Kaimana Klassic 22 - the tournament
And, of course, Doug Lilley is holding my feet to the fire. Fortunately, that was the backup camera... After a final morning in Kauai travelling up to the Na Pali coast again, this time hanging out at the beach in Hanauma bay watching paddle boarders, I went to the airport to catch my flight to Oahu. Ran into Steven Rouisse and his wife Tina McDowell who were taking the same flight and we were also going to be sharing a car for the weekend. Simple flight with VERY nice rainbows as we arrived in Oahu. Picked up the car, turned on the GPS and followed its directions to the Waimanolo Bay Polo Club and Beach park. Talk about a cool setup. We drove into the polo club first only to find out that registration wasn't starting for another 1/2 hour. So we decided to go to the beach park and set up the tents. As an aside, I had noticed checking weather while on Kauai that it was supposed to be VERY windy through Sunday due to the trade winds. While the fields weren't terrible, the exposed beach was VERY windy. When I got there, probably 50+ tents were already set up. among the trees. The wind was whipping. I ended up needing help putting up my tent. Someone fortunately had a hammer to help get the stakes deep enough because the sand was pretty loose. And holding the tent down. I set up my airbed (genius!) and sleeping bag and other knickknacks and then headed back to the fields to register and eat dinner. While I was setting up my tent, at one point Rouisse's tent was picked up by the wind and started rolling away into the parking lot. Good times!
The setup was pretty sweet. Registration involved getting the tourney package which included a hat, a tournament disc which was also supposed to double as your plate for the weekend to reduce waste (although I'm not sure the aluminum foil they provided was much better) although they DID say it was to reduce waste, not necessarily to be the most efficient environmentally. The dinners included Thai/Indian food, Mexican night, and some other meal which I don't remember. There was also a beer station and a full bar, although the full bar didn't start until the next day. Most impressively the beer tent was going to open at 10AM the following morning.
We were initially seeded 4th but were eventually moved to 2nd. Ours was a team that apparently had played there before. Composed mostly of Chain and other Atlanta players plus randoms like myself, Jim Parinella and Steven Rouisse from Bravo. On paper we had a stacked squad of 23. In reality, it wasn't quite going to be that way. What was tragic was that we got totally marginalized for the first two days by being sent to these alternate fields which were either a 15 minute walk or a 10 minute drive. Fortunately I had the car on hand, although after getting lost, it probably took us 20 minutes, but at least I was still fresh... Our first two games were at this alternate site. We made things difficult for ourselves, having reasonably close games in both but winning out.
We ended the day back at the main fields against the Banana team. This team had one large man with moobs dressed in a banana suit and another kid dressed in a fluffy pink gorilla suit. He had to be DYING in that thing. It didn't help that he was their main guy and their offense completely ran through him. We kept this game much closer than it should have been naturally. Most importantly, I threw a beautiful long backhand to the guy on our team who was injured and played one point (and won Friday's party). It curled around his defender and clanged right off his mid-section. Ugh. Tonight was Mexican night and we started early and often. At one point I was carrying around the Southern Comfort bottle and distributing shots. Once the bottle was finished, on to Mai Tais. Suffice to say, it was a LONG night, our team won the party for the second consecutive night, and I woke up at dawn and walked back to my tent...
I decided to sleep in and woke up around 11:20, fully confident in my teams ability to handle the first two games of the day. Well, they won the last pool play game in the morning at double-game point, even pulling I believe. This positioned us VERY well for the rest of the day as they ended up losing the first game in the power pool before I showed up. The next and last game of the day was against Voltron, the 3rd or 4th seed. We succeeded in going down big yet again but ran out of time as we mounted a furious comeback. I'm not sure I appreciated every game ending on a hard cap without even a soft cap warning. And we got ourselves in bad positions too often. This night was far more sedate as I was still feeling it a little from the previous night. This setup a quarterfinal against Philthy, a pickup team ostensibly from the Philly area including Trey from Ironsides/Pike and Dusty Rhodes from I'm not sure where he is now. They were down to about 12 dudes and I was pretty sure our team was looking past them. Big mistake. We continued to underperform with basically zero offensive flow and just ok defense. It was actually sort of frustrating because when we tried to mount our comeback early on and clamp down the defense there were a number of points where we got numerous stall 9 counts before letting a dump or short pass off (never a desperation huck). VERY frustrating. We ended up even losing before the cap. Philthy then proceeded to get smoked by Voltron in the semis, who then got smoked by Ono (Condors reunion) in the finals.
Another reasonably mellow night before waking up the next day and touring Oahu with Steven and Tina. They were also leaving Tuesday night so we did the northern route, circumnavigating most of the island including the Banzai pipeline where we watched awesome surfing for about an hour. Unfortunately, it was cloudy and raining for most of the day so the great pictures of the cliffs and mountains didn't really exist. At best I was getting beach shots but anything at elevation was enshrouded in cloud. We ended up driving over to the west coast to sit on the beach and catch the sunset before driving back to the airport.
I dropped them off at the terminal since I had another 1.5 hours. I programmed the GPS to find me a mall so I could buy some coffee for gifts and get some food for the trip. What a nightmare that was. I had to go to four different shopping plazas before finding anything that I could shop at. One was a military only, etc. Boarded the plane, popped an Ambien and got up in San Francisco. 19 hours after I took off from Hawaii, I landed in Boston to a small snowstorm. Ah, good to be back...
OF course, the best part is that almost as serendipitously as attending Kaimana, I just bought my ticket to Bologna Italy in April for Paganello. Woohoo! Yeah bucket list! This whole bucket list thing has taken on a life of its own. Feel free to tell me the can't miss tournaments that I have to attend. Pretty much the big name tournament that I haven't made at this point is Potlatch that I can think of. But feel free to challenge me. I wouuld have liked to have made Mardi Gras back in the day, but I'm not sure it is the same tourney now. Same thing for Terminus, Tempe et al.
As for my own play, I was turnover free in the first game, but it didn't last after that. That is one of the problems playing on a pickup team like this. I think only one of my turnovers was to Jim, unsurprisingly, although I'm sure he'll chime in with the other eight I threw to him. My two (or three?) turnovers in the Philthy game were uncharacteristic, including one throw to Woody that I thought he should have had, but ultimately I shouldn't have thrown. On the first day I completed a number of very long backhands (actually I think all of them) and it felt great to be powering deep backhands again (and having people actually cut for them). I think that all started when I received the disc in a power position on the sideline being forced backhand, looked up field and didn't have a single long cutter, then dumped it to Rouisse who put up a long backhand. I yelled (humorously) on the sideline after the point about nobody cutting for my backhand. After that, everybody cut and all was good... It was also fun being able to cut deep and actually get thrown to for once, cuz this team like to put it up. With DoG, I think that happened once against Furious maybe where I cut up a far sideline and Moses threw me a VERY long pass for a goal. Otherwise, high level play has mostly chosen not to throw to me deep. Watch out for Paganello baby! Although I guess the fields are going to be much smaller there.
As usual, I was stunned to see how few teams went over the top when zone was played against them, and I'm talking about the best teams there, not the cheesy ones. And it was NOT so windy that you couldn't go over. Meh. Unfortunately I only got to play zone offense maybe 2 or 3 times, more for lack of zone being played than anything else.
Sleeping in a tent at the beach was pretty cool, although I'm not sure how much I really slept. It was amazing how windy it was every night, and the constant flapping of the tent cover prevented really deep sleep. And I didn't really drink a whole bunch after the second night so I couldn't really depend on that to help me sleep either. It definitely added to the environment though to be able to walk back and forth from 'housing' to the fields and not worry about what to do with the car, although that was a little bit of a concern because the gates to both park and fields closed after a certain time so you had to make sure you had planned where you wanted your car to stay the night. Good thing there was no nighttime offsite activities planned.
Oh, and if you feel a need to pretend to learn something about ultimate from a blog, um, forget it.