Monday, May 21, 2007

Retirement/White Mountain Open

Well, I guess this makes it official. Since the fall of 1988 I have tried to play at the highest level on the best team that I can, and that has carried me from 1 year on Wild Veal in NY in 88(!) to 3 years on what some would call the best little team in Boston (Earth Atomizer) from 89-91, to 2 years of Boston hybrid stuff (Commonwealth/Big Brother) in 92-93 to 13 years with DoG from 94-06. Well, that goal has now changed in resounding fashion. This weekend I finally 'confirmed' my decision to join Jim in the Open Elysian fields. And the simplest way to do that was to play with the Big Ego Ultimate Masters team this weekend at the White Mountain Open in Dartmouth instead of one of the split-squad Boston teams.

First, the tournament recap. I was only able to play on Saturday as my brother was in town from San Francisco for his 25th Tufts reunions, and we were going to finally spend some time together on Sunday before his flight back. The weather wasn't looking promising early in the week, and it only got worse, with rain in Hanover at 90% by the Saturday morning departure. Nonetheless, I saddled up in the car with Marshall Goff, we left 20 minutes late, and it worked out perfectly as we arrived at the fields at 9:20AM for our 9AM game, and no one was playing yet. When we got to the field with our cleats on in the pretty steady rain, we made iron 8's. We would end up the day with 11 (including 1 partially injured but able to sort of run around). And I was also nursing a strained calf that I had been rehabbing for the last month, including a set back two weeks ago playing pickup, and two visits to my trusty therapist Russ this week. He said I should be able to do a few games, but it might get weak/sore by the end of the day and not let me finish out. The good news there was that I was ultimately able to play all 4 games.

We began against Bro White, the male half of national finalist Slo White. Never having really watched them play (no surprise) I was impressed with the number of pretty good players. It wasn't enough to make a difference though. We got the turnover to try and take half 7-3, failed and ended up taking half 7-5. It was raining pretty steadily at this point. They steadily chipped away until the game was capped to 11, and they tied it up at 10's. We received for the game, proceeded to turn it over twice on drops by the same guy, and then they dropped an easy catch on our goal line, we walked it down to score the big 4 over 2 upset (Oh yeah, we were insultingly seeded 4th out of 5 in our pool).

The next game is against our Masters archrivals Koob (go with it, I'm trying to build rivalries in the heretofore undiscussed Masters division). Unfortunately, they don't fall prey to our loose junky d's, being a little more patient with the disc than Bro White was. It is all for naught as we 'coast' to a 13-8 victory, although it was reasonably close at half. In game three against Chuckwagon, I expected a more difficult battle, but the game was not as close as the final score of 13-11 indicates. Chuckwagon made up almost all of that at the end, with us leading by 3 and 4 most of the game.

Finally, our luck ran out against Boston Y. I had walked up to Forch earlier to say "I guess this makes it official, eh?" to which we both chuckled. We promptly spotted them a 5-0 lead. The first turnover was a short pass to an in cut that Josh Mullen ran by and d'ed. On the way back to the line, I then mentioned to the lineup that we were now going to have to actually run and take this game seriously. Didn't help much as all 5 of the turnovers that spotted them that large lead were poor execution or selection. Granted, this is often the excuse for one team against a clearly superior team, and doesn't grant credit to what the superior team is doing, but trust me, I knew... They eventually took half 7-2, then ran out a few more to get to 12-4. We were now pulling on D. Right before we pulled, I exhorted (yes, I was playing D) my team to see if we could play one hard point of D for the day. It also didn't help that the Boston team hadn't turned it over once to that point. Well, we ran down hard on the pull, and a couple of passes later, they threw a long forehand out of bounds. Woo-hoo! We were on the comeback trail. Well, the next pass from me to Jim on a comeback to the sideline is dropped, and they score to win 13-4. Considering the motley crew we had gathered for the day, and the inspiring victory over Bro White, all in all a successful day. More importantly, we smashed seed and got the first round bye in the morning.

Apparently that was wasted as they played Colt45, who had defeated Red Tide in a play up game from Div II, and after leading 12-9 and 14-12, lost 16-14. Jim was disgusted with the loss, mentioning that he was already looking past it for the next game against Boston X. Also to be noted was that on Sunday, they had dropped from 11 to 9 players, still including Gary Bernard whose bum calf now caused him to actually limp on the field. Our expectation is that for the Boston Invitational/Masters tournament in two weeks, we will be getting a bunch more of the band back together, since the slugs won't actually have to travel for the tournament. One of the nicest parts of the weekend was that I was finally able to uncork some long backhands. I feel like I threw more long backhands in one day than I did all last fall including practices. And props to Alec Ewald for showing that he is still a stud on the field. I'm looking forward to playing with him this season. I'm sorry those guys didn't get to play some more iron 9's with the Boston X guys (and I'm sure they are disappointed also).

Now the retirement piece.

I have been blessed to be on some great teams and have great teammates in my career. If you ask me in person, I'll give you the alternate history of what happens if Ted Munter doesn't cut me from Z back in the spring of '89. Hmmm, maybe I should try out for the new boston team so that I can have Ted complete my career in the same fashion that he jumpstarted it. I won't rehash the boring details of the circuitous path which led to DoG, much of which I cover here. I am more than happy to grant serendipity a lot of credit for my career, but I'll take a little credit for being in the right place at the right time with the right skill set, some of which I also cover here. I freely acknowledge that somebody like me would have LONG odds in making it to the pinnacle of the sport nowadays with the emphasis on raw athleticism. Knowing how difficult it is to win a national championship in any sport, much less ultimate, and especially now with the explosion of players at the high school and college level, I feel immensely blessed. When I finished playing in college, I'm sure I never could have imagined that I would be one of the main handlers on a team that won 6 national and 3 world championships. Thanks to Jim, Dennis, and Mike, the original Tea Party members, for making my initial foray into the Boston ultimate and party scene a memorable one. Hard to believe that Jim and I have played on the same club team through thick and thin for 18 years now.

I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to fill all these weekends that have suddenly freed up. I'm trying to get in with my local high school team to help them out, but the main contact isn't being very responsive. I have also noticed that I'm trying to dig up as much pickup as possible, since I really don't know what else I will be able to do to keep in shape, as I HATE working out. And I was only able to tolerate doing track workouts for DoG because of the end goal. Just being in shape isn't enough of a goal for me. I need something that whets my competitive appetite, much of which I discuss here. And Masters ain't gonna be able to cut it because there won't be any practices for the most part. So pickup, random tournaments, corporate league, coaching?!?!?, here I come.

Looking forward to sharing a beer with all of you back in the day guys I run into at Nationals, now that I won't have to officially wait until Saturday night to start drinking. Woo-hoo!


Blogger Bill Mill said...

sour grapes -- CT Ultimate is Back! Colt .45 for-evah!

-Bill Mill
Medicine Men #99

9:32 PM, May 21, 2007  
Blogger Alex de Frondeville said...

Well, un/fortunately I was not there for the loss. But if you want to talk CT ultimate, I think the last time that CT ultimate made noise was Slipped Disc back in the late '80s early '90s. They contended for a few years for that third spot to Nationals from the Northeast. I didn't see them play this weekend, but it would be great to see a good team out of CT again.

10:59 AM, May 22, 2007  
Blogger parinella said...

So, it sounds like you are still playing at the highest level on the best team that you can.

The reason that _we_ weren't playing when you arrived was that we did not have enough to play yet. And if by "worked perfectly" you mean "threw it away on the first point to get us broken", then yes, it worked perfectly.

KooB apparently is not playing this year, so they aren't going to be rivals. We picked up a few of their guys for the consolation game on Sunday against GLUM, the Ottawa Masters team. It felt like an army with the new team of 14, it took us some time to get into it (plus I was dispirited after blowing leads of 12-9 and 14-12 in the previous game), and we fell down early, came back, but not enough.

As we discussed, you were also culpable on that final pass of the Boston Y game. My defender was right on me, the pass was right on the sideline, I had to one-hand it, possible foul on the try, yadda yadda, although I would have probably given you grief had you not thrown it.

Suggestion for working out: at the end of (or in a break during) your pickup/garbage play, throw in a tabata. One of the drawbacks I find to working out is that there is a lot of overhead involved, so that doing 20 minutes of exertion actually takes 60-90 minutes when you throw in driving, warmup, and cooldown. If you ever sat out a point when you played summer league/pickup, you could probably do a full workout in the break (or at halftime instead of drinking a beer).

Oh, yeah, you're ugly and stupid, too. Whew, been waiting 18 years to say that.

11:34 AM, May 22, 2007  
Blogger Alex de Frondeville said...

Jim, what you fail to mention is that I also threw it away on the first point of the second game to get broken. Wait...

I figured you would pick up on the Boston Y pass. I wanted to see how you would address it. But as discussed, you WOULD have given me grief if I hadn't thrown it. And next time call the foul on Holzer. Just because you're playing Masters doesn't mean fouls don't matter anymore.

Oh yeah, and don't hold back there old friend...

11:52 AM, May 22, 2007  
Blogger Handy said...

wow... you guys even sound like master's players now. my new favorite blog ex-champions cum "mommy and daddy are fighting"

glorious. you will make great opponents for A+B

And Count, fouls do not exist in master's, so start losing control of your limbs.

12:58 PM, May 22, 2007  
Blogger luke said...

good stuff... nationals 2007. at the conclusion of their last game... the two surviving members of the tea party alex da count de priusyone, and jim american car parinello deconstruct the results of the game...

jim: that throw kind of sucked.
alex: i've been throwing that throw for 20 years. you used to be open.
jim:maybe if i wasn't so tired from carrying the whole team all weekend
alex: you missed the subtleties. it was my hard marks that made it possible for you drones to shut down guys.
jim: i guess that makes you the queen bee.

a slap fight ensues, and when it ends, statler and waldorf are best buds, albeit, alex with a big black eye, and jim, missing one tooth, arms around each other, folding chairs set up 3 feet from the beer truck, singing
earth atomizer, earth atomizer,
please be mine... i talk about you-ooo all the time...
i only remember those long ago times...
pre senile dementia, has ruined my mind...
at least i can hide easter eggs for me to find...
earth atomizer earth atomizer...

11:00 PM, May 22, 2007  
Blogger Alex de Frondeville said...

For those who don't remember and want a more nuanced look at Jim and myself, ie., when we were younger, this spoof he wrote still captures the personalities back in '94 perfectly.

And Luke, it is Atomizer, Atomizer, fight fight fight fight fight. Throw the disc right through the line it's a touchdown sure this time hoo ra ra.

3:01 PM, May 23, 2007  
Blogger luke said...

wait... mine wasn't nuanced enough?!!

9:23 PM, May 26, 2007  

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