...was in Ripon. Almond capitol of the US ... no... OF THE WORLD!
While I had misgivings about the tournament name being essentially without meaning, all in all, I thought this tourney was a great success. The out of the way location was entirely justified when I first set foot on the grass. Immaculate, free of hazards, lush, even, unsloped, perfect. I haven't seen such amazing grass since i was in Ohio for '06 Nationals (hopefully ill be heading back that way soon). Every field was lined with Port-o-fields and every field had a scoreboard. There was even sufficient space between fields so that bags could be clear of layouts. The schedule was my first time playing with Cultimates new predetermined format and worked out well for us - 5-2 vs very good teams. 6 games vs scheduled teams, 1 bracket game based on the results of the previous 6 and point diff.
Things appear good Buuuut...ultimate players can always find something to complain about, especially when its about Cultimate. The water was from a hose and tasted like swimming pool. The "MetroMint" sponsers were handing out FREE product but free MetroMint still tastes like used tea bags. Sponsors "Nutella" and "Ocean Potion" also had free chocolate spread and sunscreen but each sample came in the small individual sample size and that's a huge waste of packaging. The Observers who were participating in a major rules experiment with active up/down and travels were calling travel on "technical errors" because some players didn't know the rules about live vs dead discs - how unfair to those illiterate amongst us! Oh, and Skip - there was frost on the ground Sunday morning which was a massive inconvenience for us Southern California teams.
The only valid criticism was about the format which i'll talk about later.
(for a better write up of how the Squids played check out this or this)
We were up on Washington 9-7 and they something and they became a great team. It seems that we started making execution errors but isn't that what teams always say against good D? I sometimes think that this loss was a result of loss of focus and waning mental energy, but isn't that what I always say about games we "should" have won? Wash goes on to whoop Mamabird the next day and currently looks to be the 1 seed in the Northwest. Damn, we had em.
UBC had some dudes but even those dudes weren't superstars. They had a really effective poach strategy in some other game while I was scouting them, but I always felt this game was in the bag. Maybe it was the heat, but they did great at Stanford Invite last year. I can't tell if they thought our jokes about "eh" and maple syrup were funny. As I learned last year at Cal States with YR, Furious definitely does NOT think "eh" jokes are funny, especially during on-field disputes; Ill put UBC down as a maybe.
I talked to Florida guys in between rounds. Brodie, Cole, Chris, that other dude I don't know the name of. They seemed really eager to talk to me which I didnt quite get but I understood later: most everyone hates them so much that they rarely get to chat on a friendly basis with their peers. They are actually cool guys who like playing Frisbee as a team and are having a good time. Maybe their sense of humor is strange (last time I drunkenly talked to Florida guys at the TiV'07 walking party -which was SWEET! - they played a pretty (retrospectively) funny joke on me), but aren't most of us Ultimate players kinda somewhat "different" from normal in our considerations of fun and funny? Yes, they unabashedly admitted to intentional fouling "to stop flow" and inappropriately justified that with "but at least we don't contest a good foul call". Yes, they think the "wussy" elements of our game are wussy. Yes, they antagonise. But ultimately, they seem like good people who are making their own fun out of their situation. I vehemently disagree with them about the fouling thing, because, you know... the Preface, but I oddly respect them for at least taking a firm stance on the philosophical problem with the current requirement of objectivity from subjective players.
Western Washington is a good team but they didnt come to play vrs us in the last round of Saturday. Their guy that plays for Sockeye did some cool stuff but not that much - he had the same strategy on his amazing pulls as the Cal puller: he put 60% of them OB or out the back but did trap me 2 times which resulted in some hard throws. Im still undecided about this strategy -especially late in the day when your D line doesn't have the legs to fully get down to trap a Purple-Stared pull effectively. I honestly feel that this game was won by our sideline. I made a point of talking to our young players before the game and emphasising the importance of their energy. I told them that even if they don't feel any energy at all that they should fake it because any noise from them will pump us up. God bless their little hearts, our sidelines were loud and involved - theirs were silent. Our players had a spring in their step, their guys played drained. The beers passed out by our coach at the end of this game were hardily deserved by our young'ins. Both teams were fumbling around in the first points as if wondering "well, this game is gonna go to whoever wants it, any takers?" and our young players took it with their voices (It also helped that they played great in our force middle zone). Thanks.
Sunday. Frost, lots of it. UCSC Slugs, Davis Dogs, Oregon EGO. Watch some finals. Ill write about this later in pt2 but its time for me to go to bed.
Btw, congrates to Davis and my brother on sectionals this weekend, im very proud.