Same workout as Tuesday, but done at a faster pace.
The city interval run was faster on the way there. Oh, city interval run=sprint from stoplight to stoplight and wait at the light. I don't know when the light will change, but the challenge is to get through each light. The problem arises when you sprint through the light and then realize that you've got at on more sprinting to do. Like almost getting a D on someone and having them turn around and go deep. Or almost getting open on a really tough cut and then cutting deep. Stupid ultimate. Generally, on city interval runs, the running portion lasts from 30sec to 4min and the rest lasts from 10sec to 1min. It is actually kinda fun because I run on the sidewalk and dodge people constantly which forces me to read and react to the crowd of people as well instead of just running in a straight line. All good things!
The workout itself was quick and tiring. I pushed through with a strange intensity, considering I had been drinking free margaritas at work about for a couple of hours beforehand. The fact that I felt great during the workout may or may not be related to this intake-- too soon to tell. Perhaps I should experiment more? Perhaps not since during at least one stretch of the workout I felt the taste of margarita rise up in the back of my throat...
The great thing about working out on a Friday is that I always have Pike the next morning. As everyone else is getting ready in the morning, I'm not only getting ready, but stretching out the soreness and/or fatigue from the evening before. I think it is a good challenge for me mentally as well as physically. I can test out the best sort of diet and rest patterns to prepare myself for the second day of a tournament. For examples: Sleep 12 hours? Bad. Sleep 7-8 hours? Good. Eat a bunch of pasta? Bad. Eat a bunch of fruits/veggies and meat with a little bit trail mix? Good. Have a cup of coffee at 6 or 7am when I get up? Bad. Have coffee 30-60min before warmups? Good.
The not-so-great thing about working out on Friday is that I'm a little sluggish at practice compared to my teammates. Sometimes that is really frustrating, but if I frame it as a challenge instead of something to get tripped up by, I relish it instead of bemoan it. I suppose the lesson is that there is usually (always?) some way to reframe the experience that you're having such that you overcome it instead of being overcome by it.
40 min lower body plyos
15 min Interval Run
30 min stretching
Friday, July 13
Same workout as Tuesday, but done at a faster pace.
Thursday, July 12
Despite my relative youth, I was tired all day today as well.
So I took another day off. This was the right decision, I'm sure. Specifically since most of the work I'm doing right now is based on explosive strength. Why? Well, if you're not exploding as forcefully as possible, you're wasting your time. Whether you're tired from a previous workout or inadequate rest during a workout, you are shortchanging yourself.
Now, that's different than a workout with a goal (on some level) of endurance or the like, but for the things on which I'm focusing right now, I've got to be well rested. I watched some more of the Ultimate Jordan collection from NetFlix, and, as usual, it was awesome. Sometimes you forget the things that he did on the court aside from scoring. Or the way that in his high-scoring games, he took those shots as all of his teammates were missing. At least, later in his career. If you go back and watch the 63 point playoff burner against the Celtics... well... that's a whole other thing.
It is fascinating to watch the feet of basketball players during games, given that you can follow the ball in your peripheral vision. The jab-step's true devastating nature is clear, the difference between good and bad defenders is glaringly obvious, post moves are ever-so-much more complex and, of course, you can tell who is a natural scorer and who has a set of "moves" that come in sequence.
For example, if you watch Jordan, his feet are astoundingly quick for a 6'6" man. Astoundingly. his feet are in contact with the ground for such short periods of time with each step that it seems impossible that he could generate so much force with each jump. At the same time, he covers a ton of ground with each step (hello hip strength/flexibility!) and continually makes you adjust to him. He definitely doesn't have a single dominant strategy (except left is a weaker than right) but instead reads and reacts to the move you're about to make before you know that you're going to make it.
If you really want to be shocked, watch the precision footwork of Tim Duncan, the extremely precise though slightly unorthodox footwork of Kobe Bryant, the phenomenal speed of Allen Iverson's feet or the complete lack of footwork from LeBron James. Each example fits within the athlete's game as aw hole, but unless you look at it, you'll never quite understand how/why they each do the things they do.
The extension to ultimate is specifically relevant to marks and marking and the balance or lunging that a thrower/marker engages in. Where does he place his feet for a particular throw? Can I take that preferred position away? Is he a thrower who never really sets his feet the same way? Does this marker lunge with his foot pointed our or in? Does he lunge by bending over or by supporting his weight with a good balance? Not that one or the other is better, but that if you are defending someone, it pays to think about it. If there is a mark that troubles you, this can help you figure out why. Of course, the problem is that foot-watching in a game often leads you to distraction. Video and paying attention from the sideline are far more beneficial.
Finally, the classic game of "How many travels happen in a given point?" can be eye-opening as well... If you know the right place to set the over/under at, you can take money from your teammates over and over again.
30 min stretching
Wednesday, July 11
On Monday I told Julie that I wasn't coming to the game tonight, no matter the weather.
After 4 straight days of ultimate, from Mars to Summer League and then a workout yesterday, I knew I was not interested in playing. Lucky for me, the game was canceled. I'm pretty sure that I've got 100% Summer League attendance thus far. Not too shabby, all things reconsidered.
A good solid, complete day of rest was enjoyed.
Tuesday, July 10
And chilled out to the sounds of the 7/10/99 Phish show in Camden, NJ.
I like to go back and listen to stuff from the archives on the corresponding dates. It just seems so appropriate. Back then, I thought this show stunk. I have since been proven wrong by relistening. It aged like a fine wine. Trey was wearing a Mia Hamm jersey, if I remember correctly. That was weird but cool.
Did a plyo/upper body max strength workout today:
50 Richochet Jumps
45 sec throwing
10 Side-Side Box Jump
45 sec throwing
8 On Box Jump
5 Pike Pushups
45 sec throwing
5 per leg Low Squat Jump into Jump Lunge
6 one-hand pushups (x3 each arm)
45 sec throwing
5 High Skips per leg
60 sec throwing
30 yard accelerations
60 sec throwing
8 Consecutive Broad Jumps
45 seconds throwing
Except that we didn't throw because no one remembered a disc. Goddamn ultimate players. I pushed through and felt explosive with the leg work, but I'm sure I will pay a hefty energy bill tomorrow. The upper body stuff was a great addition and I'll be doing more workouts that break down into both components after a bit of lower-body plyo-focused workouts for a bit there. Time to push the body harder again...
I'm feeling great in terms of the arc of my physical preparation for the 07 campaign. I know where I've been and I know where I'm going in terms of plyo/track/strength work. I'm very excited and I know that I'm nowhere near my peak as of yet. This is on its way to top the 06 season in which I was in the best shape of my life. That is, with the possible exception of junior year in high school and playing/practicing 3 different sports year round and in a extremely competitive marching band. Stop laughing. Really. Well, actually, laugh away. If you didn't do it or see it, you'll never understand. In any case, I'm definitely well on my way to the best ultimate frisbee shape/peak of my life. I can't wait.
30 min explosive lower body/max upper body
Monday, July 9
I might be old now.
I played in a summer league game tonight. I'm not sure why. It was a 15-14 loss to Team Black. I was exhausted at the beginning of the game. It was worse at the end. My fourth straight day of ultimate was a bit much, methinks.
Plus, it was my damn birthday. But I had previously said I would be there. It was also a celebration for Jimmy's birthday (which we also celebrated at Mars). Sadly, someone brought cupcakes instead of beer for the birthday boys. Grave error. Let the people drink beer, not eat cake! Damn!
This loss kinda sucked, but whatever. Summer league is a funny thing when you're a exhausted. You still have to perform well, but the urge to win just isn't as strong for the majority of the game because it is still just Summer League, y'know? I mean, I played pretty hard and pretty well, but it just doesn't even matter, really. We'll make the playoffs and earn a first round bye (unless we really mess up-- even then, the more games we play in a day, the larger the role I get to play) so why kill myself for each victory? Try to make enough space on the field for the team to improve. Let the other players make plays.
Summer League-- it's a spot to play some ultimate.
In other news, I can't believe I'm 27...
90 min ultimate
Sunday, July 8
Back Row: Jimmy, Blake, Dan, Jamie, Paul, Mike, Trash, Amy, Neil, Josh, Me, JP
Not Shown: Georgia, #1 Fan Carlina and Doc.
The third Marathon Mars Day started at 9:00am.
I think. I'm not quite sure.
I woke up in a haze of many kinds. I alternated between wondering where I was, what time it was, where I needed to be and why I didn't have any breakfast. I got up and out of the tent for a little while and stumbled around attempting to forage for food. By foraging, of course, I mean "rooting around in our van and my field bag for leftovers of anything from brownies to peaches." It seemed that everyone was getting ready for the game at this point and I hadn't really found anything substantive. Carlina (again) was awesome enough to go to Dunkin Donuts, so I knew food would be coming eventually. The bigger issue at this point was that we had a game to play and I was starving. The only thing I found was a big 'ole can of Amp energy drink in the front seat of the car. Ewww. Well, desperate times... I downed it for my liquid breakfast. Hooray? Wow, that is just a TON of sugar. Not at all my usual diet.
Game 1, No Child Left Behind, 15-6?
We won this game. I think Josh played two points. Jeff played zero. The other team was never really into it. Unfortunately for them, we had an expert on the "No Child Left Behind Act" so these guys didn't have a chance despite having a wicked fast woman (Jess) on their team. At some point in this game, a floaty disc was thrown to a woman on an incut and, as it seemed to hang there forever, both me and the guy I was covering rant to make a play. As I realized that both their woman and ours were standing below the disc, I slowed up before I jumped. Their man did no such thing, lept up, caught the disc and DEMOLISHED his teammate. I said to him, as he was standing over his fallen teammate who was sturdy enough not to be injured and aware enough to know that it was her teammate that took her out instead of me that "You can't make that play! Because if you do, you're encouraging ME to make that play. I know that if I come in full bore, she's not getting up that quickly and neither are you!" He seemed confused and slightly put off by this. What a ridiculous sport. Aside from that, Pallaver played well, if I recall correctly, including some silly no-pivot/all-arm backhand huck for a goal. I also think this is the game in which I threw my least-forced deep look to the best deep cut I saw all weekend. I'm always torn in these alum/fun tourneys. I honestly just want to put up 50/50 discs and watch my teammates make plays or force difficult throws into small spaces for kicks (because that's exactly what I don't do with Pike). After our first day, first game meltdown in which the other team (Hooray) came down with quite possibly every single one of those hucks after the first 7 points of the game (When we were up 4-3) I thought we would be in trouble all weekend. I don't know. I just like playing big-play style at these things to get it out of my system and to challenge myself. Like that 5-foot pull from the day before... During this game Carlina arrived with breakfast (YAAAAAY!). It was at this point that I realized I had not, in fact, placed an order and as such had no food to eat (BOOOOOO!). This is due to my bumbling in search of an energy source earlier in the morning. I'm an idiot.
After this game, they cheered us. I generally feel cheers are rather dumb (And am happy to see them making like the dodo), but this was pretty solidly done and entertaining, so I give them props. Our team then was then lead by Heather in some sort of sex-cheer. You'll have to find details for that somewhere else, because as soon as I heard we were doing a cheer, I had an overpowering need to urinate. I'm pretty sure I grumbled something obscene about cheering as I stumbled away.
L'Homme Rouge, 15-8?
I don't know who this team was exactly, but they had some irritatingly fun cheering going on. Why they want to be cheese-eating surrender monkeys is beyond me. Or perhaps rabid Francophilia is just kinda scary. This game was a little contentious and then a horrible play happened. After an earlier collision with a woman, one of our guys (Will "Trash" Reed) was playing D in the endzone (after not really doing much of anything on the field for most of our first game-- perhaps he should have joined the inactive list with Jeff and Josh for that bit) saw the disc go up, sprinted after it with full tunnel-vision intact and as he started to make a bid, a fact that was clear to everyone else on/near the field at the time made itself known to him: A woman had already caught the disc. Fuck. SMACK. CRUMPLE. (oh god...) Woman on the ground bleeding from her face. One of her teammates made sure that she was not dying and we breathed a sigh of relief. Unfortunately, she had a broken nose. Will, appropriately, seemed to feel like an ass, but that, unsurprisingly, was of no comfort to the woman on the other team. This incident speaks to a number of issues that I have with coed which will be covered in a future post.
As this game went on, there were some other minor incidents (on the part of both teams) but I think I was actually not involved in any of them. At least, that is, until one of our women got taken out (we learned a few days later that it was a dislocated rib-- she did, however, keep playing in that point and the next game-- what a champ) and at some point one of their sideline guys said "That's 2-1!" in reference to our taking out two of their women and their attempt to even the score by dislocating Elyssa's rib. Now, I know that this comment wasn't meant to imply that they would be gunning for our women or that anything underhanded was occurring. At the same time, it is NOT acceptable. And that is exactly what I told their sideline in no uncertain terms. It was not a funny thing to say considering the injuries that had occurred in this game. Completely unacceptable. One of their guys said something like "Are you serious?" which set me off a little more. I think I was just short of actually screaming at their sideline.
We've stumbled upon the B-Bracket Finals! If we win this game, we'll hold seed on Day 3 proving the genius of the ranking system! At least for the B bracket. Bashing Pinatas (the number one seed in A) didn't exactly fare as well...
As we enjoyed our victory, it appeared that none other than the Apple-Vodka toothbrushing fool Kazan was on the next team we were scheduled to play! For the B-Bracket Championship nonetheless! Their team attempted to finagle some post-chumpionship game of schtick or somesuch. Perhaps it was a half of ultimate and then carry the score over to schtick? I'm not sure. I didn't even feign interest. I just wanted to get home after the game. Schtick is a fantastic game for the first two days at Mars, and a horrible game for the third. Someone directed them to me and I said "I won't play, I'm not even remotely interested, but if you can get enough of my team to play, have at it!" Eventually, we agree to just play a game to 11.
Pickle Juice 11-4?
Well... uh... We won this one too. I'm not sure if it was really close or not, because I was running solely on Amp-fumes at this point, but we definitely won. I imagine some notable things happened before the moment I'm about to describe, but they don't really matter because this was priceless...
The aforementioned Kazan makes a ridiculous catch after which he waits until stall 5 and calls a time-out. Uh-Oh. TO = TO. We all know that! For some reason, Neil (seen making the bid in that picture) was not the marker after the catch. That honor fell to Josh Weisstuch. Another Kaimana teammate. In our little D huddle, we decided that we would eschew the crazy-zone option and just nut-up and play man. It was decided that we would go with the backhand trap-force and assume that their play call might involve a quick look downfield, but the goal would likely be to get the dump off. Getting on the same page in terms of expectations and a scripted reaction is always helpful. In that spirit I told Josh "You're not going to let him throw an around dump. I'm going to take away the upline cut. WE get the D. The disc isn't going downfield." Josh looks at me and mumbles something. I think it was an affirmative, but I can't recall and neither can he.
O gets set. D gets set.
Josh says "The disc is coming in on five, I'm going to piss on your face. 3, 2, 1, disc in."
From my perspective:
"Stalling 5." Kazan looks upfield briefly and then turns to the dump. "6." The dump starts cutting up the line, I get in his way and he starts making a classic backfield dump cut. "7." He's definitely open, but I'm tight enough that if it is a bad throw, I can get a D. "8." Kazan gets down to throw the flick. At the last instant, Josh gets his hand down and gets a point block. He then takes off to the endzone. Both defenders (previously the dump and the thrower) take a step or two toward me as a sprint to the disc. Now I *know* they're proper fucked. I pick the disc up and toss a flick into the endzone to provide Josh with a pair of good, old-fashioned bookends. There was no chance that disc was going to anyone else.
From Josh's perspective:
Stalling 5...6...7...8. "Wait, Dusty said I'm not supposed to let a flick dump off. Shit." Lunge for point block, run to the endzone and catch the disc.
From Kazan's perspective:
Wait... did Josh just tell me that he was going to piss on my face? Stalling 5. That ain't right. That's like the guy from last night. Did I tell you that story? I was walking near the trees and this guy was back there. He said "I'm going to piss on your face." 6. I responded that I didn't want him to do that. While he didn't seem pleased about my decision, he seemed to accept it. 7. Confusingly he then told me to "Tell all my friends." That didn't make any sense at all. Later that night I moseyed over and ran into my guys from Kaimana with the NYU booze crew. 8. That was a strange evening. Fuck. I have to throw this disc. Oh shit, Josh just pissed on my face. I better stop Dusty from throwing it to him. Oh shit, my teammate and I are both running to the disc. Fuck.
I can vouch for my perspective. I paraphrased what Josh told me he was thinking. As for Kazan... I figure that thought process seems about natural. I bet he'll correct me if I'm wrong. It also seems like the only thought process that would lead to him getting point blocked and scored on in that situation.
In any case, I do not recommend using that taunt against anyone you don't know because you're liable to get into a fight. I DO recommend asking Kazan about the guy hiding in the trees threatening to piss on people's faces. He tells it far better than I remember it through the haze.
More pics from the triumphant Final Game can be seen here (pics 103 and up). We did collect a strangely alluring trophy that now sits in my family's house (right next to the B Bracket Wildwood trophy from that time Jamie's knee cap spontaneously combusted).
In the words of Tom Pribicko "All in all, Mars was a great weekend. I mean... aside from the 3 games of ultimate I had to play every day." As for why that comment makes sense, well... There will be some post-Mars thoughts on exactly that topic at some point.
3 MORE games of ultimate
Saturday, July 7
The second Marathon Mars Day Started at 9am.
Or so I remember. It could have been 8am or 9:30 or 6am too. Whatever time corresponds to "neigh-unbearable tent heat" was when the day started. Couldn't have been more than 5.5 hours of sleep.
It dawned on me at some point that we had not made any plans for food this morning (last year, I took orders from everyone on the team and went to Dunkin Donuts every morning) and that I was painfully hungry. With the remaining cobwebs inbetween my ears it was difficult to understand what was happening, but JP somehow conned Hibachi 3000's #1 fan into doing that same thing for the team this year. Unbelievable. Coffee and the like would be coming straight to me! I began to understand why everyone last year was so pleased with this development.
I meandered about a little bit in hopes that I could piece together some of the previous night. This was largely unsuccessful. It wasn't a complete blank, but establishing a chronology was impossible. There was a nasty rumor floating around that we had finished something like 25 kegs over the course of the evening, leaving some paltry number near 5 for the coming evening. Not good, but not surprising.
The first game was against Lotus Eaters, 15-5?
They're a motley crew of NYC-area types plus whatever other riff-raff they attracted on a given weekend. Not in a disparaging way, but y'know... they're an odd team that we all know and run into everywhere. I don't remember anything from this game other than being really hungover and then unbelievably thankful that breakfast arrived. Coffee included. Hooray for Coffee, Hooray!!
At this point we regained some semblance of our wits and prepared for our next game.
I don't know what the score of this game was at all, other than it was close. There were bigger issues at stake. It was a tight game most of the way, with some little flare-ups of contentiousness, but nothing insane. And then it happened. Julie has the disc. Jamie, ever the faithful facilitator, is lined up as the dump. Jamie jukes and goes up line. Julie fakes a throw to him and he turns upfield to see what he needs to do now...
Jamie's on a heap on the ground after colliding with a defender. Not *his* defender, but a poach defender. The same fella who was later arrested. As I run out onto the field immediately (I know when Jamie's injured and when he's just in a little shock) I'm debating what to do. Do I run out at the guy who slammed into my brother and step on his head, inciting a brawl? Or do I tend to my brother who seems like he may have been shot? I choose to deal with Jamie and be a good older brother to him. Get his breathing slow and steady, ask what is hurting, apply my pretty solid knowledge of sports injuries and first aid and try to get him off of the field to a safe spot where he can take stock of what happened. While doing so, I take note that said player *who CREAMED Jamie on a DISC THAT WASN'T THROWN* stated "What was I supposed to do? I didn't have any time to react to it being a fake instead of a throw."
Exactly, asshole. You put yourself in a position at a fun tournament like Mars to bust a guys rib on a throw that was not put up. Your concern for your opponent and yourself is fucking terrible. Sure, if we're at Regionals battling for a spot at Natties, you might make that bid. Or suspect that we should have better offensive spacing as we would be a team playing together for a while. Instead, you put him out of commission for 4-6 weeks in the most important part of the practice season in a game against a group of alums and friends who rarely play with each other because our spacing was bad. How would the goddamn outcome be different if the disc HAD gone up? You would have broken his rib as he reached to catch the disc instead of breaking his rib when he had a split second to defend himself. There was NO clean play for you to make from the position you put yourself in.
Looking back, I'm not sure I made the right decision. I might feel better about myself as a man and as a brother today if I had decided to punch your fucking face in right there. Sure, we would have marred Mars with a disgustingly ugly brawl (because I know my teammates had my back, and I bet yours would have your back), but I would be able to sleep at night knowing that you understood that play is unacceptable. Instead, I actually asked you if you were okay and remained calm. I even shook your hand after the game instead of hitting you with a chair.
If you had done that one year earlier, you would have had an enemy for life and bruises to prove it. As it is, you had a guy who was cheering your arrest the second he heard of it and whole team who automatically (and erroneously) assumed that you ALSO threw a brick through my teammate's window. This is not how to make friends in the world, ultimate or otherwise. I can only hope that you learn from this as we all learn from the horrible mistakes we make in life. I originally planned to have a (hopefully) calm discussion with you at some point, but by the time I saw you next, you were full of liquid courage and I was still not removed enough from the situation to remain calm. In fact, I still doubt that I can remain calm about this one. Maybe we can talk in a couple of months about how you showed a complete disregard for the safety of your fellow players without coming to blows about it. At least I hope so. Someday...
After getting Jamie off of the field, I subbed in for him and cut my ass off. We ended up winning (this may have even been the last point) on a forehand blade from Julie to me. I don't think I spiked it, but I might have. I'm pretty sure we won by 2 or 3, but I could be wrong there too.
Over the course of the time just after the game, we checked in with our mother (a doctor) for anything that we needed to worry about for Jamie and, essentially, unless he suddenly had a really hard time breathing (which would indicate a collapsed lung) or was in massive pain we had no reason to worry about it. If that was the case, I promised that I would leave at the drop of a hat and let the rest sort itself out.
Makisupa Policeman, beer, ice, shade, heckling.
Banyas University, 15-10?
I think we won this one 15-10. Maybe I'm confusing this score with the Delmarvalous score? Maybe someone should update the Mars results page? Anyway, this game started off as a completed-huck fest. It was pretty wild there for a bit. I also had the WORST PULL EVER in this game. That is, I was working on a huge OI backhand pull to some effect over the course of the weekend and by this time, I'm doing exactly what I don't normally do by releasing from the backhand side of the field and letting it drop back into the field at the last second. Well, the reason that I don't normally do this is because you risk the 0-yard pull. If you pull OI from the flick side of the field, the disc travels over the vast expanse of field in front of you and you guarantee yourself a brick at the worst. As I wind up to launch this big backhand into the wind (which is blowing from backhand to flick), fully expecting it to come back, I trip a little and pull anyway. As soon as I release it, I know. It ain't coming back save for the grace of sudden gale-force winds. Jimmy starts trying to positive-think it back onto the field, whcih I know will be unsuccessful. So sad. As I realize exactly what I've done, I recognize that everyone's favorite 6'5" handler will be tapping the disc in about 5 feet from the endzone. Shoot. That's my guy. Not good times. We're forcing flick, he fakes a little IO flick (By little I mean about 4 feet away from me) that I have to pressure and then goes to the step out/around high release backhand break for a goal. I mean, he might have released that disc ~8 feet off the ground for all I know. I didn't have a chance. I think there was a quality heckle about this exact pull "making the blog" and there was definitely some banter about the blog as the game continued. Specifically some mockery about seeing the whole field. Anyway, we go on to win this game and are positive that we'll end up 9th (one spot out of the A bracket) for tomorrow's play.
After the games, we decide to wait around for food and *then* go to the showers after learning our lesson yesterday. Jamie and I get in line after our team and chat with Tim Johnson for a while. As we walk up to the food, we realize hat for some unknown reason, only one side of the tables is being used for food-grabbing purposes. Thinking we're really smart, we go to the other side to speed up the line, y'know, for everyone. We are immediately met by some Pitt Soldiers in Arms and told to return from whence we came. The people behind us in line are not pleased. We come up with a number of scams to get more food as a result of this perceived unnecessary delay and execute them to varying degrees of success. Me, being the goody goody that I am, devise my plan and chicken out before completion. This was pretty much the same moment that Sean said "I know what you're doing and it's pretty smart, so I'll let you do it." I had the stamp of lefty approval and everything! Still couldn't do it. I guess I'm not a cheater at life after all.
At some point, the brackets were announced and sure enough, we finished ninth. No A-Bracket for us, yet again. Ah well. We never played at Regionals in college either. It seems worth mentioning.
We then go to the showers, get some ice cream at our favorite spot (Which always reminds me of the dairy I grew up a few miles from, though not quite as good) and headed back to the tents with beer ice and more in tow. It was time to break out the Honey Brown, an NYU alum Mars favorite since we started attending as 4 pickups (Me, Julie, Jamie and Elizabeth Lamm) back in 03. As the night continued, we stayed the hell away from the pavilion (for the most part), hung out with friends, played disc golf, drank, debated, listened to stand up, got doused in flammable liquid, boomed, flew and so much more.
Of special note was the arrival at ~3:30am of one Kazan aka Eric aka Kaimana/Fools teammate aka troublemaker in search of some water so that he could brush his teeth and go to bed. We had no water. What we DID have was apple-flavored vodka. (Which, when Josh purchased it, was laughed off as a horrible choice. To which he responded "You just wait.") Sure enough, Kazan took said apple-vodka, used it for tooth-brushing purposes and hung out for another couple of hours. Well-played, sir, well-played.
At something like 4:30 or 5am, I turned in for the night, "all tuckered out" as a feller says. Gametime was in ~5 hours. NIIIIIiiiiice.
metric ton of ultimate
many other things that were bad for me
Friday, July 6
The first Marathon Mars Day started at 4:05am.
Why? Well, because we decided not to drive out to Mars on Thursday night and instead decided to duplicate the trip to the Boston Invitational. Yup. I'm retarded.
The beautiful drive was entirely uneventful. Aside, of course, from the world's worst breakfast sandwiches from some Dunkin Donuts ripoff at the I-81/PA Turnpike interchange. They were just awful. On the positive tip, the coffee matched them perfectly.
We pulled up to the fields just as Jeff and Krisztina were walking away from the 9am captain circle. Suckers. Glad we shirked that responsibility. We got a little warmup in before the first game and reintroduced some of our players to the concepts of forcing and dumping the disc while Neil "Declucktor" Pallaver arrived on his bike ride from Ohio. That's right. Bike Ride. From Ohio. This was similar to the Poultry Days trip from a couple years back when we had Ian Warrington joining us just after walking across Spain. That's right. Walking. Across Spain. Where do we find these people and why do they all seem to play ultimate? I don't know the answer, but I'm happy both that we find them and that they play ultimate.
First Game: Crappy Team For Jerks, 6?-15
Foss, Hersch and Pribicko. Damn those PSU kids. And their little friends too. This was an ugly way to start the tourney for us. Our huge roster combined with a number of players who have not played in a long time combined with most of our players not playing together save for at tournaments like this led to us taking a 4-3 lead. At that point, everything went wrong. Subs went poorly. Many things were dropped. Our multitudinous deep looks were not complete for a variety of reasons (poor throws, double coverage, Foss-poaching, drops, complete inability to box out) and shortly thereafter, we dropped a bunch of in cuts. I liked playing against these guys because they play to win, but the Hersch-spike was a little surprising considering how much they were up. No harsh feelings, but no need for it either.
Now this is what we're here for! As soon as the first game ended, we got to the meat of the weekend. Hang out with some brews and the like while horsing around and heckling. We stayed at that first field for most of the bye and watched a couple of games. The one that stuck out here was the Younguns vs Something Epoch. Why? Well, the obvious is that we know most of the players on the Younguns and a good number on Something Epoch. The less obvious was that two of our women (Julie and Wicknaaaah) were playing with the Younguns during this round as they were very low on women. Pretty normal, right? Well, at least it was normal until one Timmy Meyers cleaned Wickner's clock after she caught a huck. She caught it and he plowed over her directly through the shoulder in order to dislodge the disc. This sort of thing is awful to watch, and would become an ominous theme over the weekend. Wickner eventually got up with a little help and seemed to be alright. No contest (at least) led to a goal. Eventually, Younguns pulled out a 2 point victory (15-13 or 16-14, I don't recall).
Brown and Sticky, 15-6?
This game was pretty well in hand for the duration. not that they weren't good, but it seemed that they were doing even more drinking than us. I don't remember much from this game, quite honestly.
Something Epoch, 7?-15
So, as we were warming up for this one, there was some sort of hullaballoo involving their team and our women. Some business about "The two of you played with Younguns a couple of rounds ago and beat us. You can't play for both teams!" This caused some consternation and confusion. The eventual outcome was that Wickner got truck-sticked by Timmy Meyers so that the score of that game would be revered from a 15-13 Younguns win to a 13-15 Younguns loss. That's one of the dumbest things I've heard of at Mars. Which is a long damn list. We're playing scramble format at Mars between teams that don't actually compete together in the series while drinking and the result of a game in which yet another woman is taken out by an over-aggressive dude is switched because people were playing with their friends. Yeah. Perfect. That makes a ton of sense for a fun tourney like this. (I should make a VITAL caveat here. NO ONE from the Younguns complained about this. They were all fine with it. I am not speaking for them, I'm speaking for myself and from the perspective of someone indirectly related to the situation.)
Now, for the game. I don't really remember this one well either. It wasn't much fun for us, that much I can assure you. I was very frustrated by ultimate at the end of the day.
All in all, the first day was very disappointing. We played two of the better teams in our first 3 games which helped nearly guarantee us a spot in the B Bracket, but without much hope of ending higher. This is what happens when you play without pride (or knowledge of your teammates) in the first round and get pasted during a tournament at which point diff makes a diff.
At this point, we were unsure if we should head for food or shower first. We mulled it over and determined that Shower was the way to go after we were told that the food was nowhere near arriving and we had time to spare. We left for the shower only to discover that it was closed. At least that's what the other ultimate players who were there told us. We sent a crack team of "Julie" in to investigate. Sure enough, locked everywhere. I think she has a mental map of the school though. That's cool, I guess. So, we went back to the fields to get some food. 'Cept it was all gone.
Solution: Shower in the cold-ass spigot and call a teammate and have her bring some food back when she comes around the mountain when she comes. In the meantime, drink beer to tide us over.
(As it turns out, the showers were open, we just printed out the shower directions too early. Or we might have used the ones from the year before that were still in my field bag. I'm dumb. Two schools in the same complex can mess us simpletons up.)
Well, lots of beer was had. We played some object disc golf as the sun came down. Went to the party for a good bit, left at some point and then came back many hours, brownies and beer later. I ended up asleep at ~4am. 24 hours without sleep! Perfect. I've done far more, but this is a good start for the second day. Only 6 hours until our next game...
A ton of ultimate
Many other stressful things
Thursday, July 5
Sadly, we won't be firing up the Hibachi 3000 until tomorrow at Mars...
But I'm already pumped.
Team list seems to include (always subject to change):
Men: Dusty, Dan Patisteas, Jamie, JP, Josh, Jimmy, Jeff, Blake, Paul, Sanabria and Will. Possibly Ampy-Doc and a guy called Neil who is biking from Ohio.
Women: Julie, Wickner, Georgia, Heather, Krisztina and Elyssa.
A good mix of entertainment and talent. Perfect for Mars, right?
Anyway, I'll try not to start any fights this year (which I saw every year), but 3 days of drinking and sprinting eventually puts me on edge unless it is in Hawaii.
10 min stretching
Wednesday, July 4
This morning at ~7:20am it was decision time.
Go to Philly and play in a hat tournament, or BBQ in Harlem? Hat tournament has the advantage of ultimate in the summer with no cares. BBQ in Harlem has the advantage of many great friends and ChefJeff's latest stylings. ALWAYS good.
Back and Forth. See my brother and go with Julie? See my NYU pals and BBQ? BBQ? I love BBQ! Ultimate? I love that too!
At about 7:25am I finally made up my mind. Let's be really dumb and go to Philly. That'll put my week as: Mon: Summer League, Tues: Workout, Wed: Hat Tourney, Thurs: Drive to Mars, Fri-Sun: Mars, Bitches.
I, the last minute early-morning drive sub, drove down, got a little lost (For some reason I thought we were going to the Marlton Fields. 20/20 reason: I'm an idiot.) and listened to Phish from 7/4/00 in Camden. It turns out that Will and I were both at the show. Nice. That was the night they wouldn't let me off of the NY State Thruway at ~4am because I didn't have enough change to pay the toll. After driving for 5 hours, hanging out for a couple of hours, seeing a show and driving nearly 5 hours back, I was exhausted. Stupid Tolls. I eventually was given a ticket to pay. Oddly, in order to pay the ticket, one had to get back on the NY State Thruway. I didn't do that for a while out of spite.
Back to present day. We arrived and Julie and I requested to be on the same team. Why? because Jamie and Lauren were on the same team too. Proceeded to play redball before the first game and see a ton of familiar faces.
As I remember it, we won all three and I only scored one goal on the day. This was a throw from Julie to win our last game 15-14 on double game point after some guy on the other team (Younger Panna?) threw me the disc as Tous cut the other way. Nice.
We ran some zones (Putting myself int he cup to work on some things), I put up a ton of successful swill, and I facilitated the offense pretty well for a rag-tag group. Playing in these affairs is odd as you need to tread the line between caring too much and not caring enough very carefully. Balance between putting up crazy throws and getting everyone involved is key as well. I think we did pretty well as I only played more than 2-3 points in a row a few times. It looked like everyone was pretty wiped at the end of our three games as well. Perfect.
Oh, I threw a heaping handful of leftys today. Including 2-3 for goals. 100% completion thus far (back to practice earlier this season). I think I can break that string at Mars.
I also felt it necessary to deck out in red white and blue. It was the only appropriate attire, if you ask me. I was shocked that more people hadn't used this excuse to dress garishly. What else are non-serious ultimate tourneys for? Just look at Potlatch and Fools Fest. I mean, really...
Drive home was uneventful, except that Julie is still a scary driver. Got home, finally watched Crash and ate some Chinese food for July 4th. I'm a true-merican.
5 hour Hat Tourney
Tuesday, July 3
Plyo workout of last week (minor changes in reps) followed by Tabata (8x20sec on/10sec off) Pushups straight into Tabata Squats. That was a solid workout.
Well, it actually started with my city-interval run over to the park. What, might you ask, is that? Well, when you're running in NYC, you are constantly confronted by stoplights and don't walk signs. This can be frustrating if you're focused on keeping your rhythm and droning ahead forever. It can be awesomely useful (and even a little fun) if you're more creative.
The run takes 15-17 minutes, and for the duration, I'm always trying to beat the next light. If I don't, I stand patiently at the corner waiting for the next opportunity to sprint. Rests seem to average 7-12 seconds with an occasional 15-20 second rest. Runs tend to last 20sec to 3 minutes. All of this is variable dependent upon traffic, weather, pedestrians, whatever. Essentially, each run is 15 minutes of random-interval running. Each section when I'm actually running is done at near-max intensity and each rest section is just standing and looking around. The start-stop nature (especially when combined with dodging pedestrians and the like) seems to more closely mimic actually playing a sport. I alos dig the looks I get as a slalom through groups of people with a grin on my face.
as I got there and get into the workout, I eventually noticed some PoNY guys doing agility-ladder work. Nice. I've been thinking about getting one of those, but I'm not sure how necessary it is-- can't I do those drills without the equipment? We'll see as I complete designs on what I'm doing workout-wise for the rest of the summer. I'm very excited about the way everything is coming together training-wise in 07. I can already feel that this will be my best season yet.
15 min Interval Run
30 min Explosive Lower Body
8 min Upper/Lower Interval
Monday, July 2
What flips the switch for you?
What takes you from mild-mannered ultimate player to uncoverable cutter? From playing pretty solid d to being a defensive terror?
Does it only happen when you feel you've been slighted? After a solid warmup? When your teammates inspire you?
Can you turn it on in any situation? With little to no warning? Without a proper warmup?
Mentally, I've rarely had a problem turning it on. My brain is ready to fight at the drop of a hat. I have a vouchers from everyone I've ever met if you need proof. otherwise, you'll have to take my word for it. Physically, I'm starting to narrow in on what I need to be ready to perform in a very short period of time.
Earlier in my Pike career, the points I played were few and far between. As a result, I had to be ready no matter how long it had been since I warmed up. And I was. Mostly. I was ready to go out and make good cuts, good throws and play not-too-shabby D. I would give everything my body was willing to give during those points, but it was rare that I could really turn the switch and make a play. I could prevent things from happening, but I could not make things happen, so to speak. This was in part due to my more limited skill set, but it was also due to my body not quite being ready to play.
There were plays then that I knew I could make, but didn't because I hesitated. There were motions that I wanted to make on the field that I couldn't quite get the hang of because that part of my body was not ready to stretch that way. Ultimate is a complex sport in that a players is expected to throw, run, jump, sprint, walk, crouch, dive, shuffle, jog, lunge, catch, change directions and more. All while acting and reacting. You need to be ready to endure, explode and recover (not necessarily in that order).
How could I possibly prepare for that? Well, by doing most of it before I play. Get low, move slowly through your range of motion. Avoid anything static, but be sure to get through the classic static stretch positions (hamstring, quad, calf, etc) on your way. Don't stop or slow, move progressively faster. Once you o these actions while acting individually, start doing them while reacting in small groups. Marking drills, away and back, breakmark, redball, 500, whatever. Get some contact. Try to stop someone from doing something. Tie yourself in to the outcome somehow. Have fun and push yourself. Get into progressively larger groups on your way up to some 7v7 action.
You should be about in tune at this point. Ready to rock.
If I must get into a game quickly, I can be ready to play full-out in about 15 min. 5 min and you'll get ~75%. Anything less than that is ~60%.
Then there's summer league. If you warm up just a bit in summer league (2-3 minutes of actual physical activity) you might take the first 3 points of the game without really working for it. Suddenly the other team is wondering what happened and is playing from behind for the rest of the game. Perfect. Now we've got some positive mo' and some extra wiggle room to get everyone warmed up by the time they come around.
Today's game was full of odd drops in the endzone and slightly strange plays. And then there was Julie leveling a mid-layout Matty J on a play where neither of them could have seen it coming. I think they call this a slobberknocker, but I could be wrong. He could have been any number of be/de's. Beheaded, decleated, befuddled, destroyed, be-etc. Both were completely fine, it seemed. Julie seems to do far more damage to men than to women. I think that's because she has no fear of a big man crushing her while the big men have no fear of a 5'3" woman taking him out. Combine the two and you've got a ball of Julie hurtling through the air at "Fearless" speed into a guy completely unaware that he's about to get truck-sticked. Yow. Recipe for disaster.
In any case, we won this game to creep up to third in the standings at 5-2 (.714). Next up is Black next Monday with All-Region Regular Amanda Davis, NY,NY's Skip Kuhn (still dangerous!) and a handful of other known quantities, friends and summer league mainstays. Should be fun.
90 min Ultimate
Sunday, July 1
Felt confident that I'd be active enough over the next week that I would benefit from another rest day today.
Managed to get some stretching in as well (almost always do) and clean up the apartment a bit. Why? Ultimate season is so damn messy. I come home from summer league twice per week with nasty clothes, separate workouts 2-4 times per week and practice/tournament once per week. Sometimes I'm on the redeye back for work on Monday. Sometimes a 5-10 hour drive. Sometimes just a 90 minute commute. Sometimes Sometimes.
Each time I come back with disgusting clothes, sweat-drenched shoes, massive hunger, aches, cuts/scrapes, tweaked something or other. "Just Maintain" is what I tell myself. Just keep your apartment/life organized enough to function and the rest will take care of itself. Resist the obsessive neat-freak urges and get some damn sleep. Sleep deeply and prepare for the onslaught of tomorrow.
Added tangent: If your shoes stink/or if you have really sweaty feet or if you always play in wet weather, consider this solution. If you dry your shoes out just after your workout/practice/tournament, they're bone dry and not stinky in ~8 hours. After ~4, they're mostly dry. The best part? Your shoes are ever-so-slightly warm if you take them right off of the dryer and put them on your feet. Perfect for dumbasses like me who go to things like PADA Mosh. Which is a fantastic tournament and has, of late, had fantastic weather. It is, however, less dumb than that Frozen Disc of Death lunacy in NH.
20 min stretching