Neil Young and I have the same problem
No, not hilarious yet awesome yet embarrassing yet captivating videos on the web.
More that the things we promised never to do when we were younger, we did precisely. Promises take work to keep. Dreams take time to build.
I faded out of ultimate, like I never thought I could.
It started with my body. After the punishing Southpaw tryouts, I was a wreck. It was literally having one of the most taxing tournaments you've played in, but every weekend. From the second week in April through when I got cut the second to last week of May. My body literally cannot keep up that pace any longer. Every step I took on the field became a brutal chore rather than a joyous bounce. Everything burned in practice, which I used to hungrily lap in incomprehensible cats-solving-complex-four-dimensional-fluid-problems-with-little-more-than-a-tongue-water-and-evolution-like-ways and turn into fuel. Or sustenance. Or something.
This time, every single step hurt. I mean, during the week. Like, from Monday to Thursday. Everything hurt. My knees were on fire every day. Inflamed. Swollen. This is ACLs replaced and partial meniscectomies on both knees doing what all the doctors told me they would eventually do. There are only so many miles on a car. There are only so many miles pain-free in knees. I reached that mark during tryouts, if not before (without realizing it). I hadn't accepted it, but this is what occurred, as I know now.
I wasn't ready to accept this at all, so I tried out with PoNY. They eventually took me on as a full-time player, when previously I explained that I was interested in a practice player role, due to the way my body was feeling this season. I got to play a perfect amount of points at some great tourneys (YAY ECC!, CUT, Boston Invite, Chesapeake Open) but at some point it was just completely apparent to me that I didn't have it anymore.
I don't know what it was in the first place, but it wasn't there anymore. It was a blast to go to practices with PoNY. They were some of the best practices I've been at in terms of high-level execution, precision, competition and general good-attitude work. They were intense, brief and organized. I don't personally agree with all of the strategic decisions, but those decisions were well above my pay grade, and I knew that they were made with forethought and discussion. I offered my bits that I felt could be easily changed for the better without dramatically altering the plans in place. I left out the crazy stuff I think on re: Ultimate strategy.
I bought into what they did when I saw how it worked. I experienced the other side of what happens when you play PoNY. They wear you out. Everything feels like it is going swimmingly for your O, and then all of the sudden, you've given up a quintuple-bird-strike and the motherfuckers are all yelling about already doing work around the clock while a whole fresh 7 are on the line already while your O-team is walking back to the line knowing exactly what is coming their way because the hybrids have only shown what feels like one defensive look all game which is similar in execution to The Great Wall of China. That is, you keep bumping up against it, even though you know where it is, what it looks like and what it is going to do when you make casual contact. The problem is that the fucker is too stubborn to give up.
PoNY D-Line 2010 was approximately 10 handlers and 6 cutters. Some players are hybrids, some of them play O and D. This meant that there was never any reason to panic on O after the turn. In games where we played our game and just completed passes, we brutalized O-teams. In games where we got antsy and over-aggressive with our throws, we sometimes won, sometimes lost. If the O had a bad game with an antsy D game? Big loss.
This was a great team to play with. Great. The average skill-level on PoNY was off-the-charts. The average skill set of "game-ready" throws/catches/cuts was just kinda... impressive. No one was ever surprised at the huge plays. They were so damn... routine.
The way that I played this year? Not-great. So subpar by my own standards that I just... I couldn't commit to being that average. I couldn't buy in to going on the field and being just... so... irrelevant. I could no longer dictate where my guy should go when I was covering him because my feet just didn't move as quickly as I remember them doing. Mentally or physically, I don't know where the "it" that was missing resides, but it wasn't there. I was terrified of my guy busting deep on me in a way that never was before. As soon as the field opened up, everyone kept getting further away from me. It was like doing track workouts with Malcolm Baker back in 06-07 or whenever. That guy was always accelerating over whatever the distance was. That is what every single cut over 30 yards felt like. I had to work so hard to box guys into a little space so that they couldn't or wouldn't cut because if they got out of the little box I put them in, I was dead.
I was so used to folks only getting out of the box to learn that I had somehow suckered them into thinking that I was slow. Now I was suckering myself into thinking that I was still fast. What a nightmare. On a team where individual matchups are prioritized over help-d, switching, poaching, different zones and the like, the worst player on the field is the guy who doesn't know his strengths and weaknesses.
Offensively, I felt good. I had some timing/expectation issues early on in terms of adjusting to playing a primarily Vert Stack for the first time in 4 years. And a Vert stack with a very different plan on how to attack the field from that set. The Ho-stack that I had played for 3 years was now out. When we did run Ho, it was also very differently focused than the Pike Ho was.
I never really got used to looking downfield for more than 1 second. I'd trained myself to move the disc as quickly as possible to the first set of open hands I saw (be they 70 or .7 yards away) that I was very uncomfortable catching the disc, coming to a stop and waiting for a cutter to set up a cut. The time it takes to do that is all of... 2 seconds. But when my emphasis has been on getting the disc out before stall 2, waiting until stall 4 seems like an eternity. My problem, I know, and I worked on it, I just... it never felt *right* or I never got natural with it. I had a truly difficult time focusing on this when throwing/tossing with folks. I've always found this a great time to work on "Catch->throw" mechanics. Now I was trying to consciously stop all of my momentum, set my feet, and then step out and throw. Very difficult. I'm always working to never be stationary.
The worst part of Regionals and Nationals (the worst parts of the rest of the season were hearing "nice bid" on things that I knew should be blocks and feeling the surprise in the voices of my teammates when they learned I used to be able to dunk. Those moments cut in ways I can't describe without taking more time to find and parse the language than I want to do here. Suffice to say that previously non-existant issues re: "definition of self" and "identity" were left crashing and collapsing in upon themselves in an orgy of sadness.) was being on the sideline and knowing that my team needed the player that I used to be. Knowing that the little tiny chink in the d-teams armor was perfectly me-sized. The problem was that I was no longer me-sized. I was no longer utterly tireless. I was no longer ready to put myself on the line physically for the disc. I was no longer sure that I'd get there or that the other guy would blink before me. My confidence was shot, in a sense. I still don't know if my mental game weakened my physical game or if my physical game weakened my mental game, but this is again returning to the aforementioned missing "it".
Every time I went out for a run, my knees would burn for the rest of the day, and would be swollen for 2 days. So I stopped running so much. I replaced running with pullups, squats, medball slams, lunges, burpees, &c. Which leads me to my new favorite exercise: The pull-urpee. Do a burpee, but when you jump up, jump up to a pullup bar, and do a pullup. This is what kept me in something resembling "shape". It, along with the copious amounts of medball slamming and throwing (w/ 4lb variety to facilitate armspeed), made a perfect triangle for success in getting my throws better. I feel like another plane has been crossed in that department, and a whole new vista has opened up.
I still love throwing. LOVE it. The disc still fascinates me. The problems to be solved in-game with a disc are awesome. This is all good news. The problem is that the rest of "it" is so much more difficult now... blah blah blah.
(OH! a new fun fitness goal is the musclurpee. Yes, a burpee with a muscle-up on top.)
What this means for me is a mixed bag. Without "it" I should not be on a team with Nationals-level expectations. But I like to play. I am finding again how to find joy in each step, now that I can have it be fun rather than work (And yes, I found PoNY's method of convincing me to Do Work far more convincing than Southpaw's. But we are all wired differently). Then again, I can't take this game too hard anymore because I always said that if I had to take ibuprofen to play, I should be done. That finally happened this year. Depressing, but the only way to forget my knees for long enough to feel free to give on the field.
Yeah, if I'm running for my life, I won't notice. I used to be able to substitute in that equation based on "life=plastic". I can't now. I can't summon up the demon any more. The fiend for the disc. The part of me obsessed with beating you to that piece of plastic just up and R-U-N-N-O-F-T. The part of me that wants to beat you with my throws stopped, dropped and opened up shop, however.
(Yes, that's O Brother Where Art Thou? followed by DMX. I demand that they may or may not be congruous.
Yes, that's a Vroomfondel and Majikthise [Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy] reference.)
If Mosh is any indication, this means I still have a future in the fun-tourney circuit (However, the first round bye filled with hot tub and breakfast stouts may continue to make Sunday's play mentally optional). If PADA is any indication, I still have a future in the league circuit.
Neil Young is still putting out albums. They are still good. They still rock sometimes and they still folk-out sometimes. They are nowhere near as vital as what he put out earlier. They are not as incredible. They can't be. They come after and in the same vein as the the incredible things that done earlier. The incredible things born of a belief that what you're doing matters. That the moment is important. That every note is vital and could be part of a musical moment that is never forgotten. That every step on the field is vital and could be part of a physical moment that is never forgotten.
I don't believe any longer.
I'd rather exist on the field in meaningless moments that envelop me wholly than moment upon moment of "The most important moment of the game, your career, your life". Or, failing that, "At least as important as all the other moments which are not the most-important moments". I'm at the point where each point played is just another point. Each throw is just another throw.
I lose my( )self in the unimportance and impermanence of so many discrete moments.
This too shall pass.
Saturday, November 13
Neil Young and I have the same problem
Thursday, November 4
This is not about anything in particular,
but rather an old-school spewfest of ultimate related schtuff.
If that hasn't scared you, uh, maybe the verbal tic represented, uh, textually will, y'know, convince you that this is now what you think it should have been.
Growth wildcards should be burnt at the stake. Or in effigy. Either achieves the same. Meaning is meaningless. I think we all agree here. At least in club. I still don't care about college, even though that's the real division. We really believe that growing the memebership is relevant to which teams deserve a shot at the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP? Fuck off.
Size wildcards are an abomination. The difference btw the NE and the CN was 2 teams. 2 teams that had nothing to do with the competition to get to Nationals. Something like... well, we should have put together 2 7-man teams who showed up for the first point of the first game and then bagged. Or we should have convinced the local colleges (NYU for example) to go as women's and men's teams instead of coed teams. Yup. College should always be about choosing whether to hang out with chicks or send someone you've never met to Florida.
Strength wildcards are a year off. The MA has 2 strength bids. The MA DOES NOT HAVE 4 NATIONALS-LEVEL TEAMS. In fact, I can't recall it ever having 4 nationals-level teams. Great. Good showing by Truck, Ring and Paw, but... who makes the 4th bid in 2011?? Can't we take away the bid based on "Virginia Squires" "Medmen" and "XRATES"? And give it to... I don't know... a region with ECU&Rhino? A region with Bodhi&GOAT? These strength wildcards are a misnomer. They cannot and do not attempt to measure current strength. They measure past strength based on the results of one tourney. Yes, we all know that it is the biggest tourney in the world and the best and that everything is on the line and all (for example, PoNY's loss to Truck Stop was a biggie for strength wildcards, and as such, the NE has no one to blame but itself, in the end.) but it is literally one tournament played by a portion of the teams in a region. Wouldn't Strength of a Region be determined by the regions competing against each other rather than the top 2-4 teams competing against each other? If I'm not mistaken, all that does is determine which of those teams is better. The application of that data to the whole region is fucking dubious.
Solve nothing. They solve NOTHING. They just change the locus of responsibility. Would you rather have an issue with an opponent making a call (An opponent with whom you can speak, converse, find a middle ground and move on) or an observer (with whom you can get TMF-ed etc for discussing shit with passion)? BEcause you can't handle the authority that self-officiating gives you? Or is it the responsibility? That said... active line, goal, up/down and stallcounts should be handled by non-players. An arbiter is useful, but wouldn't you rather be a grownup and solve the problem yourself? Wouldn't you rather make good choices when no one is watching than when you're being hovered over? Yes, this allows you to cheat, but you can cheat with observers and refs too. If I grab my opponents jersey w/o observers, the guy will likely turn to me after saying "foul" and say "if you do that again, we'll have some problems." we're in control. Iff we do that with observers and I know that I pulled the guys shirt from an angle that the observer could not see... Welp, I'm going to the observer. I've been trained by soccer and basketball to know where the refs are, know what they can see and can't. When I go to the observer after obviously and tactically cold-bloodedly fouling you, he will uphold my cheating.
There are loopholes in all rulesets (or did Godel not stick with you?). We caan still choose where those loopholes lie in ultimate. We can still take control and say "I believe we can all be adults about this meaningless game." Or we can say "Y'know what? I don't like responsibility."
Fucking punt and decide you're not an adult if you like.
Cheat against me in all the self-reffed games you like.
Take the "win". It is a matter of perspective.
I want you to get what you want
I want me to get what I want
NJ isn't a state unto itself. It exists at the pleasure of NY and PA. The only joy of living in NJ is the ability to play in either the MA or the NE. The NYC metropolis might actually cover as much ground in NJ as NY (anyone who tells you that the space from the Hudson to the far side of Newark is not NYC is a moron. Newark is just for folks who haven't made it to NYC yet. Much like Connecticut. Hell, you could extend this to people who live in Philly and commute to NYC every day on the train to work.) The notion that a whole team could move from one side of a river to the other within the same metropolis, keep the same jobs, move into bigger apartments and have a commute that is either the same or shorter and as a result switch regions is a absurd.
4. Yes, the beer tent was waaaaaaaay emptier.
But the sidelines had a shit-ton more coolers full of beer. Yup. Environmentally responsible, that's the USAU! OR, excuse me, that's the insurance folks! Waaaay to worried about drunk people to sniff out "Wait, there will be more cans, bottles (tho they're illegal at the site) coolers, bags of ice, solo cups &c which are all not actually things we need more of!" IF you want ultimate players to spend time in your beer tent, you need to do a goddamn price comparison. 3 dollars per shitty beer is not as good as 30 shitty beers for under a dollar each. Maybe ramp up the selection? Maybe... encourage people to be social and spectate? Definitely folks leaving the fields "to get beer" and never coming back. Yup. Huge spectator sport we've got here.
Big shout outs to Zac&Jeff for reppin' old school NYU in the mixed finals!
6. Troll 2
P(heart)Troll 2. That is all there is.
Look, USAU, I am generally pro-you. You do a lot of things. I pay little money for it. But really? You go from having nice, working website2 for CLUB NATIONAL CHAMMPIONSHIPS to which i can direct friends, family and freaks to this piece of shit USAU ugly scorereporter thing? This is what you want? Yeah, you're right. History sucks. Sustainability is for the birds, and archives blow chunks. I would rather have more page views because no one can find anything on my goddamned site. And certainly not from a mobile phone! Thanks for loading up ludicrously crowded field maps (http://scores.usaultimate.org/scores/#open/tournament/7490) such that my phone can't view it. Is it because you thought no one would see the portojohns? or that non one would see the water? Wait... it doesn't matter, I couldn't view the goddamn map from the phone that I was using at the site anyway.
Mike G sez it best.
And I can actually go back and see what the score was at different points of the game??? Dump the USAUltimate site altogether, add rosters, and apply the RRI algorithm. Get it over with.
8. Tournament Food.
This is not only about nationals, but who the fuck is in charge of this stuff? Bagels without peanut butter? Bread and fruit without protein? Seriously? How long has this been going on? How many studies have shown? HAnd out some jerkey or PB or other nutbutter (giggle away, children) or whatever. I don't think that tourneys should necessarily provide food, but if you take on that responsibility, do it right! Care for the bodies of others. Even Gatorade caught on that carbs and salt aren't enough!
9. Tournament Food pt 2
I haven't been to a single ultimate tourney where someone is selling breakfast other than Poultry Days. Why? Ultimate players are all responsible enough to eat before they get to the fields?
10. See y'all in the future, my high level open career is happily, thankfully, mercifully, whatevery over.
I'll lurk around for a while, eventually move to coaching and I'll continue play at fun tourneys (Mosh, Ultimax, Kaimana up next), but the journey is done. The real work? The heavy lifting? The willingness to put myself in a hospital for my teammates? Over. I'm removing the meanings I imbued the spinning disc with for so long to reconstruct a real life. Instead of only caring about plastic and whether I could catch it or not, I'll saddle up and give real life a real shot. The years of escape are over. I think I should apply to college. Wait... I already graduated? Really? For years? Yikes.
Anyone want to hire me?
I suppose even if the answer is "yes" no one who reads this blather will hire me.
Monday, October 11
MBA SONY (Which Mio, TonyVu the indefatigablephotog and I missed because something weird happened in Danbury after dinner), Dark or Light, Ironside (L). Day 2: Mephisto, GOAT, Bodhi.
Almasulis should learn the Sam Cassell dance for what he done did to GOAT.
It is tough to beat a centaur riding a heride of lionhorses!
Eight years, six nationals.
Time to get ready for The Show.
Many Pikes, NYUs, Philthys, Barfights and CTYs to be seen during this edition.
And all you other folks too:
See you with Sara.
Tuesday, September 21
All you can do
is win win win the games you play.
Yale, Army, HUSL All-Stars, PonX, Parking Space, Vassar, WSL All-Stars (Masters Edition), Replicants, Pride Hill.
My own experience reminded me what a team is. The help helps differently for each. The joy of chosen responsibility.
It has been a long time since I've been "just another player". I find it awkward and exhilarating. Confusing and freeing.
To be found, you must first be lost.
Good to see Sardo dropping bombs, Jeff Ho getting massive kick blocks, Reuben&Venose knowing their Roots, Feetch... Feetching, Young Herm... Herminatoring, Ron reliving Road Scholar, ZK running shit, Kuger forgetting his damn water bottle (yes, it still has mud on it from the practice at which he left it), JP being exactly who we thought he was... and on anon.
Point being, playing Metro NY club sectionals was like a trip home to new place. Those fields mean nothing, unlike the Fredericksburg fields. The people mean something. This means something. This must be the place. That must've been the place. Everywhere is the place because the place is nothing.
From end to beginning, we begin again.
Always we move forward, like the ouroborus.
The question I get asked most often
is "So, what's the deal with Pike folding?"
Rarely do folks mean "Tell me about the offseason that lead from Pike to Southpaw". Usually, what they mean is to ask about an ex-Pike, or to know who is AMP now, or who is on Southpaw, or who the coach of Southpaw is, exactly, or whatever.
Well, I'm not exactly going to answer any of that. I'm going to messily tackle 2 topics:
1) Pike is not Southpaw and that Southpaw is not Pike. To make either assertion is to do a disservice to Southpaw, Pike, Philly Ultimate and any number of other groups, players, coaches, individuals, groups, &c.
2) Pike did not "fold", "disband", "fall apart" or whatever other pejorative you'd like to apply.
The second first: Pike, as a team, chose to unite the open ultimate talent in the greater Philadelphia area by having fully open, inclusive tryouts. The issue of team name was tabled until the team was chosen, so that the chosen players could chose the name and no one would say "I will not tryout for 'Pike'".
Key stated goals of the "merger" were:
-- Create an elite-level team that is wholly invested in and supported by the area ultimate communities rather than a separate entity.
-- Stop the continual creation/recreation of teams competing for the top talent in the Philly area by creating a sustainable team as *the* destination for all area players wishing to compete at the highest level.
-- Create a team environment that allows&encourages the duality of fun and dedication to excellence.
-- Represent Philadelphia's heart, soul and grit on the ultimate field.
I was cut from the team, so, I'm not the person to address progress toward the above goals. I was part of the group that came together in the offseason to make Southpaw happen, so, I am the person to tell you what the goals were.
The first second: Southpaw is not Pike. There are any number of things to cite on this topic, but the clearest of them is to ask the opponents of Southpaw if they are Pike. I know the answer, but that is too... nebulous&hearay-ey to tackle here.
To go a little further, let's look at the roster. Baselevel info is that there are 13(/27 + 1 Injured Reserve) ex-pikes on Southpaw:
Name: Years as Pike
Ian: 03-07, 09
A look at the full roster:
Player, Most Recent Team*
Art Shull, Pike
Leon Chou, Pike
Ross Littauer, Pike
Jake Rainwater, Pike
Tim Johnson, Pike
Jon Fink, Pike
Ian McClellan, Pike
Dan Furfari, AMP
David Brandolph, AMP
Matt Glazer, AMP
Sean Murray, AMP
Tim Gaulton, AMP
Eddie Peters, AMP
Nick Hirannet, Hooray!
Thomas Pribicko, Hooray!
Nick Purifico, Hooray!
Mike Panna, Hooray! (Injured Reserve)
Adrian Chow, Carleton
Brandon Silverman, Team Tent U
Alex Kadesch, Philly Love
Joel Wooten, Chain Lightning
Greg Owens, TCNJ
Matt Schmucker, ????
David Stoddard, Roots of Rhythm
George Katzenbach, Ironside
Frederick Brasz, Princeton
Carl Deffenbaugh, Machine
Billy Maroon, O.l.d. S.a.g.
*- To the best of my knowledge
To break that down differently:
Type of team: # of players
Nationals Open: 10
Nationals Coed: 7
Nationals Masters: 1
Nationals College: 1 (3 if you include Kadesch&Shull)
Non-Nationals Open: 3
Non-Nationals Coed: 3
Non-Nationals College: 2
Or, another way:
Experience: # of players
Nationals Open: 16
Nationals Coed: 10
Nationals Masters: 1
Nationals College: 12
(Some of the college list is off, I'm pretty sure. I can't entirely reliably recall who was in college when or even for which school any longer.)
Finally, I feel that Southpaw is defined by their coach (Jeff Snader) rather than by their players. This was not true of Pike even if you replaced "coach" with "captains". I do not mean to judge this definition, I mean to make the statement, you can judge the rest for yourself.
Swagger U beat Pike at sectionals in 2009. Now they're Pike-killers who can't finish sectionals. No one from Pike can change it or deny it, or ever get revenge.
Pike beat Los in the game-to-go in 2007 and 2009. No one on Los can change it or deny it, or ever get revenge.
Point is, there is nothing historic at stake if/when Los plays Southpaw at Regionals. Southpaw isn't Pike. I hear rumours that Los isn't Los either, but I don't know anything other than 3rd hand accounts (at best) regarding that.
Now, will everyone ask me about PoNY instead?
Friday, September 17
Friday, September 10
I've gotten into it with two separate folks
at the last two tournaments (ECC&Chesapeake) over morality in ultimate.
One, an older-brother over-qualified former-player spectator, the other some random dude.
In both scenarios, a sub-optimal offensive decision was made in which a terrible inevitably d'ed throw was not affected by a subsequent foul. However, the disc, in both situations comes back by the letter of the law.
In both situations, I appealed (loudly) to the better judgment and honor of my opponents by calling them, indirectly, morally immature.
Why let the rules trump your individual sense of right and wrong?
Ultimate is a game.
Is it because of this that you take the opportunity to be morally gray?
Or is it because this is the sort of thing you do everyday?
I'm not sure which offends me more.
I am confident that ultimate provides an opportunity to act totally in concert with individual morality. Why let the opportunity pass? Why not test yourself? Why hide behind the rules rather than reveal yourself?
You can't lose anything aside from something that is nothing.
Which is everything.
To put it directly:
Ackrite > Followrools.
Which way do the walls work?
Walk out of the world and step into the surrogate.
Walls built to separate the world from the show, the world from the sport, the world from the spectacle. Leave that giant thing behind and work your mind well into this smaller one. The sound will suptransport your strength in this new place. The feeling of your feet first falling faintly then asserting their sound around your found strength.
Louder still (clipclop...) landing harder looming larger (...sploosh!). Warming to the impending row. The reason remembered faintly or not at all or completely. The action rules the moment, regardless of who started the fire. Build the pressure.
Look around before the moment engulfs. Before the winlossdraw. Before time is dilated by focus, breathe in the timeless separation. The way the sky always kisses the earth. The way the earth always embraces your body. The way your body holds tight to the mind. Breathe the moment into the past.
Then, the walls are present. Then, the walls are gone. The walls are in your mind or outside? The space is defined by walls or by minds? The difference is real, no matter who started the fire. This is here, that is there. The game is here (I just lost the game. I'll have to contact Furf. He'll have to call his mother), the not-game is there.
Or, which do we play to win, and which do you, like Ford Prefect, play to lose?
The division is mortar and stone. The division is neurotransmitter and receptor. The confines are comfy. The confines are cold. This space is a space I breathe life into. I create it around myself or Vespasian erects it to hold me.
What will follow me when I leave?
What will I carry with me?
What will I leave behind?
Will they remember me?
Will I remember them?
Where is life?
When I die inside the dream, do I wake up a butterfly?
When I wake outside the dream, do I remember my death?
Who breathes my air?
Who walks my path?
Who am I (t)here?
The rules inside rule the rules outside. The wins and losses. The pains and joys. The close enemies, the distant friends. The rules are my own, win or lose.
The field is set, the moment is next:
The rumors are true, I've performed well enough to be offered a series roster spot as a lion in The Pride of New York. The pain is different, but the game is the same. Play it, push through it. Wait, reverse that?
We run for each other.
No justice here, no liberty
No reason, no blame
There's no cause to taint the sweetest taste of blood
And greetings from the nation
As we shake the hands of time
They're taking their ovations
The vultures stay behind
In the colosseum, in the colosseum
In the colosseum tonight
- Tom Waits, In the Colosseum
Friday, August 20
From the Sea-Tac Valu Inn to
the old Immigration and Naturalization Services building.
Finally. Back to the ECC. That was and still is my favorite Non-Nationalscompetitivetourney by far.
I love that the format is ideal for a non-series encounter. I love the fields just enough. I love the mountains. I love consistently playing NW regionals in August.
The experience you gain by going to the best possible tournaments you can bears fruit in October. Winning shitty tournaments benefits you in September.
PoNY started the day with a bye and then faced Streetgang. PoNY prevails. San Diego liked to put it up. We broke with a trump card on the first point.
This team has a pretty solid sense of having an overdrive to go to. The interesting thing is figuring out who goes to overdrive at which point in the game.
The difficulty of a stacked-ass roster.
We never looked back against streetgang. That was sweet.
I think we got down against the Seattle Supersockeyes. If you like the NBA, you like the Supersockeyes. We lost on double game after we had it to score twice. Boo.
Then Furious in our first non-observed game became the outlet for all of the leftover calls.
We prevailed. They still have some big fellas. Joe Smashed them.
The Emerald City Ultimate. Danny Karlinsky had a turnover. We won. That's pretty much all I remember.
Except for the oldpike reunion on the far sideline of Jaeger, Bones, Squigglio, evelkeven... which turned into a barvisit that backtracked to DannyClark, fast forwarded to Bailey Russel, kibitzed about The Fuck, and generally regaled each other with olde timey BS.
Don't sleep on ECU. They could wreck your face. So can the Karlinskys on their sideline.
Sunday morning, Revolver. We lose. I play a little dumb and a little slow. PoNY asks me why like I should know all about Revolver. PoNY apparently plays them all the time. I've played them once now.
Oh well. I make excuses sometimes solely to regret them later. I did get a sweet D in this one. We lost by 6.
Rhino. Yikes. We were suddenly down 6-12.
Then it was 12-14. We lost.
Not sure, in retrospect, that I should have played in that one.
Or was it that I shouldn't have played against ECU?
Anyway, Wolf ft. Neil Pallaver next. They are a lot younger than the other West teams.
East dominated West on the Wknd.
Added some Raj and Will Neff stories to the bank. Met that kp.
Found out about D5 and Slow White from the NYU connects.
NYU presence at 2010 ECC: 5.
ZacRoy, Jeff Ho, Julie Sussman, Krizstina Joszef, my goofy ass.
5Ultimate let many folks sleep on their porch. That was awesome.
Patagonia guy lent me his shade on Saturday Morning. That was awesome, though smaller.
Spent some time in Seattle after the tourney. I saw lots of the International District.
Thanks to many coffee shops, phojoints and the gelatogirl who was shocked at my order at 10:05am.
Seattle has a lot of restaurants.
It is not as sunny as philadelphia.
4-3 on the weekend.
Virginia Squires, Machine and Ironside.
Tuesday, August 10
an open team without a conscience,
just like their old man.
played 3.5 or 4 games with the sons of wilt at nucci's cup last weekend. that was pure fun. lot of expikes at the tourney. i like being able to throw whatever i want so long as it is a completion.
we also wanted "replcicans" shirts.
"where's the beer?"
also hit pony practice each evening.the strategy is starting to feed on itself. this is a compliment to the players/team.
more familiarity and intensity.
first true test upcoming this weekend at ecc.
very pleased to be heading back.
i'm feeling strong going into the weekend. the pony workout plan has agreed with me. the times i've pushed it, my body has been pretty solid in terms of recovery time.
the ability to repeat high-level performance after brief recovery is paramount to ultimate. that part is still easy. good genes?
but the intensity of that highest level output is what seems to go first.
or was it the elimination of "team-killing turnover because he's trying to do too much"dusty in favor of "team wounding, but not too seriousyl turnover because he's not entirely on the same page with his team's strategy in terms of muscle/neuron/whatever memory" dusty?
i thbink that's an upgrade?
nothing is all one way or all another.
so too with aging athletes.
Friday, July 30
by Zachary Mason
pg 55, edited lightly:
When I led my men
I wore a dauntless mask
Neither smiling nor frowning
Always taking the next step.
The essence of that mask was pride--
My men love me not for being right
But for my intransigence,
Instant decisions and intolerance of any sleight.
It made me a monster of ego,
Which was wearisome,
But while they were in my charge
I had no choice.
With no uncertain young faces looking to me
I have become contemplative,
Used to thinking things through
In my own good time.
Thursday, July 8
What was it that happened here?
And how does it all dream away?
I signed my 7 year contract in 2003 when I was 22. A developmental project at the time, Pike would have to invest in me to pay off on the field. The team just came off their first nationals trip, and a large portion of the Pittsburgh players determined that the commute was worth making the show, but only for a limited engagement. There was a need for youth. Or there was no choice. I don't know. I wasn't on Pike at the time. Enter the first Pike rookie recruiting class:
Bailey Russel, Ryan Todd, Harrison Treegoob, Ian McClellan, Ben Kleaveland, Me, Chris Klitgord, Ken Taga and Matt Dufort.
Also new to the team that season were NY refugees Jude, J and Dave.
In 2002 when I graduated from college, I was convinced that I would never play ultimate again. I'm short, not that fast, don't jump that high and managed to get out of college ultimate without knowing anything about club ultimate. I had never considered it aside from late night fever dreams. I had two surgically repaired knees by the time I got to Pike. Why would they need a guy like that?
My fears were confirmed at the very first tryout. In Buccleuch Park in early March, I played my first scrimmage/tryout/practice with Pike. On approximately the first point I played, I was feeling pretty good. I felt like I was open, but timing poorly. Then I get the cut, a good 30 yard gainer. The pass comes. Nice. As I get ready to catch it, I realize that the disc is not the item with the most velocity in my vicinity. It is instead some nutfucker laying out over my shoulder at the disc. Of course, he got the block by about 2 feet. Feet, coincidentally, are the only parts of his body that I could have grabbed if I so chose during that point. He landed in a huge ice-covered pool of muddy water with the disc caught-blocked in one hand, already scrambling to his feet to throw a 5 yard pass to someone so that he could sprint to the endzone and catch the goal.
Bookended. By Dono.
The next time that would happen would be 6 years later at PADA Mosh when he caught a Callahan on me. At least that time I didn't have to endure the extra taunting passes.
I kept with it. Every week I was there working with the team. I needed a ride when my car stopped working. I got one. I went to the first club tourney of my career in Delaware. We won. Taga got hurt. Heckman was a cutter(!). Trey complimented me on my deep throws. Someone asked me if I liked playing O or D-- I didn't know there was a difference. I said D. I said it because I couldn't grasp the offense or run the plays. Funny. Since then I've realized that only the D team knows plays and runs an offense. The O is just the penthouse of ultimate. Make sure you're open somewhere on the field and eventually someone will throw you the disc. Then throw it to some open space on the field and one of your teammates will catch it.
Eventually the email came that I was more than welcome to a bottom-of-the-roster spot. I lept at it. I rode the pine all the way through Nationals. I mean, I played on every day of (Almost?) every tournament that season, but that's peanuts compared to what "The Fuck" gained in experience that season. On the other hand, each point was one more than I ever expected to play. Each point was a befuddling gift.
Each point in practice, however, was a torture fest. Each drill. Each skill. I never knew that people were this good at ultimate. I never knew there was so much to know. I never knew that those crazy throws I had seen were far from the craziest throws each player had. Like watching Iverson outside of a game versus inside of a game. Fortunately, I could at very least catch consistently and learn.
The the offseason. Such work to do with a Nationals jersey to wear and hate while doing it. That first jersey has all the hate in it. I wore that jersey from every workout from November to November. In the gym I could hear the spirally design mocking me. Telling me that I was nothing but an accessory to Pike, the shit-box team. I could see the skyblue arms pumping at the track.
In 2004, nothing but roster gains, really. The new players were limited to Eugene Yum, Dan Chirlin, Joel Wooten, Geoff Buhl, Nic Darling and Danny Clark. As I look at that roster now, I'm amazed that they let me practice with them, let alone be on the team. All my workouts, all my training and I actually moved *down* on the depth chart.
The only things I truly remember about 2004 are my memories from Nationals. Upset the Sock, win the single biggest point (difference btw 1st in the power pool and last in the bottom pool) on a Judeflick special, beat the Condors in quarters and then there was that whole epic semis battle with the redfish. Bailey and Danny fighting it out for the title of "Unanswerable Question". The beach and condos that night were... some of the best times of my life. Unashamed. I felt clean. The world opening up for me in some way.
The jersey from that year is all joy. That team was a blast to play with and on. We played for keeps, but were just weird. No one on that team did anything by the book, but there was a framework where all these players could express their connection of skills on the field. Right, there was CRABFED THUGS and the 12 plays that we could call from that, but the plays never worked. Except for "Fuck you" which was Zero.
2005 came. Some roster tweaks. Add Baldwin, Kieffer, EvelKeven. Another year, another trip through Midatlantic Regionals after months of just winning games and tournaments. Crazy shit always happens at MA Regionals. It just does.
Nationals was full of anticipation and disappointment. JT's catch is the most memorable thing from what will go down as the most talented team the majority of that team has ever been on. Jam killed us that year. Just killed us. And Danny Clark hurting himself trying for a Callahan in a tight game with Ring at Chesapeake. That was a spectacular freak injury.
The Pike diaspora started during the season. Our captains moved to the west coast. Some folks moved north to NYC and Boston. Mainstays retired. And so on. We knew it was over while it was happening. We were powerless to do anything to slow it.
The offseason brought all kinds of madness. A new offensive framework. An absorption of Philly Ultimate. A whole slew of new players. New captains. New... everything. Except the jerseys. They remained ugly. Evel went back south. Which was expected. I mean, he lived there. There was a need for youth. Or there was no choice...
A whole new group bound together by Pike. This time, it was the loss that bound us. That terrible loss in a 14-team format. That one turn I threw all weekend. That 2 point terrible loss. That moment against Purifico on the field. That inability to stand after the weekend. That drive back. My brother.
My first club season with a no-nationals offseason. Light that fire, burn it bright. Make your teammates see the light. That was the birth of ultimatejournal. I put everything I had into my team in 2007.
In every drill, in every workout, on every single step I took that year, I was focused on just that step. I couldn't see tomorrow because today was too important. There weren't enough hours to put into ultimate in a day. I could not get enough of thinking and doing and being about ultimate. (286 posts? Are you kidding me?)
I remember the slalom drills. I remember taunting my teammates in practice. I remember what I was thinking when I was running in the rain. I remember typing pages of emails per day. I remember training morning and evening. I remember eating with only winning in mind. I remember individual plays and points from the season. I remember debating strategy on and off and all over the place for the O and D teams and watching the D team develop a killer instinct step by step.
I remember being on the sideline during the game-to-go more than I remember being on the field. I remember looking one by one into my teammates eyes and making them believe. It was like Los wasn't on the field after 14-9. It was like they didn't exist any longer. Pike was just running around making plays.
I remember my leg seizing up against Wilmington in Game 2. I remember getting laid out into in Game 1.
At Nationals I found out the truth. My team sucked. We were weak physically and mentally. We were scared. We were small. I gave every bit of everything I had for the first 6 games. I played well, I played hard. I threw goals and gave nothing for free on defense. I got a block or two, but that wasn't why I was there. I did get stalled against Truckstop. That was funny. Sometimes Sean just confuses me. I would wager he'd say the same, and the reverse.
My teammates needed to have life breathed into them every game. They did not appreciate the air on their own. They had already figured out that we should lose these games. I mean, The Farmer wasn't afraid and played crazy good. A couple other folks did too, but the Nationals rookies? Boo.
I remember Nationals for the time well spent with Dan "Spike" Yi, Squigglio, Baby Sapp and Lamb Juice. That was simply an epic vacation.
I did a terrible thing by not playing in my last game at Nationals that year. I made my reputation that season by being someone who would play through any and everything. At that moment I couldn't (wouldn't?). But just because it was terrible doesn't make it representative of an inaccurate feeling. I felt that they had already quit on me, so fuck them. I didn't want to put my heart on the line again for them to have it broken.
My body I agreed to break for you. Not my heart.
The season ended. Everyone left again. Or there was a need for youth. The same teammates I had given myself to all season were out the door. Some retired for real. Some got lives in other places. Some stabbed Pike in the head to play for Truckstop and Boston.
That jersey means little to me, but eventually recalls regionals. Which is a good memory. It doesn't mean much because I was embarrassed to wear it for a long time. I felt we had done terribly at The Show and that there was no cause for celebration.
New recruiting class it is: Aman, Nicuatrongpauco, Leon, Ross, Glenn, Frenchy, Jake Rainwater, Nick "Ocho" Malinowski, Bo, Tom Quane, Snuggles, Will Reed, Kyle, Ryan Thompson, Ariel, Tom Quane. The return of Ellis. We weren't a team until Furniture City. I told them they all were required to spike the disc all weekend. We were in Carolina. Dem Southern Boys got perfectly riled up. Los stomped us. Snuggles repeated all of True Lies. Gutter vomited on himself in the Sunday warmups. Our loss to Forge at Regionals was the genesis of the next season. That and keeping the roster together.
This next time around in 2009, we ran tryouts like everyone was trying out, but no one wanted to play with us. By the time the first couple of tryouts were done, there weren't really any cuts to be made. A few new players stepped up: Shaun Krieger, Grin, Kunsa, Dave Baer, CJ, Kinsey. We perfected a way of ultimate. Very basic offensive structure which allows players to... play. Increase the number of touches per player per point by a little bit (specifically those players who do not necessarily naturally dominate the disc) and the team will work more as a unit. Never look off an open teammate who can see the field better than you. Take advantage of your advantage when you have it and expect your other teammates to do the same while you all expect to fill for each other within said simple offensive framework. Work to make the fundamental options all happen within 6 seconds, and then the thrower still has 2 seconds to break the field down. (4 if the opposing team counts slowly)
The field shifts, you see. You don't always want to attack the same part of the field. Where is the space? If there is no dump, do you need one? Or do you just want to recognize that the space behind you is the major cutting lane? If their are 4 dumps, is the cue that the offense is going to break down and that one should run through? Or that one of the 2 cutters is going to get open in all that beautiful wide open space in front of the disc? And then the first two dumps should cut up line into the space as the thrower starts to not throw it to the first two cuts. Don't wait for him, kick-start the offense with motion. Unless you think waiting will give you an advantage. Or if one of those other 4 dumps is a better option to cut upline simply in order to give the defense a choice: Do you want to stop the upline on this player or do you want to stop the bomb to this player? If your players play the full field (It isn't that big, we get subs, it can be more about resting appropriately and attacking when active than enduring to fight at the end of the day.)
"Heuristic not algorithmic"
This game is a game of a balance. Shift and break. Once you've fallen over, you can get up and regain it, but you're liable to get kicked in the teeth trying.
I remember thinking Heckman was weak at Sectionals in 07. In 09 I learned who he was. I'm not sure he knew then either, to be fair. We both know too much now.
Regionals was a classic Midatlantic weekend. Here's the inside scoop: Los fucked up and lost to XRATES at sectionals to pair us against each other early. Which made for a long weekend for XRATES of beating Forge in tight games and losing to Pike. And a long year of Los wondering about how they could be the only team to beat Pike at Regionals and not go to Nationals.
Well, the real inside scoop is that I knew the rule. I looked it up on Saturday. I told my team. I talked to people on other teams. When we played Los on Sunday morning, I told my team that we had to win this game or we were out. Los crushed us Sunday morning. We debated briefly losing to XRATES on purpose so that Los would have to play a game to qualify if they lost the game to Ring. Good thing we didn't. As JG said, "The Ultimate Gods would frown upon that." We watched the end of their game from near one of the endzones. When the game was over, I told my team to wait before they left the fields to find out if we had a game. Los then, as they were breaking their handshake line, said that they had one more game. I told my team to start warming up. The rest was covered ad nauseum.
Then after we built that chemistry, and bonded through near-failure and heaps of criticism and and all sorts of emotions, everyone on the team went back to college. Even the Rutgers kids were too far away to come to practice. We had under 14 at practice between regionals and nationals.
At least no fear was shown at Nationals 09. Revolver beat on us severely (our D-team outscored our O-Team in that game, and we lost by ~10), but all of the other games were reasonably strong performances by Pike. We went big and went home. But we didn't go small. Leadership (aka me) should have subbed more aggressively. Some guys tried to play too too big on offense too often.
Pike Polo Shirts are perfect attire for the Sarasota heat&beach.
The offseason started two weeks later at PADA Fall League Finals. After a great weekend at PADA Mosh, of course. Johnny Pivotfoot and the Ten Stallcounts love MOSH.
The offseason was going to be a long process non-off-season of getting everyone together to form one team in Philly. After many months of too much caring, we arrived at a decision, tryouts started the weekend after Fools Fest in April and finished with Philadelphia Southpaw coached by Jeff Snader. The second Philly Ultimate consolidation is complete. New faces. New Team. New Lessons to learn. Except they're the same old lessons we learned last time.
I want Southpaw to do well. I played a part in creating it, so I wish it well while moving on. My job was to make it happen. I'm disappointed I don't get to play in the series with those guys, but so it goes.
"Windows 3.11 vs iPad."
Those Southpaw tryouts killed me for the week. I couldn't do workouts. I couldn't lift. At some point, I cried when I knelt to tie my shoe. My muscles weren't sore. My mind was fresh. My knees and my feet...
My heart I agreed to break for you, but not my body. Not my body.
I was dull every weekend at tryouts worried about how the team was going. I was dull from not having touched a disc all week or sprinted or jumped or played or anything. I was dull from being unable to do what my body needed to compete, skill-wise, speed-wise.
It got to me. I started to believe I was terrible at the game. I had this need to prove myself. I don't play to prove myself anymore. That was 2007. I proved it. I'm better today than I was then. But I play for completely different reasons these seasons.
I got cut.
I believe it was the right decision for everyone involved. But I do not believe everyone knew that then, nor does everyone know that now. In fact, I heard a rumor on my thirtieh birthday that I quit. Or that I was trying to start a new team. Naw. I just got cut. I didn't play well in tryouts. With that came the opportunity to try out for PoNY. Which has been great. Travel is all mass-transit-possible and reasonably simple. Practices are high-level, high-intensity, high-throwing reps. All in the Shadow of The Power Broker out on Randall's Island. Complexity will come as the season develops.
I played at Cazenovia with them. Went through a couple weekends of practice/tryouts and played at Boston with them. It was all mentally a great trip. Boston was physically an... impossible trip. Over 10 hours at the fields spread out over 4 games. My knees can't keep up. My feet can't not hurt. My mind and my strength are there. The flesh is willing but the joints are weak.
Then a trip with the Younguns to Mars. I played more like 1.5-2 games per day spread over 5 hours. Every morning and every day? No pain.
My initial conclusions were correct. My body is saying no to competitive tournaments. Which is fine. Tourneys were always completely and utterly insane. Which was why I liked them so much.
I feel I still have a lot to offer on and off the field, irrespective of my participation in 3 tournaments per season. I told the PoNY Cabal/Junta/TryoutDecisionmakers/EC/Whatever. Fortunately, PoNY agreed to the tune of a 1-year non-series contract.
I'm excited to be a part of this team.
...with bad knees and no title."
-LeBron James, describing how he didn't want to end up.
I would have signed with the Heat too. That will be a fun team to play on.
Wednesday, July 7
Even without Barkley we won.
The trip to mars was uneventful. We left after the late match, which we watched at Bishop's Collar. Which was after the early match, which we watched at Fado.
Are you gonna drop the bomb or not?"
When it all started, I never got this line. It was the one that hovered over my head. Slowly swaying with my first kiss. It was one day. It was three weeks. It was a lifetime. Was I Ulysses or Odysseus? Were the words mine or his? The story a copy or the original? There is no or. Only boat.
Younguns drop bombs.
We toured Philly before we left, picking up assorted goods from homes.
We toured Carlisle on the way out, including Issei Noodles. Which is an *ideal* place to stop for a drive across PA. Good food, good value.
Where the sun is always out and you never get old
And the champagne's always cold, and the music's always good
And the pretty girls just happen to stop by in the hood"
If you don't like pretty girls, you're a liar. No matter your race, sex, creed, gender, whatever. Don't be shy. Don't front. Soften your face.
The things weeks of Weezer's blue, TLC's CrazySexyCool, Pearl Jam's Black (from Ten) combined with American Pie, Forever Young and Stairway to Heaven combined with hyperintelligent shades of raging hormones will force into conversation.
Younguns got pretty girls straight kickin your ass.
A growler of beer, which SuSu and I drank warm and didn't dislike, was acquired from Market Cross Pub during a ritual dance of Americana to the tune of Petty Skynrd.
After we located the key while we worked on our high flicks, we advanced to the sleeping stage of the game. The same person who was our Goldilocks cut his locks in the morning to make us miss the beginning of the German lesson administered to Argentina.
Which we took in at Rivertowne. Nice beer selection, no breakfast/brunch food, but the barfood was good. Bartender was great w/ samples of beer. The Coconut Stout was excellent.
The first game was the toughest game all weekend. We lost to Yank My Doodle. Then we won out. Our women were simply dominant all weekend.
So let's just stay in the moment, smoke some weed, drink some wine
Reminisce, talk some shit, forever young is in your mind
Leave a mark they can't erase, neither space nor time"
How do you stay in the moment like that? Well, you let go, you know. You just lock into the other person and go, right, like late night. But how do you know the other person wants you there? Have the courage to look everyone you know in the eye. Have the courage to look girls in the eye and find out. Then you'll know. Even the hurt will be good.
The thing is, extrapolation of truth isn't hard. It is just realizing which thing to use as a paradigm where. It is the matching rather than the understanding. The paring of the analogy rather than difficulty understanding the analogy. Which is why the SATs used to test filling in the blank of the analogy over writing a sentence or an essay explaining or showing that you understood the analogy being made. Parallel thinking, substitution, pattern recognition, chunking, processing in the background, random connections via common linguastic heritage, connections via culture, deja vu. What can't a computer do? That's what you have to do.
Younguns lived honest moments.
The team we played in the finals went the other route and had dormant women all weekend. At least that's what I heard.
And it made sense in the finals, as they ran the same zone they ran all weekend and hucked to the same guys they hucked to all weekend. No fun for the kids in the stands or any of the women in the game but brutally effective at a tournament like this. Enough to get the Cipher Award.
Except that the Younguns don't get down when George is on the scene.
So if you love me baby this is how you let me know
Don't ever let me go, that's how you let me know, baby."
You have to hold me tightly if you hold me. Make me feel safe. Share your strength with me. Pick me up however you know how and we will lift together. Hold me right and we'll be together forever while we're young.
So I did. And I do. And like she whispered, we are together forever while we're young. I can still remember my very first kiss. I can still remember another first kiss holding hands just as sweaty. I can't remember any others.
Younguns held the team tight all weekend.
Great teams are love affairs. Fall off the cliff. Risk too much. Force your reach past your grasp. Smile. Show your hand. Love the game. Love the players. Love yourself. Love the opposition. When you are great, you do. Jordan loved that his opponents would let him eviscerate them on national television while he talked shit in their ear. He may still not understand what that means, but he will.
"Timmy don't fuck this up!"
Monday, June 7
Perhaps it closes the circle
perhaps it cauterizes the wound.
I played my first club tourney with a team not called "pike" this past weekend. However, in the interest of keeping things simple, i played with the other team in a one state radius of the dirty jerz witha four-letter name starting with p: PoNY.
I've decided against crossing out the "ike" on my gear in favor of some "ony".
I forgot what it was like to not know the system, the players, the captains, the routines, the in-jokes, the reindeer games (shoeball, for the record, IS all it is cracked up to be), the cheers, the anything.
I felt like a rookie. In the best way. And some of the less-than-ideal ways. But none of the bad ways.
tight loss to ironside. late game anti-heroics by us derail what woulld have been a great way to start the day. we followed that up with wins over goaty and mephisto. happy to beat mephisto after 2009pike's experiences with them. canadian teams always confuse me in june. i can't tell how good they are or how serious they are taking a given game. i feel like they do the same things they always do, but better.
the non-brooklyn team lost to the brooklyn (aka o-)team in shoeball. i do not live in brooklyn.
lost to phoenix and goaty. i had a terrible ob pull. gack-o-riffic in the goaty game. crazy weather all day courtesy of upstate ny.
finally played on the same team as faust after all these years. he's improved since g-dub. duh.
instead of rambling, i'll gimmick it up with "things learned at cut2010":
-scooby doom has had the honor of producing not just a t-rex, but also a centaur.
-"it's lightening up!" is the best way to describe a storm passing iff you have a southern accent.
-some teams run offenses. other teams are pike.
-bvh is bigger when he's on your team.
-ocho isn't ocho without cuatro to double. he still has impeccable timing, however.
-there is only one team with two "i-double consonant-y" players.
-water likely lacks intentionality. which is vaguely pejorative, according to belltron.
-there exists a team on which mio is not the player most often compared to a rodent.
-if you are afraid to shit, you may not be playing ultimate.
-get the disc to steve finn.
I enjoyed my rookie tourney as a Pone. I'm really really itching to get to practice with this squad to develop some on-field rapport/trust/understanding with the tasty dish of talent/skill/athleticism that PoNY serves up family-style. i like to fuck with half-started metaphors.
The ceiling is too high to see clearly for PoNY in '10. I know I will help this team get there. I hope i will earn the opportunity to do so on the field.
Thursday, May 27
Teams in semis from 01-09: Chain, Revolver, Ironside/Boston/DoG, Sockeye, Jam, Bravo, GOAT, Furious, Pike, Condors, Ring.
In fact, you can use that same list back to 1999.
In 98 the WSL All-Stars last crashed semis for NYC, and Sub-Zero from Minneapolis-St. Paul.
In 96, Chicago Z.
95 adds Cojones&Double Happiness.
Pre-95=different regions and the limit of my interest.
60 semis spots.
15 [or 16/17, depending on your opinion of Boston] teams.
13+1 ultimate communities:
Atlanta, Bay Area (SF), Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minnesota, NJ+Philly, North Carolina, NYC, Santa Barbara, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver.
NJ+Philly is two distinct ultimate communities that haven't grasped that they can't exist without each other. It is separate parts of the same community which refuse to resolve their differences for a brighter day. MCUDL A-League should be tapped into PADA. Mercer Draft should e separate from PADA draft. There is no "core/clique/corporate" option in Philly. Which is stupid from one angle and genius from another angle. Stupid from the high-levevl club development angle, genius from the fun and grassroots angles.
Anyway, another loosely edited post in the books.
Wednesday, May 26
"She said losing love
is like a window in your heart..."
Just another injury, right?
Just another disfigured digit,
just another passing pain.
Just another way to remember the way.
"Adjust your expectations when time dilates and infinity creeps in all around", the muse intones. "Don't lose that moment."
Life is just a moment in time.
More Aristodemus than Leonidas.
More Obi-Wan than Skywalker.
More Odysseus than Achilles.
More Hagen than Corleone.
More Red than Andy.
More futbol than football.
More basketball than rugby.
More around than through.
More student than disciple.
More spades than poker.
More teacher than killer.
More fox than hound.
All knew there would be a division. None knew where it would be drawn. Just that it would be drawn. And then a bifurcation. Or at least that's what the plan says.
Plans always evolve.
We were sent for.
12 of 27 players from Pike 2009 remain in the mix for the new Philly Open team. Some of those 12 will return shortly from college/other countries/whatever by Cazenovia. Some of those 12 would make any team anywhere. Some will likely get cut. Some will be better this season than they were last season. Some of them I'm actually not sure what they're up to. That is to say, they weren't at the last tryout I was at.
09Pikes out the mix for reasons varying from retirement to moving, injury, playing coed, getting cut etc, include: Aman, Nicuatrongpauco, Kuger, Justin Illuzi, Rutgers aka "Glenn&Frenchy", Jeff George, CJ Kozarski, Kinsey, TC, Dono, Raph, Nick Malinowski and me.
There are some oldpikes competing for spots on this team as well, including Brandon Silverman (06-07), Eddie Peters (07) Trey Katzenbach (02-07), Brian Lo (01-07) and Matt Schmucker (06-07).
But fo sho sho, this team is no longer Pike. There is a naming committee, and that ain't on the list.
It was a good 8-year run from 02-09 (or did Pike start in 01?). 6 nationals appearances, 2 quarters, 1 semis. Not bad for a region with inconsistent collegiate programs.
I was happy to spend 7 years of club with Pike, the last two as a co-captain with Timmy. Not one of them was at all like any of the others. I was a young O-cutter for 3 years who rarely played, a no-turnover O-handler for 1 who played every O point, a higher risk starting D-handler for 1, a higher-risk starting O-handler for 1, and then in 2009 a starting Handler/Cutter on O whose risk&role depended upon who was else on the field, or where we were on the field.
Crises precipitate change
Not sure where this season will take me, but it won't be with the new Philly Open team. Not sure if this season will be a club season, or a fun-tourney tour, but it will involve far more ultimate than the post-Kaimana2011 season will.
Soon, I will RTS.
"...everybody sees you're blown apart
everybody feels the wind blow."
Tuesday, April 13
want to write about workouts.
I don't want to detail what differentiates the individual games I play in.
I don't want to write on this every day.
I did though. I used this blog as a tool to fuel me as a writer and a player. I forced myself to write every day on one topic, and had to come up with something to say on that topic. It was easier when workouts spurred the narrative.
The impressions I have of the game are so different now. The things I think are important have changed so much w/r/t ultimate. The things I think are fascinating are very out there. They need to be nurtered and thought through in order to be coherent. Thus, they are not exactly blog material. This waste of space has been relatively edit-free. That form no longer fits my function.
I don't have the mental desire to focus on writing about every workout/game/practice and also do well at every one of them. I'd rather write about so many other things. I'd rather shut off the ultimate part of my brain for parts of the days and try to succeed as a human.
As it turns out, this last bit about succeeding as a human is difficult. If you've always assumed that you would succeed, and everyone around you assumed the same, who was doing the work to ensure your success?
Tools don't mean thing
If they ain't ever tasked
They say a man's reach
Must exceed his hand's grasp.
Curiouser and curiouser.
That is to say, I've no idea what will be written here. Something will probably show up eventually, but I don't know what or when. When the ultimate moves me directly to words, they will be here. If there is a filter, the words may wander here anyway, but in a different guise.
Monday, April 5
I think I just played at Fools Fest.
I can't remember how to make the right notes come out of a trumpet.
Bound to happen, but irritating nonetheless.
Chuck Norris is invulnerable to the money hammer when he chooses to roundhouse kick it in the face, but Pizza Boy and Mr Grimm trump a too unsleeveless-jersey team of Norrisisises.
The time before that, I remember being near a non-plastic beach.
The beach camping rocked w/ Mankind's stakes making the trip w/o him.
That Swiss guy and I each had a macadamia nut beer that was really quite tasty.
That Littauer was in a boot failing as drinking captain.
That didn't prevent him from earning the annual "I smoked my brakes on the way down Kauai" title.
But he didn't make a hitchiker get out of the car for fear of vomiting.
The new club season has started now.
Even without Evel Kevbofrisbee at Fools Fest.
First round of tryouts were last weekend at Edgely ballfields.
One day, ~60-70 players, circuits of drills, fitness tests and short scrimmages.
There are so many changes for this upcoming season that I don't rightly know where to start.
Delta Force had strong and weak forces. A lot of players I've notplayed with before from the Philly+general area. Good to show well enough (3-4, lost in quarters to Twisted Metal by one. 4 losses by a total of 6 points) not to embarrass the folks who have been to many Foolseses.
I was definitely hot and cold. My focus was not where it needed to be to consistently perform well. The body: Reluctantly capable. The mind: Foggy yet wired properly.
Waffle House, Perkins, Cracker Barrel. Despite my love for Waffle House and that eating at Cracker Barrel makes me feel like xenophobia might be contagious, I choose Cracker Barrel. Perkins is like an off-brand Denny's with real bits of panth... baked goods. So it finishes last. Waffle House is Waffle House: The measuring stick of chain breakfast places. Tasty, but you know it isn't right. I can eat at the House before Fools Fest. Not before real ultimate. It is also an annual stop on the way to the Eagles@Skins game (This year should be thick with valid plot and rife with solid play), and a favorite post-Regionals quick stop post-los loss/win non-truck stop
The mix of folks at the tryout was impressive. Definitely some ballers I've not met before (though some I met the week before). Some young guns hot to make names for themselves. And, of course, the same old faces from the area club scene's open&mixed teams. And there are more waiting in the wings. Some folks were caught off-guard by hemispheres of intensity some merely by degrees. All know that 2010 ain't no joke. That probably means it is only a matter of time before I get cut. I don't do well without jokes.
Back to the beach, we lost in quarters to the team that lost in finals. We lost in pool play to the other team in finals. We lost in the power pool play to the team that won last year. We also couldn't find our green jerseys or our teammates for the team photos. For at least one of those I can vouch that the looking wasn't very intense. We did, however, win a consolation game on the beach against Freaks.
This year is about internal focus and the calm of my soul. I've got to get back to my basics and focus on what I enjoy about this experience. My understanding of my self on the ultimate field is currently impoverished. The reasons for this vary widely enough as to be utterly irrelevant and uninteresting. To me. If not to you.
That is: I miss this.
Time to reprogram. Summon Finkbot. Instruct him that model number 200 (previous model numbers: 63, 79, 3.) needs to be set to "End of Season" mode ahead of schedule. Nuclear stress-testing must commence prior to new assignment.
Oh wait. That was me back in the day when I loved NWA. That music has a great thing, but that thing ain't me. I mean, the emotion is the thing that attracted me. That and the insane rhythms that bump the shit out of your world.
I was angry. So was the music.
Try this on for a better current impression of what I always wanted the music to be.
Tell me this doesn't fuel your fire.
Vinny Cult Hollander and I have been over this. You like the music you like. Just because I should like Rush doesn't mean I do like Rush. On the other hand, Rush kicks some ass.
I wish that my ex-girlfriend's biggest rock-star crush wrote about music more.
Work turns wishes and dreams to reality.
Easy truths are easily forgotten.
Lessons learned twice hurt.
Except in my head
*- You say it's hell I say it's bullshit we gettin' through.
Just think about it:
Every man has his own heaven
But shit, you gotta go through hell to be a man first.
And understand first:
Hell is what you choose to call the present.
That's why you're going through what I just choose to call it stressin'.
To tell you fools the truth I don't feel it's where I'm destined
So you can call it hell but brah... I just say I'm below the heavens.
Tuesday, January 5
I've not been not working. But I've frequently not typed about it. Backlog below:
-4xLC+PC (MB Squat Presses, MB Stepup Shoulder Presses)
-Basic TC Warmup (100 lazy swings, 100 twists, 100 reverse twists, 15 TC squats)
-1.3mi Hill Interval
-1xGC (Wobble Glute Bridge. Glute Circuit= 30 Glute Brigdes, 20 'L' Leg Raises, 20 Bird Dogs, 20 Single Leg G.Bridge, 20 Lying Hip Adductor, 12 Clap Pushups. All of these I held for 5 seconds per rep. Some I would do circles w/ my ankles (In and out) to count the seconds. Other things were added as time went on. Including wobble boards.)
-10x10sec Glute Bridge
-8x10 (10 sec rest) MB Slams
-8x10 (10 sec rest) MB btw Legs Forward Throw
-4lb MB wall dribbles overhead/chest 40 each.
-various wall throw/catches w/ 4lb MB and 12lb MB
-100 4lb MB burpees
-1.3mi Hill Interval
-LC+PC as 007
-2x GC (16 Clap Pushups)
-8x10 (10sec rest) MB Slams
-Assorted MB Wall Throws
-1x4/4 Pullups (4/4 Pullups= [x]/[y] types of pullups. x=on a board parallel to shoulders, on a board parallel to the pike not sticking out of your xyphoid process. I'm not explaining it any further save to say that the two boards are perpendicular to each other.)
-8x10 (10 sec rest) MB Slams
-8x8 (10 sec rest) MB Arc Raise Squats
-8x4x2x1 MB Hop Shoulder Press
-1/3mi Hill Interval Run
-3x(20 MB GKeep Hold Squats, 20 MB Shoulder Press Lunges, 20 MB GK Hold Step Ups, 10 Waist Height Box Jumps, 10 MB Pushups, 10 Straddle Wobble Board Plyo Pushups, 10 Elbow-In Pushups)
-3xMB Back Lift/Swing
-100 Lazy Twists
-50 Upper Body L/R Shifts
-.8mi Hill Int.
-100 High Chest Elbows Up-n-Out MB Twists
-20 Full Atlas Squats (Balance 12lb MB on nape of neck during 20 full squats)
-30 Hands Clasped behind back Twists
-2x(3x30 "Bottom of Squat ISO Twists"). That is: Hold onto your knees with your hands and twist without moving in various in/out combinations.
-2x70 Lean Back High Chest MB Twists
-2.5x15 MB Pushups
-70 "Monster Mash"
-50 "Head Nodders"
-8x10x10secrest MB Slams
-8 Waist Height Box Jumps
-16 Straddle Wobble Board Jumps