Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hingham 2007

So it was a little weird playing at the Hingham Invitational this weekend while the new Boston team was playing at Colorado Cup. That was the first time that it really hit me that my elite Open career was over. Oh well. On to the fun tournament. After local massage legend Russ Robar asked me over a calf massage a couple of months ago whether the Tea Party was going to go to Hingham, I did some research and decided that it was time to get the cup back.

While this tournament was 5-2, I looked at it as an opportunity for the non-DoG masters players to get together and get some familiarity with each other. In that respect, it succeeded admirably. It was an eclectic mix, with VERY old DoGs Bim and Justin present Saturday only, Jim and I both days. We had 11-4 split on Saturday, and started with 4-3 on Sunday in the quarters before ending the day with 8 guys and 5 women.

I had emailed the tournament director earlier in the week, saying Also, for seeding purposes. I assume you are seeding MonkeyLove first. Unless there is some superstud team of which you are aware, and not knowing the tournament format, the Tea Party should probably be seeded #2, but I defer to your judgement. He didn't respond, nor did he send out any information about the upcoming tournament, so I was feeling a little out of sorts. I finally emailed him Friday just to ask about last round times, since a lot of us are in a family way. He responded that our 3rd round bye was gone, and that our fourth round was over at 5 or so.

Saturday morning, I actually arrived in time to make the Captain's meeting around 8:40AM (first game at 9). The one interesting rule change was the 2-point cross-gender huck, where you scored two points if you completed a goal from more than half-field between genders. This ended up being almost exclusively from men to women, at least in the games that we played and saw. We were seeded 2nd behind MonkeyLove, a whore team from NY that John Garb has been putting together for the last 4 years and had won the last 3 times. He even went to the point of posting on rsd this summer requesting recruits. 4 pools of 4, with 3 pool play games then a round of 16 at the end of the day. One other issue of the day is that the weather was predicted to be BRUTALLY hot. Fortunately we were placed on a field next to the street that had some trees lining the sidewalk, so we set up camp under a copse of two trees, shifting position as the sun moved across during the day. There was almost NO sideline participation/help as we quickly ran to the shade when we took a sub. Even though each round was two hours long, games were to 13 with cap at 1:50. Internally I was complaining,

The first game was against Moscow State. Keep in mind that I had played numerous tournaments with Moscow State in the late 80's early 90's (and as recently as Turkey Bowl last year) and it was a team of Westchester, NY players (back in the day). Naturally, almost 20 years later, I didn't recognize a soul, and more importantly, I think someone mentioned they weren't even from NY. If that is true, they totally stole the name. REgardless, we chose to receive, and 13 points later, sat in the shade with a 13-0 victory with a 1:15 break until our next game. Much laughery on the sidelines as Tea Party has never taken themselves seriously, at least off the field. We completed one cross field huck in that game to make it 9-0. The crossfield huck rule definitely changed the defense a little, as you had much more awareness of where the women were, and whether they were cutting deep. A number of d's were made by men on 2-point hucks to women.

Finally, at 11AM we play round 2 against FNG, short for F*!!@*&& New Guys. This team was better, but still lost 15-6 or so. They made their share of mistakes that we took advantage of. This time the break was an hour and 10 minutes. Given the long break, Jim and I head into downtown Hingham and found the Snug, an Irish bar where we ate lunch (and had a drink, naturally). Back to the fields

Harpoon is warming up when we get back. This game is more of the same, as we hold them under 10 also, maybe 15-8. And finally, our break is under an hour, clocking in at 45 minutes until the next game. At this point, a beer run was made, and we start quaffing some brews as we wait in the sweltering shade. Our next opponent shows up late with a proposal. They had already discussed this with the TD. They couldn't field a full team anymore, and another team also had the same problem, so they were going to combine and play Chinstrap (the other team's opponent) and give us the bye. We said no, of course, because we were there to practice for the fall and wanted to play as much as possible. I then ran (well, walked less slowly) to find Ian from Chinstrap and start talking with him. They were in the same situation, actually playing 4-3 against 5-2 opponents in their practice for the fall. After much negotiation and hemming and hawing, mostly with the two small teams, they agreed to forfeit their games to us and scrimmage each other while Chinstrap and Tea Party would play a 'friendly' to 9. Chinstrap was a solid mixed team and yet we were able to work a little of our magic on them, not really giving them any chances to get back in the game, and we ran away to a 9-4 victory.

We basked in the heat and our victories at the field for a little longer. Meanwhile, Jim and I had our 'kitchen passes' for the weekend, and were actually planning to stay down in Hingham that night. He and I then left the fields around 5PM and headed over to the South Shore Country Club for some golf. In the last 5 years, I had played twice in 2003, once in 2004 and 2006, and that's it. And boy, did it show. I was spraying all over the place. Actually, my drives were pretty solid. My distance iron work was HORRIBLE. Putting was just OK. I think I got one par. My best (worst) hole was when I drove out of bounds to the left, then out of bounds to the right, then topped it into the water hazard in the first 50 yards, before finally booming out a good drive. Then a lost ball to the right of the green, so finished having played 5 balls. Final highlight was on the 18th hole, reached just in time, as another hole would have been pretty dark. I had a nice drive, then iron shot landed in a pot bunker front right of the green, and maybe 60 yards from the flag. I got my sand wedge, and then tried to boom it out. Naturally it got the lip and rolled back down. Second try, I topped it and it flew out and over the hole, over the hill behind the hole with the cart path. I told Jim (and the guy we had caught up with) to finish the hole. I was good...

Then off to the party around 8:30, maybe 10 minutes from the golf course. Jim and I have fond memories of the Hingham parties at the Hingham Community Center. Unfortunately, those were just memories, as this version was unfortunately mostly lame. The beer didn't show up until after 9 for a 8-11 party. Jim and I played bocce against Russ and Lenny(?) on the back lawn, lost the first game, were up 6-1 in the second before losing 7-6. Ugh. Went back inside, no beer, so we headed over to the Snug for another round. Back to the party and ran into a beerfris game in the main hall. Naturally I immediately called winners. When that game finally completed, we got on the field and then RULED, including a number of layout blocks by yours truly. Tea Party clearly won the party, with Russ getting the party extended to 11:45, then leaving to make last call at the Snug and watching Dave Foley for the next hour play some great music. Finally, we caught a taxi to a friend of Russ and slept on the floor (using my backpack as a pillow...). Next day of course, the guy says that there were two cots in the closet next to where we slept. Sweet!

Fortunately I had planned ahead and brought my Bucky eye shades, so I was able to 'sleep' in a little longer even though the room we were in was pretty light. Eat the tournament breakfast the next day, and then off to the fields for the quarterfinals.

We play FNG again, who had upset in their crossover (I knew we had the tougher pool...) to make the quarters. We had already known we were going to drop 4 of the guys from the previous day, and swap one of the women, but as game time rolls around at 11ish, we are sitting there with 4 guys and 3 women. We finally start the game playing 4-3 against 5-2. Russ Robar finally shows up, and takes his time getting ready, not realizing that he is the 5th man (and we don't tell him). Fortunately this doesn't hurt us too much as we roll to a 15-8~ victory (slightly closer than yesterday). Larry shows up in the middle of the game so we finish with a sub. During the game, I call Marshall and Simon to inform them that we will actually need them to show up today for the semis and hopefully finals just so we can have some numbers, even though the weather is not as brutal as the previous day. They both agree to come, although naturally Simon is at least a half hour late for the next game.

The semis are against WMD, apparently a fall club mixed team from Boston, formerly captained, now coached by Erik Sebesta. We receive to start for the 6th consecutive game, and WMD jumps out to a 3-2 lead. Unfortunately, that is the last goal they score for awhile as we promptly score 10 in a row to lead 12-3. There was some idle chatter about whether half-time would occur if we were leading 7-x and scored a two-pointer, because we would not have been the first time to physically reach 8, so half might not occur until the other team reached 8, and if they never did, then we would have the advantage of first receive the entire game... Interesting concept. We finally got REALLY lazy on D in the second half now that the game was in hand, and eventually won 15-7. High(low)light from this game. On Saturday, at one point Jim had gotten a quick lefty flick dump from Rick Kenyon, who continued up the line. Jim immediately threw a lefty backhand back to Rick for the goal. Well, in the middle of this game, I was on the sideline and saw exactly the same situation start. Rick dumped to Jim, and as he started cutting up the line, I screamed 'NOOOOOOOOOOOO!' even before Jim looked like he was going to throw, and yes, he threw the same lame 'air bounce' crappy lefty backhand. Then, having now thrown two junky (and completely unnecessary) throws, Jim takes the cake on the final point. He catches a pass just outside the goal on the right hand side of the field. One of our cutters is racing towards that side of the goal, away from Jim. Jim sees him and immediately throws a scoober type pass, but a vertical one released from the right side of the body, which is caught for the game-winner. He says later he didn't even consciously throw junk, it was the only thing he could release quickly enough to get it to the receiver. I apologized to the other team and we moved on. I'm sure Jim will have more to say and refer back to his junk throw post.

This set up the expected final against Chinstrap, who was taking a little more team to defeat surprise participant White Rhino in the other semi (they had upset MonkeyLove the previous day in pool play). We expected a better game now that it wasn't a 'friendly', and for the most part it was, although the final score was still not very close as we won 15-10 without too much drama. The cup was back home again.

According to Jim's notebook, the following is our history in the tournament. I had a few issues with it, but couldn't figure out where it was wrong.

2007, 7-0, 1st
2001, 6-0, 1st
1998, 6-0, 1st
1997, 7-0, 1st
1996, 5-1, 3rd
1995, 5-1,
1994, 6-0, 1st (beat CRUD 15-6, Elwood 15-9)

The tournament was very well run, if a little expensive at $350, but it was a fund-raiser for the Special Olympics, so that was OK. There was a presentation after the finals, where we got shirts, free Dunkin Donuts coffee packages, mugs, shirts, and a couple of champagne bottles chilling in the cup, pictured below.


The picture I had of my daughter in the cup couldn't be released to the public as she was crying a mean streak, but this is my boy at 5 months 'celebrating' our previous victory in the cup. Oh, and this just in for pictures of the tourney, ie., us.

So Garb talked about Hingham here but I disagree with his assessment of our team. On Saturday we had 4 old DoGs, Jim, myself, and Bim and Justin, who hadn't played in open in at least 6 years. Sunday it was just Jim, myself and Bim. And the guys we had Sunday were a mix of players, some who had been to nationals with lower level teams, and some who hadn't. We had a mix of women players from national champs Jess and Shelagh to local club players. Jim and I were trying to figure out why we won our games so easily. I think I will save that for another post though, since I have been fallow for awhile. Some upcoming topics:

The one mentioned above.
Small teams at early tournaments.
Anything someone requests.

6 Comments:

Blogger dix said...

Some old Hingham programs can be seen here

No bloodys at the Captain's meeting? I'm shocked.

12:54 PM, August 09, 2007  
Blogger Alex de Frondeville said...

Yeah, it was a little disappointing. Who can forget those days? Or how about Flank Valenti showing up as big as a house carrying a huge beach umbrella?

1:55 PM, August 09, 2007  
Blogger dix said...

Frank never forgave me for eating his Big Mac while he was in the game.

2:19 PM, August 09, 2007  
Blogger parinella said...

Alex,
The 1996 program says you weren't attending the tournament. Do you remember why, if so?

5:29 PM, August 09, 2007  
Blogger Alex de Frondeville said...

Consulting my foreign travel draft blog entry, I came up with Sweden Worlds, followed by a two week sojourn with Georgia around France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. I am assuming I was still in Europe when Hingham happened.

6:30 PM, August 09, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great write up Alex, and for providing better intel into who Tea Party actually was. Sorry the ML "whores" weren't nearly as mighty as they had been the last few years, but I'm glad your squad took home the cup. Hope to see you out there during your/my retirement years.
Best,
Garb

1:29 PM, August 23, 2007  

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