Wednesday, October 31

Nationals, Day 2

Got up, made coffee, realized that we were running late again.

I had managed, yet again, to sleep through my alarm. That's so strange. I rarely sleep late. Oh well, no omelet this morning. Back to Dunkin Donuts. Only this time we'll go to the other DD. That way the employees won't recognize us. Or something.

On one of these mornings, we found out that Mio would "eat anything with a pumpkin in it" and on the other, I hit a parked car with the pointy grill of the Charger (not that we had a police car, just that it illustrates the pointy nature of said grill) and was greeted by a reader from Zero. I didn't tell him that I was born in the Twin Cities because I wasn't sure if that was a good conversation piece or not. I mean... where does the conversation go from there? Does he just say "Cool?" Does he then tell me where he was born? Do I care where he was born? Would he have cared where I was born? This is why conversations with me are always strange. I'm rarely thinking about what I'm saying, but often thinking instead about why I would say it while forgetting what I actually said. I think it ended with mutual good lucks (seriously because we have no shot at playing Zero save for if we make it out of the loser-pools with one loss).

Speaking of which, I don't think that my team fully grasped how awful it is to go down to the bottom pools with one loss. It's devastating. So much has to go right for you to make it back out to the pre-Q's that your team needs the stars to align behind a full moon in order to pull it off. That is, I don't think we fought nearly hard enough in that Rhino game yesterday and I was still pissed about it this morning. That was the game. That shit counts *double.* Or, in our case, the last round on Thursday was actually just the first round of Friday, since Sockeye and Boston had already assured themselves Power-Pool berths. Ah well.

Leg felt terrible this morning. Warmups were prolonged and I had to get everything just right before I could really get any acceleration or explosion (not that I have that much of either) and that sucked. Get your painkillers going, boy, this is The Show! I got in a ton of throws though, as I knew that in order to have a shot at all, I would need to be on point as a thrower today. Live play kinda sucked, but that will happen from time to time. You just need to focus on getting your body/mind awake in those drills. Blood flowing, desire to win boiling and the like...

vs Truck Stop, 10-15
This game started off perfectly. We were going downwind on D, I got a huge pull off, and they turned the disc over in the endzone. I picked it up, walked to the line, and threw a goal. Sweeeeeeet! I don't remember exactly what happened for the rest of this game (although I did fucking get stalled in my own endzone because my brain locked the hell up like something that really gets locked up and THAT killed us) abut I think we took our first half, 8-6 or 8-7. And then Truck Stop pulled away. They capped the win with a HUGE grab from Stout over our two tallest dudes. By the way, our tallest dudes are like 6'1" or 6'2" which is far smaller than the size of that fucking Stout, who made a huge difference for that team over the season. I never thought I'd write the sentence "Truck Stop pulled away" but even more surprising is the fact that after they beat us, I wanted them to win. Call it regional pride, call it knowing when your run is over, or whatever, but that's the way it works for me.

Well, now we get to sit around and wait to play Furious. Of the teams at Nationals, they're one of the few that I haven't yet beaten. Bravo is on that list, and depending how you slice "Boston" they might be on the list as well. I was excited for this chance for two reasons. The first was listed above, and the second was that if we beat Furious, we could push them down below us in the standings. This could be extremely painful for the NW is terms of strength bids.

vs Furious, 11-15
I know I got off some more big pulls in this game, and I think it stayed close for most of the game. We moved the disc well, and capitalized, but their D team eventually overpowered our O. Constant pressure eventually made us wilt. I love matching up on Mauro, and our little tilt here was fun as always. At some point after we got a block on D and then turned it over somehow, I got matched up on Mike and he just straight up took me to the house. That still sucks. I guess he, unlike many tall dudes who can throw, just took advantage of his5 inch height advantage and basically dared his teammates *not* to throw it. I mean hell... if I saw some midget handler covering one of my best deep receivers, I'd put it up without a question too! This game ended poorly.

On the day, I was very pleased with my play, even though I could have done better. Pulls were good upwind and down (though upwind could have been deeper and could have hung longer). Throws were good. Cutting downfield and as a handler was good. Positive energy was present. Not much else to do. I believed through both games that we would win. Sadly, either not enough of my team believed with me, or I didn't believe strongly enough. If you don't believe you'll win, no matter the score, you'll never fight as hard as you can for every inch because you'll think "What's the point?" Believe that you will win gives your actions weight. It gives you a reason to push on forward in the face of almost certain defeat. Almost certain. You must latch on to that sliver of hope and use it to push yourself ahead. You must believe. I always believe.

Well, after two days, we've gotten into tussles with Rhino and Furious (though not, surprisingly, Truck Stop), lost all of our games, and generally started to fold. Nationals is a true test of your belief in yourself and your teammates. Even after you lose, you will have more games to play and those teams will still be teams that you would regularly travel to face. It isn't the boys from down the road, or the 5th place team from your region, every one of these teams fought to get to THIS tournament. They have proven themselves to be worthy competitors. I love this environment. I suppose if it is new for you, you could get a little overwhelmed, but I mean... you gotta love it, right? You've just got to, or you should retire now. This is why you play the game!!!!!

We went to watch some Pre-Q action and I started drinking pretty heavily with Jamie. Fuck this. I'll be ready to play tomorrow, but if I don't get some beer in me, the world will not be an okay place to be. Eventually, the rains came and we didn't have the patience to stay. Sorry, MA teams. My heart just wasn't in rooting for you any more. It likely would have degenerated into terribly mean-spirited heckling before long. To recap, Boston took it to Ring and Truck Stop (somewhat surprisingly) outlasted the Condors through the lightning delay. Well, instead of the top 2 MA teams making quarters, we had one MA team in quarters. At least that isn't totally embarrassing.

That night, we went to Brandon's family's place in Sarasota (or was it Bradenton?) and had a nice team time, although there were apparently more teamamtes there than I realized as the house was big enough that I didn't ever find all of them. More beer was had, and I think I passed out. I had nothing left at this point in the evening. Exhausted, beaten down and drunk. Someone, thankfully, peeled me from the spot at which I had passed out and got me into the car for a fun ride back to the Palm Bay Club... Shitbox tomorrow, boys! Maybe we'll eke out a win against someone else who is as hungover as I'll be!!!


J said...

"Believ[ing] that you will win gives your actions weight."

Interestingly enough, that's not usually a motivator for me. Maybe it's due to my beginnings on a shitty (but lovable) Syracuse team that rarely won anything, but I've never really cared if my team was going to win. For me it's always on a more personal level. You may beat my team or my team may beat yours, but I'm gonna get mine either way.

I've come to realize that this is not a normal outlook. *shrug* That's why, towards the end of games, when nobody wants to play, I'm excited to get in. We may lose, but I've still got a chance to make somebody with RSD cred. look silly. That, and it's often the only way I ever see a freakin' O point!

That said, being captain definitely changed my outlook a bit. In that position, a team loss is a personal loss. One of the many reasons nobody in their right mind would want to be captain ...

dusty.rhodes said...

You're not unique in your quest for personal excellence. There are many players with that same drive. What sets you apart is that no matter the score, you're still fighting. Many players who play for those same reasons you mention wilt and throw in the towel.

I, on the other hand, played for an even more terrible NYU team (we got beat by Syracuse... when Syracuse only had 6 and we had ~17) which was the only losing *anything* that I had every played for before. Every single thing I did felt empty with that team because all we did was get beat when it counted.

As for the end of the game... I want to be in just as badly. And I want to be on the O team too. Why? I don't want to make a name for myself, I don't care if my opponents ever remember who I was. I want my teammates to know that I will fight for them until the bitter end. That I believe. I want to pull my team back from the jaws of defeat. I want to make them believe they can do it.

Who cares what my opponents remember of me tomorrow? I'm after bigger things. I'm after a place in the memory of my teammates. People who I see over and over again, teammates I fight next to every time. Maybe that way... Just maybe... the next time we're down, I won't be the only guy charging onto the field with abandon. Maybe there will be 2 of us. Maybe there will be 5. Maybe, heaven forbid, *the whole team* will be frothing at the mouth and ready to rush into the fray. Just maybe... no one will doubt themselves.

Believing with all your heart that you can do something (no matter the eventual outcome) is a worthwhile feeling. That's what I live for. That's why I train so hard to be good and get so excited when I play. It gives me something to believe in. Minor and meaningless as the game is and will always be, it is a way to test yourself. A way to prove to yourself that you can accomplish something. A way to believe... To do something special with your teammates...

I dunno. I'm waxing non-poetic again.

I know full well that no one in their right mind would ask to be captain.....

Sean said...

Sorry to dissapoint you both, but I lost to BOTH Syracuse AND NYU (yeah dusty, you remember a little tournament in Gettysburg when you and David were with NYU-B and you played Pitt and won?--yeah, pudgy little freshman no-flick-two-backhand-Sean was on that squad). All of the losses on my shitty Pitt teams has spawned a great hatred of any team that I have lost to and my burning desire for redemption is what has brought me the limited success I have managed to enjoy. My experience on crappy teams has left a chip on my shoulder; a constant need to prove myself, to put the skeletons of my craptastic past in the closet and bury former-selfs.

But I have asked to captain. Asked 5 times (4 yrs in college). Captaining at the club level is much different. Much less Army General and much more Baseball Manager, but I like that pressure just the same. I find that it forces me to work to be the model at all times--whether that is model in work ethic, positive teammate, mental toughness, clutch play...whatever aspect of the sport, knowing that others on my team are looking to me makes me expect more of myself, makes me will myself and my team away from failures- minor or major. And though I am not able to fulfill those roles as much as I would like to as often as I would like to, the pressure is good and it makes me a better person/player for it.

dusty.rhodes said...

That was one of the worst tournament experiences I've ever had.

My whole team left on Saturday night to go watch NCAA basketball or something. And by "left" I mean "Drove away from the tournament after our final games and never came back for the second day." Jerks.

This left me and David to play with the B team. This was the tournament when some jerk-face on UDel told me "Don't worry, when you're a senior, you'll be really good." Problem was, I was already a senior. Ouch. I still picture that guy when I work out. I actually played against him at Fools Fest this year... that's another story though... I'm pretty sure he has no idea t all who I am.

That was the tourney where we lost to UPenn-B by 7-6 or something as they scored one single prayer of an upwinder on the frozen field in a 35-40 mph straight up/downwind game. Ugh.

Man, I *still* hate the Metro East. Hardcore. If only I had learned something, anything from college ultimate.

Well, at least I never lost to Rutgers. Take that, Officer Kieffer.

The Pulse said...

I'm 2-1 career against Rutgers. 1-0 when Mio plays.

dkieffer said...

"Well, at least I never lost to Rutgers. Take that, Officer Kieffer."

You know I'm a whore for these blogs.
And that did bring a smile to my face. Can I throw my hat in the ring for one of the shittiest college teams (at least in my first 2 years, even though we did beat shitty pitt).

Being in the academy is no fun. Some of the only outlets I have had were following my local club teams on their journeys to nationals. Reading your blog, and looking at the pictures of you guys qualifying for nationals really brought a smile to my face, and I wish I could have been there with you.

At least we have a cold winter to look forward to! See you in the spring.

Jamie said...

No way, the keiffer responds.

Does this mean we can be invited to read your Training Academy blog? I need to know more about the Keifernator.

Josh said...


I think I would pay a lot of money to read a police blog from Billy Kieffer.

Also, in about a year, if I get pulled over speeding in Jersey, is it best to tell the officer that I know you, or is that only going to make him mad?


Ian said...

Billy, are you playing Pike in 2008?

dkieffer said...

if you want in on the blog email me (its by invite only since i don't want instructors or future employers reading it):
dkieffer AT gmail

J said...

too bad ... no that it's the off-season, it seems Dusty is already too fat/lazy/drunk to get off the couch and write in his blog.

A huge loss for us all.

ps. Hey Bill.

dusty.rhodes said...

I was just thinking that I hadn't written anything recently. Didn't realize how long ago that was.

Two Reasons:
1. Still hungover from Mosh.
2. I don't know why, but they keep telling me that I should spend less time on the internet at work.