Monday, October 12, 2009

Goin' back, goin' back, goin' back to na-tio-nals...

VERY few people will get the reference, but that is an adaptation of one of the Princeton songs I learned as an undergraduate. It is actually Nassau Hall instead of nationals, but I digress...

Competed in my 22nd consecutive regional championship recently, all in the northeast region. I am 20 for 22 in advancing to nationals, I guess 23 for 26 if you include college, missing out in 1988 with Wild Veal from NYC and 1991 with Earth Atomizer (and senior year at Princeton), the little engine that couldn't that year...
This was an interesting season. Above & Beyond had folded after last years failure to make nationals for the first time in MANY years. GLUM was gearing up again, but we had zero tournament results to assess their game. Adam Zagoria was putting together a new NY team which was reputed to be a younger team than before, which is always a dangerous recipe in masters.
We had the crappy 6 team/2 bid tournament schedule, which pits the 1st seed against the 3rd seed then the 2nd seed in the first two games of the day. Considering the necessity of coming in top two to have the best chance of advancing, it is a brutal schedule. But according to Jim, it is done this way so that the 'critical' 4-5 game can come at the right time, somewhere towards the end of the first day. Whatever...

We were able to eliminate the 4th round bye because there were available fields so we had 4 straight on Saturday. I knew in advance that I was going to have my kids at the fields all day so I was relieved, after initially gloomy weather predictions for saturday that the weather was going to hold for the weekend. For those of use who were around LAST weekend in the cold and the rain, thank GOD regionals wasn't that weekend, both for the actual play and what I would have had to do regarding my children.

We started against the new A&B, titled Westchester Summer League All-Stars. They were a little slim and ended up not putting up a huge challenge, losing to us 15-9. That made me feel a little better for the overall chances to advance, but regionals has been weird in the northeast the last few years. We then geared up for a big game against GLUM, who we had been informed had rebuilt for the series, getting a lot of younger players, some old GOAT players including DJ (sp?). We were definitely up for this game. We got to 12-9 before the wheels fell off the offense. We ended up getting capped and receiving at 14-14 next point wins. Another turn by the O and DoG lost its first game at Regionals since 1995.

The rest of the day was not particularly stressful as we handled Mt. Crushmore and Hexember in reasonably straightfoward fashion 15-7/15-5. And based on our game with GLUM, pretty clear that they were going to beat the NY team setting up the rematch in the 1-2 game. My kids had been really good all day so we rushed from the fields and blah blah blah...

Next morning was going to be MUCH colder, and I had already woken them up veryearly just for this. So I punted most of the first game, had a leisurely breakfast and got to the fields around 9:15 and I'm not sure the other team had scored yet. This preparation may not have helped for the GLUM game, but so be it. We got ready for the final and ended up receiving to start the game. At this point the wind was gusting in all directions and pretty strongly. It definitely made for an interesting game. We got broken on the first point, had a chance to bring it to 6-5 and ended up down at the half 8-4, which for you scoring this at home is a whole bunch of breaks. Pretty much nothing we did appeared to work on offense AND defense. At half we decided to open up the rotation to save ourselves for the inevitable 2-3 game against NY. Apparently the previous 3 years the loser of the 1-2 game went on to lose to the winner of the 3-4 game and get eliminated from nationals. It didn't get any better in the second half as GLUM raced out to a 15-7 victory.

Not to go out of order or give away the end, but we'll have the rematch against GLUM first thing Thursday morning at natties. I would rather not have regionals rematches and figure it would have been pretty easy to rejigger to separate the two teams, but oh well.

Back to Regionals, NY had also beaten Mt. Crushmore handily, setting up the NY-Boston betty bowl. I hadn't been in a betty bowl since 1991 with Earth Atomizer against Graffiti. Nothing fun about a single elimination loser missses nationals. Now THIS game had the energy we were missing against GLUM. We jumped out to a 6-0 lead against NY and had it to go 7-0. Half was eventually 8-1 receiving the second half. Well, it is hard to keep up that kind of intensity with a score like that. While they didn't make it a game per se, we ended up winning 15-8 and it was a little closer than that at one point during the half.

So I remember having this exercise every year with Jim that when the pools were posted for nationals, I thought we had the tougher pool (at least back in the day of two pools, 12 or 14 teams). It didn't always end up true, but I think this year we have the tougher pool again, at least in terms of depth. Talking to O'Dowd, looks like a lot of teams have gotten younger and reloaded for the bid to Worlds. I will neither confirm nor deny whether we did also, but it is almost a pleasure going into the tournament with such a low seed. For once the other teams will have the bullseye and we can play with a chip on our shoulder. Looking forward to it.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you still call it the Betty Bowl for Masters? Maybe the Bertha Bowl or something

3:21 PM, October 26, 2009  
Blogger Alex de Frondeville said...

I would be up for calling it the Humiliation Bowl? Ugh. That close.

3:27 PM, October 26, 2009  
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9:39 PM, August 02, 2010  

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