup. I neither touched that disc when it was thrown to me nor when it was thrown deep to the guy I was covering.

dusty.rhodes said...

You know... now that I watch that a bunch, there was some significant contact in that play.

That's a perfect no-call by a guy who plays ultimate like it is supposed to be played. I went straight for the disc, he went straight for the disc and we made contact in the air. If he hadn't hit me, I would have caught it. If I hadn't hit him, he would have caught it. Great no-call by a Los player with pride.