I guess I should write something about Turkey Bowl…
But I’m not sure I’m up to the task. My memory of that tournament is hazy.
We got up pretty early to get picked up just over the border in NY. No real problems there. Bought some coffee and some beer. The woman behind the counter expressed some degree of alarm about the beer, but we worked through it together. Upon arrival, it was pretty cold and windy. But once you get your hands used to it, you’re fine.
First game was against someone with yellow jerseys who were grousing about getting the game started on time. We scored the first three points. I don’t think it was close. I did have what turned out to be a pretty gratuitous bid on this one. I, for some reason, thought that my defender was going to make a play on a disc that was thrown to me, but actually closer to him, so I bid to cut it off as early as possible, but he didn’t even react to the pass. I looked foolish.
Second game was against assman’s team. I think I had met him before. During the 25 minute point we argued about a couple of calls, drank some rum and stood around. I had to sit out for about 40 minutes after that one. Forget it. Marathon points are done for me until Pike starts back up. That was a terrible experience. We ended up winning this one after a comeback of sorts.
Third game was against the Smartwhores, which is a bunch of coed Swarthmore alums and some other people from NYC. And Alex de Frondeville for some reason. There was a dizzy-bat shotgun for pull involving Alex “The Count” de Frondeville, John “The Uncertainty Principle” Patterson, Julie “clap, clap” Sussman “clap, clap,” and a fourth party whom I cannot remember. As expected, The Count defeated The Uncertainty Principle handily in the shotgun, though he did give back a little ground in the dizzy-bat section. Unknown Person did her best to give the lead back to a rallying clap clap, but managed to just cross the finish line in time.
The other team beat us by a bit. Not sure why. Could have been any number of factors including, but not limited to, resorting to “catching more passes in the endzone than us” as a dominant strategy. Intriguing, to say the least. Effective to, to say more.
We then had a game against someone else in the battle for a tie for 4th or 5th or something. We won that one. And then we had some Turkey Dinner and sat in the cold. For some reason. I think there was a final going on at some point, but I was not interested because it was far away from the food and I got the feeling that some of them were taking it seriously. On the other hand, that is prime heckling territory…
Eventually we went home.
Thanks to the one and only Rick Kahn for bringing that team together. Let’s do it again.
Friday, November 30
I guess I should write something about Turkey Bowl…
Sunday, November 25
I think one of my greatest strengths as a thrower is to be able to throw with an imperfect grip.
Not that I have a bad grip on my flick or backhand or anything, but when are situations during play for whatever reason (weather, quick grip switch, greatest attempt, whatever) and I am left with an imperfect grip, I can still complete my passes.
A great example of this was at Chesapeake this year when I picked up the disc from the ground after a stoppage and prepared to throw to someone (dono?) cutting deep, as was the play call. It was an incredibly humid, sweaty day and everyone had expressed the difficulties they were having. As I went to throw this flick, between cocking the disc back and changing the momentum to go forward, the disc began to slip out of my hand. By the time I hit the release point, it was just on the tip of my index finger. I knew it was in the wrong place, but I managed to snap my finder around a little further than I wanted to and get it to the right place. Completion.
This sort of thing happens when I get fouled on the mark and when I sometimes trip over myself while playing. Or on greatest attempts. for which I seem to have a disproportionate share of. In any case, I find this ability very useful, and I have no idea where it came from or if it is the same for everyone else.
Tuesday, November 20
If you live in the metropolitan NY area and would like to throw...
Get in touch. Email's best. Any time. Most anywhere in Manhattan with enough space. Downtown preferred. Jersey City Parking Lots are also available. Weather is not an issue save for absurd extremes.
I also posted 300 times over the year (this is 301). That's a lot. And I have, in theory, another month to increase that. Yow.
So... now what?
Well, in terms of what?
I'll be writing, but not as frequently. I still need to compile the hours I spent on the season for kicks. I'll talk about the future of Pike (yes, we have a future, contrary to some particularly poorly informed or purposefully vicious rumors that have been passed my way). I'll talk about some things that I learned this season and what I hope to work on for the next season. Offseason workouts started today. Short, but intense. 2-3 times per week. Still throwing whenever possible. I've got some new things planned for next season as a thrower already. I can still be so much better at this game! I love it. All of those ultimate thoughts (and more!) when I get to them will be put here at this spot. I'd bet that there is still a minimum of one post per week, but that could vary.
my writing in general:
Well, I recently started a non-ultimate blog because I like writing and don't yet have a clear long-term project to work on. For now, I just like picking random topics and writing about them. Or putting down some of the more interesting thoughts I've had over the day. If you want to visit it, visit it. If you don't, whatever. If you can think of someone else who would like to read it, point them at it. It'll be off-the-beaten-path at very least. It might be off-the-beaten-path CRAP, to be fair, but you know. I'll be doing it no matter how good or bad it is because I enjoy it.
What other stuff? This is a blog about ultimate. I talked about that. Tthis blog has writing. I talked about that. Not much else to cover. Well, I could write about PADA Mosh, but why bother? It was ridiculously fun. I was very intoxicated. I think I may have offended a nice young lady from Fordham. I'm sure I offended my teammates. But we all had a good time. I'll be at Turkey Bowl this weekend. That should be fun. Probably be at Ultimax in December. Thinking about Lei-Out. Definitely Kaimana (already bought the tickets). That'll be epic/awesome. Again.
Sunday, November 18
I could've sworn that when I went to sleep I was fully clothed. I mean, I'm not just wearin' what I came into the world with, but I remember having a shirt. A warm one. This shivering might not be going on if I had a damn shirt on.
What's more, there's no sign of the shirt around. Not near the bed. Speaking of which, where the hell are the covers? They too could fill the vacant position of "thing keeping me warm." I wouldn't ask for a resume or a CV or nuthin. I'd hire 'em on the spot. The interview would be easy too:
"Alright, object, one question. Are you something that could keep me warm?"
Armed with this handy question, I got up in search of an object that could give me an affirmative answer. My first thought was to find the sheets and blanket. My second was to go to the hot tub and chill out there for a while. Then, as I looked around the condo asking various objects this question (or more accurately, I was asking my conceptions of the objects that question and answering for them in my head), a familiar object answered with a firm affirmative.
Oh coffee machine, thank you for always being there for me.
Got a pot going and sat down for a moment. Running some things over in my head about the previous night, I knew that there would be tales told today. Many of them. Some might even involve me. Then again, I haven't yet pulled back the alcoholic haze to make the memories from the previous night clear. And that's a task that requires good, strong coffee. And the Total Hangover Cure.
As I drank the first glorious cup of the thick black stuff, I realized that I most certainly needed nourishment after whatever happened last night. And hell yes, we bought enough eggs. We also still had some cheese and some peppers and veggies about the house. Time for a favorite drunken beach-vacation morning favorite: Scrambled eggs with whatever other shit you've got lying around in them.
Butter up the pan, drop it all in (some cut into smaller bits) including the eggs and just keep scramblin' and adding spices/salt/pepper until it seems done. As I completed this process and downed the coffee, the rest of the condo started getting up. This is, in part, because those bitches went to sleep and never rallied. I, on the other hand, am just a morning person. Some people like sunsets. I'm one of them. But I love sunrises in a whole other way. The morning always holds so much promise. So many paths the day could take. Every morning is, for me, infinity. Just a phenomenal feeling when I stop and accept it.
As the others in the condo arose, we exchanged the usual morning things. Jamie's hand really hurt. He was wrestling Eddie Peters at some point. My feet hurt from many long dumb walks. Jamie's teenaged girlfriend had hung out with some Masters players because Jamie isn't old enough for her. Dan Yi was just a mess. Jamie had broken a bottle to get the party started in at least one room. Mio's face hurt. He had been sleeping on the cold tiles near the hot tub.
Jamie: Oh yeah, I remember you going out there.
Mio: Yeah, I was looking for something cold because I was fucked up on that Khaos.
J: We came looking for you because we didn't know what had happened.
M: Did you?
M: Wait a second.
M: You punched me in the face!
J: Oh shit! I did!
M: That was crazy.
J: You needed it.
M: That's true. I did.
So, apparently late in the evening after the wrestling and broken bottles, Mio had become overwhelmed by the Khaos. He wandered away from the group to find a cold place to lay down. He pressed his face against the cold tiles near the pool and stayed there. Jamie found him later. This was the exchange:
J: Mio, what're you doing?
[Mio rolls over and looks up at Jamie]
M: I'm laying here on the cold tiles because I feel like I'm gonna puke.
J: No you're not.
[Jamie punches Mio in the face and slaps him]
M: OW, DOG!!! You punched me in the fucking face!!
J: But you're not going to puke, right?
M: No... I don't feel like puking now. Thanks!
Unbelievable. Jamie has been involved in many face-punching incidents with the ultimate crowd. Actually, the other 2 or 3 all involved Paul, a fellow Santa Cruz alum. They didn't know each other in college (not there at the same time) but looking back, I wish that they had. Those would've been some stories to tell! Now, they just see each other, have good times and punch each other in the face. As people do.
The eggs were pretty solid, the coffee was excellent. We cleaned up the place and chatted about the evening. Then we headed to the fields to watch some ultimate. The women's final was about over when we got there. We see Fury close it out. Dan Yi establishes a strong early presence in the beer garden. They announce a bunch of stuff about the women's champion and Worlds and all of that. There was some cheering during this.
Eventually, I sat down at the pavilion or whatever that thing is called. Shade. Nice. At some point Geoff Buhl pulled up some pine as well. Another Condors fella as well. I think it might have been the tall guy (Ryan?) who used to play at Princeton. Then again, that guy may not actually be on the Condors. I'm not sure.
I settled in to watch the men's final. I won't bother with a bit by bit recap, you should just watch it for yourself on UVTV. What I will say is that the team strategies are interesting to compare, especially in the wind. That's the one thing that isn't really captured on the video. (How could it be???) The wind was gusty. It definitely affected throws, catches, decisions and large-level strategy. I was pretty sure that Sockeye would take this one despite Bravo keeping it close. Experience is a big factor, and the strategic choices that Sockeye makes seem to give them consistency from game to game. Bravo's strategic game seems to lend itself more to runs for both teams. I was definitely doubting my prediction when Bravo took half. I knew that neither team would run away with it or anything, but I thought for a moment that Boulder might win a tight one. Not to be.
It was a pretty fun game to watch, probably because it was a little messy due to the wind. Brutally efficient offense isn't near as much fun for spectators and calm conditions tend to result in that type of game.
And then there was the spirit award. Got up with all of the other individual nominees and got a little medal, some beads, a beer, a fuzzy 5ultimate spirit hat, a disc and a pin. Pretty cool. Had to smile for pictures and all as well. Karl Doege? Also a spirit winner. And Hinkle. And some others. We all looked good, of course, because, well, we're us.
Now I've got a fuzzy spirit hat.
Pawned Jamie's early-flight-takin-ass off on someone else. Then Mio disappeared. So too did Dan Yi. All of the sudden, I was on the way to the airport by myself...
"This is the way the [season] ends."
Thursday, November 15
And there we were. In the Publix. Contemplating our options for the evening.
No need to purchase food, we’ve got some leftovers since we were always waking up late. Some lamb (now marinated!) for me and some beans or some other shit for whomever bought that. Eggs for the next morning.
Of course we need beer. Lots of it. Take no chances running out. Bought a bunch of beer. Modelo Especial and Tecate I think. Maybe some other really cheap stuff to give a base. Unclear. There was still a bunch of PBR left. And then Dan Yi strikes a stroke for genius.
“Hey guys, we need hard alcohol.”
Of course we do, Dan. Of course we do. As he sets off to purchase this, Mio and Jamie share an intense realization as we are loitering near the wall of beer.
“We need something to mix this with.”At which point a bunch of Monster “Khaos” (That’s the flavor, mind you) was purchased. This was phenomenal. There are few things that will make you make terribly entertaining decisions like a bunch of alcohol plus energy drink. This is why Sparks is such a phenomenon. They capitalized on the “Gambler’s Delight” crazy for Red Bull and Vodka by making an energy drink that is already chock full of alcohol. That’s a story about PADA Mosh though. I’ll save it.
“Yeah. I don’t want OJ or anything like that either.”
“Nah. Too healthy.”
“Do you see what I see?”
“Yup. It’s perfect.”
“And TWO flavors!”
“I know. It’s like, which crime do you want to be arrested for tonight, Assault or Khaos?”
So we walked out with a bunch of vodka, beer, energy drinks and random shit to head home and cook up some food. Done.
At some point, there was meat-juice on the floor while I was cooking. No fault of mine. Jamie’s teenage girlfriend, a vegetarian, then stepped in said meat juice. That was awesome. For the record. Even though you weren’t there and I can’t tell this story in an entertaining way, I thought you should know that this is the sort of thing I find funny. “You might be an asshole if…”
There may have been some napping and the like, but not from me. It was beer o’clock and someone had already done the buyin’.
Eventually we decided to wander around and the like. I went to the hot tub for a minute. Ran into some Pikes. Stayed there. Then I went back to the room and decided that I must go directly to the beach without collecting $200 or passing Go. I took the rest of the room with me. They had their Khaos, I had my beersling.
Beersling, you say? Well, I’m not sure what exactly it is called, but imagine a cooler shaped like a snake. The length of 6 cans of beer put end to end. Slightly larger in circumference than a beer can. With a strap that goes over your shoulder. Openings on both ends. And a really effective insulator. In the colors of the Sydney Swans. Best part? It was a gift from my sister from her trip to Australia. This thing is phenomenal. Perfect for ultimate and the beach. And it just so happens that I’m at an ultimate tournament on the beach. Nice.
So we went down tot eh beach. No one was there. So we “walked around and drank some more.” Eventually we headed back to the condo. Jamie, Dan Yi, Mio and Jamie’s Teenage Girlfriend all went pool-hopping. I went back to get more beer. At this point the details get fuzzy. Things I remember specifically (In no particular order):
- Long walk to see someone.
- Incorrect spacetime.
- Back again.
- On the beach.
- 5am Free Beer on the beach.
- Rosham. The Karl Doege. A Jim Parinella.
- Some twisted game of “Guess who I am” with the boys from 5ultimate and someone who is married to someone on Bravo. There were no winners.
- Finding assholes asleep in the condo. Weaksauce.
- Waking up somewhere on the beach at some point.
- “BEERSLING, BITCH!”
- The lonely letdown.
- Boys and Girls in America.
- The beginning of Pike 2008.
One more part to retell… and it involves things other people remembered from the night before and some recollections/thoughts from the finals.
Monday, November 12
So, we got ready to heckle semis and all of that.
This meant, first and foremost, getting in comfortable clothes, checking some fire safety around the complex, running into people you know in the ultimate world and getting to the beer garden. There’s some time before it all really gets started in terms of games, but it isn’t an eternity.
All of those tasks were accomplished, and our things were in our car. As was the teapot that we had used to transport coffee to the fields as well as the coffee mugs from The Palm Bay Club that we had borrowed. This is better than everyone drinking out of the teapot. Trust me. That was on option.
It was at this point that the ridiculousness of the year struck me. Aside from the general absurdity of sports, I also play a sport that no one watches and that no one outside of the immediate community cares about. Above that, I’m pretty fucking good (not the best just yet, that’s coming as I keep working!) at it, I spend a ton of time, energy and money on it, and I travel all over the place to play. Past that, you look around at the teams and players here and you know that there is still something completely and utterly non-standard about it. Frisbees? Really? Goofy names like “Johnny Bravo” are among the best at the sport? You’re just as likely to hear a discussion about the merits of various high-level theories in [insert discipline here] as you are a discussion about the nerdiest way to heckle your teammates as you are a discussion of the disgusting workout regimen that so-and-so put together or the nuances of various dump setups on the field.
All the while, there’s this ridiculously beautiful expanse of grass on which some of the absolute best teams/players in the game have been doing battle on for the last couple of days. A battle which will only intensify over the next 1.5 days as the weaker teams are weeded out over the final two rounds of every division (And then the Pickup division is doing something else with fewer rounds). The guys you see at this level are dedicated players. In at least some sense. Physically or mentally or emotionally or tactically they are dedicated to the game. They work their asses of in some way to get there. To get to this spot in a completely absurd game that no one takes seriously.
And I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be.
Sure, those pangs of “I need to be playing here instead of watching” come and go, but you still need to celebrate your life, not mourn your past. So I did. And most other former-competitors did too. At some point, you think about yours season and it all makes sense now. The mistakes you made in February or March are played out in the way you and your team progressed. The strange gut feelings you had about your team have come to pass (or not) and you can understand the season with as complete a data-set as you can ever have. While having beer. While watching some high-level players. In the Florida Sun, in November, withouta real care in the world…
As we sat down to watch the semis, we were again irritated by the lack of proximity of the beer garden to the games we were going to watch. Sorry, Amp, I wished you luck, but as I told Furf before, I’m not gonna watch y’all unless you make the finals. I don’t have to play against y’all. I can learn more by watching my division. Mental notes, real notes and an idea of what other teams are doing to be as good as they are. What works? What doesn’t? What styles of play? How would my team compare? What strategies would I use to counter theirs? Is that similar to what the other teams are doing? Who are the palyers I need to know about? Who I need to prepare for when I face them?
There is no offseason, truly. Just a change in focus.
Went over to the Goat/Bravo game first. Because, well, it started first. My statement before this one was that this was a batch matchup for Goat because the two teams played a similar enough style (get the disc going downfield to your dominant players and have them make plays) that the determining factor would be athleticism. I felt that Bravo beat them in that category and said that it would be a 15-10 Bravo win. I was wrong. I twas 15-11. Shoot. The game itself was fun to watch as there was an opening salvo from Bravo to jump ahead, followed by Goat battling back into the game. Then Bravo took it after half, extending an 8-7 lead to a 15-11 victory. The soft kind, as they won on O, not D, but it still counts as a 15-11 victory. Popiel was a huge in this game. That guy ain’t bad.
The next game we were excited for as it had an ex-Pike element with Jaeger as well as an Idris element with, well Idris. Little did we know that Jegor would be covering Idris. Delightful. This left myself, J, Hollander, Walt, Buhl and Jamie to discuss on the sideline. First order of business was how much we hated Jaeger. Second order was what Jamie thought of Idris. Third order was watching the game and drinking beer. 3 for 3. That means I accomplished something today. I remember we asked for predictions, but I can’t remember them. I cast my vote clearly behind Sockeye as I felt that despite Jam’s history as a team, the advantage of being together in a system for multiple tuitle-winning years made Seattle the favorite. Recent finishes ahead of Sockeye and the victory at ECC (or Laborday?) over them did little to sway me of this thought. I was sure that it would be closer than the other semi. If only because this was the big show. The late men’s semi. The one that everyone watches. I don’t recall a blowout in this one since I’ve watched nationals, but I could be making that up. Facts just get in the way of my story.
IT was fun to watch the Idris/Jaeger matchup as you could see Jaeger working to push Idris away from the disc. It was pretty effective as Idris seemed reluctant to force the disc into his hands near the disc and content to make pretty solid deep cuts that were not thrown to. Probably because he trusts his teammates. At some point Idris got a come-from no-where block on a dump after an O-team turnover (maybe even his throw) which was quite the piece of playing defense in the style of “Identify where the other team will throw the disc and just meet it there.” Which is always fun to see.
As Sockeye pulled away, someone in the area said that it was time for Jam to make their run. And they obliged. Closing from being down 13-10 to tie the game at 15s, Jam brought the crowd back into it, just as they were getting ready to leave or just go to the beer garden full-time. Sockeye scores on O with a Kubalanza flick to a short-yardage conversion. On Jam’s O-point, there are at least 3 turnovers. One by Jam, one by Sockeye and another by Jam. Then Sockeye finishes it off with some Wiggins action and one of those tall Nordic-Carleton types catching a goal. 17-15, Sockeye. Good game.
Time to go drink more.
Wednesday, November 7
This day definitely started better than the last.
The Palm Bay Club early in the am is a nice place to be. Start the coffee up and take a little stroll around the way. The area is just secluded enough that you don't see many people. And of those you do, approximately 97.46% play ultimate. Then you have the opportunity to detrmine how social you are.
As you catch eyes with all of the ultimate players in the morning, how do you acknowledge them? Stare them down? Give a little nod? Smile? Say "Good morning" softly? Start a conversation? Shout something silly? I, of course, am too busy thinking these things to pick an option ("And time yet for a hundred indecisions,/And for a hundred visions and revisions,/Before the taking of a toast and tea.") and end up doing parts of every option I've considered. This ends with something like a half-wave/half-smile combined with a knowing grunt/cough that varies in volume. Not so slick, slick.
Get back into the condo and get to makin' breakfast. Omelet it is! Coffee is ready to go (I can tell by the heavenly smell!) and I've got the ipod on. I'd rather have speakers, but this'll do. Actually it better tunes out the awesome snoring power of the teammate sleeping on the fold-out couch. I think he's sleeping there in part because I refused to sleep in the same room on the grounds the only two outcomes over the first night is that I would get no sleep at all or he would wake up in a pool of his own blood. It really is a sound to be-hear.
Everyone gets up well in time today and since there will be no traffic (Hooray Saturday!) there is no real rush to get to the fields. Oh yeah, and we're playing in the shitbox. Not that I'm not still excited to be here, but it always take a bit of wind from your sails. Just a bit. In my mind, the important game today is the first one. Win that and you're 13/14. Lose that and you're 15/16. I mean... One guarantees that you finish ahead of two teams while the other guarantees you finish ahead of one team. Once you start falling down the ladder, I find that this is a good motivator for me. Or at least, the best motivator I've got to tell myself that these are big games. I get up more for big games. Maybe that's a virtue, maybe that's a fault, but that's who I am and I don't think I want to change it.
Get to the fields and take ultimate's version of "The walk of shame" to the furthest fields from anything. I mean, you can drive over and park closer to these fields, but then in your haste to get to the beer garden later, you might leave the car there. And still... the drive makes you feel even more isolated from the ultimate world. At least with the walk, you can run into some people you know and remember what it feels like to be warming up for the quarters on the big stage instead of shitbox games on the off-off-off-off-off-off-off-off-off-off Broadway stage.
My body is killing me today. My feet are aching and covered in blisters (this is what happens when you can't really run around in cleats for 3 weeks before the biggest 3-day tourney of the year), my throwing shoulder is feeling a little fatigued, and there's still the quad thing that never fully went away. And of course the usual mystery bruises and scrapes. Oh, but there's a really interesting injury too. My hands. My hands are swollen and bruised from clapping too much and too aggressively. That's odd. I don't think that has happened before, but it, uh, really hurts to catch, clap or slap fives. Not good times. This is what happens when you move to the D team from the O team. You become dumb enough to hurt yourself clapping. Damn.
vs Doublewide, 9-13
We had some little tiffs with them when we were in Austin for Livelogic, but nothing crazy. I got to talk to Max a bit in those games which was cool. I've definitely played against a bunch of these guys outside of club ultimate (Goofball tourneys, somewhere else? I don't know.) and was a little surprised to see them down here. At some point, the frustration of both teams for being in this spot got the better of Max and Schmucker who had a little tussle. This led to the wonderful moment when your captains pull you apart, have little team meetings and tell everyone to stop being dicks. I'm never really sure if that is the right time to say something goofy or not. It might be. Regardless, we got over it and finished the game out. I think we took the lead early in this game and then managed to let it slip away late in the first half or early in the second half. I got my first actual D of the tourney at some point in this one. I mean, I had other teams throw the disc to me, or my guy threw it away with some help from the mark, but this was an actual block, which I don't remember happening before this. Handlers are irritating to cover. They played better than us and won it as our team kinda fell apart as the game went on.
I think the weekend had really begun to wear on people at this point. Losing 6 in a row can do that to you. Near the end of this one, I was playing a point and we eventually got scored on. I just kinda deflated when it happened. I was suddenly acutely aware that every step I took hurt like hell-- running and changing direction, doubly so. Up to that point, I had been able to put it out of my mind and power through. But the ball of negativity that our team had become combined with the ball of pain that my body had become to take it all out of me. I felt like the only thing that could make me play another point at this point was if my life actually depended on it. I then made a decision that I began to regret in the afternoon. I decided that I wouldn't play in the next game. I rationalized it in all kinds of ways in my head at the time, but in the end, it was quite likely the wrong decision.
Hindsight, as always, is 20/20.
In the parlance of our times, "Mistakes were made." Oh wait, that's just a copout. Mistakes weren't made. Mistakes were made by ME. Step up and own your fucking mistakes at very least.
Anyway, the tourney went on...
vs The Van Buren Boys, 11-10
Not sure how this game started or went really. I watched it, and I felt like we were winning the whole way, but then when the game ended it was much closer than the 15-10 victory I was expecting. I don't know what that means, but that's how it felt.
After the game, we had a little huddle and talked for a quick minute about what else was going on, where the quarters were and all of that. Talked about the season a little bit and that sort of thing. And then something completely unexpected happened. I found out that I was nominated for the Farricker Spirit Award. Huh? I mean, I think that I play a clean, principled and fair game but if someone asked me if I would ever win a spirit award, I would say that they're nuts. I mean... I'm kind of a jerk. As this went through my head and processed a bit, I actually started to think of myself as a pretty spirited player. Even when I get a little hot under the collar, I don't cheat and act in a respectful manner. I have made mistakes, but those mistakes all involved what I feel are completely reckless and dangerous plays that put players in harm's way with no actual reward in sight. No matter how nice a person you are, if you don't let people/players know that it is not appropriate to endanger you, your teammates or friends I feel you are no longer being nice, now you're being timid. They are different.
Anyway, forget that strange, tangential rumination on spirit and what it means to me, but the fact of it is that our team decided that I should have this award. I was really honored and touched. There was something about this, for Pike, actually being the "Team First" award and that made it mean a little more to me. "Thanks, guys. Sorry I let you down in that last game there. [Insert something that would make that excusable here]." is what I wanted to say. Instead I said nothing. I'm a weird dude.
After this, we headed to the beer tent for some, uh, beer. Or did we go grab some food first? I don't know. But eventually, we found out that the open semis would not, in fact, be held near the beer garden. This was upsetting. I know that the UPA is trying to be fair and to promote all of the division and all... but really? How many people watch the open semis vs the women's and mixed semis? (I think there's another "pickup" division at Nationals, but I saw no evidence of it) I tried to look for photo evidence of this, but I got bored. A great illustration would be a picture from the top of the pavilion or grandstand or whatever that is. It isn't even close. And the only reason it is even in the same ballpark is because the beer is closer to the other divisions. Got no problem with the other divisions, all joking aside, but let's acknowledge which division draws the bigger crowd, put them on the main fields and serve the beer there. Damn!
Anyway, some parts of the tale of the semis and the night will come later.