Friday, October 27, 2006

Nationals 2006 - Day 2

Running out of things to say. The day started with great hope as we lined up against Furious in the first game of the power pool. Not too much later, hope was extinguished as we lost 15-6. What went wrong in this game? What didn't. The O proved singularly incapable of moving the disc, the wind was a significant factor, and we lost, pure and simple. Meanwhile in the other game, Rhino administered a good ole spanking to Revolver 15-8, setting up the potential for a 3-way tie for second. We started on O in the Rhino game, and quickly scored. They scored with a little difficulty, we scored, and then we got 2 breaks for a 3 point lead. We kept it for one trade, and then gave it right back. We gave up some more before half, but eventually gutted out the halftime lead on server at 8-7. We kept that for a few points until the wheels came off, they got a couple of breaks, we fought back, had our chances, before ultimately losing 14-12. Ouch. Prequarters. Ugh.

Out of the lower pool arose a surprising competitor, Metal ultimate from sister city Cambridge. Meanwhile over in the other prequarter, Ring of Fire was battling it out with Machine. We started on D on the first point, and traded for the first 4 points, although there was at least one turnover per point during. Finally we got our first break, then got the downwind break for the 2 point lead. From there the lead slowly extended, and we ultimately won 15-8 or so. Metal had great difficulty moving the disc against the zone, and played a lot of zone themselves. The wind was VERY strong at this point, and pretty close to straight upwind-downwind.

Ring beat Machine reasonably handily in the other pre-quarter. As I unfortunately predicted, NW now has the chance for an all NW semifinal, although I expect that it will not happen. My predictions are Furious, Chain (over Revolver), Rhino over Bravo, and naturally DoG over Sockeye. Tune in tomorrow (although if we lose either quarter or semi, I may be too drunk to post tomorrow night...)

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nationals 2006 - Day 1

Ugh. A tournament that started with such promise has, well, still a lot of promise, but we do make things hard on ourselves. Seeded third with a pool of Vicious Cycle, Machine, and Revolver, we played those teams in order. The Vicious game started uneventfully, with the O connecting on all 4 cylinders and the D getting enough to spring out to an 8-4(?) lead at half. Vicious got their first break to make it 10-8 and cause a little bit of consternation, but we got back on track and closed out the game 15-10. Vicious ran a VERY tight rotation with Tim and Rook playing almost every point, and Dan Depaul not far behind. Meanwhile, on the other field Machine and Revolver played a very close game with Machine up in the second half before Revolver came back for the win.

This brought the next game against Machine, a clear trap game if there ever was one. These guys hucked even more than Vicious, but the game followed mostly the same pattern, with us getting out to a big half-time lead, giving up some points in the second half, and then closing out to a 15-10/11 victory. Meanwhile, over on the other field, Vicious was keeping a late lead against Revolver, with the disc to win. Revolver got it back, they tied it up, and eventually played out to double-game point to 17(?). Vicious received to start, Revolver got it back, and then Cash threw into a poach. Wonder if that will make it into a blog entry. Vicious closed out the game for the upset victory.

Naturally, this means we would crush Revolver, right? Not so fast. We started the game on D upwind. Revolver scored mostly straightforward. They pulled, we threw a few, then Jim turfed a backhand to Zalisk. A few passes later, 2-0. Now we're going upwind. Turnover, 3-0. Finally we score downwind, 3-1. The D gets one back, but the O gives up another one and Revolver takes half 8-5. We start the second half on O, and we are still not clicking on all 4 cylinders. I think we score, but a few ugly turnovers later, and Revolver is sitting on an 11-6 lead. All of a sudden, there is concern about making the power pool if we lose by enough points (and Vicious wins). Now it's our turn. 11-6, 11-9, 12-9, 12-12 with Revolver going upwind. They score, barely, to make it 13-12 and the cap is on, game to 15. We work it most of the way of the field, and then at a high stall count, Zalisk tries to squeeze an inside out forehand to Forch. Turnover, they eventually score. 14-12. We receive going downwind, throw it around for a little, then score. 14-13. The O is finished for the game. The D pulls, and proceeds to get the disc 4(!) times, and we turn it over near their goal line at least 3 of the times. We also score twice only to have it called back, once on a possible drop by Josh McCarthy, and one on a bogus continuation marking foul call for a goal. Naturally each time we fail on the double score. This point had to take maybe 25 minutes, with multiple subs on each team as people went down with cramps.

This game was INCREDIBLY disappointing as the O tried our hardest to give away the game, and eventually we succeeded. What was unusual was that you couldn't really point any fingers. It was just unusual mistakes across the board. Weird drops, weird throws, spread across a bunch of O players. What was even more aggravating was that Machine won the other game against Vicious, and if we had ended up beating Revolver, through point differential they would have gone, with Vicious, to the losers pool with a loss, quite possibly ending their tournament.

Now our schedule tomorrow is Furious to start followed by Rhino, the all NW pool. Hopefully we will make it interesting (have to avoid 4th and eliminate the potential for an all NW semi).

On a personal note, the second game against Machine was probably the nadir of my ultimate career. It began with a first point turf of a forehand that I didn't want to throw. They scored, and of the 15-20 passes I ended up throwing that game, well over 50% of them I felt uncomfortable on, ie., they didn't go where I wanted them to go. My second pass, a swing to Ariel was a little behind and almost layout blocked. I threw a forehand swing to Paul, pushed him upfield and made him stumble and drop the pass. I had a long inside out forehand to Zalisk on a bowling alley cut that he was unable to time his jump for. I had at least 5 other passes that caught on my fingers, that didn't feel right, that had players laying out for (but not getting). Hopefully I got all my bad passes done in the one game. More tomorrow.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Wow, I just checked and I haven't posted anything since 9/11. A lot going on in my life, but back to frisbee. Didn't go to sectionals for like the 4th out of the last 5 years. Missed the first game of Regionals so that I wouldn't have to leave the kids with a babysitter from 7 in the morning until 5 at night. Apparently I didn't miss much, as we won that game 15-0 AND they didn't put the O line in. I don't think I have played a single defensive point all season since the spring (when we go short-squad) at a real tournament and am probably the only person on the team that can say that. Hell, I think even Jim got in for a point somewhere. If you think it is because I play terrible D, then cover me this weekend, be a handler on the turn, and tell me how easy it is...

So DoG is going in as its highest seed since probably 2002. As Jim has mentioned in his verbose seeding posts, we don't 'deserve' the 3rd seed, but we don't deserve it less than any of the other candidates. Actually, it's pretty funny. Watching the betty bowl after our victory over Metal in the winner's bracket, I started thinking about seeding, initially figuring we would be somewhere 5-6, and then I a sudden realization that we were going to have to seeded 3rd. It was a very weird and sudden realization. Thank you Justice League, although that puts a nice target on us now.

So, according to Hector, I should start collecting my social security checks right about now. Hey, all I know is that when I checked yesterday, a few people BESIDES Jim had actually selected me for their fantasy team. Hopefully I'll have a personal nationals like last year, with a bunch of goals thrown, even a game-winning goal caught against Bravo (worth two points, right?) and only 3 turnovers for the entire tournament. Of course, then I noticed that it was just for the finals. Someone on rsd mentioned that people were hosing them selves by covering the bases with players from more than two teams, but that won't necessarily be a losing proposition. Yeah, the Shanks and Lugsdins of the world are getting a lot of play, but these big players can also have big turnovers. Just because you have a bunch of players on a team in the finals doesn't mean that you are best positioned. Maybe it's better to have two players each from 3 teams. We'll see after the tournament.

Speaking of fantasy, I wonder if it could also be a useful thought experiment. You know how they have 'markets' now in all sorts of events that have proven uncannily accurate in predicting real world events, like terrorist attacks, market setbacks, etc. The question to be asked is whether the people that are picking the fantasy teams are just basing it on the seeding, or actual knowledge of the underlying teams. And more importantly, does that even matter, or is there some sort of actualization going on with these markets (and the fantasy market). Based on my quick analysis, it seemed like the teams followed the seedings, with Furious having the most players, Sockeye next, and then DoG in a not so far third. There seemed to be a huge dropoff after the top 3 teams, deserved or not. It's been awhile since DoG has been considered anywhere in that upper pantheon despite the legacy of success. Interestingly enough, last year we were supposed to lose in the quarters, followed by starting a 3-year run of losing in the pre-quarters (2000,01,02 lose in semis, 2003, 04 lose in quarters, 2005 lose in ...semis). Fortunately we broke that pattern in 2005.

On a personal note, I'm feeling pretty good going into the tournament. I was nursing some left achilles and hip flexor problems in August/September, all stemming from a badly bruised left heel I suffered before the Boston Invitational. I ended up playing the invite while running around the entire time on the ball of my left foot, never putting any pressure on the heel. Naturally that caused significant calf and achilles problems (fortunately we had July off or I would have missed more practices than I have missed in the last 5 years total). And walking funny because of the calf problems caused the hip flexor problem, which got bad enough that at ECC I barely cut in the 3rd Saturday game against the Condors game, only really making some damage when I got my normal defender to switch off to somebody else after we turned it over and got it back. That subsequent possession I got the disc 4 times and threw the goal. That was about the sum total of my contribution. I ended up sitting out the last game on Saturday against Furious because of the pain (I had neglected to take my second round of ibuprofen, and it came to roost). By halftime I had recovered enough to play but felt it would be inappropriate to go in at that point, especially given the lead. Well, it was painful to watch as we ended up giving away a 10-5 lead to lose 16-14 or something like that. Then played fine Sunday now that I was remembering to fortify myself with ibuprofen. After we got back from ECC, I went to see Russ, the team massage guy for my hip who totally worked me over during our session. He recommended that I don't play at Tuneup two weeks later, but naturally I told him that it was the last major tournament before nationals, and I wanted to know how badly I could screw myself up. He said to play it by ear. I did, I hurt during warmups but was fine during play, and I ended up playing the entire tournament and playing reasonably well until a couple of late turnovers in the finals against Sub-Zero, as the cold affected my hands more it used to when I was young.

The captains had also pointed out in the individual emails (that everyone on the team got with roles, expectations, etc) that they noticed some turnovers at practice that they felt were not necessary, but that they expected I would 'expunge' from my game at Nationals. I took the words to heart and had maybe 2-4 turnovers total over the last 4 practices. I'm sure I will have the usual issues with playing time, especially considering the depth of the O team we have this year. I had similar concerns going into last year nationals, but played well enough that it was clear they had to keep me in. I hope to make it clear again, although it would be nice not to 'have' to play because the O is scoring every time we have the disc and the D is going on long runs. I definitely feel better about this team than in the last few years, in particular the potential of the defense. Interestingly enough, this is the first year that the O and D squads at practice were roughly equal in numbers, with the O actually having more players than the D sometimes. This hasn't happened since... well ever. Hopefully this depth will come in handy, assuming people can handle the reduced playing time.

Well, I think I'm done rambling for now. I can't wait to get down there. It will be the first time I get in to the airport before 6 or 7PM (arriving 10AM). I figure I'll head over to the Palm Bay for a quick hot tub... Deepdisc talks about getting to the fields on Thursday morning well in his 'The Transcendent Moment' blog. Of course, we know he is a Justice League player by now, but hopefully we'll hear something from him anyway.

I will attempt to do the daily summary that I did last year. We'll see how it goes.

Oh, final nauseating thought. If 1) we make the power pool, 2) end up 4th, 3) everything else holds to seed, the NW could have all 4 teams in the semis. Wouldn't that just be digusting? It's our job to make sure that nothing like that happens, or else we'll never hear the end of it.

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