Saturday, April 29, 2006


This is definitely a topic that makes me cringe. I guess I started thinking about it because I ran on 4 different days this week. On Tuesday, 2 miles of track, 'sprinting' the straightaways and jogging the turns, Wednesday a 3 mile run up and down HUGE hills (I will NEVER do that again, the long downhill was very bad for the knees, but both local tracks were occupied), Friday more intervals, and then Saturday morning I brought the kids out to Harvard Stadium and then did 15 stadiums, 2 big, 1 small, repeat.

I believe this is the EARLIEST that I have run on my own in probably any season that I have ever played. I don't run on my own, except that since the elite season has started later and later over the last 5-10 years (the spring USED to mean something in elite), we haven't really started practicing until the June timeframe except for Worlds years for the most part. I typically have used the season itself, playing and the various track workouts to get into shape. Yeah, if somebody was paying me to play the game, then that would be a different story.

I find it exceedingly difficult to run just to run. The thought that a lot of my teammates are also running (who knows if they are, but I'll assume yes for now) helps a little bit, but it is REALLY hard to run without a 'program'. The carrot of getting ready for the season is pretty damned abstract. I have never minded doing the track workouts when I know the rest of the team is doing them, although I do them on my own these days because of kid timing issues. Or the sprints during practice, because I know everyone else is also doing them, and it is a 'team' thing. But off-season training is psychologically very hard.

Continuing on my earlier post about the upcoming season, this season's team is promising to have a LOT of personnel turnover, and the team ain't gettin' any older..., well, except for Jim and I. Rather, the median age of the team will definitely be dropping. I'm seeing the potential for great things, and I want to be involved in them, so it's time to start getting in shape early for once. Hell, I have even started trying to lose the 'winter' fat, although this winter was one of my better ones in terms of keeping off the excess.

So look out this year. I've even been working on a long forehand!

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

DoG 2006

I know it's way too early, but Jim was just mentioning over here that Zip had renewed his contract for 2006, and the first comment was as follows:

Anonymous said...

Funny you mention Pike. Had the blogging craze struck a year ago, I can imagine someone on Pike writing a very similar post:

Made semis last year when no one expected it, everyone's coming back. We're cheering "our year" during every huddle. Watch out world.

Refresh my memory, how'd that attitude work out for Pike 2005?

Nice of you to do some gauntlet-throwing this early, though. Should be interesting to watch.

That comment made me reflect on some history. In 2002, DoG was 1 turnover from winning a national championship (I'm not going to waste my time arguing whether we would have won the final if we had beaten Furious by 1 instead of the reverse). We had dethroned the Condors in the quarterfinals in a satisfying victory after losing them to the semis the previous two years. Because of our success in 2002 most of the team stayed around for 2003 and hopes were high. After all, we were bringing back most of the team that had just missed winning it all. Naturally, we got smoked in 2003 in probably our worst performance, both literally and as a 'team', with lots of backbiting, bad spirit and just general malaise. It was a far cry from the year before and probably the most unpleasant one in all my years on DoG. In 2004 we again lost in the quarterfinals, this time losing to Furious after being up 10-7. In 2005, we were fated to lose in the quarters again (and I guess this year not even make it to the quarters, perhaps lose in the pre-quarters) but ended up the surprise semifinalist, although I'm not sure people were too surprised.

In 2003 (and Pike 2005), the teams brought almost all of their squads back, with very little turnover or new additions. Unfortunately, the state of the game is such that teams can't afford to stand still anymore, even national champions. Even during the DoG championship reign, we experienced significant turnover every year except after 97, where the only change was a trade of a very young Doug Moore and Zack Wills for Doc and import Daisuke. And, of course, 98 ended up being one of our closest finals victories.

It is projecting to be an exciting year. We are expecting serious turnover, losing up to 10 players off last years roster of 24. But if you consider that Zip was largely a non-factor at Nationals in 2005 due to a hamstring injury early in the tournament, his return is effectively the 'addition' of a stud (like the late-season return of a baseball #1 starter from injury). The pool of tryouts is also very promising even with the Pike guys choosing to pick up with the surprise 11th best team in the country. Hopefully they will seriously regret that decision.

I make no predictions for the fall, as at this point, pretty much any team can flame out of the tournament, witness Ring and Condors last year, but it promises to be an exciting year.

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