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.
Tuesday, September 21
All you can do
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