Monday, November 12

Nationals, Day 3 (Pt 2)

So, we got ready to heckle semis and all of that.

This meant, first and foremost, getting in comfortable clothes, checking some fire safety around the complex, running into people you know in the ultimate world and getting to the beer garden. There’s some time before it all really gets started in terms of games, but it isn’t an eternity.

All of those tasks were accomplished, and our things were in our car. As was the teapot that we had used to transport coffee to the fields as well as the coffee mugs from The Palm Bay Club that we had borrowed. This is better than everyone drinking out of the teapot. Trust me. That was on option.

It was at this point that the ridiculousness of the year struck me. Aside from the general absurdity of sports, I also play a sport that no one watches and that no one outside of the immediate community cares about. Above that, I’m pretty fucking good (not the best just yet, that’s coming as I keep working!) at it, I spend a ton of time, energy and money on it, and I travel all over the place to play. Past that, you look around at the teams and players here and you know that there is still something completely and utterly non-standard about it. Frisbees? Really? Goofy names like “Johnny Bravo” are among the best at the sport? You’re just as likely to hear a discussion about the merits of various high-level theories in [insert discipline here] as you are a discussion about the nerdiest way to heckle your teammates as you are a discussion of the disgusting workout regimen that so-and-so put together or the nuances of various dump setups on the field.

All the while, there’s this ridiculously beautiful expanse of grass on which some of the absolute best teams/players in the game have been doing battle on for the last couple of days. A battle which will only intensify over the next 1.5 days as the weaker teams are weeded out over the final two rounds of every division (And then the Pickup division is doing something else with fewer rounds). The guys you see at this level are dedicated players. In at least some sense. Physically or mentally or emotionally or tactically they are dedicated to the game. They work their asses of in some way to get there. To get to this spot in a completely absurd game that no one takes seriously.

And I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.

Sure, those pangs of “I need to be playing here instead of watching” come and go, but you still need to celebrate your life, not mourn your past. So I did. And most other former-competitors did too. At some point, you think about yours season and it all makes sense now. The mistakes you made in February or March are played out in the way you and your team progressed. The strange gut feelings you had about your team have come to pass (or not) and you can understand the season with as complete a data-set as you can ever have. While having beer. While watching some high-level players. In the Florida Sun, in November, withouta real care in the world…

As we sat down to watch the semis, we were again irritated by the lack of proximity of the beer garden to the games we were going to watch. Sorry, Amp, I wished you luck, but as I told Furf before, I’m not gonna watch y’all unless you make the finals. I don’t have to play against y’all. I can learn more by watching my division. Mental notes, real notes and an idea of what other teams are doing to be as good as they are. What works? What doesn’t? What styles of play? How would my team compare? What strategies would I use to counter theirs? Is that similar to what the other teams are doing? Who are the palyers I need to know about? Who I need to prepare for when I face them?

There is no offseason, truly. Just a change in focus.

Went over to the Goat/Bravo game first. Because, well, it started first. My statement before this one was that this was a batch matchup for Goat because the two teams played a similar enough style (get the disc going downfield to your dominant players and have them make plays) that the determining factor would be athleticism. I felt that Bravo beat them in that category and said that it would be a 15-10 Bravo win. I was wrong. I twas 15-11. Shoot. The game itself was fun to watch as there was an opening salvo from Bravo to jump ahead, followed by Goat battling back into the game. Then Bravo took it after half, extending an 8-7 lead to a 15-11 victory. The soft kind, as they won on O, not D, but it still counts as a 15-11 victory. Popiel was a huge in this game. That guy ain’t bad.

The next game we were excited for as it had an ex-Pike element with Jaeger as well as an Idris element with, well Idris. Little did we know that Jegor would be covering Idris. Delightful. This left myself, J, Hollander, Walt, Buhl and Jamie to discuss on the sideline. First order of business was how much we hated Jaeger. Second order was what Jamie thought of Idris. Third order was watching the game and drinking beer. 3 for 3. That means I accomplished something today. I remember we asked for predictions, but I can’t remember them. I cast my vote clearly behind Sockeye as I felt that despite Jam’s history as a team, the advantage of being together in a system for multiple tuitle-winning years made Seattle the favorite. Recent finishes ahead of Sockeye and the victory at ECC (or Laborday?) over them did little to sway me of this thought. I was sure that it would be closer than the other semi. If only because this was the big show. The late men’s semi. The one that everyone watches. I don’t recall a blowout in this one since I’ve watched nationals, but I could be making that up. Facts just get in the way of my story.

IT was fun to watch the Idris/Jaeger matchup as you could see Jaeger working to push Idris away from the disc. It was pretty effective as Idris seemed reluctant to force the disc into his hands near the disc and content to make pretty solid deep cuts that were not thrown to. Probably because he trusts his teammates. At some point Idris got a come-from no-where block on a dump after an O-team turnover (maybe even his throw) which was quite the piece of playing defense in the style of “Identify where the other team will throw the disc and just meet it there.” Which is always fun to see.

As Sockeye pulled away, someone in the area said that it was time for Jam to make their run. And they obliged. Closing from being down 13-10 to tie the game at 15s, Jam brought the crowd back into it, just as they were getting ready to leave or just go to the beer garden full-time. Sockeye scores on O with a Kubalanza flick to a short-yardage conversion. On Jam’s O-point, there are at least 3 turnovers. One by Jam, one by Sockeye and another by Jam. Then Sockeye finishes it off with some Wiggins action and one of those tall Nordic-Carleton types catching a goal. 17-15, Sockeye. Good game.

Time to go drink more.


J said...

Also of note is that the two Walt #9s (Walter Van der Schraaf [ex-NYNY #9] and Walter Kalicki [ex-Pike #9]) sat mere feet from each other through this game and may have even conversed for the first time in recorded history. You don't know how close we came to annihilation. Had they made physical contact, they would've imploded.

ben h. said...

the Walt parallels stop there:

Vanderscraaf began playing at Summit High (NJ) in the early 80s.

Walt the K didn't start until well after college (which btw is amazing considering his playing career with Pike). when is NB pickup starting up again?