Monday, April 04, 2005

Fields

The fields at Fools this weekend were the muddiest I've played on in a long time. I've noticed that some college tournaments this year were cancelled or shortened due to wet fields. What's it going to be like in the future?

In the _old_ days, it was a badge of honor that we played through any kind of conditions, and field-trashing was considered kinda cool. Maybe it's still this way, and it's my perspective that changed, but there's no way that any respectable field should let teams play in conditions like it was on Saturday and Sunday. Most of the fields had standing water on them and quickly turned into mudpits. The Open finals field, which was probably the best field left, had a several-inches deep puddle obscuring the back 15 yards of one corner of the (fortunately upwind) end zone.

At least we've progressed enough to delay games due to lightning, owing to that unfortunate accidents 11 years ago.

So, how many field-trashings have been so severe as to cause permanent field loss for the ultimate community? I know of two great local sites lost due to (other teams) playing in bad conditions. PADA lost Tinicum and had to pay $10K (is this correct) in damages back in 1998. I heard that the UCSD team got into real trouble for sending teams to unauthorized sites after their own site (and backup) got cancelled due to rain at this year's President's Day tournament (or some CA college team at some college tournament). Anyone want to add to this list?

It will take a few years, but players have to get used to the idea that a tournament CAN GET CANCELLED on the day of the tournament. Perhaps this means that there will be fewer national tournaments (where the hell are these college kids getting all the money to travel, anyway? And shouldn't they be studying? Why, in _my_ day, we had things a lot tougher, I'll tell you.), but that's the way it's going to have to be. Tournament directors have to treat the fields as if they own them. Even on the local level, teams have to have a sense of ownership of the fields if that's what's necessary to treat them with respect.

5 comments:

Marshall said...

I suspect many local leagues have experienced strained or destroyed relationships with the cities that own fields after damaging the fields in bad conditions. This has definitely happened around Boston, where Newton doesn't like Ultimate because of a New Year's Day tournament many years ago and where the MDC (who now have a different name) are resisting permitting any cleated sport.

As more people participate in sports activities and as youth sports continue to grow, ultimate organizations will have to be very conscious of their relationships with the providers of the field space we need to play.

And yeah, Sunday at Fools it was like running in peanut butter. Too bad it didn't bother our finals opponent more...

Edward Lee said...

One of the guys on the tournament committee said that WAFC had a contract that explicitly permitted them to use the fields, rain or shine.

Whether this contract will be renewed for next year, who knows.

Allen Sam said...

I'm a first year on the UCSD air squids and I can offer some info if you were still wondering. What happened was that being as Prez Day was the biggest tournament of the year for us, and seeing all these great players that took time off to travel from all corners of the country to come play, we felt obligated to do all we could to host them and play some ultimate. So we sent all these teams out to fields all across San Diego to have the pools played out, not taking into consideration the community's reaction to our presence. Basically, we trampled all over the wet muddy fields and caused little league softball tournaments and other stuff of that nature to be cancelled, and thus pissing a lot of parents off. Officials were contacted somehow, word got back to UCSD administration, and we were slapped with fines upwards of 7000 for reparations. In addition to that, frisbee for all teams were banned from school for the next three weeks, causing us to miss out on the Stanford invite (which i hear was also messed with by mother nature), and not being able to host this fun tournament on Pres Day next year:(.

On another note, I was wondering if you could help me out on my technique's on cutting. I'm one of the faster guys on the team, but I still don't get as much separation from my defender as the slower and more experienced players on the team, or I'm burning my guy by 15-20 yards and the thrower is just not looking at me anymore. What are some simple ways of understanding when to start making a cut? I seem to have a lot of trouble with the timing, and it frustrates the heck out of me when I run my ass off and just never get the disc because my cuts are not properly setup.

Nero

parinella said...

Nero,

It's easy to understand why you guys did what you did; you wanted to be good hosts. But those other fields weren't yours to trash. It's a tough situation, no doubt.

As for cutting, that's hard to diagnose from here. If you're open deep by 15-20 yards and not getting it, chances are that you're starting your cut from too deep and it's just too long of a throw. If it's on in-cuts, it's possible that you might be branded as not being able to catch or throw.

As for not getting open, maybe you are just too predictable in your motions. Do you make the same series of steps prior to a particular cut? Do you always try to make the same cut? Maybe you're moving around too much so that when you start an actual cut, you have only one place to go. Try doing some purposeful walking (or very slow jogging) instead. The idea is to change the relative position of the defender prior to your cut. You can do this by making him turn, or by changing both your positions relative to the disc. Try to get behind the defender so that he can't watch both you and the disc. You can cut as he is repositioning himself, or perhaps you will have moved enough in the interim such that he is no longer in good position.

gapoole said...

Okay, so this is going back a bit in your blog, but I was browsing and couldn't resist.

June of 2003, my high school's ultimate team, considered a mere after-school club despite having attended UPA Nationals in '02 and '03, played a team of tall, athletic soccer-players with bad disc skills and worse spirit. Our veterans were all away for prom or something, so it was "next-year's team," and I was a freshman. We acted independently of our faculty advisor, and never asked to use the field hockey / lacrosse field.

It was around 40ºF and pouring buckets, so I fought through hypothermia as we battled it out, eventually winning 20-19 at hard cap. We had demolished the field, nothing left but an expanse of muck, nothing remotely green in sight. The administrators, groundskeepers and board were all furious, and threatened to revoke our club status. Our faculty advisor quit immediately.

The following fall, we petitioned the board of ed for varsity status. They gave it to us, and we've been the first varsity HS ultimate team in NJ since. Interesting fate, neh?