Friday, October 28, 2005

Nationals, Day 2

I guess I wasn't edgy enough for Luke in my day 1 recap. Unfortunately, I'm not into providing bulletin board fodder prior to the next rounds, except for the fact that I'm sure none of the other players at this tournament will be reading my blog between now and tomorrow. Nonetheless, this will be the 'softer side of Sears'.
We started this morning against Sockeye. We pulled with them going upwind, and it was a great start when Seigs got a layout Callahan on the first point of the game, and today was his birthday. Incidentally, tomorrow is Rob Barrett's birthday, so we are expecting something at least as spectacular from his defense. Sockeye gave us opportunity after opportunity on defense, as they continued to employ their 'big play' offense not quite to perfection. There was a medium cross/down wind, but not enough to justify all the turnovers from both teams. Meanwhile, Sockey eventually took the lead in the first half before our defense bore down and got a break so that the O was receiving at 7-7 for half going upwind. A big backhand curving pull, Lyn misplayed the roll, which ran to the back of the endzone. I was the first pass, so I had to run back to him as the Sockeye defenders were thundering down. He picked up the disc, threw it to me slightly behind and it rose slightly towards me, so I decided to drop it and it nailed me in the throat (probably a 5 yard pass). They slowly took it to the line, we forced one dump throw, then a long break mark backhand that one of the players had to make a spectacular catch for a goal.

However, we were definitely in this game. We started on offense out of half, and scored relatively easily to retake the lead. After some trading (there may have been some lead changes in there), we took the lead 11-10. We were on our stride, until the O got back on the field. 3 ugly long turns later (moving away from our strengths), we were down 13-11. Finally, at 13-11, we worked the disc upwind before I threw a 25 yard hammer to Ziperstein for a goal to finally score. The D proceeded to get at least 3 turnovers on the next point without scoring. Sockeye started making it a callfest, as there were at LEAST 6 stoppages within 2 or 3 passes. It was a lot to ask the defense to have the equivalent of that many possessions within one point. So, 14-12 Sockeye, and we're going upwind again. After a few throws against a force forehand, Sammy throws me a break mark backhand, and I turn and jack a long backhand to Parinella for a goal. Never seen that combination before. I can't remember if the D gets the disc, although considering how the rest of the game went, I feel like they did, or at least they had some good opportunities. Regardless, Sockeye put in the goal, game 15-13. I'm sure they'll play better next game, but I'm sure that we can also. At this point, we have played the theoretical two best teams here, Furious and Sockeye, and they haven't shown us something that we can't answer. Obviously, we need to be on our game, but...

Meanwhile, on the next field, JAM and Bravo were battling to an epic finale. We were going to play the loser in the quarterfinals, so we were very interested in watching the game. Well, they made it exciting. JAM had started the game up 5-1, but Bravo had tied it by halftime 7-7. Don't remember who took half, but in the second half, Bravo took the early lead before JAM was up 12-11. The Bravo went on their own run to go up 14-12. For awhile, we were trying to figure out who we wanted to play in the quarters, but after watching both teams, it didn't seem to matter. They were playing the same Sockeye big play game, with WAY too many long turnovers. JAM scored on O to make it 14-13, then Rouisse threw a late short backhand to Deaver that Mike Zalisk(!) made a layout D on to make it 14 all. Something else happened, and JAM took the lead 15-14. Some more trading, and finally 16-16 with JAM receiving. They work it up a little, and then normally sure-throwing Jambalanza fires a long forehand to nobody, as the cutter had stopped his cut short. Bravo has the disc to win, so naturally they return the favor with their own long backhand turnover. JAM works it up the far sideline before an errant throw on the backhand sideline is maybe caught in bounds, but regardless, the JAM player plays it as a greatest, fires a long cross-field backhand that Jamabalanza lays out for in the endzone and comes up with for the game winner and the number one seed. VERY exciting. Bravo was clearly deflated after the loss.

So, in the morning, JAM/Pike, Bravo/DoG, Sub-Zero/Furious, Doublewide/Sockeye. And the rest, well, that's just the losers bracket... Meanwhile, my team lamed out and took off back to the hotel. Naturally, I had to go mill in the beer tent, and try and see the few players left playing open from my generation, including randoms like Eric from Vicious who was back for a year from Masters, Worm (with the big Potomac choke, I hear they are tremendously wasted already), and then basically moving onto the masters people, like most of the Above and Beyond players from NY, who extended me the easy contract for next year (hmmm), and a bunch of other masters players. Damn, I'm old.

Finally, with Twisted losing, Boston just missed having 6 teams in the quarterfinals in 3 division (Slow White/6TM in mixed, Brute Squad/Godiva, and DoG/almost Metal in Open). Even with 5 teams, I assume that we have set a record, but somebody else will be able to set the record straight.

On a personal level, I have been playing well, racking up 2 turnovers over 4.5 games, including a great save today on a zone scoober by Jim (thanks Jim). But it is all irrelevant before tomorrows game. Let's watch...

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Nationals, Day 1

Most of you will have seen results from all the pools by now. Our pool ended up being the only that held to seed. There was a lot of excitement in the other pools, including TWO 2nd seeds that ended up 0-3. The loser pools promise to be hell tomorrow, I can tell you that.
The Condors have to hope that Doublewide loses to Chain, and that Condors beat Chain to make it out on point differential. Same thing for Ring, although their path might be a little more difficult. Also, the SW has obviously lost a strength bid for next year.

In our pool, what we anticipated to be a difficult first game against PBR ended up being more of a bye round, as they bent over rather easily in losing 15-3. Over in the other game, Chain started off very close with Furious before Furious started pulling away into half, and then spanked them in the second half, setting up what would end up being the game for the winner's pool between us and Chain. But before that game started, we had a long wait between games, so we went over and checked out our fellow city mates, Twisted Metal, and watched them try their damnedest to give away a late lead on the Condors before winning 17-15 in what appeared to be a huge upset at the time.

Meanwhile, against Chain, we started out very tight, and gave them a 4-1 lead AND we had received to start the game. These were mostly ugly turnovers on our side, rather than awesome defense on their part. The D bailed us out and we ended taking half 8-7. Even better, we won the half, stuffing and scoring. We tightened up again torwards 10, but the D got another long run and we ended up winning 15-12 after giving one back at the very end. This game was marked by the return of our deep game, which had been dormant for pretty much the entire year.

Now that we were a lock for the winner's pool, this set up the 'first' pool game of the winners pool against Furious. We started tight again, with a few dubious unforced turnovers again, giving Furious a 2 break lead. The offense finally got back on track, and we ended up taking half 8-7. Furious was definitely struggling against our defensive pressure. Receiving out of half, Furious scored to tie at 8's, and then on the next point, stuck deep in our endzone on offense, my calf seized up unbelievably and I had to take a sub. The team scored that goal, and then one or two points later, a second offensive handler, Ariel, hurt his back, and the O was down two main handlers. Furious seized the advantage and scored 5 out of the next 6 points to take the game 15-10. However, they did not show us anything that we couldn't handle, but we have some work set up for us.

Meanwhile, Metal won a spot in the winners pool with a solid victory over Doublewide, putting us both in the same pool tomorrow. We start with Sockeye first, and then end up against Metal. While a win against Sockeye would be nice, the key game will be against Metal to avoid the pre-quarters game. And did I mention the hell that the loser pools will be tomorrow? Stay tuned...

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Monday, October 24, 2005

1999 - Offense rules

Well, I guess I ran out of time to recapture old nationals. Maybe I'll do that if we do well this year. If we don't I suspect I will do what Zaz did, and after some self-analysis, will shut down the blog for a period of mourning. Regardless, the hands of time revolve backwards towards 1999...(cue strange sounds) The Northwest was still in turmoil, as a whore team had grabbed all the talent they could and spoofed the DoG name in an effort to take over their national title duties. After 3 years of losing in the finals, and then an upset year of not even making nationals, Seattle had disbanded and a few of their studs had looked up a few other studs, and BoG (Blaze of Glory) was born. While not exactly striking terror into people's hearts (coming in 3rd in the competitive Northwest), BoG would eventually come in 8th, although they were doing well until... they weren't.
This was also the first year that nationals expanded to 16 teams, enabling that 3rd squad to finally make it out of the NW. DoG had an inauspicious season, losing Easterns to Florida (can't remember losing to them before or since...). While we won Worlds at St. Andrews with a skeleton crew of 16 (and only 8 then DoGs), which still ranks as my most exhilarating, unbelievable and unexpected tournament victory ever, we were incorporating a bunch of new youth onto the team that fall (first time our roster had been bigger than 20 since 1994, and we smashed that level with a large squad of 25) and were still having problems getting things together. We lost twice to Furious at Tuneup, including in the finals. But we were unproven, and the youth movement, similar to what Furious is doing this year, was still in its infancy. The practices right before nationals were terrible, right on schedule (I think we've had good practices leading into nationals maybe twice in 10 years. This year was no different...).

However, once nationals started, look out! The offense, which had been fitfully present, rocked. Before the semifinals, the offense gave up no more than 3 points in any one game. To give you an idea of our utter domination, that was the first and only nationals that I played EVERY single point of offense. For that to happen means that 1) I was playing well, 2) the O was playing well, 3) the O was playing efficiently (not a lot of multi-turnover points), because otherwise I would have felt compelled to take some subs. This was all leading into a highly anticipated semifinal showdown with Furious. There was unfinished business between the two teams. Furious had unexpectedly beaten us TWICE at the '98 World Championships to take home the title, we had gotten them back at Nationals, they beat us at Tuneup, it was going to be a clash of titans. Well, the game was as good as advertised. This was probably my most overtly impactful game that I ever played with DoG. (Unfortunately, I got caught in an rsd snare of my own creation here, which is why to this day I still don't post anything on rsd for the most part, having gotten burned too much that one time).

Actually, reading the rsd thread, I found a bunch of stats for the 99 nationals. In the entire tournament, the offense was scored on 12 times in 8 games, for an average of 1.5 goals per game. Given these stats, it is not surprising that we won, although Furious gave us an incredibly tough game. While we only gave up 3 points, they were poorly-placed. I believe we gave up the last two of the half to give Furious the lead at half, 9-7. AND they were receiving to start the second half. I have to admit that I was worried coming out of halftime. This didn't have the same feel as the Ring semifinal comeback (also covered by Jim), but the margin also wasn't as large. Fortunately, the D came out and won half-time by stuffing and scoring to start. We slowly chipped away at the lead, until we finally broke through to lead 15-14 (games to 17 back then). Another HUGE stuff and score gave the O some breathing room, and we served out to 17-15.

This semifinal was similar to our 95 semi against NYNY, which Jim so ably recapped already in his blog. This was another big-play game us, with many completed hucks. This was back when Forch was still fast, and I ended up completing 5 full-field hucks for goals including the game-winner, most of them to Forch. BTW, Tony Leonardo does a fine writeup on that day on the nationals website

And the finals were a continuation of that offensive dominance. For the 13 points that the offense was in, we scored on the first possession on 11 of them, gave up one goal, and scored the final one after we got it back. Of course, the one goal we gave up was on the first point, and it was my turnover, on an inside out forehand to Jay Bickford off a stoppage that he apparently did not realize was wide-open and he cut away from it. Hey, I didn't say I didn't have any turnovers, just that the O was a force this tournament.

Looking at the talent out there, it is going to require a similar effort this year to have any chance at making noise. We have shown glimpses throughout the year, but never more than a few points or at most one game in a row. Do we have it in us? We'll see in a few days. I'm looking forward to it.

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Nationals predictions

Well, I'm not sure it would be really appropriate for me to try and make predictions before nationals when I'm one of the participants, especially for my pool. After all, who wants to provide bulletin board fodder? However, this will be more of a wide-ranging discussion on my thoughts on the high-level contenders for actually winning. Let me be (not necessarily) the first to say, I believe DoG can win.

However, the stars are going to have to do some serious aligning for that to occur. We could also fail to make the pre-quarters. I am unused to that level of uncertainty, and this is the first time since I have been at Nationals since '92 that there is even a doubt of making the quarterfinals (semis back then), much less the pre-quarters. And to win, I don't mean that certain teams are going to have to lose games so that we end up with some cherry power pool (assuming that we make it, of course). What I'm trying to say is that if are able to bring our best game then we can contend with any team at this tournament. The problem is being able to sustain that BEST game for 4, 5, or even 6 games. While not impossible, it is going to be very difficult. And it will be interesting to see how we handle a non-elimination defeat. Will we come out fired up for the next game, or take it as an accurate representation of our seeding?

Just looking at our pool, we clearly have to beat PBR coming out of the gate. If we don't, that just makes things really messy, because then we not only have to beat Chain Lightning, but we would probably have to beat them by a lot to avoid going to the loser pool with PBR with a loss in hand. If we beat PBR, then the next game will be Chain Lightning. We lost to them once this year at double game point, and had a pretty tough pre-quarters against them last year at Nationals. Everybody seems to think they are a team on the rise, we are a team on the way down, and that they will win this game. Hopefully we can use that as our own bulletin board fodder. If we win the first 2 games, then the Furious game is important because I think we will have a brutal power pool, assuming C holds seed, at least for the top two. Sockeye and Condors should have been 1, 3, or even 1,2 if they had been able to properly win their regionals. Instead, we get them, AND the actual NW regionals winner in our pool. Wonderful. This pool will be a bloodbath, and hopefully (again, if we make it) we will contend.

As for teams that have the composition to win it all, I would say that the top 9 teams COULD win it all if their respective stars align, but realistically, I only see a few teams that will be able to overcome poor play, or a poor half. Or as I have said numerous times to people, a bunch of teams can win one of these big games, but there are very few teams that can win 3 of them (I'm talking quarters/semis/finals). And frankly, it helps having been there, and I'm not talking about DoG right now, because there aren't too many of us left that have been there. I'm talking more about the years that Condors had to knock on the door, that Furious and Sockeye had to knock on the door before they won. This puts Pike in an enviable position, while Ring has more of an institutional memory/advantage. This hurts Bravo and even DoG right now, and almost cripples Chain and Subzero. The last time Subzero made noise was in 99, when they made semifinals and we JUST missed playing them in the finals.

So, if I were a betting man, I would have to put money on one of the Northwest teams winning it all, but then again, that is why they make us play the games, isn't it?

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Nationals recap?

Nice teaser, eh? First, let me begin by conceding the blogwars to Parinella. His Q&A idea is pure genius, and he is getting the hits to prove it. Even better for him, it gives him a ready-made source of future posts. Of course, that doesn't mean I can't crib some topics from him, but I figure I'll start with something he actually can't talk about (see shortly). Similar to my worlds meanderings, I think I'll do some lead in to this year's National Championships by doing a little recalling of prior attendance at the 'champies' (alright, the last time I'll use that term).

The year was 1985...
And yes, this was before some of this year's attendees were even born, including two of my current teammates, Darden Pitts, 18, and Colin Mahoney, 20. I was a callow freshman at Princeton. I had entertained thoughts of playing on the tennis team, but quickly realized that I wasn't even going to make the JV team, and I'm way to competitive to play cheese level. During freshman week, I happened to notice a poster up on a wall talking about ultimate frisbee practices out at Poe field (now covered by dorms, naturally). Based on my experience in high school, which consisted of playing maybe four or five times, roughly 10 on 10, no stall count, and me sitting back and hucking backhands to the tall guy, I figured I was a shoe-in. Well, it took hold, and I made every practice that week and didn't miss a practice or tournament until I injured my heel senior year. But that is a topic for another post. That fall, we had our first week off in November (back when Nationals was in November), and the junior captain and his buddy, a sophomore, and a fellow freshman all made plans to attend Nationals in DC, one of the rare times it was close to the northeast. I don't remember the exact details, but we ended up going in my parent's car.

I couldn't get enough of the ultimate. Here, I had just started my 'career' (and of course knew nothing of what was to come) and here I was, awed by watching the best the game had to offer. I suppose I could say something lame like 'This trip made me what I am today,' but it's not true. Still it was a great time, and great introduction to the sport.

Things that still stick out in my mind.

Watching the semis (I think) Kaboom against Windy City or the Tunas, Kenny Dobyns was already clearly the man. Built like a fire hydrant, he was dominating the game like only he knows how. But at one point, after a tremendous play, his knee got crushed. He was literally on the field for 15-20 minutes, before he was finally taken off. And I'm still foggy on the details, and I can't remember whether he came back out that game, or in the finals, but he screwed up his knee something fierce, got this knee brace on, a cortisone shot, and then came back out and played like a stud. That was truly amazing.

And another side note on the Dobyns thing. I ended up playing NYC summer league the summer of '87, and a lot of the NYNY players played in the league. I was on a team with, yes, Johnny Gewirtz, Teens, Pete McCabe and others. I specifically remember when we were playing Kenny's team one night, they were playing zone, I was playing a deep wing, and somebody threw me a hammer. Naturally Kenny was playing wing, and he bore down on me and skied for the defense, just missing it. Amazingly enough I caught it, and he immediately said nice catch. Now maybe THAT was the play that made me the man I am today...

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

More on older players

Jim and Luke talked a little bit about old players.

Luke said

1) Old people quit because
a) They don't have the energy. They don't have time or whatever to train. I think Doo helped keep some of the boston guys going. He also helped me get Dylan back after a cheap shot. Classy.
b) They don't like young guys game style. The last thing an old guy wants is to play 'the big open high turnover game.' Yes, chicks dig the long ball. Go have fun at potlatch. My point? As each old guy is replaced by a younger guy, a team's game becomes more and more wide open, more turnover prone... etc.

a) I can attest to Bryan Doo keeping my career going. Prior to him joining the team, we had never really done much in the way of agility workouts. The first year he was there, I was a regular at his Thursday night agility workouts, and for the first time, we were doing things that truly helped my game. Working on quickness, explosiveness, etc., things that are critical to the short-cutting/handler position. I felt a HUGE difference at nationals that fall in my first step. And then there was the Furious game. I mean, you really shouldn't expect to win a game where your team turns it over 3 times, but whatever...

As for the time or whatever to train, yes, the mind ossifies a little as one gets older, and maybe I'm a little less psyched to do the track workouts, but the number one issue as I have been getting older has been family.

There are a number of stages in that. First you start with the girlfriend. Then that evolves into a long-time girlfriend. As you both get older, she will start to want more of your time. Then, if you get married, that is a whole new level of commitment, both emotional AND physical/time. Now she has a more legitimate call for your time. The final most difficult step is children. Now family really has ownership on your time. Most people can get away with it with one kid without too many problems, but once you move past the first kid, it gets REALLY hard. You see the professional baseball players, Lance Armstrong, etc., people with families who continue playing their sports, but then you realize that IS their job, whereas we are doing it as a hobby, and there are so many demands on your time.

I have been blessed to have been playing high-level ultimate for the past 4 years while raising now 4-yr old twins. Interestingly enough, I have probably played some of my perceived best/most efficient (here defined as fewest turnovers, which probably also corresponds with fewer long throws as the newer players are not as aware that I actually used to throw long, and the built in long cut isn't there) ultimate at nationals the last few years. However, the demands/sacrifices to be able to continue playing have been tough. This was the first season that I was actually unable to attend a few tournaments that I WANTED to attend for one family related reason or another. And that has been very difficult for me. And that pendulum isn't going to swing back the other way.

Generically I guess I'm saying that if you really want to continue playing elite as long as possible, stay single, or develop the sport so that there is some real money in it. Otherwise, it is going to be hard to justify the time. I think my situation has been the exception to the rule, and that has been with an exceptionally understanding wife, who is becoming less accepting as our kids are getting older. Last season, I brought my son out to most of our fall practices while she took our daughter, and that was a compromise for that season. That wasn't going to work out this season, although I did bring out both kids for one practice while my wife was out of town. I would be interested to know how many other elite players (fine, players who play elite, they don't have to be elite, didn't mean to assume...) have played in the fall series with two children, much less for multiple seasons.

Oh, and I'm terrified just thinking of how I'm going to keep the weight off once I stop playing... I'm going to have to find some sport to play, and golf ain't gonna do it.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

#16 and counting...

So, looks like I will be playing in my 16th Open National Championships in a few weeks (19 if you include college). My absence in the blogosphere has been noticeable (I'm going to have to work to get my hit counts back up), but I was off in Paris for 9 days with the family, bringing the kids for the first time, but that will be a topic for a separate post. Suffice it to say, it was a very different experience travelling to a foreign country with the twins for the first time, but especially to France where I have family and have visited probably 30 times in my life.

During my absence, this also meant missing comments like this one from Parinella, "Obviously, for some people like Alex, it's limited by physical attributes. For all the lack of raw physical talent he seems to exude (gee, too bad he's out of the country right now and might not ever read this), he's coordinated and he's good at things like tennis and ping-pong and pool." A topic for yet another post.

But back to the topic at hand. DoG succeeded in defending its Regional title and qualified for Nationals this weekend, defeating Twisted Metal in the winners bracket game to go 15-12. This was the 10th consecutive regional championship for DoG, and 13 out of 14 (if you include Commies and Big Brother, 11 out of 12 otherwise), broken only by the 17-6 pasting by Cojones in 1995. Fortunately, we got'em back at Nationals for that one...
Funny, in the Ultimate History Book, I am listed in the Special Accomplishments section under one or two categories, one of which is Nationals appearances with the same team, and I was tied with Jim and Bill at 11. Before the spring season, when Parinella looked like he wasn't playing, I saw it as an opportunity to stand alone in that category, only to have him keep playing and clog in the paint. Oh well, at least we will knock Billy off the list. I hope this doesn't mean I'm going to get hurt in the next few weeks.

Regionals took place in Fort Devens, MA this weekend, site of the Boston Invitational and numerous other tournaments. The weather was terrible, with light to heavy rain the ENTIRE day Saturday, although fortunately the temperature held up so that shirt and shorts were sufficient (if you were able to get in the game often enough, which was a problem for the offense). On Sunday, the weather was significantly colder, but the predicted rain held off for the most part, with just an occasional misting. The weather report prompted the wearing of polypro upper and lower garments, and my wife said I looked like a clown as I left the house Sunday morning (short sleeve and shorts over the poly pro, and the pants weren't pulled over my white socks yet). That's why I love her. I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoy NOT having to travel for Regionals or the Invite, as in my dotage it is more difficult to take that additional time off from the family. So kudos to having a small region. I can't even begin to imagine being in the NW, SW, actually, any other region except the mid-atlantic where they have to fly to regionals, especially since they rotate regionals pretty regularly for fairness. Pshaw.

The score reporter tournament summary can be found here (btw, that is a great tool). It would have been awesome had the Northeast gotten 3 seeds, because we would have qualified for nationals in 3 games while having 8 points scored against us. That is a topic for yet another post. I need to write these all down somewhere so I don't lose them... As it was, the offense played 8 or 9 points all day Saturday, and we got handed a couple of D points so that we wouldn't stiffen up and break something, after maybe a 5 point D run, but otherwise it was a lot of standing around. At least we didn't get broken on the day, although we did turn it a few times. That was the only way to actually get some running in.

The game against PoNY in the second round was somewhat of a disappointment. Despite my original low expectations of that team, I had heard/read a little bit of buzz, and was hoping for a good game to sharpen our skills for the remainder of the tournament. However, they fulfilled my expectations and bent over pretty thoroughly to a 15-4 pasting. In the first round, WUFO was fortunate to score the 1 point they did. Then we had to wait a round while the masters played their 3rd pool play game, or something inane like that. Why they don't give the elite division our proper due and respect and let us get out in 3 rounds, who knows. I guess I'll take the first round bye we got. Finally, the long awaited matchup with Chuck Wagon, who had beaten DoG 2 at White Mountain Open (unfortunately, I was on that team). This time, with Chuck Wagon missing Siegs, who we had (mis)appropriated in the meantime, we were able to take a little revenge and beat them 15-3.

The quick finish allowed me to catch the end of the more exciting semifinal between GOAT and Twisted for the right to play us in the morning. We had gotten chewed out at various points when we peaked over at that game while playing ours. Unfortunately, it was not a field adjacent to ours, but on a diagonal, so there was no easy way to pretend to watch the action on our field but focus on the next field over. You actually had to turn and face their field, which meant it was easy to get busted. I got to their game at 9-8 Twisted. From talking to one of the players, other than an early 2 point lead, it had been tied or a one point lead the entire way. However, once I got there, Metal ran off the next 3 points to make it 12-8 (in a game capped to 13), so I took off so I would be home in time to say goodnight to the kids. The whole interlude only kept me at the fields for another 15 minutes, as GOAT got scored on VERY quickly on two quick turnovers on their part.

After a leisurely morning with the kids, I left the house at 10AM to get to the fields at 10:30 for the required 1 hour warmup time, which of course means walking around, catching up with people, seeing what is happening in the other games, and finally running and stretching at around 11AM. I have always had problems with really long warmups. It is almost too much time spent getting ready for a game without actually playing it. I'm not describing it really well, but it is probably NOT a topic for another post.

At least in the Metal game, the offense finally got some action. In the first half, the O gave up 2 goals, one early and one late, both on stupid turnovers. Fortunately, the D turned right around and got both of them back, including all-universe half point, which was nice because Twisted was receiving in the second half, and I hate losing that 1/2 goal going into half. Those were the only 2 goals that we gave up, as the O served out the game in the second half, including one point in which we turned the disc over within 15 yards of our endzone, Twisted called timeout, we set up a zone, and hounded them into an ugly turnover after they had already lost 15 yards. We may have to work on that zone for Nationals. The D got two more in the second half and missed a couple of other opportunities to put the game away. The final score of 15-12 was the same score as Sectionals, although the game didn't feel quite as certain, maybe it was the qualifying nerves, maybe something else.

In the betty bowl, which I was unable to see because I had to run home to see some friends before they headed back to DC, sounds like GOAT wasn't ever in the game, despite an early lead. Will also be interesting to see if they continue their experiment in the frozen north, or go/slink back to their respective cities.

I'm not sure why Twisted seems to have a mental block against us. I guess it may be the big brother/little brother thing. It will be inconvenient if and when they get over that. The two teams do play a very different game. They definitely match up better with some of the other teams going to nationals. It will be interesting to see how we both do. If neither team does very well at Nationals, how long will it take before the two teams combine to try and get the title back, a la Titanic/Earth Atomizer in 92, DoG/Snapple 99, and DoG/Boss Hogg 04. The first merger worked (eventually), the second one worked the first year and then never again, and the third one is still in progress. Based on the progression, it looks like we will merge in 2007. And then the next and final merger will be in 2008, and then we will be back to the yearly name changes. I assume I will be long gone by then.

On a personal note, I had a turnover-free Regionals, although I have to give a shout out to Sam/Hummer for making an incredible catch on a hammer I threw that sailed wide right and in the middle of a pack of defenders, although shockingly enough, no one else really made a play on the disc, but it still required an incredible effort on the part of plasticman. I might be able to count turnover-free regionals on all of one or two fingers. As I have aged (like a fine wine?), my turnovers have decreased pretty consistently (and not just total turnovers that might go along with a reduction in playing time, but turnovers per throw). Whether this coincides with me having less carte blanche to continue playing when I'm playing poorly is left up to the reader (I would say the whole carte blanche elimination thing results from the team being less able to overcome the turnovers than in the past, which makes each possession that much more valuable). I remember when Wicks was still on the team we would compete to see who would have the fewest turnovers during tournaments, keeping track as the tournament went on. We would both have turnover free days/games. He typically didn't have many turnovers, except for some nasty streaks, which made it challenging for me, but the overall impact was definitely positive. As I mentioned in another post, a lot of this is probably attributable to a decrease in long throws.

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