Saturday, September 26, 2009

New Alumni pt 2 Cork

Continued from the last post - Saying goodbye to last years Alumni

Brooks "Cork" LeComte

Cork is a natural athlete. He doesn't seem to have to try very hard but is good at anything physical. I guess thats kinda the model for a good high school quarterback. I don't really think he was even that into frisbee until the middle of this year. Players like him make me wonder how awesome he would have been if he had tried hard the whole time.

This year, Cork was a monster on D. He has the best field sense of anyone on the team hands down which must come from playing football. If I had to put a label on him, it would be "snake in the grass". More poach D's than anyone, more "Holy Shit, Where Did That Come From?!?"s than anyone. He was good in the air, but the DOffense revolved around him as a handler. His hucks were not the touchy ones we O players dream about, but instead they were quick lazers that went really far (he also had more out-the-back hucks than anyone). These were perfect for our D receivers, Biel in particular. The DOffenses plan was for Cork to throw and receive every short pass or dish in the Vert stack until he found the right time to jack it deep (to Biel). I think Cork leaves the biggest hole to fill strategically in this upcoming year - we are going to have to totally rework the way the D scores its points.

More than his field sense, I was quite impressed with his view of the game, the way it is played, and his overall demeanor. I might describe him as serious or no-nonsense, but he is super funny and always down for drinking games (Which, like any other game, he is seemingly naturally good at. Playing Quarters with him on Spring Break was ridiculous.) Instead, I think the right description is "matter-of-fact". He is very good at seeing situations for what they really are. Games are for winning, parties are for having a good time, beer is for getting drunk, big games are for proving yourself, the silliness that is inherent in our sport is actually really silly. His humor is the same way - out of the blue he will make a comment, completely straight faced, that is totally true and observant but at the same time ridiculous.

One of the things that I liked most about him was his ability to question why things were done a certain way just because thats how they had been done before. We share the extreme dislike of practice drills that don't really mimic game time situations. One of the most insightful questions I've ever heard from Cork is this: "Why do girls play on the same sized field with the same sized disc as guys? Every other sport is modified in women's leagues to fit their bodies and skill levels, why not Ultimate?" We were running a warmup lap at Nationals and he causally made this observation and kept on running while I literally had to stop for a bit to think about how right he was.

I really like Cork; he is a great friend to be around and an amazing teammate to have because of of his field sense, athleticism, attitude, and humility.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Alumni pt 2 Hutch

Continued from the last post - Saying goodbye to the new alumi.

Alec "Hutch" Miller

I’ve played more ultimate with Hutch than anyone else. We were the same incoming class and were both A-team freshmen. He was always naturally a receiver and I was always naturally a handler so he has caught a whole lot of my swill over the last four years.

Hutch was a baseball player in high school and a good one at that so he was always very competitive. One thing that I noticed from our first year was that he was always quicker at picking up the “right” way of doing things. He always ran the right cuts while “God Dammit Pumba!!” was practically our captain’s motto our freshman and sophomore years.

Since then, there isn’t one thing I could point to that he does amazingly, he just does everything well. His method of breaking the mark was pretty consistent: he would pivot really really really fast back and forth for 4 seconds until the mark was thrown off balance or committed high or low and then he would take the other – this aways seemed weird to me, but it worked well for him. Another thing that was unique about his play was the fact that he made a lot of difficult looking catches. I don’t know if this was because all the other receivers were 6’3’’ so our throws were meant for someone with 8 more inches of reach or because we were subconsciously trained to throw trash to him because we knew he would catch it our because he was just making it look hard in order to milk the glory. He was a solid player and that’s all there is to say about that – the last point of nationals vs NC State, 14-13 us, our coach wanted to put me on but I insisted that Hutch play and was 100% certain that we would score. We did, and the last thing I did in my 09 jersey was give him a high five.

I think that Hutch enjoyed college more than anyone on the team. He was a party animal, he genuinely loved his studies, he was an intellectual, he laughed constantly, and he was always down for…well… anything. He greatly enjoyed the people he surrounded himself with. I can’t believe it when I write it, but I have spent 4 spring breaks with him in rented houses on the Texas gulf coast, Jesus Coast as we called it. We have been to an uncountable number of parties together (I don’t think he missed one Ultimate party in his entire career). He was a motivational team leader.

While we didn’t hang out that much outside of a Frisbee setting, I consider him a close friend who I could call on if I was ever in the Tahoe area. He was a great teammate who cared deeply for the good of the team (knowing that sometimes the good of the team included shot gunning 16oz of malt liquor in a hotel bathtub).

4 years, 3 drinking holes, 2 Nationals appearances, 1 very soiled dorm floor.

Oh, and by the way, Best Facile Hair On The Team.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

New Alumni pt 1

I am getting really excited about the upcoming year of college frisbee. I guess its because I'm having a great time with club - the good times I have with the End Phase guys remind me of all the good times with the guys I've chased at track practices for 3 years.

Before I get I get ahead of myself about next season ( it is only September), I would like to look at last season and say goodbye to the team mates who graduated last year.

Without further ado:

Anson "Duffy" Brune

Duffy is a year ahead of me so I always automatically thought he was legit but he certainly has earned that demarcation on his own. He was never the best player on the field but I can't really remember ever seeing him attempt something that was obviously outside his skill set. He was on the D line and was solid and consistent. The exception to this was as Sean Ryan this last year in Santa Cruz: The first game on Saturday vs Chico after a shitty night's sleep on dorm floors was our first of the Ice session and everyone was still groggy. Duffy, out of nowhere, gets a amazing layout D up high to prevent a zipping huck that surely would have been a score!
What a way to show the freshman we'd brought how to play D!

I think a large part of why he was good was his high pain tolerance gained from wrestling in HS. He was the opposite of the average tall and lanky ultimate player - shorter and husky, but he still managed to smoke most of the team at the track in old shitty cross trainers because he could endure the pain well.

In addition to going hard at the track, he goes harder than anyone at a party. He started a power hour on spring break at 5am. What the fuck? I remember one Saturday night of Santa Barbra Invite it was raining hard and while people were scrambling to take their sleeping bag and shit to wherever they were staying, he calmly strided through the flooded streets with a case of 40oz's of Cobra Malt Liquor on his head as his only possession - what else would he need?

(PS- His preferred method of celebrating anything, is picking people and things up and flipping them)

Yui "Yui"
Yui was a transfer from Carlton-GOP and is studying at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. UCSD is pretty lucky as we normally get 1 good transfer student on the A team a year (not as lucky as Stanford which seems to get 4/year). I'm sure it has to be hard to walk into a new situation and integrate well into a new team, especially when dealing with loads of school work, but Yui became a vital part of the team and a great friend as if he'd been here since freshman year.

I think it is really great to have a different perspective on Ultimate strategy, tactics, and team dynamics. He has a great throw and go, around flick and a tendency to bid really big. Some people think of Asians as natural lightweights but Yui is a heavyweight is everything he does. He slams beer with the same reckless abandon that he bids, he can almost out-eat me (Im 6'3", 200lb and didn't get the name Pumba for just one reason), and he works really hard at grad school to boot.

When we beat Tide in the game to go I was immediately overcome with exuberation, but with some time to reflect on the plane back to SD one of the many strong emotions I had was a overwhelming happiness for the ability to take Yui to nationals. As a member of Carlton-G.O.P. , he was peers with CUT guys but never got to share the fame - GOP will always be the "2nd" Carlton team. He truly earned this trip to Columbus this year and when he was able to joyfully celebrated with his longtime friends on CUT after their Championship win, I felt deep happiness that I could be part of the team that took him there. I consider him a great friend.

(You can see it in his eyes how much he loves his new teammates)

Up Next Time:

(Most photo credits go to the wonderful Amy "Meeko" Chang)

PS- NorCal Open Sectionals is this weekend in Davis and I am pumped to play everyone and get another shot at Jam and Revolver!

PPS- Why am I so bad at buying plane tickets? Is it really gonna cost me $350 to fly to Eugene for San Diego for Regionals on Oct 2? Fuck!

PPPS- I would like my blog to not look so much like puke - I think a design overhaul is in order