Wednesday, October 31

Nationals, Day 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, October 30

Nationals, Day 1

Woke up late.

About 30min late. Slept straight through the alarm. That sucked.

No real matter, it just means I won't be able to take an early AM drive to get groceries so that I can cook breakfast. Instead, we'll just hop by one of the Dunkin' Donuts on the way. Yes, this means that in the space of 2 meals over ~5 hours, we had both Waffle House and Dunkin Donuts, but hey, we're just livin' the 'Merican Dream down these parts.

I remembered all of the drive from the previous trips I had made. No need for directions, I've been here before. I even visualized this drive when I visualized this day. Of course, the car I pictured had no top. And the weather was perfect, but you can't get hung up on the little stuff. We were at The Show.

Rolled up to the fields and made sure to park right next to our fields. Gotta know stuff like which field you're on before you arrive. Key in effective first-day parking. We then moseyed over to the fields while drinking in the morning. The Calm before The Storm.

Got ready and tossed a little before getting our jog on. Dynamic warmups into drills into live play. More throwing. I can feel the excitement rushing up my spine.... Game Time.

vs Boston Ultimate, 8-15
Well... We started off with them. Our D team definitely had a dumb turnover or something after generating a turn early in the first half. Not sure if I ever got the disc in my hands in the first half. Dunno. This game had little of note for me, personally. The first half was close enough (5-8, 6-8?) and then Boston turned on our O team. Or, our O Team turned on Pike. Or something. All I know is that instead of the D team feeling like we were right in it, suddenly it felt like we hadn't played at all yet. You know, D Team players need short memories because you've got to shrug off the first 6 times you get scored on so that you can fight NOT to get scored on the 7th time. The problem is, having short memories means we also forget how were playing defense after being off of the field for more than 2 points or so. We can't remember what worked and we can't quite get that focus back. Too many shiny objects. Soon we become spectators instead of players. When the D team forgets they're playing ultimate and starts watching ultimate, the game is over.

Unless you can somehow fire that engine back up. This is what veterans are for. Those guys who never lose hope and never stop fighting. Not only do they force themselves to fight, but they force their teammates to fight. Sadly, Pike doesn't have quite enough veterans in terms of The Show. I mean... of the 7 guys who were at Nationals with Pike, only 3 actually played similar on-field roles then to now, 3 played smaller (and different) roles and 1 (me) had never played a meaningful point at Nationals. Yow. Welcome to it. Good luck going forward Boston. Especially you ex-Pike boys. Glad we could give Danny a rest this round.

vs Sockeye, 4-15
Well, I thought the previous game was bad. I also thought that we got a lot of the "deer in headlights" looks out in the previous game. This was a different story. our young players were stone-cold intimidated and you could see it. This is the video effect. That, and the younger guys on our team were in High School, playing and watching ultimate when Sockeye started their rise. That didn't stop the Sockeye O team from giving us the disc the first two times they were on the field. The Pike D did not convert. the worst example of this was the first turn that we got 10-15 yards out of the endzone we were attacking and proceeded to throw away on a dump pass that, even if completed, would likely not have helped our cause. Then I don't think we got on the field again until late in the first half or early in the second half. I did like their aggressive handler motion from Gehret and O'Brien. It was pretty clear that these guys had a gameplan that they executed consistently. Generally, within the first couple of points watching a team you can tell if they are all on the same page or not. Sockeye most certainly was. Good luck for the rest of the tourney, Jaeger.

vs Rhino, 9-15
This game was much more fun. In part because Rhino plays a game where they give the other D team the disc. This meant I got to go to work throwin goals in this one. As I told the team, once we get the turn, put the disc in my hands, I'm just throwing goals. We got our first break in this game on, I threw the goal. We got our next break right afterward, and I threw another goal. We got a turn on the next point, and, dumb as I am, tried to catch a goal instead of throwing for one, and the throw was turfed. Damn. Rhino then scored. Then they broke our O back (somewhere in here) and our D got scored on. Then I don't recall exactly what happened, but they fought back to take half. In the second half, our O team got broken here and there while our D team may have gotten one break back. The fact remains that Rhino fought through *both halves* whereas Pike only fought through the first half. The second half was.... All Rhino. I finally met one of the Other Dusty's in this one. It was very odd that at some point we were both on the field, near the disc (stupid handlers) and both sidelines were shouting "Dusty this" and "dusty that" while neither of us could tell which people to listen to. We conferred later and determined that it made both of us play harder, though not necessarily smarter.

There were some big plays on the day (Big Art!!) and I thought that even though I had a couple of dumb turnovers, I played well overall. No Ds, but I threw some goals. My pulls were pretty solid, and I seem to remember ripping a good one or two against Rhino specifically. My attitude stayed positive for the whole day, in spite of our lackluster effort because I just attributed it to not being ready for the enhanced speed at Nationals vs, say Chesapeake or even Regionals. And being a little starstruck in the face of players that they had heard about for so long. Endurox up, get back home, cook up some food and get ready to see Truck Stop and Furious tomorrow morning!

Oh yeah, Truck Stop/Furious/Chain were definitely the talk of the first day. Definitely.

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Monday, October 29

Nationals (Prelude)

First, there was a mixup.

At the rental place, the night before (This was after the flights got delayed like crazy and we didn't land until about 1:30am. I hate JFK airport. Hardcore.) I walked up and said "Here is my ID and my Credit Card. I have a reservation." I then expected to presented with the keys to the car that I had reserved. The one without a top. The fast one. You know. The one on my reservation.

Instead, we had a classic Seinfeld reenactment, as so often happens in the time I spend not playing ultimate, about taking and keeping reservations. Instead of the fast car with no top that I reserved, she offered me a 2 seater convertible of some kind. Thinking of my brother's teenage girlfriend and Dan Yi, I said "No." Like an idiot. She then offered me a Dodge Charger. I asked if that was a convertible, knowing full well that it wasn't. She said no. She did say that it went fast though. That was better, but I was not pleased and told her so. She offered to take a day off of the lower rental fee. I said "Thanks, but how does that take the top off of my car, exactly?" She said that I must hate her. DAMN! That really puts it to me doesn't it? Quite the argumentative victory. Either I hate her and am a terrible person for pursuing this further, or I stand there and tell her I don't hate *HER* but that I hate the company and get into that conversation. Fuck You, Rental Car Woman. Just let me get my aggression out by being a little sarcastic and goofy. I was smiling until this point. At this point, I glared for a second and caught myself before I launched into full-on jerk-face mode. I then just took the keys, declined the sucker-coverage and went back to sit with my brother and wait for the even later flights.

Ah well. At least the car goes fast and is cheaper. Fast is good.

The classic Florida Night Drive was perfect. We even stopped at Waffle House at 2am because we hadn't eaten since before we got on the plane so that we could sit on the runway for 2 more hours strapped into uncomfortable seats and told that "unless our eyes were yellow" getting up out of our seats to go to the bathroom or stretch "could very well cause us to miss a chance to take off." WHAT???? I'm twitching with anticipation to get to the damn tournament, I have to go to the bathroom somewhat regularly because I always drink a lot of fluids, I wanted to stretch for the whole flight while drinking a bunch of water, and now I also have a delay "Of unknown time but likely between 1 and 2 hours" in which I can do none of that? On top of it you keep telling us to put our electronic devices away? WHAT THE FUCK DID I SIGN UP FOR????

Oh yeah, at the Waffle House. first, it was the coldest Waffle House or any other dining establishment that I have ever been in. I was looking for Rocky's famous slabs of beef. I was prepared for this with extra clothes (Florida's cold when you're drunk, exhausted and thrown in the ocean at all hours of the morning!) but my carmates were not as ready. I'm a regular fucking boy scout. We sat next to some late 20 somethings who were talking about how one of them had taken gone topless and pressed her breasts against the window the last time they were here. Not that odd. Later on they start "bitchin about [their] fuckin' kids." Kids? You have kids? You're my age and smoking, drunk off your ass in a Waffle House at 2am!! And then they unanimously decided that their parents probably did the same damn thing when they were younger. I think I agree with them.

Immediately following this, the same group got into a yelling match with a "semi-homeless" dude who was buying some coffee and an egg. I don't know exactly what about but I think someone was threatened while being restrained. They may have then bailed on the check. The sem-homeless guy then turns to Dan Yi and Dan Yi looks at him and says "No no, thanks for chasing them away. We didn't like them either." (Which was completely true) Semi-homeless guy takes exception to this in some fashion and then stares at us sourly for the rest of the time he's there. This was not even the most entertaining thing that Dan Yi (who is always referred to in two names) did that evening. When we ordered, we all ordered pretty lightly. Just something to get the hunger under control without adding to much into the system. Maybe a waffle. A couple of eggs and some grits. Some hashbrowns. A Coffee (no, not for me). And that was the rest of the table. Dan Yi, of course, goes big, 'cause he sure as shit ain't goin' home, and orders the Grilled Texas Bacon Double Patty Melt Plate.

Now, when someone orders something like that, you don't know exactly what it is going to look like, but you're pretty sure that it is a serious meal commitment, not a fling. The word Texas alone should give you a hint, but to add in words like Double? Bacon? Are you shitting me? This is going to be crazy. It could be the atomic bacon-grease bomb. With hash browns. Not regular hash browns, but smothered covered and chopped (or something). And make it a double. WHAT? Wow. Dan Yi wins this round of ordering. Easily. Wayta Cowboy Up, you Sox Fanboy!

Even at this point, we don't know what this is going to look like when it comes out. I mean, we saw the picture, but you never know what the real thing is going to be like. I mean, our socially timid waitress who apologized for giving us ice in our water told us that the chef who was working tonight was "the best Waffle House has," which of course led us to a discussion about what sort of person becomes the best damn Waffle House chef anyway. It was decided that he was an honorable person. He did work with excellent style and my food was pretty good... And then Dan Yi's food came out. It was a massive grease attack. Cut in two, with a massive pile of hash browns and other stuff in between the perfectly cut halves.

Wow.

Just wow.

Dan Yi, to his credit, ate every part of it.

You might think the story is done, but it isn't. It couldn't possibly end there. Somewhere around the point at which we were all mocking
Dan Yi (whilst in complete awe of the bang with which he started his journey), some shiny cars with rims rolled up. Of course. These are exactly the kind of cars that roll up at this time of night. I grew up spending late nights at Denny's in Northeastern PA. I know the drill. What I was unprepared for was who stepped out of the car. In the words of Dan Yi "It's a fucking ho train." To which Jamie responded "I have to call Tom Pribicko." The train continued to engulf and then fill the Waffle House as we waited in line to pay for our food. The line consisting of, uh, us. Waiting for Dan Yi to pick up the whole bill so that we could pay him back. And it took forever. All the while, the look of complete shock on Dan Yi's face was worth the uncomfortable tension in the air. I think the pimps were responsible for that air, but one can't be sure.

We then walked out, got in the Dodge Charger and flew like warp-speed banshees through the night to get to our waiting beds and get at least those first 4 hours of blissful sleep before the mayhem I planned to bring to the fields with me tomorrow...

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Post Nationals Post

Well... That's over.

Recaps should come later.

Then I'll follow up with a year in summation post and then I'll figure out the future of this webspace.

Oh, I almost forgot, by some rampant voting error I was my team's Farricker Award Nominee. How do I know there was a voting error? I swore I saw Hinkle out there. But that could've been the hangover talking.

Seriously though? I'm honored to be nominated. Thanks, Pike.

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Wednesday, October 24

Not much Left to Do...

But play the damn games!

I've prepared all season, I've checked everything off on my list and barring the quad thing, I've prepared just about perfectly for this season. There are things I can do better still, but I'm not at a point yet where I've accomplished them. That will wait until next season starts.

I'm not satisfied with my progress, but I'm happy about it.

Tough Games All Weekend.

I love nothing better than great competition. I can't wait to put everything I have on the line. I just can't wait.

THE SHOW THE SHOW THE SHOW
Finally, I'm going back to The Show.

The Rhodes brothers with teammate and hanger-on will be traveling and staying in style, weather be damned.

If Jamie remembers his laptop, I'll try to get some updates here between days, but that could be tough. It is certainly ancillary to my team's success as well as my enjoyment of the weekend, but we'll see. Game-specifics will be limited as there's only so much I can remember in a given day. And besides, Jamie could forget anything.

Veteran Move: Bringing the EZPass.

I can't wait to be there.
--
Workout Total:
over a year of training leading up to this.

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Tuesday, October 23

Predictions?

Maybe before I leave.

Likely not. I have a hard time predicting things I'll be a part of.

By the way, I love how rsd has more posts about Coffee Cup predictions than Nationals predictions.

I'm betting that this is because most people who have any knowledge on which to base their picks are actually playing. Not all, just most. Or that everyone is too concerned about BB material. Whatever that means.


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Monday, October 22

Pumped

Ungodly Pumped.

The Show is Coming!

1000 moments to be savored in competition. 1000 moments to be remembered away from the field. Just a few days away. Just a few days. If I can make it...

The Rhodes Bros will be following the advice of our attorney, Dr. Gonzo, and "renting a very fast car with no top."

I can't wait.

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Sunday, October 21

rsd is one long fat joke

Here is the evidence.

At least I found that really funny.

I'll go back and enter the posts from the last couple days at some point. Not now. Football to watch.

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Saturday, October 20

Headspace

You've got to get the team in the right headspace before a big tournament.

For each team, this is a different thing. Some need to be angry and ready to snap, some need to be overly positive, some need to feel tight and nervous, some are better relaxed. You've got to learn about your team over the season and then use the weeks leading up to a tourney to get it right.

After our quick practice today, I'm sure that we're in the right place. The practice left me with nothing but confidence about my team. We're ready to go.

Also, we learned about the creepily high SAT scores on this team. Nerd Ultimate at it's finest. The lowest is some sucker (not counting the new Writing section for comparison's sake) in the mid 1200s. And there are something like 6 or 8 in the 1500+ range. We also learned that despite this being my 5th year with Pike that I'm on the Young team if we split by age. Odd.
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workout total:
3.5 Hours practice
stretching/icing/etc

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Friday, October 19

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Saw Rodrigo y Gabriela this evening at The Roseland.

Good show. Happy to have gone.

They can definitely rip it up on guitar. They brought some third person out at one point. He was overmatched.

Not sure I'd see them again even though they put on a great show. Just a lot of a guitar after a while. They did mention that a new album is coming in the nearish future. I'll definitely get that.
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Workout Total:
Same as usual

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Thursday, October 18

Hidden Skill-work at PT

So there I was, doing my sets 10 seconds on/10 seconds off of some exercise for 10 minutes...

My mind was all over the place. I was doing my best to focus in on what I was doing, but it was tough as hell. Then it struck me. I'm going for 10 seconds over and over again. That's the same as the stall count. Suddenly, I had something to focus on.

As someone who is rarely called for a fast count, I wanted to know if I was slow when stalling. As it turns out? Nope. Max variance for the 8 minutes I counted stalls was between 1-2 seconds. Never as high as 2, usually less than one.

Good use of an otherwise pointless time for my head while my body was working. It helped me focus in as well as I always thought "Keep it up! This is just like putting on a great mark! It takes energy" while counting instead of just wondering what kind of food I would eat after I left the PT place.

Back to work. I'd rather spend all day doing rehab. Hands down.

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Wednesday, October 17

New Favorite Breakfast

A little odd, but not that strange, when you consider that I'm the source.

Simply, a three egg omelet containing Parrano Gouda and apples.

Cortland apples have been the best match so far, although most apples are unlikely to disappoint. Just a good combination of flavors/textures. If you'd like to make it a bit sweeter, a tiny bit of maple syrup makes it breakfasty-yet-not-overpoweringly-sweet. If you want more grease/protein, or another texture/more salt include some bacon. Either on the side or in the omelet. Works pretty well. Some might prefer sausage. Some people say that cucumbers taste better pickled.

Goes well with coffee, of course. Haven't tested different varieties with different apples yet, but I'm sure there's a real winner in there somewhere.

Damn. Now I wish I was eating breakfast again.

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Tuesday, October 16

Got Some Running In!

It's been a while, but I got about 20 minutes of sprinting/resting in today.

Also did wobble board stuff, leg raises and more. Had PT today as well. Everything is still feeling better. Stretched, massaged, iced. Feels pretty good. This is a positive turn!
--
Workout Total:
20 min track
20 min strength (x2)
10 min wobble (x2)
ice, stretch, massage.

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10 Days by Weather.com

That means... I can officially start checking the weather obsessively.

Hmmm.... looks a little too hot for my liking. Let's get it back down to low 80s. Please? Maybe not. Heat is good for the quad.

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Monday, October 15

Seeds

I knew the seeds would come out if I waited long enough.

  1. Jam
  2. Sockeye
  3. Bravo
  4. Furious
  5. Zero
  6. Condors
  7. Boston
  8. Goat
  9. Ring
  10. Rhino
  11. Dub
  12. Truck
  13. Chain
  14. Machine
  15. Pike
  16. Van Buren
That fits perfectly with my groups of:

1. Jam, Sockeye, Bravo
2. Furious, Zero
3. Condors, Boston, Ring, Goat
4. Rhino, Truckstop, Chain, Doublewide
5. Machine
6. Pike, VBB

But of course it does, because that is a broad brush with which to paint. That's why I did it.

Pool A should be fun with Goat and Ring together to settle their differences and determine who joins Jam with a loss in the power pool. VBB... Well, they could upset people, but it would be just that... an upset.

Pool B should be fun with the Rhino v Boston v Sockeye matchups. Pike will be faced with a strong Day 1 challenge in this pool.

Pool C has a fantastic 1v2 matchup with Bravo v 'Dors. I feel like anything could happen with Doublewide. Machine? Well, this is exactly where they belong based on their season.

Pool D with Furious, Zero, Truck Stop and Chain looks to be a killer. Chain as a 13 seed is just wild. Maybe they're not actually as good as everyone anticipated. Maybe they're planning their peak correctly. We'll also find out how far Truck Stop has come in a year's time with their new additions.

In short, there are no "easy" pools. Some interesting matchups in the initial pools, for sure. My rooting interests lie squarely with the Mid-Atlantic, of course. The rest of y'all are secondary. Only my region can break seed and earn strength bids for my region, y'know? I'm honestly very interested in how every pool shakes out, but, as I noted above, there are some that seem more interesting than others.

In other news, workouts are getting better. I'm feeling progressively more and more positive about The Show and the role I'll be able to play. Not perfect yet, but I've still got 10 days. NICE!
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Workout Total:
30 minute interval (x2)
20 minute strength (x2)
ice, stretch, massage

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Sunday, October 14

Early Practice Today

Got up the this morning and almost died at the hands of Dono following Trey on the 15 minute drive.

That got my heartrate up for practice. Had beef jerky and some apples for breakfast during the car ride. It'll do.

Practice started with a mini tournament. That was a blast. I love playing mini and other dumb little disc games that are tangentially related to ultimate. My team was good but not great. We did perfect the quick double score though. That was our bread and butter.

We then had a scrimmage against Old Sag, those sectional rivals. They had a huge roster and threw a pretty solid zone (not shocking for a masters team) but we stayed ahead the whole way. I only played the first two points in this one. I knew that I could play more, but that I would be pretty sore on Monday, so I decided to forget that in attempts to get a better workout in on Monday.

Got back to watch the Patriots stomp on the Cowboys. I guess they're pretty solid, eh?
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Workout Total:
2 hours mini/warmup
2 points in scrimmage

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Saturday, October 13

Late Practice Today

Practice Started at 1pm today.

This meant that Jamie, who was driving down from Providence, RI (yeah, he's pretty much a nomad at this point) actually got to sleep a couple of hours before we left in the morning. This also meant that due to my habitual early-rising that I was up for ~7 hours before practice started. Oh yeah, Jamie brought some crazy coworker that we had to drop off in Philly before practice. That was odd.

We got to the fields in time to watch Ampy-Bomb, that crazy coed team, finish up their practice. Looked like most coed ultimate-- look off your women, isolate your men in space-- only a bit faster paced. I suppose that's what Nationals-level coed means.

Practice was a bunch of game situations and some specifically focused drills. Not going into it too much though.

The quad held up pretty well until somewhere in the 4th hour of practice, then it tightened up and started restricting movement a little. I figured out what I needed to do in order to get back in the game, played a couple of points and sat back down (no need to completely push it). That was a really important lesson to learn. I need to know how to get back on the field in Sarasota if it tightens up. Sweet.

We then had a team dinner at Jeff George's place in Philly. That was sweet. I ate WAAAAAAY too much food (this is what happens when you're scrimping all the time to save up for Nationals and Kaimana) and went nearly comatose. This was after the Kentucky upset of LSU. About 4 hours later, after most of the team left, I was wide awake again. Seems about right. My clock is all kinds of off.

Stayed the night at Trey's place, a couple of blocks away, and had to listen to him mention that his trip to practice was a mere 15 minutes. Let's see... that's at best 1/8th as long as my commute. More regularly about 1/12th as long. With that in my head, I fell asleep.
--
Workout total:
4 hours practice

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Friday, October 12

Thanks

To everyone who:

1. Congratulated me/Pike on making Nationals.
2. Rooted/sheered for Pike to make it.
3. Advised me on quad stuff.
4. Wished me well with my injury.
5. Other nice stuff that I was rude enough not to thank people for.

I know I've forgotten to properly thank people (this is because I'm an ass) so I figured I would do so now.

In many ways, this weekend's practice is that last "real" practice. 2 days, all-out.
--
Workout Total:
30 min stretching
20 min interval
20 min strength
ice, massage

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Thursday, October 11

PT Again

"I've got to admit it's getting better / A little better all the time."

Even the people at Physical Therapy agree that it is getting better faster than they anticipated. That's right, boys, I'm poised for a T.O. style Superbowl comeback. I will now clean up the involuntary vomit that came up due to T.O. killing the Iggles in the following season.

It ain't perfect yet... but I can now walk up/down stairs with no pain. Running and biking are still out for now, but I can feel it getting better. I'm still frustrated, but I can now redirect that frustration into activity and mold it into progress.

PT currently consists of ultrasound, electric stim, strength stuff, stability stuff, painful massage and icing. Aside from the ultrasound and stim, I can replicate almost all of this at home. That's pretty sweet. I'm basically doing all of this work 2-3x per day with icing/massage/stretching throughout. Then I'm doing the jump rope/upper body stuff outside of that. I'm anticipating that Friday will be a lighter day, but I simply don't have the time to wait for this to get better. I've got to do everything I can to *make* it get better. Fortunately, I pay close attention to my body, and as a result know my limits very well. I have not reached them yet.

I WILL make a difference at The Show!
--
Workout Total:
20 min interval
10 min strength (x2)
15 min wobble (x2)
ice, stretch, massage

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Wednesday, October 10

Seedings

I don't understand all of the arguing about seeds.

There are blog entries, more blog entries, rsd arguments and more. But really, who cares? Chances are, your team will be seeding within 2 spots of where you honestly think you should be. If you're off by more than that, odds are you have an inflated sense of self.

In the end, as Parinella said somewhere, you can break the teams into (to use his term) "buckets." I'm assuming by this he meant that you can split the teams into groups in which, while the seeding my be debated, the teams in those groups belong pretty squarely below the groups ahead of them and above the groups below them. Outside of that? Weigh whatever you like, present your opinions to the TD or director or whomever does this best, and get over it. Once you get to Nationals, you'll have to beat good teams to win. That's the deal. Nothing more, nothing less. Quibbling about where you start is a waste of time and energy. You will start where you start. What you make of it is far more important.

All that being said, here are the seeding groups, as I perceive them (in no particular order within the groups):

1. Jam, Sockeye, Bravo
2. Furious, Zero
3. Condors, Boston, Ring, Goat
4. Rhino, Truckstop, Chain, Doublewide
5. Machine
6. Pike, VBB

All that being typed, Ring is probably the toughest one to place accurately. They could be considered ahead of Boston, but they could be behind Goat. I'm pretty sure they should be ahead of group 4 Rhino and below group 2 + the Condors... That's where my thought process breaks down.

On a different note, I've started rehabbing a bit differently. I can' really bike or run for an extended period, so I'm jumping rope like a fiend. For intervals, for speed, for endurance, for footwork. I figure if it is good enough for a fucking boxer or other fighter, it might serve me well enough to play ultimate when I don't have to worry about my brain being bashed in. I intersperse it with pushups/pullups and the like to mix it up. It is tough because most things that I do for training involve actually bending the my leg to 90 degrees or more. And that's exactly what causes pain/inflammation in my quad/itb/etc. I'm also doing a bunch of wobble board stuff, which is something I've always found useful, but now it is specifically directed at helping the current issues with my quad.

The biggest thing for my fitness right now is keeping my "cardio" up. That is, being able to do a lot of running/throwing/shuffling. I mean, so long as I maintain a certain level of explosiveness, I'll be fine in that department, but I simply cannot let my body be unprepared for the endurance portion of the Nationals experience. This is counter my general thoughts on training, but there I am rather limited right now as I try to maintain fitness in the face of needing to get my quad rest while still strengthening it and breaking up the scar tissue.

Crazy complex and intensely irritating. But, I'm starting to do as much as I can with the restrictions with which I have been saddled.
--
Workout Total:
20 min interval
15 min strength
15 min wobble board
massage, stretch, ice

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Tuesday, October 9

Feelin' It

I don't know when it happened exactly...

Maybe it was the knee injury and beesting in one game at Westchester when I first joined Pike. Jude told me that I had not, in fact, been stung, but that he stabbed me with a "needle covered in bleach." While I didn't believe him, this was when I first realized he might be evil.

Maybe it was the 1000 little ankle sprains from practicing on SHITTY FIELDS in NY/NJ/PA since 1998. David always had us sweep the field for glass and needles before practice. I got a rock lodged in my knee at a Pike practice in 04... I fortunately discovered it in the shower that evening.

Maybe it was hurting my shoulder back in 05 on a dumbass layout (for a goal!) in some pickup game. That may have been the last time I played all-out in a pickup game.

I dunno, but at some point, I started getting injured more often. I always thought hat I could play through anything (and I still think I can, actually) but I'm having more and more difficulty getting through the time between tournaments. I always thought that I was a pretty sturdy guy, but this season... I dunno.

I think there's a chance that the season is too damn long. Maybe I've had bad luck this year. Maybe Maybe...

Then again, maybe that whole "Tearing one ACL in as a junior in high school and the other as a junior in college" set me up for all of this shit. Maybe breaking my nose 5 or 6 times over my life put me here. Maybe always playing to win put me here. I just don't know, but no matter how much better this leg gets by Nationals... I'm missing out on precious fine-tuning time as a result and I don't like it.
--
Workout Total:
See yesterday (this is getting old)

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Video Evidence!

At Ariel's Site.

Having watched it quickly, here are my thoughts:

Sloppy Game. Based on this evidence, neither team has a shot of beating good teams.
At 2:50-2:59, can anyone tell me what that foul call was? Or why it was upheld by the observer?
At 40:00, can anyone tell me how that *wasn't* a foul? Or why the call was overturned by the observer?
At 53:00 or so, you can see everyone on the field. If y'all just stood back 3-5 meters, you'd be able to see everything!
I think I threw 3 turns in that game. That's pretty sad.
I didn't pull as many OB as I remembered. Just one, in fact. But some of those pulls were pretty suspect near the end.

That's all for now.

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Monday, October 8

More of the Same

Did all the usual work on the leg.

Got word from a few people on other teams that their teammates won't be making the trip to nationals.

THAT'S THE DUMBEST THING I'VE HEARD TODAY.

Unless you're a vet and just can't do it because of real life, you should get thyself to Nationals by hook or by crook. There is no reason not to go. It is a great experience and pretty much the best example of high-level ultimate in the world. The beach is awesome. It is Florida in October. There's a great time on Saturday night (unless you make finals-- in which case you have your own kind of great time). What's not to like? The younger you are, the more it will help push your game forward, or at least make you aware of where your game needs to go.

That's all.
--
Workout Total:
stretching, massaging, icing, strength
intervals

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Sunday, October 7

No Nationals...

Booo.

Teams that I wanted to see at Nationals but didn't make it:

Puppet Regime, Madcow, PoNY.

Teams who did make it that I was rooting directly for:

Ambush, Chewbacca Defense.

Chain lost in the finals to Doublewide. Perhaps JoHammond shouldn't have made those predictions on last year's ultivillage dvd? Not that I wouldn't have done the same in his shoes.

Boston beat GOAT in the finals. Apparently, Fortch made the difference. No real surprise there.

AMP took the MA Mixed. No surprise there.

Bashing PiƱatas? Really? Congrats. It'll be like a WSL reunion!

Anyway, Nationals is gonna be some pimp shit as always. I'm unendingly excited. Palm Bay Club, here I come!

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We Talkin' Bout Practice

That Iverson rant never gets old.

Numbers were smallish today. That sucked.

I was encouraged by my PT/Doc to make a run of it in practice this weekend to see how I felt. I was a little hesitant, but they told me to test it out without any NSAIDs to see how it all felt and then be sure to take some (as well as ice) after practice. I said okay.

Practice was in Philly again which meant I caught the 7:11 train out of Jersey City again. Too early for Johnny L's delicious bagels on Saturday. Next Saturday, however, we'll be practicing later, so I can get my bagel on. Nice!

Practice focused on game-situations and scrimmages. We worked on specific strategies and specific goals for each team. That's good stuff.

D-Team pounded the O-Team.

Got a ride back to Jersey from Jamie who's moving to Providence, RI for work. That's crazy. not much else to say on the practice front other than the leg felt good (way better than last weekend!) but not great.
--
Workout Total:
4 hours of ultimate

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Saturday, October 6

Saturday Off?

Yeah. I know.

Practice got bumped to Sunday for some unknown reason, so I spent today reading. Sometimes outside, sometimes inside. Drank a bunch of really fresh coffee. I stretched a ton. I did a bunch of painful leg work (I can actually feel it getting better!), cooked, watched a little college football here and there and generally had a completely relaxing day for once. After last weekend, I kinda needed it.

Oh yeah, regional tournaments are happening all over the place. Madcow con Pallaver is 5-0 on day one. Goat v Boston in NE (PoNY got pasted by Boston, apparently). Chain v Doublewide in the S (Shocker!). AMP pounds on kids to get to the finals v someone they'll beat in the MA Mixed. Puppet predictably in the backdoor after losing to Tandem in NE Mixed. Ambush finished 2nd in their pool in NE women's. Godiva v Brute in the finals. Chewbacca Defense took their pool in the S'th.

It is tough for me watching all of this from afar because I'd much rather be where the action is. Specifically when there are fellow NYU (Puppet, Ambush, Godiva, Wicked [still undergrad], Chewbacca Defense, more?) or Pike (Sockeye, Condors, Machine, PoNY, Boston, AMP, more?) alums. I need the NCAA basketball setup where I can switch between games and live-lookins while watching the scores tick along the bottom. Seriously. That's pretty much the only way to get the full feeling of what Regionals is like. 3.5* divisions! 2 weekends! Early-round upsets! Shocking comebacks! Battling through the backdoor! Finals!! Games-to-Go!!!

One day we'll have the resources to tell the story. We don't just yet. Or perhaps we're just missing the person/people to do it?

*Masters: You will be granted "full division status" when you have more than 5 teams show up for regionals and your Nationals goes for the full 4. Otherwise, I got no problem with y'all.
--
Workout Total:
stretching, massaging, icing
strength work, upper body interval

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Friday, October 5

Am I the Only One

Who thinks that when I watch 300 on DVD, the captions should be inked in like on a comic strip?

I'm pretty sure that's *exactly* what I wanted to watch the other day. I got 300 via Netflix and, as I often do with movies I watch at home, I watched it with captions so I could catch all of the words that I missed the first time. I'm strange like that. I like to read. This is like
reading cliffnotes in a picturebook. Which was kinda the whole point of comic books in the first place.

The reader/watcher/listener could then choose their favorite way/s of experiencing the story. Visual? Textual? Aural? Mix-n-Match!

Anyway, I think this is an incredible idea and someone should do it.

In other news, the quad/itb really seemed to make a bit of a breakthrough today with some high-pressure foam roller-kinda work. Ouchy. But in a good way. I feel like an old person doing this stuff, but it works.
--
Workout total:
stretching/massage
strength workout
icing

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20K

Is it still cool to do the ###K thing to represent thousands?

I'm not sure, but I'd bet that if I'm doing it, it simply *must* be cool.

Anyway, sometime early this morning, I had the 20,000th visitor to the blog. That's really crazy. Granted, that isn't the 20,000th unique visitor or anything, but y'know... The fact that anyone reads this is still surprising.

The other thing is that the massive upturn in # of visitors just after regionals is staggering. Easily doubling the standard "visit per day" rate.

Blogalicious!

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Thursday, October 4

One of the funniest running gags...

For this season has been the emergence of the "Blockle."

Now, the name (blog + heckle = blockle?) could be better, but the notion of heckling me about the blog seems to strike some people as a good idea. I couldn't agree with those people more. I would probably do the same, if I could think of something clever to say about someone's blog. Like, "Hey, Idris... do you like toast too? Yes, as do I. It is warm and crispy and a perfect place for jelly to lay. Now stay away from me Idris, I ain't got shit to say to you!"

Wait... that sucked. And it was a ripoff. I'm not good at this.

Anyway, the basic form of the blockle sounds something like this:

  • "Is that going in the blog?"
  • "Put that shit in the blog!!"
  • "I can't wait to read about this in your blog."
And usually follows something dumb I did on the field. Sometimes it is after I do something good as well. Either way, this adds little entertainment value to the game and is really kinda childish. I mean, yes, I've got a blog. There is a chance I will write about whatever just happened. I also might not. Hooray for pointing out facts as a heckler. That's like the guy from the sideline who yells things like "You got broken!!" in an attempt to heckle. That's pretty basic stuff. Also, every stoner and drunk on the sideline can muster this witty remark. No sign of originality.

The second level of this phenomenon is something to the tune of:
  • "(Something specific from the blog) isn't working too well now, is it?"
  • "Maybe you should try more of (something else specific from the blog), eh?"
  • "More time practicing, less time blogging!"
These are all at least a little better. There is a second thought implied by the first, or a pair of things working together to give a more complex type of humor. This is good. Moving toward actual quality heckling. Also, it shows some level of preparation for the heckle, or at least a working knowledge of possible heckle-worthy items.

The third level of this is more like:
  • "Now go home and blog about how great/awful you are!"
  • "I thought you sucked until I read your blog. Now it is confirmed."
  • "I expect an entry on positional defense in this week's ultimate journal!"
Either through sheer meanness (nos. 1 and two), setup/punchline format (no.two) or predictive power (no.3) these deliver a second level of humor, not just a second level of understanding. Especially entertaining are the well-delivered two-parters. The heckles I expect next are things along the lines of "Rhodes, you magnificent bastard, *I read your blog*!!" or something else that is both referential and topical. I can't think of something that is referential and also has a set-up and punchline, but that's not my forte. I'm still the guy who thinks any quotes from The Big Lebowski, Tombstone or The Princess Bride remain the pinnacle of comedy.

So, for the rest of the season (and/or as long as I continue to write crap about this crap) by all means, bring your best blockles* to the field! Sometimes y'all are downright funny. Other times it is great fun to laugh at people who can't bring the hot sauce.

In any case, I'm loving this season and never want it to end. Ultimate is so much fun, even though I hate it.

*-Still accepting submissions for better names.
--
Workout Total:
45 min throwing
icing, resting, stretching, massage
upper body interval

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Wednesday, October 3

Word on the Limb

Saw the doctor today.

I'm told that the problem with my leg is not exactly a pulled quad, but an accumulation of scar tissue from various knee surgeries and the like. I knew all of the scar tissue was there, but I didn't know it was having an adverse affect on me. Apparently, the musculature of my upper leg is pulled needlessly taught by the combination of being in shape and having tons of scar tissue. This causes friction and inflammation. At regionals, this manifested itself as a ridiculously sharp pain that shot from mid-quad to inner knee.

The plan is to rest, stretch, ice, self-massage and attend PT 3x per week. Ideally, I'll be good for practice next (not this) weekend and definitely all clear for Nationals. Sick. That massage thing is for real. I can feel the scar tissue and they showed me what I'm supposed to be doing with it. That shit ain't no joke. This is painful as hell, but I know that I'm doing the body good.

I worry about some of the other pains that are cropping up in close proximity to this primarily quad/itb thing, but the fact that I think they're connected is a good thing, I suppose. Now we just have to solve the problem.

My thoughts are in a couple of places right now (no particular order):

1. Thinking about people I want to qualify for Nationals this weekend. Friends, alums, et al. I'm not as obsessed with this as I was with my own Regionals, but I'm thinking about y'all.
2. Visualizing playing at Nationals.
3. Getting my body right.
4. Getting Pike ready for the show!

Yup. That's about it on this front.
--
Workout total:
icing, stretching, massaging
strength/interval

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Tuesday, October 2

Getting my Mind Right

honestly, after we won the game-to-go, the rest of the season didn't mean shit to me.

I didn't really care if I got better, and I didn't give a through to how we'd play at Nationals.

Then I remembered. I remembered how much fun it is to play and win there. Everything is magnified. Everything is all-out. No crazy formats to endure. No more than 3 games per day. Flat fields! Nice weather even when it is windy.

Great teams and fantastic challenges await. True tests of the team will be ahead. Standing toe-to-toe with the best teams in the nation, as well as the world.

Then I started getting really excited again. I wanted to get my body right and battle with ym teammates at The Show. I wanted to lead my teammates again. I was no longer satisfied with getting there, because I remember the difference between getting there and achieving there. I love the latter so much more than the former...

Made sure to get some interval work in, even if I can't use my leg, I can do pushups and the like! 8x20sec on/10 sec off pushups twice through with 4 minutes core in between. I can also do single leg stuff for my good leg.

Seeing the doctor tomorrow.
--
workout total:
icing
stretching
painful self massage
low-level strength (leg lifts, ankle raises and the like)
Interval Workout

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Monday, October 1

Day After

OOOWWwwwwwww.

My leg is killing me.

I knew it would be, but y'know what? Sometimes you never really understand things until you experience them. Like this. This sucks.

But the fact remains, Pike will be at Nationals. That's all that matters today. The rest of it will sort itself out. I'm not down about the leg, and I'm not worried about getting ready for Nationals, because I'll either be ready or won't. No need to worry what the outcome is as I'll do my best to recover regardless of the eventual outcome.

My leg is tight and every step with that leg is painful. The knee feels a bit unstable, but I think that's due more to the pain than any actual structural damage. Move it around in my ROM and stretch it out. Keep it warm, massage it and then ice a bit later. Use the good ol IB to handle the extra pain if it is too bad, but be careful not to radically alter what my body is trying to do, y'know?

It still feels great. I can't believe we made a 7-1 run to win that game. I truly never doubted it during the game (I never know the score if I'm playing anyway), but I couldn't believe what had just happened *after* the game. It wasn't until I looked at the score reporter this morning, checked my email/voicemail and confirmed it with an outside source that I truly believed that my eyes and memories hadn't betrayed me.

I thought it was a dream.

This is the frst step up for the new Pike. No matter the outcome of your first Nationals experience as a player, it changes you. It can make you wilt or make you blossom. There are so many Pike guys who are new to club Nationals...

Completely Virgin: 15 or 16 (I think)
Coed Nationals, Never Open: 3 0r 4
Open Nationals, Never with Pike: 4
Open Nationals, with Pike: 7

That last number is shocking to me. From a team that made the quarters in 2005, we only have 7 players left over. I think our roster was 26 that season. Wow. Some of those numbers may be slightly off as we never did a team poll or anything (or background checks for that matter!) but that last number "7" is dead on.
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Workout Total:
Stretching
Icing
Range of Motion
Celebrating
Rest

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