Thursday, November 6, 2008

Nationals: A Quick Rundown

Wednesday: Fly into Sarasota with MIT alum Dave H. Dave and I go to the store, I buy food for my room, we check in, and then we find some food to eat. After that, we do a macc line on the beach. I am pretty terrible at anything that involves co-ordination, it isn't like I fail to comprehend which direction or which hand should brush the disc, it just gets to me and BAM! into the ground.

Oh well. I also threw on the beach some. The wind was really strong, so that is always good to get some touches in. At night, we ate lasagna that mccarthy and funboy (the harvard and tufts coach for you guys) made. It was awesome.

By the way, simple life lesson for the day. If you buy your ticket 4 or so months in advance like Emily did, the airline can change it's flight times and layover cities on you. You should check into that so you aren't in chicago for 3 hours flying to florida from boston.

Thursday: Wake up, go to the fields. As usual, dewy, flat, and level. We get start active warmups 1 hour before game time.

We play the Condors 1st. The have some athletes, and 2 good handlers. I covered some guy named Steve Dugan for a little this game. Apparently he has a big backhand (besides just being a really good handler), which people informed me of after the point in which I flashed over to the open-side on a no huck call, and then he bombed a beautiful backhand bomb upwind to a cutter in stride. After that, I tried to stay at home on his backhand, and when we forced backhand, I marked pretty flat and straight up.

I forced him out some, our zone was getting blocks, and our O line was in stride. We won pretty comfortably by 15-12. I think our O line got broken maybe 2 times in the last couple possessions to have the Condors make the game close.

Second game was against Bodhi. It is tough playing against some of your friends and old teammates, but I really thought it was best for everyone if we came out and played them as hard as we possibly could. I think we did. We won 15-8. They made some drops and throw aways, and our zone lines worked pretty well against them, except against Bill Stewart who cranked out a huge thumber over our cup. Somewhere Cy Prothro was smiling.

The third game was against Jam. They run a really pretty offense where everyone is a cutter, handler, and deep threat. Some people do it more than others, but it just seems like the flow positions more than other teams do. I guarded Gabe for most of the game, and I thought we had a pretty good battle. He is really fun to cover because he does everything, and he does everything well, so you have to always be on your toes ready for a deep strike after he was the dump, or a give-n-go, or some crazy off hand throws. We again win 15-12, but it felt close except for the fact that I don't think our O line was broken once (I might be wrong about this though... I don't really pay too much attention to our O line).


With Thursday's performance, Ironside and Jam move up to the winners bracket. Bodhi and the Condors, who Bodhi "upset" dropped down to the losers bracket.

First game Friday, we play Goat. Ah Goat, how many times can we play them in the season? They are off playing their normal Goat game (which they do very well), which is small pass, small pass, pass to Hassell, bomb. This works 90% of the time. I believe we go down early in this game, and then our D line catches on fire. Think of Hassell as a cross between andrew and cody. baller.

At some point in the game one of our D cutters gets stagnant on the line and I realize I am making a double cut with Funboy and start to curl away when he throws it which my defender makes a fantastic layout for and hits the disc, unfortunately for him, I clap it at about the same time and then he hits my elbow with his still laying out body which not only knocks me forward, but I lose possession. I call foul, they flip out. I go to the observer, and he couldn't see it. Redo. I felt bad, but the play wasn't over after he hit it, he still hit my body.

I think I score a couple goals this game, including the game winner. I have been scoring goals all weekend which is weird since I handle and "should" be throwing them, but people seem generally disinterested in guarding the ole' upline cut.

The next game is against Sockeye. It starts out well, I think we go down a break maybe on the second O point (an O cutter gets hit with the disc on the pull!!!! Watch the disc! It can happen to you), but then the D line I am on gets the turn and I score. I am feeling good this game and finally throw a goal instead of scoring it, and feel very in control on Defense. They take half I think, and we are at 15-14 sockeye pulling and we turn it over. They score to make it 16-14 sockeye.

We find out that there was a lot of craziness that happened in the other pools, and that Bravo is playing the prequarters for the right to play Sockeye in the morning and we will play Ring of Fire in the morning. I am not sure what the weather will be like, but for some reason I think Ring would be more vulnerable to our zone than Bravo, so I like that draw.

I watch Brutesquad play the prequarters game. It was AWESOME not playing in the prequarters. You get unbelievably tired in that game.

They looked pretty good when I was watching, but Emily finally had succumbed to the "i broke my foot and could only aqua jog for 8 solid weeks before nationals" heat sickness and tiredness. Apparently she played great in the two games before that, so she was pretty content laying in the shade and trying to not spend the night in the hospital while watching her teammates clean up.

Saturday: Get up, get ready to play ring. I like playing ring. I played against their captain, jared inselmann all throughout college, and was his teammate on Rage. He is a great player and an even better teammate. I covered him for a lot of the game, but since our zones were working, we played a lot of zone. Everyone likes zone, except for the cup. I am the cup. The game was pretty contentious since we didn't have observers and there was a lot riding on this game.

Ring played a pretty physical game where they forced middle / clogged middle. Their strategy seemed to be to bump early in the count, and then back off. Unfortunately for them, when they backed off, they stopped being active on the mark, and their flat marks were very easy to break.

Both sides got a little chippy, and by the time observers came from god-knows-where, they were a welcome sign no matter how bad at observing they might be.

We won this game 15-11, and then got to sit around for a long time. I ate food, sat in the shade, and walked around if I got nervous. I also got my hamstrings and calves worked on by our PT guy. It was painfully awesome. He breathed some life into my legs.

The Semi's were next, and it was against Chain. We are 1 and 1 with them this year, and last year, they beat us in a very sketchy way on a botched observer ruling (play needed to stop, and they let it play on). We played a lot of zone on them. Even if we didn't score or get the turn, we made the point happen slowly. This was especially important because sometimes their D line would force a turn and then almost score, or we would score but they would be drapped all over us, and then the D line would go out there and throw zone and make them throw 100 passes, and by the time their D line was back out there, our O line was no longer feeling the pressure from the last point, and their D line had forgotten their intensity from the point before.

I think we take half on a huck to Colin Mahoney. The second half, we play a lot of man, and when we get the turn, the upline is open a lot. I don't know if this is a new trend in club teams, but they seem to leave the upline cut open a lot, especially when forcing backhand.

This might be an O's D thing since they can't fathom not having people that can't complete flick dumps out to space, but, with a strong crosswind, the upline throw was really easy compared to the dump out to space.

At one point I score on an upline cut, and in a moment of passion and idiocracy, I spike the disc next to my laid out defender (getting a TMF). It was a very assclown move, and about 2 minutes after it happened I felt like a complete assclown.

I rightfully got sat for a couple points after that to get my head back to get my head back in the game and to remind me that our goals for the season were to be the best team in the country and the best team to play against in the country. Not only did I let them down a little, but I also represent you guys as well as lehigh, and I don't want to be known as "that" douche.

We finished the game on D, with a huck from George Stubbs to Colin. I was running to give george a dump when I realized that he wasn't at all looking dump and just kept on running down field to see if I could catch some swill.

Sunday: My normal Saturday night routine at nationals is normally a blur, and I wake up with two sprained ankles. This saturday night, I went to eat with my condo mates, we talked about Sunday, we bought food for the morning, and we cleaned the condo to be ready to check out.

Oh, and we took ice baths. Well, at least Colin and I did. Kevin and Brent were too pansy. Refreshing isn't the word for it. My left calf was cramping all night before the bath, and it helped some.

Sunday we got to the fields and were the first people there. Then Jam showed up. We all throw around, do active warmups, breakmark drill, hucking drill, O vs. D endzone drills, and then we get our game faces on.

I was pretty pumped for this game. I thought I played Gabe pretty well on Thursday and was looking forward to the rematch, but he apparently hurt his hamstring something fierce and could not play today. That was unfortunate.

The game started out pretty well, and then Jam got a break. The first D point, we got a turn, worked it down about 60 yards, and then seigs threw a swing pass a little too far for me to get. I sprinted as hard as I could, and layed out pretty strong, but it dinked off my finger tips and I slammed my face into the ground hard enough for my ears to ring. Jam promptly scores.

In the first half, we get another turn on a Damien Scott dropped pass in the zone. We move the disc up to about midfield, and I am actually cutting downfield because we were fast breaking. I then find myself poached off of, and curl back towards the disc. I set up as the dump to get the swing, and the disc hooks on funboy's finger and knifes into the ground for another missed opportunity on D. crap. What is promising though is the fact that the D line seems to be getting turns fairly readily, and when we have the disc moving, Jam's O line seems to not want to run with us.

Unfortunately our O line is not playing as clean as we have been all tourney. Jeff is hurt from the Chain game when he was tackled at least twice on fairly late hits, and Jam is putting good pressure on our handlers to have to work to reset the disc.

I think they take half 8-6. At some point, we get a break on a huck to kevin to pull within 1 or 2. We have multiple chances to score on D now, but we are being hesitant and not fast breaking at all. We instead are cautiously walking to the disc, and we seem to be stranding the throwers.

At 12-11 Jam, we get a turn off of a George Stubbs layout. I have been covering Damien Scott this point, and I am the front of the stack (the dump). Seigs wants to get it off line, and decides to throw it quickly to me just as I am getting ready to cut for an I/O from him. It picks up a in the wind, and unfortunately for me Damien is about 6 inches taller than me and I see his hands reach over my head as I am jumping and reaching up for it, and he just comes to the disc smacking it out of the way before it is even in my catching wheelhouse. I then get bowled over by him only to get up and see them scoring on a fast break. In hindsight, I should have called a foul to stop the fast break (he cleanly d'ed it, and I had no chance of catching it after before he hit me), but him knocking me down prevented me from helping out seigs who was caught in a 2 on 1 situation.

Damn. 13-11. I think we must turn it 2 times on O to lose the game then. It all went by so fast, but I am glad that it was a very clean and very fast paced game with not many calls at all. I think this game will actually be watchable.

The game seemed sort of surreal. I didn't feel nervous at all playing it, and I thought we were playing well, but we just weren't clicking as team; that is for both the O and the D lines.

After the game and the awards ceremony, I went over with emily and we looked at the UPA trophy. It only motivated me more to get ready for next year. Pretty soon I am going to write down my list of goals so that next year, it will be ironside that wins.

So that ends my club season, so I guess that means I have to start coaching you guys. Let's make it a good year.



Seigs said...

Our O line was broken on the first point of the Thursday JAM game. Never again though.

I still think daily about those two missed shots to you. We didn't have any trouble swinging and resetting all year until that last game. Arg.

Gabe said...

Joshy, that was delightful. What's a TMF?

Pete said...

Team Misconduct Foul