I guess I need to get a new name for this blog. Crap.
Anyway, I went to ECC with Ring this past weekend. Going into the tourney I was a bit curious to see where I stood on a fitness front compared to last year, how our team was going to handle expectations, and how our team was going to stack up against other teams having only played in two split squad tourneys and minimal scrimmaging because we have been covering a lot of old and new Ring concepts and strategies at practices.
We get to the fields and are cleated up by around 8 and the first game of the day is at 9. We do our plyos, active warm-ups, throwing, and our ring warm-up. The ring warm-up is a pretty cool little warm-up that works on all your throws (dumps, short in passes, throws to slashing horizontal-ish ho cuts, and hucks).
One thing that I am getting used to this year is that Ring doesn't scrimmage before the game. I liked that ironside would do that because I felt it got the blood flowing, the mind seeing D and O patterns, and got you throwing real game throws so you are already a few points into a game by the time the real game starts.
Before we started against Wolf, a team with some of the younger players from last years Jam team on it and other hard running college kids, the captains told us that for this game we were going to run 3 equal lines of 7 players the entire game. We split off into those groups for 2 mintues and discussed who would do what and to go over D sets.
Wolf never got out of the gates unfortunately. They had a bunch of nervous drops, turfs, and throw aways, and we were very stingy with the disc after the turn. When they did score, it was normally off of Tommy Hendrickson pulling some crazy throws out of his sleeve.
I think after half, Wolf got a few breaks back, and we may have traded out until the very end to finish up 15-10 or so. Our D legs never got up to speed because they were producing the turns themselves. I think that hurt us a bit for the next game.
We play Revolver next. For this game, we tried having 2 O lines, and about 10 D only players (that's me!). The O players were supposed to hop on a D line 2 or 3 times a game to keep the D lines legs fresh.
I remember it being if O1 and O2 got broken, the D line would come in and play O. I came in at least two times that game for O, so that should be an indicator to how clean our O was working, especially in the first half when I think we got broken twice to start.
Unfortunately, our D wasn't any better. There was no sign of life in our team, and we were just quietly conceding to Revolver which made me a little upset. After half, we got a little bit of life back into our legs and got a few turns and a break or two, but we never recovered from the four point run we let them get on us somewhere near the start of the first half. We lose 15-11. Our first true test of the season, we got punched in the face, and we didn't even hit back until we were in the second half.
Revolver was missing Cahill and maybe 1 or 2 more players for them, or maybe some of their typical O guys played D this weekend. We didn't give them much of a challenge, so I don't know if I saw what they are going to be like this year.
Aside: the only thing that might be worth mentioning about that game for Ring is that KP had one of the filthiest over chest high layout grabs I have ever seen in my life. I think he did it right in front of cameras, so that will probably be a clip of the day soon.
We then play ECU. We heard they beat sockeye in the showcase game the night before so we didn't know what to expect.
They apparently are comprised of retired sockeye guys and just out of college carleton players. Their team is based around a really cool concept of hosting free clinics for kids and just seeming to be a great team to play on and enjoy your teammates.
Unfortunately for them, in our game they just seemed tired or disinterested in winning. They have a couple of miscommunication turns, and we win 14-11, but it felt not as close for some reason.
I view ECU as the bracket busters for NW regionals. They might not have the legs to win out to go to nationals, but they can spoil some contenders' season in the process. I would not want them first round on Sunday.
We then have sockeye for the fourth and final game of the day. Sockeye is not having the day they wanted to have: they lost to Truckstop after receiving on double game point, they lost to boston (or did they play and beat streetgang? ahhh cultimate, i hate you), beat Pony on DGP, and now were playing us.
It looked like they were missing at least their tall handler that played with them last year, one volume cutter (ray), and one goal scorer (mc). They also look and are much, much smaller size-wise than previous years and we had enough little squirrels to cover their squirrels effectively.
Ring is pretty young, and so far we hadn't gotten fired up about D or winning, so I took it upon myself this game to lead the charge and be the emotional backbone of the D line. It was a bit exhausting. After they took half 8-7, we went on a D run that was pretty awesome. In my excitement of leading the D line, I played waaaaaaaaaay too many D points that game. I think I played close to all of them. It was the first time I got to see Ring dig in and see what they were made of, and it was awesome to behold. We stayed positive, we got each other's backs, and we fed off of each other's want of more and more blocks and scores. We win 14-11, when i released the game winning throw, i had such great feeling of looking forward to the season and what a an awesome force our D line could become on both D and D's O.
My only regret about the first day is that I wish we would have played revolver after we got the sockeye win. I would have loved to have given them a better game, and I think we would have been more confident and would have been playing tighter D after the sockeye game.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday: holy crap I wake up sore. I played too much in the sockeye game for my own good, and I have to put on tights to get my legs loose. It is also uncharacteristically dry and sunny out, which makes it super easy to dehydrate quickly. I felt thirstier out there than I do down south.
On Sunday we would have Furious, Streetgang, and either whoever we hadn't played in the west coast bracket or in the finals if ironside loses horribly to someone.
We make sure to run Ds that will take furious out of their first, second, and third options (deep, deep, and deep again). It seems to work and we get a fairly easy win 15-9. Our D plays very well, and the D plays well after the turn. They are missing at least oscar and maybe a few more players.
We have streetgang next and never really get up for it. They crushed boston last year at nationals by having their bigger lefty guy jack great throws to their excellent deep receivers even when they were covered. Their lefty guy was a big factor this game as well. If he wasn't hucking it, he was either stepping into the lefty backhand drawing the foul and getting an i/o off, or he would step back and throw bendy hucks and breaks. Tuba has a couple big blocks this game as well as Brett, but I think we take that as a reason to continue to be up a break instead of wanting more and more and more.
We eventually eek out a win, but you don't want to keep a team like that (who catches waaay more than their share of 50/50 balls) around near the end of the second half. The 15-13 win leaves us tied with Truckstop for the team with the 2nd best record. Sockeye apparently crushed Revolver and proved that teams shouldn't just write them off for the season just yet.
We find out that only records within the pool counts, so we are playing Rhino. We change back to 3 equal strength lines, and we never get in a groove.
We trade the lead several times. We even get up by a lot after being down at half. I think it was 14-11 or so, and then they break us a lot to make it 15 all, us receiving. We call a real O line for this point, and we promptly have a drop close to our brick. Rhino picks up, moves it very well laterally across the field. They get up near an endzone corner and instead of hitting the wide open goal cuts, they send a bladey flick over the stack towards the back center of the endzone which thomas ward makes a great deep D on. We get the disc back, bang it around a few times, and then one of our handlers gets a break away deep run and makes a great catch for the win.
All in all a satisfying weekend.
Oh, I almost forgot about the rules:
Contact: this is pretty much awesome. Disc space was so awkward to say while you have a million things to do on the field at the same time, and it seemed very arbitrary to call and even to prove or disprove since it deals with planes of moving appendages. Contact simply is, if someone touches you while marking, you say contact, and they go down to 0. It is everything disc space wasn't.
20 yard endzones: This isn't really a big deal because it normally only is at tourneys that you have a truly regulation sized field. I wish though that they would have made the playing field proper be 80 yards instead of just chopping off 10 to the endzones and keeping it 70.
Travel, Up-Down, In-Out: Awesome. No ticky-tack bullshit travel calls, no disputes and stupid reenactments of where people perceive their feet to be at the time of a catch. It almost felt like a real sport out there. The games with observers go so much faster than without.
I will write more, but I am super tired.