Worlds 2002 showing sparks of life
11. 2002 - Club World Championships - Hawaii, USA - DoG
39 Open teams descended upon Hawaii to try and take the title of best Club team in the World from us (Yeah St. Andrews! Let's start drinking!). Given the distance from Europe, a surprisinging number of teams made it from two ponds over. The games took place at a brand new facility, the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park just outside Honolulu.
After the usual easy pool games the first few days, the tournament got down to business. We blew through Seattle 17-9, and then crushed a dispirited Finnish team starring Ville, another international DoG recruit, 17-4. On Wednesday, another easy game against the Japanese Bombers, 17-3, before our first test match against Jam, in an important game for them. They had to win by 3 to make it out of the pool after a loss to Sockeye earlier in the day. After a 9-9 tie, we ultimately finished in the win column 15-12 in a beautiful sunset (and sight-bothering low sun) to knock them out of the winners bracket.
More importantly, that morning, after we beat the Bombers, we had some extra time to go over and catch the end of the Sockeye-Jam game. When we got to the field, Jam was up 14-9. In a SUPERB heckling moment, Jam proceeded to fritter away that lead and ultimately lose 15-14, with a NUMBER of MTP (multi-turnover points), which, of course, provided even more heckling opportunities. It really doesn't get any better than that, and it seems to happen often with JAM.
Meanwhile, over in lodging land, we had rented a very cool 3 floor house on the shore in Haleiwa on the North Shore for the entire team complete with a volleyball field, hot tub, ping pong table, and beautiful sunsets. Unfortunately, the young guys tried to schedule/organize a little too much, but hey, you go with the horses that brung ya. After some fast and furious 2 on 2 volleyball games the first day we were there, no one played volleyball the rest of the week... The ping pong table did see some consistent usage throughout. For the most part, I held court.
The following day, after a warmup game against Mephisto, the quarterfinals started with a game against Johnny Bravo, who was busy recovering from their final round loss to Bonzi. They started out psyched, but quickly petered out in a 16-10 loss. Meanwhile, Furious George barely scraped by Sub-Zero 17-16 to set up the semifinal matchups Condors/Sockeye and Furious/DoG.
Our semifinal was a big-time callfest. I guess Furious was getting ready for their fall season (and eventual National Championship). There had to be at least 60 calls in this game, including one slapping incident where Johnny G called Seeger a bitch and Seeger slapped him. Fun all around. More importantly, we pulled out the victory 13-10 (including a sweet lane poach D by yours truly), setting up a finals matchup against the Condors, who had smoked Seattle 17-9.
The finals is where it got ugly, and I'm not only talking about the play on the field. Not quite a call-fest, but... We stormed to an 8-4 lead after taking advantage of early Condor miscues. After the Condors scored off the pull, everything began to unravel. First Forch forced a bad finesse forehad to try and take half. The Condors scored that point, and the next one before we finally took half 9-7. However, the momentum had shifted, and they slowly chipped away, before eventually winning 14-12 at the cap. Other terrible miscues included not being able to score after they turned it over on their upwind goal line. Another stake in the heart.
I did want to make a few observations about the fans. This is also after reviewing the Eurodisc archives regarding my contested foul call in the 2000 finals against Sweden. The behavior of the fans (and announcer) was rather atrocious during the entire game. Any time there was a call, valid or not, the spectators immediately started yowling, booing, etc. This ended up having an impact on the game. With the Condors going downwind, James Studarus threw a beautiful inside out forehand around Lyn Debevoise for a goal, who promptly called a travel. The crowd started booing, and worse, James started playing up the crowd, similar to what Anders had done in 2000. Well, once the disc was checked back in, he threw the same throw, and travelled at LEAST as far as the first throw, and we have crystal clear video footage of both travels. Unfortunately, the atmosphere had been poisoned such that it would have been very difficult to make the same call twice in a row.
Another example occurred on the last point of the game. I fouled Steve Dugan on a reception on the goal line. I thought about it for a moment, then said no contest. However, the disc went back to the thrower because there was a travel on the throw. The crowd thought that I contested the foul and started booing again. It seems like it would be beneficial, especially in a situation like that where the stands are a good distance from the field, to have somebody signalling things to the 'press box' as it were. Wow, we could develop our own set of signals a la NFL.
And if popularizing the sport is going to make important games have announcers, hopefully they won't be as bad as these. Saying stupid things like "Who wants to see a tie?" when the Condors were down one and receiving, or not saying anything between points until 20 seconds before the pull, as the teams were setting up their calls.
And finally, in the most important game of the tournament, the observers screwed up the time cap and showed ZERO flexibility. After we scored to make it 12-12, the horn sounded to signify that the cap was on. The scorers immediately announced game to 14, which was completely against the rules that had been established for the week, which was that the next point started IMMEDIATELY after a goal was scored (which is the only sane way to do the time cap to prevent overt between point lollygagging). As the game was tied at 12s, the game should have gone to 15 (on the presumption that at least ONE team was going to reach 13 and then add 2 points to it...). We argued for awhile, and then played the next point so that the game could continue while we argued. Despite all evidence to the contrary, they did NOT change their call and make the cap 15. Unfathomable. In retrospect, I feel like we should have done a sit down strike. Not to say that we would have come back and won the game, but it definitely would have changed the complexion. When we turned over going downwind at 13-12, the Condors called 2 timeouts before scoring. They might have behaved a little differently if the game was to 15. All in all, it was a terrible end to an otherwise fun tournament.
Just as a postscript, we took our vengeance on the Condors at nationals, beating them in the quarterfinals to end their two year streak atop the frisbee world and postpone anyone beating our record streak for at least another 6 years. And then, of course, there was the Furious George semifinal, another in a long litany of Best Games Ever that we have participated in, that Jim has covered in some depth in other posts. As he says, when you turn it over 3 times in a game, you expect to win...
* Not having a hat for the very sunny and hot tournament, so buying a hat in a supermarket on the first day and starting the legend of the fire hat (anything to make me look fast).
* Passing through different micro-climates on the way to the fields.
* Trying to view the Arizona Memorial and quickly realizing that apparently that is the only reason people visit Honolulu and that we had NO chance with the humongous line.
* Climbing Diamond Head with John Bar (?!?).
* Being the only guy diving off of a very high rock on a North Shore (everyone else was jumping. Wimps.)
* Golfing 9 holes between games with Jim and Bim. Unfortunately I lost to Bim, shooting a 59 to his 56. Jim shot 36 of course. Taking a 13 on the first hole really hurt me... However, I DID beat Bim in the match play, 3 and 2.
* Wife showing up at the end of the week and travelling to the Big Island and Maui.
* Volcanoes National Park, Akaka Falls, Haleakala sunrise, Rainbow falls, body surfing, windsurfing on the North Shore.