Sometimes, even Al Davis gets it right.
We had Pike scrimmage-practice today. Much like practice, but instead of practicing, we just scrimmage in various games to predetermined amounts while split up in teams. Stop worrying about strategy, and dial in on winning. Just a taste of real competition. More battling, for sure, will come as the season progresses.
Today's session was good. There was a ton of fire and desire which had faded from our playing style of late. There was spiking and jawing. My kind of environment. The D team on the first game, 7-3. Then we lost the next 4 games to 3. We closed with a win in a game to 5, I'm pretty sure. Practice Record is slipping, either way. That'll have to be remedied.
Some notions to (re)focus on:
I had some nice throws/pulls. A couple of looks were unnecessarily difficult, which resulted in either tough completions or Ds, and one throw (to Jamie) was completely ludicrous and should not have been contemplated, let alone thrown. Sometimes brothers conspire for maximum stupidity on the field as well as off.
I love long hot summer practices.
12-8 (Passable at best)
4 hours ultimate
Saturday, June 30
Sometimes, even Al Davis gets it right.
Friday, June 29
What a Mad World.
This morning at 10:03:36 am, someone from Northeastern University viewing Firefox at a resolution of 1280 x 1024 and pushed the hit count of this waste of space to 10000 while visiting 3 pages for ~14 seconds.
Is this world mad because I have all of this info at my fingertips or because over 10,000 separate visits to this website have occurred?
Thursday, June 28
After the workout, the rains came.
As I walked back to the office to pick up my bag, all I could think about was the water washing everything off of me. The sweat, the fatigue, the negativity that had lurked inside me since Boston. I started feeling clean from it all. The burdens had been lifted.
But as the walk continued, I contemplated the source to which I attributed my newfound feeling of lightness. Was it actually the rain that had washed everything from my mind? I thought and thought and slowly realized that it wasn't the rain that gave me a clear mind, it was the workout. The rain was just drawing my attention to the feeling.
After the workout, I've covered so many bases in my life. I've put in work for Pike, I've kept myself healthy, I've done something fun and whatever else. More importantly, it removes doubt of my prowess on the field from my mind. I know that I'm putting in the work. I don't need to wonder. When I line up on the field, I can look across to my opponent and know that he has not outworked me. Soon enough, he'll know. I can't worry about getting beat or missing a play from time to time because I know I'm working to make that play next time.
I invest so much of my time to this sport and my team that putting in the work as the season pushes ahead is the least I can do for myself. If I'm going to play this much ultimate, why not be good at it? If my teammates are going to put in this much time, what gives me the right to expect less from myself?
30 min explosive lower body
12 min whole body circuit
10 min stretching (Should have been longer)
Wednesday, June 27
That's the strategy to use against every opponent.
In this instance, it is my body vs my mind.
My mind knows that I should be staying unpredictable in terms of which days I train and which I don't. The problem is that since my mind knows it, my body can use that knowledge to anticipate what I'll put it through on a given day.
Tonight's summer league cancellation gave me a great chance to get the jump on myself. Instead of the game coupled with a quick workout afterward, I did nothing. I had planned to do nothing on either Thursday or Friday, but now life conspired to keep me guessing and I wasn't going to pass up the opportunity. I stretched and read. I lazed about and a thought struck me as I considered something a notion that I try to keep close to my heart, but is difficult at times. The notion is that you need to have fun when you play. Even when you train.
When I play, I'm enjoying myself to no end. No matter my outward demeanor, I love the challenge. I love the competition. There is no other place I'd rather be. Similarly, when I'm training for ultimate, I love it. I enjoy the workouts I do because I focus on winning them. Most of the things I do are short and intense enough that the challenge presented is enough to make the exercise fun. Jumping and sprinting and all of that madness is fun, when you think about it.
The difference is that if you compare this to the hours of endurance training that some teammates (and tons of random people I see out there) put themselves through seems so joyless. Next time you see someone running a long distance, just look at his or her face. Do you read a single note of enjoyment? Nope. When you see me training, you will see joy. I bust my ass during each section and then I catch my breath and goof around with my workout buddies. Or I drift a little and smile at the workout I'm doing before the watch snaps me back into action. I drink in the environment and the experience because I include brief rests in every phase of the workout. Time for the muscles to regroup and time for the mind to make sense of it all.
Go all out to earn your rest and enjoy the experience.
20 min stretching
Tuesday, June 26
Did a track workout in the sweltering heat of NYC this evening.
I felt that it was a matter of manhood to go out and do the workout because I knew well enough that the heat at this level was just a challenge, and not, in fact, a serious health hazard. As I ran over to the track, I felt awful. When I arrived, I saw Zac and Jeff as they were doing 200s or whatever Puppet Regime is up to this week, but did not go over to check it out as I was searching for some objects to jump onto and off of for my plyo workout.
Workout looked like this:
Richochet Jump 3x50
Side-Side Box Jump 4x10
Onto Box Jump 3x8
Low Squat Jump into Jump Lunge 3x5 per leg
1-2-3 Jump 3x5 jumps per leg
30 yard accelerations x4
Consecutive Broad Jumps 3x8
60 seconds rest between sets and exercises
Upper Body Circuit/Interval
4 clap pushups
6 regular pushups for speed
15 sec rest
The first section was hard, but not killer. That is, it was just what a plyo workout should be. I knew that my muscles were getting worked over, but I wasn't completely dead for movement, but the muscles/tendons I use to be springy were fatigued. The second part of the workout was a killer. Just try it, trust me. I think in the future, I'll try to do something more like 8x through a 2-3-4 progression with 10 seconds rest. This would approximate a Tabata Interval set while mixing up the exercises for the full duration. On the other hand, I might also collapse and die.
Speaking of the Tabatas, these will become more and more prevalant in my workouts as the Fall Series approaches. Tabata sprints are really hard. Tabata suicides are worse. Tabata-set marking drills are murder. I also like to say Tabata. Just a phenomenal way to train for explosive endurance. Train your body to exert maximum force multiple times!
We got together and threw for a bit after this. I feel like I'm picking up disparate movement patterns from effective throwers and incorporating them into my style as a thrower. It is an odd thing to you notice certain effective little movements or adjustments that great throwers make and then consciously decide that you should be able to do that. My version never quite duplicates the observed version, but I know exactly from whence/whom most of my throws/fakes originated and how they've changed over time to be my version of them. That is, they change slightly to be more effective for my slightly peculiar style of throwing/faking while retaining their basic form.
30 min Explosive Strength
3 min upper body interval
Monday, June 25
We took on Indigo tonight.
I anticipated a solid matchup between two teams at about the same place in the standings. Indigo is the home of Scott Arnold, Drew Jones, June Bae, Katrina Krasnansky and more. Among the "more" is Jeff Ho, the most gifted NYU ultimate alum, fellow first round draft pick and altogether nasty player.
The first half definitely didn't live up to the hype as we rolled to an early 6-2 lead on some all-around sweet play from our team led by greedy downfield cutting for goals. I think we faltered here for a bit before taking half at either 8-7 or 8-6. My throws were on, but my defense was a little soft. Gotta work that a little more in the second half. It can really be a fun challenge to cover a really good player in summer league because they'll generally be handling and will have a ton of space to work in. Go in and work on every aspect of your defense because the other team will continue throwing to their stud.
Now, this is not the same as making crazy bids and trying to get glory Ds in summer league. That's bush-league. Work on your fundamentals. Try to seal the mark. Work on playing "deny" defense. Try to focus just on your man and see if you can take away his first option every time he gets the disc. If you get an obvious chance to make a clean layout bid, go for it, but don't take the risks that you might in a club game. That's a quick way to get labeled as "no fun."
As the second half got underway, it was clear that they had decided to stay in this game and fight to the bitter end. I got off some nice throws in this part of the game, including a huck that made Rick Kahn look 20 years younger. The game ended in our favor, 15-13. Both teams were missing a ton of people. Next up? Zagoria!
90 minutes ultimate
15 min stretching
Sunday, June 24
Why am I tired this morning?
Where am I this morning? It is dark, I clearly hear cars passing by. IT sounds sleepy yet a little active. Seems altogether too welcoming to be a hotel... We're in Boston this weekend, right? I think I'm at Elizabeth's place. A quick survey of the room confirms it. Right on.
Though I'm hardly awake, I'm being offered coffee. What service! Am I supposed to leave a tip? We slowly get ourselves together for the day ahead. For some reason, despite our huge roster yesterday, I'm a little tired. As I contemplate the specific way in which I'm tired, it becomes clear that it was more of the "I stood in the sun for a thousand hours yesterday" sort than the "I killed myself on the ultimate field all day yesterday." Fair enough, I know just the remedy. Get a little stretching done, down some coffee and visualize perfection for the day ahead.
We drop by another Dunkin' Donuts (They're everywhere!) on the way to the fields and, of course, saw other ultimate players there. Dan Yi and other miscreants this time around. Traveling toward the field, all I could think of was getting more dialed in today and staying there, no matter what other distractions entered into the equation. Whenever some option other than staying focused came through my mind, I would chose to stay focused.
Warmups were pretty good for me. I got a good sweat going, woke my muscles up and completed all of my passes. Got my feet moving on the mark and tried to think about my acceleration out of every direction change, small or large. Didn't get quite enough deeper throws in, but I felt confident nonetheless.
First Game vs Truck Stop, 11-15
This was an odd game. Our D had the disc twice on the first point and failed to convert. As the game went on, our D would alternate between getting scored on in 1 throw and grinding through a long point of solid D only to get scored on. When we got turns, we did not capitalize. I imagine TS could say the same, based on how bad I felt this game was all around. The Boston group heckling our final was clearly horrified by the number of turnovers in this game. I think it is fair to say that TS and Pike were as well. It was disappointing to lose to them, but not entirely unexpected considering the number of times we'll likely face off over the course of the season. Some things were better than yesterday, some were about the same. Some great stuff on which to improve came out of this game.
Watched some Wicked/Ambush, had a little chat with Danny and Ryan about what was wrong with Pike's offense, finally stopped by the scoreboard and checked out how everything had gone thus far.
Second Game vs Zebra Muscles, 15-9
While they strung together some nice pairs of points, we were ahead pretty much the whole way. I was continually covering a squirrelly handler-type who would do the strangest thing from the dump position in the middle of the stall count: Go Deep. I mean, yeah, there's a ton of space in front of you, but you run by all of the defense who can presumably use the power of sight to provide help D. There was a little shoving match in this one that I helped break up pretty quickly. Stupid ultimate players. I'm pretty sure that this was the game where Schmucker laid out over some guy's shoulder on an in-cut to get a D and then immediately caught the upwind huck for a bookend. That may be the most ridiculous thing I've seen on the field in 07.
Third Game vs The Van Buren Boys, 13-11
They only have 9 guys. I hope this won't be like Goat at Chicago a couple of years back. Or Boston X/Y at the Pike Invite, for that matter. Small teams often rally so well together that they give everyone tough games. Team chemistry counts for a ton in ultimate. This team also plays to their strengths very well by putting up deep shots to classically American corn-fed athletes early and often. Their active zone was a little challenging as it was aggressive and a bit sneaky. We did manage to push through in this one for the tourney ending W, which was nice.
Julie, Jamie and I got going pretty quickly after our game ended as Jamie had to travel after he got rid of us in Jersey City. On the trip back, we stopped at a roadside restaurant of some kind and had a discussion about the omnipresence of corn products in the American diet and a number of other completely unrelated things.
The rest of the drive was uneventful and we arrive back in Jersey a bit after 10pm.
The whole car ride was full of thoughts about ultimate and so many things I wanted to write down and tell my teammates or captains. Definitely a disappointing trip in terms of direct result, but I feel that we often learn best from failure. Now we have a better sense of what we need to improve upon in order to reach our goals. Time to use the lessons of the past to plan the course of our future. Now the real season begins.
3 games of ultimate
Saturday, June 23
"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.
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...
8 hour ultimate tournament
This is a complete tangent, but "Midnight in a Perfect World" from DJ Shadow's Endtroducing is the shit.
The Wikipedia page linked to above is one of the reasons the internet if awesome. The sample sources shown there used to be hosted on a website with a constantly changing web address. The only way that you would know how to find the updated site was to subscribe to the associated email list. Now, with the ability of many users to update the page, there isn't really a way to stop the information from being shown, save for some sort of hard core government shutdown. Even then it might not be possible. As the information base gets connected, people who know the original artists (David Axelrod, for example was dope as hell) will fill in more info and then info about the songs and the like. That is a very interesting spiral of interrelation. The dark side of it is that the more esoteric the information, the fewer people are knowledgeable enough to edit it. This isn't usually a huge deal, but in the case of wikipedia, it is not everyone's hobby. Perhaps it will be at some point, or even find its way to a more omnipresent catch-all for information. If Wikipedia had an unlimited storage capacity, would they loosen restrictions for pages about people? Could it then become the base internet portal through which we view the world?
Imagine it, a web page is created when you're born. Your parents give that website to everyone you meet as a child so that everyone you've ever met can add to your page. When you get old enough, you can edit your page to link to things you're involved in and interested in. To keep it even, half of the page could be property of the individual, and the other half could be property of the community at large. As you link to pages about things that interest you and people you know, you can edit their pages. This way, you're involved with the pages of things which interest you.
Wait a second, doesn't this all sound a lot like life? You live, you have an internal consciousness, there are external consciousnesses around you, you are able to change/remain yourself while others change/keep their opinions of you and during your life you can be involved in those things that interest you.
I know it's a crazy fantastic scenario, but if you consider the things that you do online and align them with the physical activities replaced by the tappy-tapping of fingers on a keyboard, and then think of the shock of the telephone before that, you might agree that it is not an impossible path to eventually travel. Not that it is likely, but that it could follow from the events unfolding now.
In any case, when my eyes glaze over on a car ride or on a bye round, these are the things that flood through my head. When people ask me what I'm thinking about or what's on my mind, this is an example of why I often say "nothing." This was difficult enough to get down in typed form, extemporaneously, my train of thought will all but assuredly be derailed.
Friday, June 22
Pike and our fetching red jerseys will be headed to the Boston Invitational tomorrow.
Somehow, there's another cockamamie travel scheme afoot involving people from Philly, Allentown and Jersey City taking the same car to Boston to stay in a friend's place not close to the fields. I'm sure we'll do a number of dumb things because we'll be a car full of dumb ultimate players. Our arrival will be late and I will likely be asleep in the car for long stretches. Some things never change.
Pike's bringing a more than full roster this weekend (As we are wont to do). This tournament always requires a strange balance for our team as we try to work it as a both a tryout and competitive tournament. That is, we have tryouts, but we're subbing to win. I happily have nothing at all to do with subs. If I were charged with reconciling those two notions, my brain might pop.
As for the competition, we'll be facing Boston, PoNY and Medmen in pool play. That's a good pool in terms of different styles of play and interest in the teams. Boston is the new conglomerate on the block and this may give some indicator of what they'll be like as a team. PoNY got some new pickups and seem more confident coming into this season than they have been of late. Medmen are always a dangerous team and seem to be growing/progressing as a team as they play together. After Pike's disappointing 06, what will we bring to the table in 07?
It should be exciting!
30-45 min stretching (planned)
Thursday, June 21
Quick Thoughts on "Ideal Rules" as inspired by a conversation on rsd.
Note that these are not fully thought out, just the concepts that I feel could alter the game slightly for the better, barring some glaring oversight.
Line Calls: Active 3rd Party
Up/Down: Active 3rd Party
Travels: Active 3rd Party
Stalls: Active 3rd Party, consider 8 second stall-count
Fouls/Violations: Players still make calls. If the call is not contested? Follow the current rules. If a foul is contested? Go immediately to the observer who makes a ruling in X seconds. I don't know what an appropriate time is, but 20 seconds seems completely reasonable. The observer should be able to quickly get the opinion of the other observer(s) and ask quick, direct questions of the players and take their answers into consideration, if necessary.
Double Teams: Don't exist. Why would they in the first place, really?
Contact on the Mark: Fouls on the mark are treated much like 11th ed. "disc space" rules. Fouls called on the marker = drop two counts. If the foul occurred before the throw, play on and drop 2. If the foul was in progress at the time of the foul, and the throw is complete, play on. If the foul was in progress at the time of the foul and the throw is incomplete, the disc reverts to the thrower. If the foul occurred after the throw, the thrower is wasting his breath. The Thrower may call "Violation" for any contact to stop play. Perhaps a new word for this type of foul to avoid confusion. I know it sounds dumb, but "Touch" seems obvious and brief. The you can reserve "Foul" to indicate the stoppage of play instead of necessitating the use of the word "Violation."
Disc Space: Nonexistent, but contact rules on the mark still apply.
Maybe we'll make a wholly watchable sport of this yet.
20 min explosive strength
15 min stretching
Wednesday, June 20
Team Navy wins again!
As the game went on (we were playing White, a team with two the 4 WSL captains for whom I've played, Sonny and Michele. The other two are Julie.), I started to feel that the team was moving together as a unit instead of as a bunch of individuals. There were glimpses of this earlier, but there were some extended moments as this game went on. We're starting to learn each other's games and preferences. And our women just keep on running for everything. That never hurts.
I had possibly my best overall game thus far as I threw ~5 or 6 goals and caught 5 or 6 (including a HUGE bomb from Sardo early in the game) to go with some Ds. That was nice. I also felt more confident and comfortable actively taking in more visual cues ("Whole Field") in hopes of making more informed decisions on the field. Admittedly, this level is a bit easier to read than the level at which Pike plays, but this slight improvement is but a step on the path.
I love getting opportunities to pull in summer league. I get the chance to try more aggressive pulls, work on the height that gets me the most distance, work on the height that gets me the most hangtime with a little less distance, dial in my preferred landing spots given variables like type of D, wind, who you expect to be catching the pull, etc. There are so many skills to improve in ultimate. I love the possibilities. I love getting into the tiny alterations and decisions teams and individuals can make. The almost-imperceptible skills that come into play once or twice a tournament but finish with game-altering plays.
I'm a sports junkie.
90 min summer league
10 min stretching
Tuesday, June 19
Our basketball team didn't show up for the game today.
I mean, we were there, we just didn't *show up,* y'know? We lost by an embarrassingly large margin to a team that we had manhandled earlier in the season. I was only useful playing defense as I hadn't touched (possibly even looked at) a basketball since our last game about 2 weeks back. I was having a tough time dribbling and shooting. It wasn't hard to pivot, pass, or play D as that's what ultimate is about, but the rest of it seemed like a foreign concept.
This happens at about this time every year. My focus really begins to narrow on ultimate. I mean, I think it is pretty obvious that I think about ultimate regularly, but at about June, my interest in other things drops off the table, so to speak. I blame this on a number of things, but the most consistent variable at this time of year is the finish of the NBA playoffs. There are no longer any sports I want to watch on TV (aside from the occasional soccer match broadcast en Espanol). Basketball is over, football has a couple of months before it gets going, and I haven't been into baseball's regular season since the strike in the early 90s. Postseason is a different things as the story arcs are shortened into a smaller number of directly related games instead of a mammoth 162 game season of tangentially related games. At least that's my perspective.
Also did an abbreviated version of the plyo work I've been doing over the last 2 weeks when I got up this morning.
44 min Basketball
20 min explosive strength
20min stretching (x2)
Monday, June 18
Tonight's game was pretty easy.
It seemed like the team we were playing against (Dark Green) was tired from the weekend (Sounds like a fair number of people went to the Ommegang Tourney) and never really got up to speed. It didn't help them that under league rules they had to play 4/2 to our 4/3 (M/W) for most of the first half. Just another night of focusing on some particular throws in flow and trying to see the whole field. Another small though vital thing to work on when you have the chance is to minimize the time it takes you to go from catching to throwing. The shorter this time is (and the more completely ready you can be in that time) the more dangerous you will be.
This is specifically applicable to endzone offense, but it is useful all over the field. In the endzone, the spatial windows for throws are tighter. As such, it would behoove a good offensive player to increase the temporal windows for his throws by being able to throw as early in the stall count as possible. That isn't to go so far as to say that you must throw it as quickly as possible, but decreasing the amount of time during the stall count during which you are unable to throw will increase the number of options you can consider as a thrower by increasing the amount of useful time you have during each possession.
90 min ultimate
10 min core
15 min stretching
Sunday, June 17
So a foul situation occurred back in Austin that I forgot to mention.
I caught an upline pass from the dump near the center of the field with my defender behind me. I stopped to set a pivot and throw. He ran into me. I called foul and immediately threw it to a wide open guy on the breakside for 10 yards or so. Now, by the letter of the rule, this throw comes back, which is what the guy who was guarding me argued. And he was right, by the letter of the rule.
On the other hand, considering that I called the foul and threw in very rapid succession, the player to whom I was throwing was completely open and the defender who ran into me ran into my left hip just before I started throwing my backhand (meaning he had no shot to stop this throw regardless of the occurrence of this foul), should that pass really come back because when I was fouled I said "foul?" I would argue no, by the spirit of the rule. If we are truly attempting to simulate what would occur if I had not been fouled, the disc would be in my receiver's hands.
I do not like the relevant mental calculus of "Should I call this foul and give up my right to throw a pass? How long can I wait to make this call? Should I just call disc-space? If I am being marked by a guy who likes to leg-hump and I continually (and accurately) call disc space, do I continually get free throws? If so, why? If not, why not?"
This is a pretty simple situation that is made unnecessarily complex by following the rules to the letter instead of accepting that the wording may be a little off in a given situation. This is a fantastic place for, say, a third party to step in...
30 min stretching
Saturday, June 16
I mean, I've got to go all the way to Philly this weekend.
That's about 2 hours by car, but again, I don't have a car. I'll try to catch a train and then ride down with Dono. Leave the apartment at ~7am and arrive at practice at ~9:30am. So far. The dumb things I do for this sport...
Practice gets going with a quick game to 3 after our warmups. The D team gets and early chance and I throw a goal-line turnover on a throw that I've had since 1999. Damn. I need to make sure I've got that throw at the beginning of the game... what went wrong there? Which part of the equation wasn't quite right? I come to the conclusion that it was my hips. I generally warm them up well, but this time around I seem to have forgotten something and instead of getting low and throwing, I leaned over and threw. Bad Dusty! I had another turnover on another throw that I would throw 100 times out of 100. It was a continuation to Schmucker and it just went a little long. Bad again! That one was just a matter of letting the disc hang at a different altitude instead of just off the ground. With a couple of inches more height on it (to say nothing of the couple feet higher it could have been without any trouble), it would have been a perfect breakside continuation. It wasn't. We lost this game 0-3. Ouch. I did, however, get to D Jamie's huck in this one. That's always fun.
We worked on O/D near the disc and some basic plays during the practice and included 2 more games. In the next game to 3, the D team came out with a bunch more energy and focus to win 3-1. In the final game of the day, the rubber match, we played to 7 with double scores for every odd point. I'm not sure how it happened, but we ended up losing this one as well. I got another D, but did not do enough facilitation on offense to make my team win. First practice with a losing record. Damn.
Later in the evening, we went to Ian's place for a BBQ. Good number of people out. Heckman and I ran the table for a bunch of rounds of cups or whatever that game with the plastic cups on top of the tent poles is called. I lost another round of Blokus Trigon. To be fair, I always play against TC and he's far more experienced as a player. In fact, he's somewhat dominating. That being said, I'd rather have him in the game than out of it because that way when I win, it'll be against someone who knows what he's doing.
Blokus Trigon Record: 0-2
Practice Record: 10-4
4 hours practice
Friday, June 15
"He chose poorly."
I was presented with a choice. Either go to College Nationals as a spectator or return to Poultry Days as a player. Why a choice? Going to Ohio twice in one year is quite enough, thanks. I eventually decided that "roadtripping with my [three] favorite allies" to College Nationals to see the inaugural appearance of NYU at Nationals was the better choice for 07. This was flying directly against the strong reasons in favor of P-Days. Such the chance to beat Julie (who played with Chicken Pax) by accepting Bailey's lobbying to play with the Smerfs.
Now, as it turns out, the Smerfs broke with tradition and won this year. That would have been a fun team to play with. Why? Because I could have made a critical, yet fantastically risky throw to a marginally open cutter for increased crowd excitement, goal or not. That's what I like to bring to the table at these sorts of affairs. I'll put your playmakers in position to make plays.
While I don't regret the decision to have the epic road-trip, a chance to win a tournament like Poultry Days is rough to miss. Perhaps I should have sacrificed another weekend at practice with Pike? "Time alone, oh time will tell..." I'm guessing time will tell me at around the beginning of October if I made the right choice...
30 min lower-body plyo (same as earlier this week)
12 min core workout
20 min stretching
Thursday, June 14
It was a strange sight in the PATH.
There I was, admiring some wonderful poster whose creator was thoughtful enough to depict a product that I might want to purchase. It was a digital something or other that would surely make my wholly unsatisfying and unorganized life more closely resemble the opposite of both the former and latter. I bet I would feel hip if I purchased this product. Maybe even tech-savvy.
As I perused the list of contacts shown on the poster depicting a screenshot of this computerized whatever, I noted that there was a "T" in black ink scrawled over some hapless and ill-respected "B." As I looked closer, I saw that the first name of the imaginary person whose imaginary name was defaced was Adam. His last name was originally Barr, but now it read "Tarr, Adam."
Very sly of you, sir. To send some young misguided ultimate miscreant to the lovely Garden State for the sole purpose of spreading your crazy format gospel. Devious tactic, indeed.
To be sure, this brought a ton of thoughts to my mind at the time. First, could there possibly be some other Adam Tarr? Yeah, sure. More interesting to me is to act as if it were somehow related to the frisbee world's Tarr. Would he have done that? Would it be stranger for someone else to have done it or for him to have done it? Then I got on the notion of name recognition in ultimate and how odd it is that anyone is recognized for doing anything in this silly sport. What an odd enclave we've carved out for ourselves here. Be wary if you see Christopher Guest lurking in the shadows.
Anyway, that's all. Today was a rest day. Just stretching.
30 Min Stretching
Wednesday, June 13
Tonight's summer league game was a must-win for Navy.
That's in large part because of the number of NYU alums that play for both teams. On my team, we've got Julie, Jimmy, JP and myself. Red has Zac Roy and Matt Leventhal. For added incentive, Red also had Iana, the infamous Canadian passenger from a couple of weeks ago and the other Pike player in WSL, Heng-Scheng.
It was a fun game, for sure. I opened the game throwing a handful of flicks for deep goals. We then had some turnovers throwing into poaches. Some were definitely my errors. I'm so used to not really looking too hard for poachers with Pike because the cutters are encouraged to cut in such a manner that any poaching is completely obvious. Also, the person being poached is encouraged to get open immediately and let the thrower know. this doesn't always happen at Summer League. By not checking for the poach because I assume that no one could be in such a bad offensive position, I end up throwing into the poacher without seeing him. The time to release the huck is often *now* so I react based on what I see. This is a prime example of being able to take in more of the field in one look and see that poacher, no matter the team or the level of play.
As the second half progressed, we found ourselves down, so I started playing exclusively to force turnovers. I succeeded in the way of 3 layout Ds on the dump and a couple of other turnovers forced from a breakside poach or marking well. We brought the game tighter again (and our team is getting better by the game) only to lose 12-15 on some dumb turnovers by me (another deep poacher) and some other players.
I'm still confident about this season and excited about the possibilities for this team. Stepping back and not scrutinizing every decision or play is tough for me, even in summer league. I feel bad as I'm spewing off about this that and the other strategic option or whatever knowing full well that if I were listening to me, I might not, well, listen to me.
Summer League Record: 1-2
90 minutes of ultimate
Tuesday, June 12
So I took a rest day instead.
I watched the open finals from 06 Nationals again. You can start to see and understand the offensive progressions for each team if you do a little slow-mo action and watch the players and their eyes/movement carefully. This is part of working to take in more visual cues. If I see these things develop slowly and constantly focus on predicting what will happen next, I can put myself in the head of my potential opponent for a moment and determine what a defense could do to counter his next move. I love the minutiae of it all.
I find it very exciting that the game of ultimate is so young, strategically. Go, for example, is a fantastic game whose strategy has evolved over thousands of years. Chess? Hundreds. Same for various sports over time. As ultimate evolves, we gain progressively more video evidence of the evolution of the game in terms of strategy and the like. You can see styles of play emerge and vie for dominance over time and work to an in-depth understanding of the styles of each offense. As you watch more and more ultimate closely, more and more detail emerges out of the simple game. It doesn't quite rival "The Beautiful Game" of soccer at this point, but there are moments... There are moments...
30 min stretching
Monday, June 11
We pulled to .500! It was a tight one all the way as we bested Mango (home of number one overall draft pick, Seth Canetti) 15-12. My throws were really bladey in this game, which was not so good. I also fell prey to the classic blunder for an open player playing mixed ultimate of really rifling it deep to a couple of women as if they had catching spheres of my Pike teammates. I'll iron this out as the season goes along. Just an extra second to realize to whom I'm throwing, which is not something I usually take into account.
I also had a fun greatest attempt that turned a sure turnover on a high floaty OB swing pass to me into a 60 yard gain. I also strained my quad a little on this play. It almost felt like a cramp, by wasn't quite that. I think I've been overworking a bit with the new plyo routing combined with summer league. Just growing pains as a part of getting into the heart of the summer and the beginning of the most intense training period for the season. I might take it easy tomorrow and try to get a good workout in after summer league on Wednesday, followed by plyos on Friday.
We took an early 3-1 lead playing 6 to their 7 which was sweet. It's an oddly fun challenge for a couple of points, but then grows old. It reminds me of the O/D zone scrimmage that we for the O's benefit with Pike 04/05. 8 person zone against 7 person O. The O would consistently tear through the defense and win the scrimmage. That's the reason Pike had such success for two years. The O-team was almost incomprehensibly consistent (Other Notable Exception: Come-from-ahead loss to Johnny Bravo in '04 power pool). That trend continued until we saw Jam in the quarters in '05 and got manhandled. Jim Schoettler, in particular, killed us in that game.
1-1 in summer league
90 min summer league
Sunday, June 10
That's my mantra for 07.
I usually come up with something on O or D to repeat to myself incessantly while on the field to help me work on a specific part of my game. Examples from the past "Quick Feet,"Low Hands," "No Mark," and "To Space." I find that they help me focus on particular functions of my game. Quick feet is in reference to playing d, marking and cutting. "Low Hands" was when marking. "No Mark" encouraged me to see the field without considering the mark. "To Space" was to encourage me to throw deep shots to spaces, not to players.
"Whole Field" is an exhortation to see and quickly process as much of the field as possible at all times. I want to work to make more complex decisions in terms of positioning on the mark, on D, movement as a cutter and decision tree as a thrower.
To touch on each further:
So, the quick phrase of "Whole Field" brings up all of these cues in my mind that are then attached to basic on-field movements or choices.
This goes back to the previously mentioned concept of "soft vision" as applied to ultimate. The ideal state in which to play is one where you do not think, you do. You don't so much see the throw and then throw it, rather, as you consciously see the throw, you've already thrown the disc. The same for cutting and defending and all of that. You're no longer making decisions, but the game is making decisions for you and you're working to refine which course of action the constant stream of information dictates you follow.
30 min lower body plyos
90 min massage
30 min stretching
Saturday, June 9
Jersey City is not a a good place to live if you play ultimate.
It is about the same time/distance to Pike and PoNY. About an hour for either, possibly more for PoNY. Well, I suppose it isn't so bad if you have a car, but mine was stolen last September. That was fun. I'm sure I'll be reminded of later on of paying $125 to have my car stolen, so I won't tell that tale for now. Suffice to say, it was simultaneously awful and awesome.
Moving right along, this morning I thought we had practice at the Princeton fields. That's about an hour drive from my apartment. But I don't have a car. It is also about an hour train ride from my apartment, plus a short walk from the train station. The walk is nice enough early in the morning that I don't mind it at all in the summer. A nice lazy stroll to practice early in the morning is a good way to start the day in nice weather. A little before I boarded the train, I checked my email to be sure that we were actually practicing at those fields and not the MCUDL fields.
As I scanned the email I noticed that both fields were listed. This must be the source of my confusion-- I just scan the short emails about practice looking to pick up two things: Time and Place. In this case I must have latched onto the wrong place because it clearly says that we'll be at the MCUDL fields barring something crazy, in which case we'll be at the Princeton fields. Well, I've not contacted anyone for a ride to the fields and I don't want to wake anyone up too early, so I'll just call Jamie (who is always early except when I'm involved, just as I'm always early unless he is involved) and ask him to pick me up at the Princeton Junction Train Station. A little out of his way, but what are brothers for? Right, to mess everything up for each other.
So, as I'm heading down to practice I watch another episode of The Sopranos on the ipod as I realized that I was going to be down there pretty damn early. Well, no worries, it is a nice day, I'll just sit down wherever I am and take in the morning while watching Tony Soprano do something awful. So I found a picnic table and had a late breakfast (Johnny L's Bagels was not open when I left this morning-- Johnny L comes in whenever Johnny L likes on Saturdays) of some sort of crazy Fajita thing I purchased at Newark Penn Station (That's an oddly interesting Wikipedia link, if you ask me) and some trail mix.
As I'm sitting there letting time pass it occurs to me that if we're going to be on time, Jamie will need to be here soon. I call him and he says the clocks our family's place are all fucked up. Apparently, no two clocks are allowed to say the same time. This, quite naturally, caused some Jamie some consternation in the early AM and as a result he was running a bit late. Naturally.
So I wait a bit longer, watch another episode, brush my teeth, try to check out some of the office buildings in the area (which were all locked, of course) and be in the moment. Jamie rolls up soon enough and we head down to practice. As we pull up, we realize that they're doing some crazy full-field sprints for warmups and I say that we're showing up at the perfect time-- I can do some warmups and get into drills.
It starts with a drill that I hadn't done before involving a handler-type cut to an away throw from the far side of the field. Good way to get some throws going and make game-like movements, I think. We also do a give-go version of it. Also nice. Anything where you get a variety of realistic throw sequences and movement sequences is a good starter. We then do some other somewhat similar drills and we work (as we always do and should) on handler movement and endzone offense.
Over the course of practice, we play two scrimmages. The first of which, my team gets down out of the gate, but comes back quickly to take the lead. I'm enjoying the way that our new O-sets are developing and the things that our players are learning from them that we are applicable to most offenses/defenses. The combination of our handler-motion focus of last year with the emphasis we're placing on intelligent (and more opportunistic) downfield cutting will pay dividends as the season progresses. We're starting to build upon the success of last year instead of recovering from the mass exodus after 05. It is truly exciting to be a part of.
In any case, we had the disc 3 times to win the game, over 3 or 4 points, but had drops and mental errors do us in. Very frustrating loss. The second scrimmage was more satisfying as my team eventually went on a killer run to win it. 1-1 on the practice.
At one point today, J Dono made a fantastic point to the team about how, when you are presented with a chance to make an excuse for your play, you're making a choice. Instead of choosing the excuse, you can choose to fight through and be the person who overcomes the obstacle instead of the person who is overcome by the obstacle. He put it in much more concrete terms and much more forcefully, but this how it was translated in my head. This is what pushes me through my workouts and every moment in a game when an excuse not to do something creeps in for a second.
Using Live Logic (5 games in one day) and Regionals 06 (5 games on day one, 4 games on day two) as examples illustrated the point well. No matter the format, no matter the conditions, you play who you play and each game is an opportunity for victory. An opportunity to prove yourself. That's why sports are so phenomenal in the first place. You get to test yourself objectively. You learn your weaknesses and your strengths. You learn about your teammates and your opponents as well as the game. In other words, "Competition's good, it brings out the vital parts."
Practice Record for 07: 9-2
4 hrs ultimate
Friday, June 8
Not much in the way of ultimate today.
Of course, I've always got something to say. Therefore I'm gonna talk up a sweet podcast from The Princeton Review: LSAT Logic in Everyday Life (also available on iTunes). The topic, well... read the previous sentence. The guy (Andrew Brody) who records it stone cold knows his stuff. The aim is to apply logic, and logic only, to various current events.
You don't really need to be interested in the LSAT specifically to enjoy the podcast, but a basic familiarity with the test will help understand the point of view put forth. What you do need is a willingness to challenge yourself (or not depending on how often you put yourself in a purely logical frame of mind) and think through arguments instead of reacting to them.
In any case, give it a listen sometime and figure out for yourself if it is, indeed, interesting. If you're planning on taking the LSATs in the future, this could serve to get you in the right frame of mind. In the end, I figure that everyone's got 6-10 minutes per week to dedicate to logical thinking.
One final note: The podcast is much funnier if you imagine Andrew playing the piano and speaking the intro simultaneously.
10 min core
30 min stretching
Thursday, June 7
Started this season's incarnation of the ERP Track Club.
What, might you ask, is the ERP Track Club? Well, it is me trying to get people I know to work out with me in the city. I do my workouts, which people are welcome to join, and other people do their team's workouts (Zac did the Puppet Regime workout, for example). After that bit, we can get some skills/drills in as well as some general fitness work. Much easier to train with people than "all by [your] onesies, savvy?" The latter is basically what I've done for the past 4 years with Pike. Gotta push myself further. Gotta do better. This is one way to accomplish that. We had an abbreviated Track Club season last year (until they shut down the track in June or July until November) and that was great. This year, I want it to be bigger and better.
The workout for this meeting consisted of the following:
Lower Body Plyos:
Bent over ankle bounce 3x50
Barrier jumps, 4x6
1-leg step up jump 4x6 per leg
1 leg speed hop 3x25yds per leg
Shock lunges 4x5 per leg
30 yard acceleration runs x3
Squat jump 2x10
60 seconds rest between sets/exercises
General Conditioning (12Min):
2 minutes burpees
2 minutes rest
8x20sec on/10sec off pushups
8x20sec on/10sec off squats
Throwing when Tired
Variations on the 4 man break drill
This was a great workout. I could feel it during the workout and I knew that I would be sore for a couple of days in that good way. I was also very happy that I had finished the leg circuit work over the previous 6 weeks. Otherwise, this might have killed me. Poor Andy and Rossi might be dead now. I have no evidence either way.
Attendees this week were: Zac, Rossi, Andy and Julie.
35 min Explosive Strength
12 min Interval Work
30 min Skill Work
Wednesday, June 6
An inauspicious start, to be sure.
We (Navy) played Tucker's (Of Deceptisomething fame) team. As I arrived, the game was about to start, and we did a quick round of introductions. As we went 'round/ like a record baby, right 'round, 'round 'round It rapidly became clear that we had WAAAAAAAAY too many dudes for a 4/3 league. Twelve out of thirteen dudes showed up. Damn! That's not exactly conducive to my high-turnover style of league play because invariably, with that many fellas, some weak lines get put on, well, the line. How, you may wonder, does this affect the high-turnover game? Well, you can only play a high-turnover game if you can get it back. Not necessarily on that given point, but over the course of the game, you need to generate more turnovers than you throw. We did not. For example I threw 5 turnovers (Way more than the 2 I had over the course of 6 games at Live Logic or the 1 I had over the 8 out of 9 games I played at Regionals in 06) and generated 3 turns. Not acceptable. Knowing that I'm not playing every point, I can't play the same way and need to come out positive in this category.
In any case, we went down early and often. I think we were down at half 3-8. I'm not sure that we were ever ahead in this game, but the second half was a 7-7 tie. Also of note, we led those Moss bastards into our trap of letting them think we can't play against zone (Who plays zone on the first night of summer league against a team you're obviously killing anyway? Oh way, I'd probably do that...). Perfect. If they try to bring that out in the playoffs, they'll get shredded.
Further thoughts on the team: We have a great top rotation for Summer League including a bunch of players with high-level experience (young and old), a group of women who are athletic (though not, on the whole, all that experienced) and zero (I think) completely new players. In order for us to succeed, the steps I'll need to take are: I'll need a very high completion percentage while still taking more difficult looks downfield. In other words, no hucking to completely covered/non-cutting players just to see if my throws can overcome the odds (and to add excitement to the game), but if he/she is open and/or a good matchup, I can/should still do it. I'll also need to come down with whatever is thrown to me and generate Ds.
I think this team will do very well this season-- we just need to coalesce as a team and slowly define our roles. I'm looking forward to the process.
Oh, after the game, we went to the Lazy Boy for some food and we saw Bernie Williams. This prompted the age-old discussion of "Pro Athlete vs Ultimate Players." I come down firmly on the side of Pro Athlete. (Aside: If you haven't watched Pros vs Joes, your life is incomplete. Not as incomplete as if you had never seen Slamball, but close.) This particular discussion led to trying to get someone from our table to challenge him to a race down the street. Sadly, we were unable to convince anyone. Of course, someone suggested that he would be bad at ultimate whether or not he won the race. Another load of crap.
That's it that's all that's all there is.
1 hr Summer League
Tuesday, June 5
Because it felt like the right thing to do.
I considered starting my plyos today, but the threat (on which the weather did not follow through) of rain sent me home. I did a really quick core workout and a little of the more challenging wobble board stuff, but I could feel that my body was still tight from the damage caused by Livelogic. Just stretch it out.
Watched A History of Violence this evening. I was not impressed. You can do a lot worse, but you can do a lot better.
10 min core
5 min wobble
35 min stretching
Monday, June 4
This started off just about as I expected.
First summer league game of the season was rained out. Good for me. I'm gonna go home and stretch and then go to sleep. That heat in Austin really took it out of me.
45 Minutes stretching
Sunday, June 3
Wow, sleep is not in any way overrated.
Without the obscene amount of sleep last night or the Endurox right after the Bravo loss yesterday, there is no way that I'd be walking today. Fortunately, we have a ton of time until the game starts at 11:45. If only there were some establishment in the area that would serve up a fatty, greasy breakfast to complete my recuperation...
Dennys it is!
Ate the classic Moons over my Hammy sans American processed cheese-like food with some coffee. Got the fields a little later than we wanted to, but missed nothing and were pretty well warmed up for the start of this one.
Game 6 vs Black Angus:
I don't remember this game being close at all, but I don't remember the final score either. In fact, I can't remember anything at all about this game, now that I think about it. We won and I yelled "Angus!" at least twice. Seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
After this, we watched DWY play DWX after a horribly long injury time out. If the one that didn't win had won by 1 or 2 points, we would have been in the finals. Or, we could have chosen to nut up the day before and play like men to keep our destiny in our own hands... In any case, DWY won the right to face Bravo in the finals. This, while it would seem to be a mismatch on paper, went in favor of DWY who won 13-9.
I have nothing to say about that game because we headed to the airport to get drunk and play Blokus. After hearing enough about it, I got to try my hand at this game (the triangular version) for a round. I like it and I think I'm going to have to buy a copy. I almost pulled out the win, but Jamie had to be and ass and blokus me to let TC win. Jerkface.
Our flight, once again, was delayed by about an hour and a half which gave much time for beer consumption. Always makes the flight more fun. on the flight back, Jamie, Dono and I discussed a bunch of strategy stuff. Perfectly confusing conversation for everyone around us, I would imagine.
Got back pretty late that night due to the vagaries of the Airtrain and NJ Transit schedules. We ended up getting a ride from the airport from a friend who happened to be in the area. That shortened the trip by about an hour. Sweet. Not home early, but in time to get some solid shut-eye before work the next day. Summer league starts tomorrow!
1.5 hours of ultimate
Saturday, June 2
"What the hell is that noise?"
"That's my 'sport' ring. It came with the phone."
And that's how we started our morning on Day one of Livelogic. Brought to coherence by my stupid phone's irritating (but very 'active') alarm at ~7:15am. We were pressed for time already. This is no good. We're supposed to be at the fields at 8am to warmup for the 9am game against... well... someone from Texas, I'm sure. Aha! Grit! Not grits, but Grit.
We've got Ian now to join in our car with Malcolm, Heng-Scheng, Jamie and yours truly. What a car of idiots. We need to stop at a grocery store, but can't find one because we were naively expecting to find one on the way to the fields. This, of course, is after Ian has tossed my carefully printed directions out in favor of his GPS. Into this crazy contraption he looks for grocery stores or something and we end up at a cut-rate place of some sort. The fruit guy assured Jamie that the cherries were fantastic.
I purchased grapes, nuts, jerky and water. The rest? I don't know what those fools bought. ecept for Heng-Scheng. He bought Jeff Foxworthy Beef Jerky. Excellent choice. Back to the fields! commence the back-seat driving!
We get there before anything major has happened, but we miss out on time to throw in favor of applying sunscreen. Bad omen. I really like getting to know the air (so to speak) at fields before I play my games there. Lots of blades in warmups helps me get a feel for what the day will be like. Jog, active warmups, dynanics, quick drill, gametime.
The team for the weekend was: Dono, Trey, Brandon, Malcolm, Ian, Heng-Scheng, Jamie, Vlad, Raphael, Schmucker, TC, Tim Johnson, Spanish, Jon Fink and I. Depend on how the roles break down this year, that leaves us with 2-3 O players and 13-12 D players. Can you say "broken pull play?" The other thing that sticks out about this group is that there are only three players who have been with the team for over 1 season. Trey has been with us since 01 or 02 (I don't know which) and Dono and I have been with the team since 03 (the last time he got a D on me was that first practice back in 03) The rest of the list contains 3 tryouts and 9 players whose first season was 06. Big changes from way back when... Wait a second... I'm sounding old. Fuck that.
Game One vs Grit from Dallas:
This team loves to throw deep. We adjusted slowly, when at all. I think we got out to a couple point lead at some point, and I know that they were ahead for a point or two. Eventually, we rallied the troops and pulled out a 13-12 victory. This is exactly the sort of game that you do not want to start a 5-game day with. 25 points? If we had played with a little less risk on O and actually recognized/adjusted to their strengths/weaknesses on D, we would have played closer to 20-22 point range. We just had some unbelievable turnovers and many of their completions had a surprisingly high degree of difficulty.
Game Two vs Doublewide X:
The first thing that I remember from this game was being down at half 6-7. That's bad. After losing to halves of Boston, this was frustrating. I also remember this game containing the first of many impressive Ds by Spanish in his continuing campaign to make Pike 07 from a powerhouse like Lehigh. Offense intended, Mullen/Felt/Gimp et al. I got in at 8-8 launched a slightly floaty flick huck to TC to put us up 9-8 and then converted the D on a backhand huck to someone really open. 10-8, us. I know I got back into this game at some point, when we closed it out 13-11. This was a good mental victory for us, as we were down going into half and worked hard to get the win from behind. There's a slight here against D player-mentality if you look hard enough. DWY was very athletic and it seemed like they had a ton of college-aged kids with them. We also heard rumor that this was their first tournament of the season save for some goofball affair earlier in March. Not too shabby-- y'all are looking good for 07.
Game Three vs Turbodog:
During the game before this, I glanced to the sideline and was sure I saw Dan Sage (ex-Pike) standing there. I had this same feeling a couple of weeks ago at some other tournament too. The rumor was then confirmed by Dono and Trey. It was, in fact, Dan Sage. Apparently, everyone on Turbodog was convinced that he never actually played for Pike. Not sure why, exactly, but that's what they said. Anyway, they had fewer people than us due to both traveling and injuries from earlier in the day. Not sure that this one was every really in question with a 13-5 victory. nice to get a break after this one.
Game Four vs DeeDubEx:
Met a short guy named Max early in this game. He fouled me a couple of times. Seemed like a good guy regardless. I hope the calls that got a little testy in this game didn't rub Double the wrong way. The call game a two-lane street and both teams agreed to travel it. They came out much stronger than we did and took a pretty good lead into half, if I remember properly. We waited until later in the game and made a decent, but ultimately useless, run to lose 12-13. I had two travels called on me in this one. The first I had no argument for as that is a particular throw that I sometimes travel on. I asked the player if he was sure and he said yes. No argument from me-- I just wanted him to replay it in his mind before he brought the completed huck back. The second was a couple of throws later when I launched another huck to Trey. This was a backhand caught off of a swing pass to the backhand side. The travel was called for a very clear reason: In continuation, I established a pivot with my right foot to get the huck off.
To attempt a clearer description: I was being forced flick. I completed a backhand dump and ran the give-go to the other side of the field. The thrower led me beautifully and I caught this disc running to my left, perpendicular to the sideline. I knew that I was going to huck, based on where Trey was when I dumped it-- he was going to take it to the house. As such, I purposely caught the disc in motion and hucked from the wrong pivot foot. Specifically, caught the disc just as my right foot left the ground, stepped with my left, started the throwing motion and completed the throwing motion with my right foot planted instead of my left. When you complete this sequence, you, essentially, pull the disc instead of huck it. It is entirely legal and always starts an argument. On the other hand, you cannot stop (unless you jump stop, which is a whole other conversation) and then throw, you need to throw in motion. This also helps get around the mark as he tries to slide and stay with you and seal or get further separation from the mark as he stays to stop the flick break.
A small, civil discussion ensued as I explained this to my defender, and he recanted the travel. Pointless argument, as it turned out, because Trey was tackled by the turf monster on the way to the disc and it was an TO. Shoot. First one on the weekend.
This was a good game, but s shitty game all at once. We worked hard late, but why not do that from the beginning? We made some strides on O and D in this game as we worked on defending the aggressive DW ho-stack. I was happy we got to play this one.
Game Five vs Johnny Bravo.
Well, uh, we got stomped. Our sideline and on-field players lacked the desire or the energy to put forth effort in this one. No matter how frustrating those other games were on a "too many needless points" level, this one was more so. I felt like our team was throwing in the towel and bitching about playing the fifth straight game in the (admittedly disgusting) heat instead of rallying everything we had left to challenge Bravo in this game. Sure, we would have fared better in this one if we had played it in, say, the second round, but that's no comfort when you let the other team dictate on both O and D. I tried just about everything in this one to get my team up, but it wasn't going to happen. What a waste of time this game was for both teams. At least I got to run JD around until we both wanted to crawl off the field.
After the game, we stretched and went to Barton Springs and then directly to the Green Mesquite BBQ. Someone had chicken-fried chicken. Wow. I had the Jambalaya, which was excellent. Then we tried to get back to the hotel, but we got cut off by the Austin Pride Parade. You'd imagine that an event planner or a cop or someone would have the foresight to block the roads off before you end in an alley at the parade itself. Not the case. So, after sitting for ~20 minutes, Malcolm had the bright idea to get all of the cars behind us to go the wrong way on a one-way street in order to escape. It worked like a charm.
Back to the hotel, shower, pass out.
8 hours of ultimate
Friday, June 1
Getting to our Super 8 in Austin was a terrible experience.
It was a summer Friday at work (meaning Margaritas at 2pm and leaving an hour or two early), so things started off well. I returned home to do some last minute packing and iPod loading. Considering that I live in Jersey, I figured now would be a good time to start watching The Sopranos since the series finale is coming up.
Oh, before I forget, what the hell was up with LeBron last night? You can't score 29/30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime in the NBA. Let alone in the Conference Fucking Finals. One of two things needed to happen: Double Bron as/before he caught the ball or Knock him the hell out. I suspect that the former may be easier than the latter. If you think that Rick Mahorn would let one guy get a layups or dunks at that point in the game without being slammed to the ground, you're crazy. Too bad Antonio McD wasted a hard foul on Anderson Varejao early in the game. That former star can definitely play the enforcer role. Seriously, this game was ridiculous. Completely Ridiculous. I can't imagine being good enough to singlehandedly overcome a strong opponent while having Mike Brown as a coach. End NBA interlude.
Continuing the iPod load, I finally constructed my summer go-to playlist for 07. The list includes over 1250 songs from a variety of artists/genres and should serve me well for the majority of the summer. A list (Artist/# of Songs/Album):
I think this one will work well. Thus far, it has definitely been more than the sum of its parts. The iPod is fantastic. Massive playlists with loose themes are like having your own radio station. And my radio station always kicks ass.
So, the plan was to get to the airport with Jamie, take off just after 8pm and touch down a little after 11pm on the same flight as Heng-Scheng and Jamie, get the rental car, get Ian, wait a little bit for Malcolm and roll into the hotel at 1am at the latest. Seems easy, right? We made reservations for a plane, a car and a hotel. I printed directions to everywhere that we needed to go (AND brought them with me). We had ample time at the airport. Instead, our flight was delayed. In fact, we didn't take off from Newark until we were supposed to land in Austin. Aw hell. I'm definitely not drinking enough water in the downtime, either. Scheduled arrival: 2:30am. Grr.
Manage to survive the plane by sleeping in fits and starts. Waking up suddenly and never really getting to sleep. Just what I wanted before the tournament. Fuck that, I'll just push that excuse out of my head. One more challenge to overcome. Turns out Malcolm was in more of a bind as his flight from JFK was even further delayed, and would be arriving at ~3:20am. I let him know that we wouldn't be waiting for him, just as he asked us not to.
Managed to get the car (sunroof!) and get going to the Super 8 (a mere 5 minutes from the fields). The roads in Austin are very easy to maneuver at that time of the morning, as we arrived without a major slip-up. As we pulled into the hotel, we were struck by the fantastic number of bikes in the lot. That's odd. I don't know that I've seen more than one ultimate player with a motorcycle. Perhaps it has something to do with The Biggest Motorcycle Rally in Texas. (FOGHAT!) By applying the principle that "Everything is bigger in Texas" we concluded that either this is also the large4st motorcycle rally anywhere or someone is lying.
Jamie seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of time to check into the hotel at 3am. Nothing good can come of this. Eventually he came out and said "They're playing Star Wars in here, you should come sit on the couch with me." As it came out later, what he really meant to say was "They're running a 'Night Audit' which means they can't check anyone in until it is over, which will be at approximately 4am. You should come inside and watch Return of the Jedi while we rot in the waiting room."
It took us ~20 minutes to find a parking spot because the majority of the people staying there were bikers who each brought a truck, a trailer and a number of bikes. We eventually waited while someone walked to his car and sat in it for ~10 minutes. When I gave up and circled the lot again, he finally left his spot. Maybe it was the whole "sit ominously in the dark with two other dudes in a car with the lights off while we watch your every move" thing that made him suspicious. Maybe.
Malcolm then arrived and tried to go to the room that we had given him the number for. Oddly, it was not the room that we were in, it was the room that Tim Johnson was in. Tim was awoken by a random knock, and Malcolm was greeted by something along the lines of "Unfuckingbelievable." Malcolm them proceeded to find us and wait as well.
At ~4:30 we checked into the room and set our alarms for 7am for a 9am game so that we could hopefully eat breakfast and get to a grocery store while maximizing our sleep...