Friday, December 25, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rules Knowledge Advantage

If your rules knowledge is not particularly high, you may need a copy of the rules nearby as you read this. I really like this electronic version as it allows me to Ctr+F anything. Bookmark it.

What do you think Ultimate Blogosphere, is it "unspirited" or prohibited in some way to gain an advantage through your better knowledge and understanding of our sport's rules?

This has been on my mind for a while and I have discussed it with many people, including other Observers, and there are varying opinions and lots of "it depends". I can think of many situations where my question applies - in my mind all of these have some of the same fundamental features but I have had mixed reactions from the same person to presented scenarios I see as equivalent. I don't advocate some of these, some of them seem wrong, some of them feel OK, but I am not sure why. What makes a situation innocent or seedy?

Here are some of the things I have in mind:

- ---------When a defender is unaware of the state of the disc and thus their right to check the disc. If they are honestly under the impression that they get to check a bricked-pull at the brickmark, is it wrong to put it in play without their acknowledgement?

------------ If a defender is under the false impression that a player may not change speed when walking the disc to the line (a popular misconception in San Diego until I started doing it intentionally in practice), is it wrong to trick them with a walk and then run when they aren't looking?

- ----------Drawing a marking foul when I have the disc at stall 7? Decide on the meaning of "drawing" yourself.

- -----------In an observed game I tell my team beforehand exactly when it is beneficial to go to the observer and when the risk/reward is not in our favor. I tell them to never call "strip" and always "foul" (*bonus points to the commenter who knows why). Is this advantage that comes with my Observer experience unfair? Do I have a moral obligation to tell the other team these things?

-----------Not putting a live disc into play for a while as I wait for my cutters to get open so I can put it into play and throw to them at stall1. What qualifies as "reasonably necessary"? Throwers call plays all the time before putting a disc into play.

-----------What do you think of the fact that I use the actual wording of the rules in discussions of fouls? It doesn't sound off, but I believe I might have a better than average success in arguments if I use phrases like "Contact resulting from adjacent opposing players simultaneously vying for the same unoccupied position, is not in itself a foul"

- ---------I have never ever seen the procedure after a contested or uncontested stall performed correctly. Here is the procedure proscribed by the rules:
If the thrower has not released the disc at the first utterance of the word ten, it is a turnover. The marker loudly announces stall and play stops. A stall is not a violation and rule XVI.C does not apply.
  1. The marker calling the stall takes possession of the disc where the stall occurred and then may either:
    1. place the disc on the ground and after acknowledgment by the defense, touch the disc and loudly announce in play or
    2. retain possession and have the former thrower restart play with a check.
Now, ever stall I have ever seen ends with the thrower dropping the disc and play continuing as if the disc was live the whole time. Often the marker will sprint toward the endzone and a teammate will pickup the disc and throw it to him. Is it unspirited to call violation when my team gets stalled and then is on the receiving end of this aforementioned play which is almost universally accepted? How about me NOT calling violation if my team BENEFITS from a quick stall-to-breakaway huck- score even though I recognize the disc is dead as soon as "stall" is called?

----------The seemingly most shitty one: if a thrower loudly says "time out!" but clearly does not make a "T" with his hand and the disc and puts the disc on the ground would me enforcing a turnover be acceptable? How about if it was 13-14 in the finals of a tournament with a $50,000 prize for first. Rules are rules, right?

----------And my personal favorite, philosophically: while waiting at the spot the disc is to be put into play at(my team just turned it on an OB huck), may I not check a disc presented to me because the ONLY way the rules allow a live disc to be put into play is a ground-tap (II.R)? The confused thrower might start faking (the disc is not in play yet so I do not count stalls), and he might throw the disc. If he does, I stop play with a violation call because he threw a disc that wasn't in play. (If the throw is incomplete its a turn because a live disc is subject to turnovers; if the throw is complete, it comes back). Is it Unsportsmanlike to apply the rules so thoroughly ?

I can see how me even thinking about this could make me seem like a dick but I promise you I really don't want to be a dick about rules. The timeout situation seems completely abhorrent but the change-change-of speed one doesn't. I am philosophically interested in why. I actually like thinking about our rule set as a philosophical question.

I would never WANT to win because of rules disagreement, but I am actually kind of offended by the poor rules knowledge of my competition (and even players at the highest level). From my current point of view, we are the referees of our sport and referees should know the rules. Period.

I would really like you to comment on these situations with your thoughts about rightness and wrongness. As you think about them, here are a few select passages from the rules that make it a little more complicated:

Spirit of the Game: Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play.

Captain’s Clause: A game may be played under any variation of the rules agreed upon by the captains of the teams involved. In tournament play, variations are subject to approval by the event organizer.

  1. If an infraction is committed and not called, the player committing the infraction should inform the infracted player or team of the infraction.
  2. It is the responsibility of all players to avoid any delay when starting, restarting, or continuing play. This includes standing over the disc or taking more time than reasonably necessary to put the disc into play.
  3. If a novice player commits an infraction out of sincere ignorance of the rules, it should be common practice to stop play and explain the infraction.
  4. In addition to the assumption that players will not intentionally violate the rules, players are similarly expected to make every effort to avoid violating them

So I am left with this: I assume loosing because an opponent knew the rules better hurts one's basic joy of play, but I also assume that being criticized for trying to play the game by its rules hurts one's basic joy of play. What are we to do? Please leave a comment.

"This isn't 'Nam, this is Ultimate, there are rules"

First Practice

My team's cuts get sent out today and we finally get to practice with the team that will be competing to represent UCSD across the country and in the UPA series. No longer will the team's focus be mainly teaching rookies the game, we will be about forming and training a group of players to complete our goal of qualifying for (and placing well at) Nationals in May. No longer is a focus error or a silly mistake O.K. - do it once and you get admonished and then you never do it again. No longer do the vets have to smile and be supportive when a 15 yard forhand is turfed. Finally I can really ENJOY Ultimate for the COMPEDITIVE side of it.

Here is what I am thinking about saying tonight:

"Congratulations, you've made the first round of cuts but know that no one here, myself inlcuded, has earned a spot on the final roster - were nowhere close to that. You should know that this is A team and you may have picked up a lot of misconceptions playing with everyone through the Fall. Yeah, people joke around a lot and yeah, most of the vets don't take the Fall as seriously, but that ends right now. The commitment level goes way up and the dedication level goes way up. This is a tough team to be on - the hard work starts right now. If you had any inclination that this was going to be easy or that you were ok or could just cruse because you knew something about frisbee or because you are a decent athlete then you need to get that out of your head right now. We are going to be much better at disc skills and athleticism and team cohesion and we need you to get on board right now: being a top 20 team in the nation last year doesn't mean much for this year. Ultimate is really fun, this team is really fun, but you need step up your intensity right now if you want to be on the team in the Spring."

Boy am I excited. I know that I have lots of studying to do for my midterm tomorrow and I have a paper due as well, but I am having a hard time putting the joys of A team's first practice out of my mind.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Burn Out

In the last few weeks I have:
  • -been an Observer at Club Nationals
  • -moved into a house with 4 other frisbee guys
  • -become deathly ill
  • -helped my team get to the finals of Sean Ryan (our best finish at that tournament)
  • -made the freshmen in my car read through the entire rule book on the 8 hour trip to Santa Cruz
  • -attended track and practice and pasta feeds when I should have been resting
  • -organized and TD'ed SoCal Warmup with less than idea field space (11 fields, 24M/20W teams)
  • -trying to play in SoCal while juggling illness, other teams, and a Sports Clubs department that is very angry with Ultimate

and I have been feeling a little burned out. This burn out became very apparent to me when I realized I just was not having fun playing at SoCal with all these rookies. I used to be really patient with rookie mistakes but in my fifth year, I just get really annoyed when people don't do the right thing that's so obvious to me. And that's fucked up of me to get upset when people don't do something that they have only seen once or twice and have no real experience for. I don't yell at them and I DO try to talk calmly with people after a point, but I have a hard time caring or getting motivated or getting other people motivated. I just could not bring myself to try very hard for my team: maybe it was that my mind was elsewhere because of the sickness or my TD responsibilities, but I just couldn't bring myself to care.

Don't get me wrong, I still love frisbee: I am pumped that the Championship Finals are finally up, (even though there aren't any good shots of me making calls in the open final). But I was starting to get a little tired of it.

That's why I am really happy about last night. I got back into the weight room for the first time in 2 weeks, and even though I probably have lost 10 pounds in snot, my strength was not feeling as bad as I thought it would be. Then I went to track and watched our coach beat the crap out of the guys with a brutal workout (really glad I opted out because of sickness). Afterwards, the coaches, captains, and I got together for a few hours of discussing who was gonna make the A team. Damn did it feel good to think about playing with only the rookies who know whats up. Just the thought of not having to worry if a teammate will doink an easy throw or forget the force brings a smile to my face (Don't count your chickens before they hatch).

A team is gonna be really hard for the rookies this year because we have a ton of them and even more guys that are gonna be on the B team that want a spot. Ever A player will have to continually earn his spot with commitment and hard work. I am very eager to see which dudes step up and which can't hack it. Deciding on the A team list really rejuvenated me because Santa Barbara Invite just got a lot closer in my mind.

Now if I can just survive this quater of school...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anything Insightful?

This is my 100th post so I am going to go back and pick out the posts where I actually said something insightful. That was always the point, after all. Its nice to write simply to put it out into the vast interwebs, but I would actually like to Say Something. If you have ever taken the time to read something from my blog in the past, thank you; I'm sorry that it is less focused than it could be.

^^ - signifies one I like a little more than the others.

Without further ado:

Thoughts from Club Nationals 2009

Thoughts on Planar Faciitis

10 Stages of Wind Throwers ^^

Thoughts on Primalsim

Finally getting the Crossfit Movements Down ^^

American Made Fireworks

Similarities Nats 06 / Nats 09

Thoughts from Invite

Thoughts from PresDay which I TDed

Zone O Skills ^^

Trust Pt1

Trust Pt2 ^^

It must be the Shoes!

The Reality of the Team Mental State

Jitters Before the First Tourney of the Year

Don't Be Offside ^^

Sideline Talk ^^

Choose ^^

Olympic Lifting

A Winter Break Promise


Inner-Game links

I am a Mutant

Forcing It ^^

Some Pet Peeves

Great Ultimate Blogs

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quick Observations from Club Nationals

Here are some quick thoughts about my first Club Nationals:

-First, it must be noted that there are a ton of people that work really hard to make this tournament. I was happy to volunteer as an Observer and thought I worked somewhat hard to deserve my UPA sponsored vacation, but all the writers, Ultivillage people, UPA staff, and countless other volenteers put in many more hours to make Nationals the amazing tournament that it is.

-Sarasota heat and humidity is a REAL and LEGITIMATE game changer. As a team from the cold can has a distinct advantage in the rain, those who were accustomed to throwing a sweaty disc while battling the energy-sapping sun had a real leg up. This was most noticeable in my Truck Stop – GOAT game; Hassel&Co just looked sluggish and tired even though this was the second round. Truck pulled off the upset by grinding and grinding for the entire game. One field over I got to watch Streetgang pull off the most likely of upsets vs Ironside. San Diego had been bathed in sun while I bet Boston hadn’t seen sun for a month – this had to be a big factor. Ironside was also on the wrong side of one of the worst timed humidity-caused-turns I saw of the weekend: mounting their late comeback in their Semi vs Revolver, Will Neff has the disc on the breakside and throws a cross field forehand swing but it slips out and goes 10 yards opposite of where his dude was cutting leading to a easy D and another score for Revolver. Its always a heart breaker to watch one of your studs make such an unforced error in a big game. Remember: in the heat and humidity, dry towels for the hands, ice-cold towels for the heads.

-Surprisingly, I did not witness that much intentional fouling at this level. I think the “And-1” function of the foul rules is enough to deter overly aggressive marks AT THIS LEVEL. Some throwers are better at this than others, but when the D knows it gives up a free throw and risk misconduct penalties if it chooses to foul, you get a much cleaner game.

This statement must be qualified twice. First, I was watching mostly Observed games – because I was the observer, and there were many non-observed games where this could have been different. Secondly, its probable that I didn’t see many intentional fouls because throwers played through them as if they weren’t there (or they were just a part of the game). I haven’t finalized my thoughts on this, I must say that I noticed a cleaner game at this high level than at an average mid-level college tourney.

-I talked to Dutchy, Revolver's Captain/Line caller, and despite what I have heard about what Mike Payne said before the game, Dutch told me it was their game plan to let the studs play. They apparently had to "promise they were good for another point" each time. His words: "Its really hard to take Beau and Cahill and Mac off the field when they want to play". Yeah, this weirded me out too.

In the same way its impossible to be truely objective in calls when you are deeply invested in the outcome, I can't see those studs being level headed about their playing time. When Im in a big game I forget how tired I am until I have to run down a zipping huck. Chain's D had the perfect answer to Revolver's stud lines - run them into the ground with in-cut D. Even when the studs scored, it was after a shit ton of juking and cutting. Revolver had to grind WAY harder for their in cuts and when those same cutters where put out on D, there was no way they could gaurd the Chain cutters as tightly.

Yeah its cliche, and seeing as this post is a week late this has been said everywhere else on the blogosphere, but its so very true: Chain's victory was truely a team victory.

- Fury is the shit. Georgia and Alex have better throws than many on my college team and Cree would be faster than a few of our guys. In the Fury-Traffic game I observed Cree caught a few goals with the next defender 20 yards away. Plus she's super cute.

-Way to go Troubled Past and especially Ricky
Nultemeier who taught me how to play this game. If I had to choose anyone to epitomize "solid with the disc" it would be him.

-A fair number of teams' DOffense was better with the disc than their Offense. Especially TruckStop. I would take that southpaw with the yellow hat hucking to Brian Stout any day.

-Beer Garden. Daquiri Deck. Sieta Keys. Best Ultimate in the world. Yeah, im gonna come back next year.

-And lastly, I finally realized the full extent of my fandom of this sport. Like the ultimate nerd that I am, I went around getting the autographs of all the Team USA members on my Team USA replica jersey. To be honest, I have never felt the intimidation of being in the presence of such celebrity before this. Dorky, I know. I think I am just missing
Kathy Dobsona and Gabe Saunkeah.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Im going to the 2009 UPA Club Championships!

I leave Wednesday evening at 7 (I still need a ride to the airport if you are so inclined) and get back Monday morning at 11. I will be an Observer, which in real world terms, means that ill be a referee. While I'd be really happy to just watch, being able to actively participate is gonna be great. I'm really lucky: I get to fly to beautiful Sarasota Florida and officate the highest level of the sport that I love while watching the top teams in the country compete for the most coveted prize of the year. On top of that, I get to reconnect with friends from all over the map, and finally I get to attend whats touted to be one of the best frisbee parties of the year.

If you are intersted, ill be twittering about interesting events while Im there. Check me out at:

And everything about this tournament at the hashtag:

If you are there to compete or to watch or to photograph or to trade jerseys, come say hi; I look forward to seeing everyone.

Lastly, good luck to Streetgang and Safari. SD Represent!

Oh, and while everywhere else in the country is getting cold right now, its 85 in Florida.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Plantar Fasciitis a shitty affliction for a couple of reasons.

  1. In the same vein of Turf Toe, it seems odd that such a physically small area can cause such pain and total body incapacitation.
  2. Flair ups are seemingly random; both cause and cure remain mysterious.
  3. There is no good way to rest it. I can't NOT WALK.
  4. Ultimately, it is generated by my own body's inflammation response, which while potentially usful in acute situations, is totally counter productive when chronic. I find it greatly upseting that our bodies evolved such a powerful non-specific defense mechinism that we must work very hard to shut off.
  5. People who haven't had it don't really understand.
  6. One of the main causal dispositionary factors in our society is our reliance on ultra supportive running shoes. Once taughted as critically important for running, those super expensive, mega padded tech boots are now shown to be responsible for the epidemic of weak and thus inguried feet in the developed world.
  7. And lastly, Plantar Fasciitis is a shitty disease because I can take just enough anti-inflamitory drugs and caffine such that I can play on it all day (when I should rest it) and not feel a thing until the regrets start poring on at 5am the next day when I can't sleep because I reagrivated it.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Georgia On My Mind

Just a memory on my mind....

At College Nationals 2006 in Columbus OH the Southwest Region had 3 bids which went to Colorado, UCSD, and UCSB.

Our first day schedule was game-bye-game-game. We lost a close one to Oregon 15-13 in a game we could have won had we warmed up properly and had any fire at all. After the bye we faced Georgia who surely had a chip on their shoulder from the out-of-nowhere thrashing the Squids handed them the previous year at Nationals.

After they break us to make it 6-4 Dylan Tunnel starts the cheer "These guys are tiiiiiiireeeeeeedddd!!!" as we walk 70 yards. I remember thinking 1. Fuck That*! We aren't tired, we just got off a bye and its early in the game! and 2. That's a really good cheer to fire your team up and make the opponent get down on themselves. The game has many momentum shifts. At 13-13 Dar, a big beast of a D receiver, completes a 35 yard shot for the win but it gets called back on a contested stall. He has Chucky, maybe our most consistent handler, WIDE OPEN behind him for a dump, but because of the noise and confusion of the situation, sends the same pass into double coverage for a turnover. They win 14-13.

Georgia would then go on to beat UCSB Black Tide in the Pre-Quarters 15-13 which scheduled them for Colorado in the Quarters.

The Squid's Pre-Quarters matchup is Michigan State and while it appears even for the most part, I get that feeling at 10-10 that there is no chance in hell we would lose that game. I swear to you I would have bet $1000 dollars on it. When our studs decided they wanted to win, we did. We just did. 15-13

Well, there is only so far Studs will take you. Wisco crushes us 15-5 in the Quarters - I think everyone on the team was mentally ok with this loss to end our season - the Hodags were a much much better team than us. Still, it would have been nice to score a few more.

So we are done and get to watch the Colorado-Georgia game - yes, Mamabird is our regional rival, but it would be cool to see them get to the finals again. And it was a lock - how could they lose? Here is a list of people who were on Colorado:

Jolian Dahl
Adam Chicken Simmon
Mac Taylor
Pebbles (6Mama-4Wisco)
Some other dudes... Did I mention BEAU?

EDIT## How did I forget #17 Martin Cochran (13:10 - 13:45) ?

We crack some beers and prepare to watch them smash Jojah. Long story short: Beau plays handler and while they got lots of free dump passes, they get beaten 17-16. Every single player watching that game was wondering when they were just gonna jack it to Beau, and they just didn't.

That sucks, especially beacuse Colorado's loss, combined with Oregon's to Stanford in another Quarterfinal, mean we must play EGO for the strength bid. Uh... our cleats are off and our beers are open... maybe you could have told us about this possibility before 13-13??? I guess the UPA staff didn't think Mamabird was gonna lose either.

So the Squids and Oregon go to another field for the most frustrating game I've ever watched from the sidelines. The guys who were graduating didn't really want it and resigned themselves to lose even though our pool play loss was by only 2 points. Long story short: Aaron Bell does a chicken wing pull, EGO is blasting the tunes and having a good time, and I don't get to play a point while I watch the Southwest go from 3 bids to only 1 which leads to a very unfair outcome of regionals next year for a great Black Tide Team.

Heres the real interesting memory though:
Georgia beat each of the Southwest teams by a combined score of 4 points. It turns out that we would have retained a Strength Bid if we had won any of those games. In fact, if ANY of the SW teams had won ANY single game that they lost, we would have retained the strength bid. Any single win. Haha

I don't know why Georgia is on my mind, but thinking about this little tid bit of history makes our win vrs Jojah at Nationals in 2009 all the more sweet. 15-11, we avenged those 4 points.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Do Work

Today the Squids ran a brutal track workout:

800, Stretch, 3 xBuild100s

-Indian run 800
Rest 1 min
-Sprint the straights 800
Rest 1 min
-400, 4 stadiums, 400, 4 stadiums continuous
Rest 3 minutes
-400 at 80%
-2 Stadiums
Rest 1 minute
-Indian run 400
Rest 1 minute
- 400 at 80%
- 2 Stadiums
Rest 1 minute
-3 consecutive 150yard hill runs
-Cool down lap

Then I threw for half an hour.

Holy shit! Now that's a track workout.

So what have you done today to help your team get to Nationals?

(Sweat Angels made a nice showing at the end of the workout)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gym Today

I was doing a pretty standard warmup today in the weigh room: push-presses, squats, snatches, overhead squats, double under practice...

and I was feeling very routine . So I decided to surprise myself. I know that sounds like a weird statement, but I just happened to think about doing Fran with no prior planning and then just did it. It is a intimidating workout so it was kinda fun to push myself to go to that level without mental preparation.

Three rounds, 21-15- and 9 reps, for time of:
95 pound Thruster

The result?

Time: 10:54.

To be honest, I'm not that happy with my time, but I am very happy that I all my reps were legit. Ive attempted this workout before but I had to rest A LOT and reps were sloppy. I'm just gonna go ahead and consider this as my first real attempt - the others don't really count.

The alternation of Thruster and Pullup is perfect. I felt like my body was gonna fall over after the thrusters but really I was just fatigued in the push-type muscles and I could continue to hit the gas with the pull-type muscles letting the pusher rest. With this mix I could really maintain the intensity the whole time.

The result?

A shitload of chalk got used and the floor got a big wet sweat angel afterwords. I literally could not get off the floor for a minute.

After catching my breath 10 minute later I decided to do some 40inch box jumps. Bad idea.
I was fine for a while, did my 20 and decided to be done. Then this new guy on my team comes in and I give them some squatting advice. To further impress them, I go for a few more massive box jumps. I am over tired and not focusing; my shin and ego pay the price.

On one hand, hurting yourself in the weight room sucks - the possibility of an injury is probably what keeps many people away. But in another way, I like the pain of a dropped weight, ripped callous, and a failing muscle. This new minor shin contusion reminds me that I actually am working hard, I actually am pushing myself. Yes, it is masochism. Or maybe a better description is self-flagellation. The pain is there to let you know you are invested in something you really really want.

Ill end with one of my favorite pieces of wisdom on training:

It's not a secret, but it bears remembering: If you do not flirt with pain and exhaustion in your workouts you won't know what to do when they start a conversation with you on the field.

While this obviously applies to pushing through a grueling workout or drill, I think it also applies to throwing up in the middle of a set of 400s and getting a your legs a little bloody while deadlifting.

Or maybe I just need to better learn when to call it quits.