Tuesday, November 08, 2011

World Club Beach Championships 2011: The tournament part III

And wake up to a changed world! So, the temperature had been dropping maybe one degree a day the entire week, there had not been a lick of wind to this point and the ocean had been 100% placid, maybe 2 feet of depth for at least 50-100 yards. Well, wake up Saturday morning, and 1) it is very overcast, 2) VERY windy, and 3) almost cool (well, not really, but at least no longer scorching). Our final isn't until 3 or 4PM (they were trying to push the game out to 4) so we take advantage to head out to the beach for a swim. Well, lo and behold, there is a HUGE surf, the water is now above our heads at times, and we actually body surf for close to an hour! Just an incredible weather change. And it was more than welcome! We ended up being the first of 3 finals starting at 4PM, followed by mixed then Open. The wind stayed around into our finals game, basically the first game all week where wind had any effect on the game. We were pretty excited as it was going to make the 'German' offense that much harder to execute by the Austrians.

An observation regarding the arena. Unlike the regular fields, the arena field actually had a hard surface under the sand, so the running surface was much harder than regular sand, which actually made for a much faster running surface. We had first noticed this during our Canada showcase game, but figured that it had been adrenaline that had made the difference before finding out after our final about this base surface. Regardless, we've got our blues on (like them much better than the whites for actual big games) and the Austrians are in white. Do our warm-ups, and win the flip for almost the first time all week. And we do the genius thing (which had been unthinkable all week) and take the downwind side while Austria obviously chooses to receive. Remember there is no halftime in these shortened games. One turnover later, we are up 1-0 on a Ryan Balch to Kelly Swiryn strike. They score downwind and then it is my turn to call my first O line.

One thing I have neglected to mention to this point is that in our 'leadership' discussions, we had settled on a starting offense of myself and Ricky Eikstadt from Surly as handlers, and Jim Parinella, with Trey and Billy Maroon from Southpaw as receivers. Naturally, all 5 of us are Grand Masters eligible which made it all the sweeter. So first O point, going downwind, I throw the goal to Jim Parinella. Quick aside, I figure that I have thrown more goals (much less passes!) to Jim than any other tandem in ultimate history (22 years on the same club team, probably 16 years on the same summer league team, almost always on the field at the same time, figure it out). So just add another one to the record books baby! Austria responds to tie it at 2-2. Another downwind O point and I end up throwing a long forehand to a wide open Ricky for another O goal (yes, it's true, a long forehand). Then the wheels come off for Austria. The D starts to dominate, running off 4 straight goals to bring the score to 7-2. Austria scores to make it 7-3, we are going downwind again, and I throw another goal to Jim. Austria scores to make it 8-4. O point downwind. Clearly I'm feeling my oats having thrown the first 3 O goals as I uncork a huge hammer into the endzone to Ricky who 'drops' it (well, he got a hand on it laying out, but clearly my turnover!). We get the turnover back then Jim steals my stat by throwing the goal to Trey.

Another game observation. Austria had been VERY successful in our first pool play game playing a poach D, making us go back and forth across the field by poaching off of the handlers into the lane. I had one of their main guys covering me at the beginning of the finals, and he was continuing to do the same thing. We took advantage this time, and after a few points, he started covering me like a glove. I joked with him about poaching some more but he was having none of it! We are up 9-4, D breaks a couple of more times before Austria answers and then the final O point for the game. On our first possession we turn it over. We get it back, and then Trey fires a forehand to Jim in the corner of the endzone for the gamewinner, only Jim isn't expecting it and it is a little off center and he misses it (I'll let him work it out with Trey whose turn it is). However, foul call and we get it back. This time Trey dumps it to me. A call or two later, they tap the disc in and I fire a quickie break forehand for the game-winner over the shoulder of Trey's defender. 12-5 world champions baby!

So, one week of beach ultimate in the books. 11-1 record, gold medal, and an interesting stat. If you'll note from the link below, I was ranked 58th in Masters in goals thrown and caught, and unfortunately Reggi Hansen from Currier Island stole my thunder by throwing 17 goals with no goals caught, but I threw 16 goals with zero goals caught! One of 3 people that had 3 or more goals thrown/caught that had zero goals caught. Apparently the plexiglass shield kept me out of the endzone again, although I remember being blown off on at least 3 separate occasions open for a goal, but it works out better this way anyway :) And now some pictures

Setting up the offense

Throwing the game-winner immediately after check-in.

Ran out of fingers in 2007. On the third toe now.
Or one hand if you just count Worlds which I think Jim is doing.

The team

GM starting offense

Lots of medals there.

Biggest fan

Yeah baby!

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