Friday, November 24, 2006

Nationals 2006 - Day 4

So, after the previous night (and morning's) debauchery, very slow wakeup this morning. Slowly roll out of bed, go down to the beach and slowly walk across the sand to a group of women players playing scrabble. They have a bunch of balls and gizmos, so we kick around a soccer ball for awhile, throw a football, then go for the final swim in the ocean, which feels GREAT. Back to the apartment to clean up, pack, get ready to empty the apartment, find out the dishwasher doesn't work, am a little worried because of the dirty dishes we are leaving and I'm the one who has the $300 deposit on the room. More below.

Apparently I have Russ and Juho in my car, so round them up, drop off the key, then off to the fields around 12:45PM. First, of course, we have to negotiate Foodbags vomit in the car, making sure that nothing is on that side of the rear passenger seat, and leaving all of the windows open. Park the car, leave the keys on the tire, and then go to the pavilion. I haven't had access to any lube at this point, so I'm not going to stray out into the sun, and I really don't feel like asking around. I find a spot on one of the benches with a perfect view of the field, and settle in, beerless. I get to watch Fury disembowel Riot. I guess I'm excited that Riot didn't win more in a row, but that is about all I can muster up in terms of caring about the game. More on streaks below. I would make more commentary on the women's game, but it's really difficult to do without being dishonest with myself (or pissing other people off), so I will leave well enough alone.

Fortunately I'm dehydrated, so I don't have to go to the bathroom for a long time. When I finally get up to go, call seat saved, and then almost fall asleep in the port -a-john. Get back to the bench, and my spot is gone, the guy saving it is gone, so I'm hosed, and tired, and sore, and have no seat. So I sit on the edge of the concrete just on the edge of the sun, and get ready to watch the Open finals. Haven't seen too many people walking by that I recognize (par for the course for the entire tournament. I know way more people in masters than in Open).

Finally Billy and Worm walk by and take a seat next to me. We catch up, I abuse them for jumping to Masters, and then we watch the finals. Billy asks me who I want to win the game, and I tell him that I want Seattle not to win the least. He nods knowingly, and then I say that it is because I want to reset the clock. He thinks a second, and then immediately says, "omigod, are you guys going to be like the '72 Dolphins?" I smile. 'Nuff said. Hey, every time a defending champion doesn't win, we're guaranteed at least 6 more years with the record for consecutive titles. Soon after this, Jimmy P makes an appearance and replaces Worm, who had departed for parts unknown. It is now halftime, and the game has only two total turnovers. So starting the second half we are now on turnover watch, as there is another streak that we need to maintain, that of the 5 total turnover semi against Furious in '02. Fortunately, the men smash through with 12 total I think, although the first half WAS impressive, even though they tried to turn it over(the greatest, disc landing on someone, etc.).

Unfortunately I was unable to stay and watch the end of the game as my car had a 6:30 flight, so we leave at 13-11 Sockeye. 3 of us in a stinky car which is now that much worse because the vomit has been brewing under the hot sun. Riding with the windows open until the highway clears most of it out. Call Jim on the way back to get the final score, and Sockeye pulls it out 15-13. Jim did make the hopefully non-prescient observation that while it does reset the clock, Furious is not a good candidate to win 6 in a row, while Seattle is, so I should have wanted Furious instead. But if Furious wins 4 of 5, then they start looking like a dynasty also. Ahhh, so complicated. But that's what happens when you get old (and not winning), you start living off the fruits of your earlier labors. I'm nowhere near Kenny's self-hatred of his earlier years/self/attitude. I will probably need the same sort of transformative event that his teaching has provided him to evolve in that direction.

So, bitter ending to a much anticipated Nationals for DoG. We were exposed. Naturally, the weather during the finals was gorgeous. I'm by no means saying that we win if the weather had been like that the entire tournament, but it would have been COMPLETELY different for DoG. Oh well, I guess we have to wait for next year now.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nationals 2006 - Day 3

What a surprise! Saturday was windy also. I think this has been the most consistent and high wind that we have experienced in quite some time through the first 3 days. We lined up against Sockeye, number one seed on our side of the bracket, for the 9:30 quarterfinals. Amazing how the detail for this game is already starting to fade. We traded the first few points, and then Sockeye started to exert themselves, and we folded in the wind. We continued to be unable to find the spots that we had found all season. Sockeye went on 2 3-point runs to take half 8-3. We received to start the second half, and finally we got our first break a point later to make it 9-5. We traded a few more points before we finally began our run.

3 defensive scores later, I really started to believe. I was running up and down the sideline, shouting instructions and psyche to help them on the field. I was definitely getting excited. Even Jim was following the action up and down the sidelines, even shouting at his fellow sideline mates to get up to where the D needed help. We got the score to 11-10, pulling upwind, basically 2 downwind and 1 upwind break. At 11-10, we got a mac daddy D, but Mo pulled in the garbage, and Sockeye squelched the rally. Worse, we gave up another upwinder the following point, and all of a sudden the game was slipping away. And slip away it did, as Sockeye finally won the game 15-11.

Despite the final score, this felt exactly like the semis last year, which I think they won 15-12. Even though the final margin made it seem like we weren't really in the game, it really felt like a game of inches, or one or two plays away from winning/making a difference. Even in last year's game, we had a chance to score a late upwind break that would have pulled us within 1 going downwind (14-13 maybe?) and then who knows? By the same token, on the Seattle side, they might be feeling like DoG did back in the day that it was just a matter of time before they exerted themselves and won the game. Hey, nothing to say that we aren't both right... and maybe we just catch them before they start exerting, or the exertion is mistimed.

Thus ended our run at nationals, coming in with our highest seed in 4-5 years, and leaving with a big razz to blowing seed (sorry Adam Goff). Naturally, Sunday was spectacular weather with just a lick of wind to keep teams honest. If we have that kind of wind throughout the rest of the tournament, there is a totally different result. But as it stands, I feel like we were exposed as a team. We didn't have the throws or composure to compete in the high wind (!?). My personal performance was completely disappointing, especially coming off of last year and what is now my series of 'last runs' a la Jim. I know Jim has mentioned over in his Q&A talking about 'getting the band back together'. It has its temptations, and based on the way I played and was subbed as a result, becomes ever more attractive. We'll see.

Oh, and for those people on rsd who are complaining about why DoG (and Ring) didn't play the subsequent games, I could try and cobble some reasoned explanation about why we chose not to play that game, but screw it. While a few people on the team wouldn't have minded playing Rhino, I would say the majority felt as I did, and probably almost as strongly. Unless someone was going to penalize my team somehow in a way that really mattered, there was NO *&($*@&#($)*&@# way I was going to play that game. I'm still shocked that Rhino and Revolver actually played out a game.

Other highlights:

* Apparently I'm a marked man in shotguns. At one point I'm in the beer tent and this beefy guy named Joe Lott comes up to me and says something about shotgunning and how I have a reputation and he wants to shotgun me. Naturally I have no idea who this guy is, and when you have a streak as long as I do (probably 15-20 years since I last lost a shotgun), you sort of almost want to play it safe, like Roy Jones Jr. did taking on chumps that he knew he would beat. I finally give into the guy, but say that I want it to be just him and I at the back of the tent. I'm already starting to feel full, but I still can't resist. So, this guy may think he is a gunner, but he is completely unaware of gravity being his friend. First he thumbs the can open, but with the open side down so he spurts a lot of beer. Then he preps the pull tab, and partially opens it a little so it starts leaking a little. Naturally, I do a biter to open mine, then do the rest with my thumb (cutting my thumb in the process). Then I impose on him that we have to change cans. We do. He has one friend/witness there who does the countdown. 3-2-1 go. I'm feeling the pressure. When you are in a real race, as opposed to gunning with a bunch of chumps, there comes a point where you think your are pretty much done, but don't want to risk another gulp and suck down air and then spike, because you have lost a fraction of a second. I do my assumption, spike my can, and there is a tiny bit of beer left. His can hits the ground a fraction (but obvious) of a second behind mine, and he complains that I have too much beer left. He picks up my can, I pick up his, a little beer comes out of both, and he crows that he has won. Fortunately, his buddy looks at him after we argue a little, and tells Joe that my can hit first. Joe is stunned, still complains, and his buddy tells him a few more times that I won, and I thank god that I had at least one witness.

I can't remember if I gun against Joe anymore that day, but I definitely some him everywhere after that. It was very weird.

* More on gunning. Apparently, Doug Moore reports that at 1AM, I was doing more guns against the Metal guys on an individual basis. By this time, I am so stumbling (something) that I can't see straight, and am informed of this fact. However, Doug says that he has never seen me so competitive as I lined up to face off against Will Neff, holding my can fiercely with great intensity. Apparently I beat Will, and I did at least one other gun against Ryan Scribner. Word on the street is that I lost, but since I don't remember, and I was about 100 sheets to the wind, I will take that loss with a grain of salt and carry it over to the next time I gun against Ryan. I know that I have gunned against him at other times, and it was close, but I hadn't lost to him, so I have faith that when the chips are down (and I am slightly more sober), I will win. Feel free to comment/disagree.

* Mr. Bigs is definitely becoming the post Saturday hangout for the elite/eliminated teams. Many carbombs and ciders were had.

* When Juho Rantalaiho took my car home, unfortunately one our passengers, affectionately known as foodbag, was unable to make it home without making a contribution to the Sarasota vomit fund. And more unfortunately, the window lock was on so he wasn't able to drop the window in time and some of it got on the inside of the right passenger door. Fortunately, the Dollar rent a car people did not notice it because it was on the far side of the car, so we escaped without extra fees, although it was a smelly ride to the airport the next day after the finals.

* Taking a 'nap' on a sand dune amidst the brush at the after hours Boston beach party. 'nuff said.

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