Thursday, October 1

Nationals 2015 Day 1 (morning couch edition)

This is the first year since 2011 that I won't be at Nationals watching as much Scandal as is reasonable.

2010 was the last year I played at Nationals. In fact, starting in 2000, I have attended:

6 Nationals as a player (2003, 04, 05, 07, 09, 10)
3 Nationals as a fan (2012, 13, 14)
1 Nationals (2000) as a volunteer

10 of 15 Club Nationals.

My record as a fan of Scandal (2 titles, 1 semis loss) is waaaaay better than my record as a player for Pike and PoNY (1 semis loss 04, 1 quarters loss 05, 1 prequarters loss, the rest in the ye olde shit-box, as we used to call it back in the day under the old power-pool format).

Point is, it feels weird to be not-traveling to Frisco, TX this year. It also feels quite sad to know that whatever happens to Scandal (the only team of any sport in the world of whom I am an actual fan) in this go-round that I will not ever ever ever get to see it. The most important tournament of the year, the highest level of tournament play in the world, and the only team I truly care for exist in a black box for four days in 2015.  2015 a year in which over 90% of the players in attendance brought a video camera along.  So, I'll have to rely on the coverage provided by the ultimate world.

Then again, I've not seen more than a few games of top-16 (give or take) club ultimate this season. I coached a classic flight team in 2015 (and will be coaching them again in 2016) and as a result, I was at tournaments with my team on weekends. At those tournaments, we played a total of one team which made it to nationals: Patrol. More than this, the players on my team while at those tournaments had little to no opportunity to see top-level club ultimate. Mind you, my team was in no small part comprised of AUDL and MLU players who played alongside players from Truck Stop (the undisputed regional power at this point) during those seasons.

Since that season ended, the players not on Truck Stop have been quarantined from the players on Truck Stop. And Temper. And, for most of the season, Patrol As a result, the players, teams, coaches, et cetera at the level just below that are hard-pressed to know anything about the teams or players outside of their region. This lack of interaction between levels is a concern not only for the players as players, but the cultivation of players as eventual fans and spectators.

So, as a result of the journey I've taken this season (MLU work, coaching club, not traveling to watch Scandal) I've never really seen the top tier club teams of any level play at all over 2015. I will be an uninformed yet knowledgeable observer subject to the whims of the programmers that be. This is a state I'm accustomed to for NFL, UEFA, NBA, and more... but never really for ultimate. I've always been present at the site wearing one dapper hat or another.

This year? I'll be looking for tweets while watching games. I don't wear hats indoors.  I'll be navigating the real world's intrusion into the best 4 days of ultimate in the ultimate world. I wonder how I'll hold up?

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Thursday, May 7

More than a feeling,

But the knowing... the knowing that it is time to burn out or fade away.

I think it would have been different if I had been paid a ton of money to play ultimate.

Then again, it is unclear if that would've been a good thing.

It certainly wouldn't have led me here.

Was I ever Tim Duncan? Not a chance. But I was that me. That positive avatar of my self. Then these words from afar by someone else writing about someone else doing something else for some other reasons echoes in my mind:

"Now it’s a mental thing. When you know it’s time to go, it’s not about the games, the locker rooms, the camaraderie, the charter planes and the salaries anymore. All of that stuff makes you want to keep playing, actually.

But preparing to play — that’s the culprit.

It’s the mental burden that saps you. You start missing your freedom. You have to eat a certain way, sleep a certain way, prepare a certain way. You learn to dread those mornings after back-to-backs. You hate those early wakeup calls, hate being at the gym for hours by yourself, hate working on things that you already learned a million years ago. You already peaked, and you know it, so it’s all about killing yourself so you can be 70 percent as good as you once were. You have young dudes coming at you left and right, always looking to prove themselves, doing anything possible to put themselves on the map against you."

Yup. Fighting to be a fraction of what you were is not so much fun. 

But sometimes that impending loss or Sisyphean failure is all life is.  
Many times we get shown the next way only through a loss of self.

I just crossed over Randall's Island on Amtrak.
I'll be playing for Horse this year cor club Masters.

Is this an echo shouted over a canyon 
Or just a jest in a nightmare dungeon?

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Thursday, April 16

The More I Look...

The more I see:

This is my favorite clip from MLU's 2014 season.

It starts with the PHL's Dave Brandolph splitting of the double.  
It continues with the comical reaction from the Boston defender who seems to be asking for spurious travel calls to save him.
Then the nicely angled slicing pass between two unprepared Boston defenders released in slightly modified stride.

Just brilliant

But then I noticed something else just today.  When #25 (Trey Katzenbach) bounces the disc back to Brandolph, it has an IO tilt on it.  This is a teachable moment.

Brandolph's momentum is taking him at a diagonal toward the lower left of the screen.  He has beaten two defenders and is maintaining his advantageous leverage over the defense through quickness and speed.  He's driving toward the next two Boston defenders, forcing them to decide what to do (fall back or step up) and collapsing the timeline for their ability to react to the aforementioned through pass.

Katzenbach does a great job waiting to give Brandolph time to improve his positional advantage without tarrying so long that the remainder of Boston's defense catches up.  However, he throws a quite suboptimal pass to Brandolph.

The little IO backhand he throws has a short flight path which forces Brandolph to catch it at a specific moment rather than giving him the option of either catching immediately or delaying.  An IO backhand which sits out in front of the receiver, and then floats in the direction Brandolph is running would be a far better option.

However, the other issue that the short IO backhand causes is that Brandolph must look further to his left than he would desire.  The path of the disc starts on from the left side of his head and eventually gets to a point where he can see with both eyes.  This forces his vision to adjust from keeping his head downfield to picking up the disc from the corner of his left eye.  You can see this starting from frame 99 to frame 108 (controls are on the lower right of the image), give or take, as Brandolph's body is facing one direction while he is turning his head to see a thrower behind him and to the left.

The solution here would be for Katzenbach to throw either a slightly arced OI R-backhand which would sit out in front of Brandolph in the same field of vision as the direction he is running and then bank back toward him, or a flat R-backhand with a little more lead on it for Brandolph to run onto. Or, if we're really aiming for perfection: Katzenbach should keep his shoulders square to Brandolph (rather than turning away) and look to the IO L-Backhand which will sit in front of Brandolph, and then softly bank toward him.

A two-handed thrower, in this context, would have the ideal throw for the situation. A single-handed thrower has many slightly less good options.

95% of this play is perfect, and Brandolph does a fantastic job picking up the downfield state quickly enough to deliver the next pass, but his job would be made even easier by a perfect throw from Katzenbach.

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Wednesday, February 4

Welcome to the Repository

And, as you can see below, it isn't always formatted perfectly.

If this is your first time here, you can feel free to use either the useless index or the temporal index in the column on the right, or you can just wander through some of the posts.

If this is not your first time here, well... you're probably bored with this post already.

As for the future of this space, it will always be my space for quickly/rashly typed out things or the sorts of stuff I can't very well publish under the imprimatur of another.  My name is my name and your name is your name.  The two do not mean the same.  Except when they do.

As for the past of this space, well... it is me over time.  No more, no less.  This repository shall remain where I'll store this part of me and, when appropriate, update my self-image.  Hopefully without a Dorian Gray feel. The times and progressions and iterations of this space have taught me a lot and the journey never ends. Until it does.

And then will my earthly remains be considered these words or just a bag of bones?

Not for me to choose.

But the words are shared here and at very least, they help me understand me.

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