Thursday, June 30, 2005

efficiency curves

There are two “efficiency curves” that are relevant to playing time and role. One of them is how a player’s performance varies based on how much he’s put in. The other is how his performance varies based on how much he’s asked to do.
At the one extreme, it’s hard to be effective playing every 10th point. At the other, too much play leads to fatigue or pacing and a similar decrease in effectiveness. You want your team to be at a sweet spot where your stars play as much as they can without losing effectiveness while getting your role players enough time to be effective, while maintaining the flexibility to ride one or the other a little more due to a hot or cold hand or an injury.
The first graph shows what I’m guessing a typical curve is for a stud and a role player, and a replacement player. (You can think of the x axis as either “readiness” or “points played”.) I think the shape of the curve is about the same for everyone, with the exception that well-conditioned athletes won’t drop off as quickly with lots of play.

So, the question for subbers is, can you incorporate this model into your subbing scheme? How much does a player have to play in order to be near his peak effectiveness? How much is too much before you start to see fatigue-related errors? Have you experimented with designating some role players to “on” one game (maybe they’ll play 8 points) and “off” the next (0-2 points) instead of being half-on (5 points) for both? Do players rebel against this?

The other curve shows how a player can bear a load when he’s in. On offense, if a player’s full job was to cut for goals, he’d be more effective than if he also had to work the disc. On defense, a player might be able to prevent the third handler from doing a lot, but would be toasted by the star cutter.

A good role player will actually be better than the stud at the subordinate tasks like filling or clearing or reacting to the poach, but the reason that the stud is the stud is that he will be effective when it’s his job to be the first cutter or to break the mark or to cover the top cutter.

Anyway, I’m not really sure what you’re supposed to do with this, but I’ve been thinking about it and wanted to write it up, so there.

Monday, June 27, 2005


This weekend was the estimated 98th tournament victory of my career, as DoG outlasted everyone (including the fans) to win the Boston Invitational (ne Easterns).

I heard one of the tryouts say excitedly to a friend that this was his first tournament victory. I often don't remember how few teams actually win tournaments, even those teams that do well. In the three years I played with Earth Atomizer, years in which we made Nationals twice (once going 3-2) and the semis at Worlds, we won exactly one tournament, the Clambake in 1990, which oddly enough was the one tournament that Earth went to that NYNY and Titanic did not.

I started writing down my tournament results in 1992, the year some Earth friends got bought out by Titanic, and after which I've been averaging half a dozen wins a year (full results below). Prior to that, I think I won 16 tournaments in my first 10 years:
1989-1991: Clambake 1990, Mars 1991 (with Pittsburgh)
1983-1988 in Cleveland: We won Sectionals in 1988, 1987, (I didn't play in 1986), 1985. Probably a couple OMITs.
1983-1989 in Pittsburgh: Fall Sectionals in 1986. There were spring Sectionals back then, too, and I was probably on the winning team 3 times then. There were 3 summer league titles. I think I had two other Mars titles in addition to 1991.

Victories by year from 1992-present: 6, 5, 9, 6, 8, 8, 11, 5, 6, 6, 5, 3, 4, 1. In 1998, I was on the winning team at Hawaii, Fools, Hingham, Corporate League, and Get Ho Ho Ho!, along with DoG victories at Turkey Swamp, Mothers Day, Easterns, Sectionals, Regionals, and Nationals. Funny, though, when I look at the little black stat book for that year, the two items that jump out are a 2nd place finish at Poultry Days and a 13th-16th place finish at Tuneup. The Poultry Days loss really should have made my list of worst losses, but it slipped my mind. We were a little short-handed that tournament (playing with Red Fish Blue Fish), and had maybe 9 or 10 for the finals. We seemingly had the game in control, though, going up 7-2. I only remember two details of the demise: Steve Finn made a layout bid on what would have been the winning goal (or it may have been earlier) and just got a finger on it (unfortunately, the pass was intended to a woman standing open behind him), and Marky Mark caught the game-winner but Matt Greff got the credit in the newsletter. Oh, and I missed my flight anyway because I hung around the fields for too long. For Tuneup, I had written on my web page "Interesting schedule, but too much for a hot day. 6 games on Saturday, all of them close. Went 2-1 in the first pool, advanced to the top half. Then went 1-2 in that pool, beating eventual champion Ring by 1, but losing to NY by 1 after being up late and to Sockeye by a few, and so we were sent to the B pool. We went down 7-2 to Red Tide, then have a spirited comeback to tie it at 10-10, next point wins. But they completed another huck to win it and send us drinking. Small squad again."

Anyway, we won this weekend. There was one point in the quarters with at least five turnovers per team. Later, Lyn was trying to ingratiate himself with Alex and me, and noted, "Well, the important thing is that the three of us weren't in that point." "No," I corrected him, "the important thing is that Alex and I weren't in that point. It's ironic that you weren't in that point." Al and I chuckled like schoolgirls about that one.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Roster limits of 15

Suppose the UPA institutes a roster limit of 15 players for the fall series. What effect will this have?

80% of teams will be worse in absolute terms. The overall level of play will probably decline. There will be more parity.

How will various teams be affected?
All teams will be hurt a little because practices will be harder to do.
The best teams from big cities will be hurt a little because of this.
Conglomerate teams will be hurt significantly as practices become much more difficult to field 7s, and players decide to stay locally.
Second teams from big cities will be significantly better. There might even be enough interest in a third competitive team.
Small-market teams that currently do not lose players to conglomerate teams will be hurt a little because of the practice effect. Small-market teams that currently lose players will be helped a lot.

Why will play decline?
With this few tournament players, the level of play will have to decrease because players won’t be able to maintain that intensity and quality playing 50% more. (Roster of 21: play 1/3 of the time. Roster of 14, play ½ of the time. ½ is 50% more than 1/3.)
Practices will have no subs and won’t be intense. Many practices won’t even have 7 on 7, which means no zone or junk D practice, funny offensive lines (2 handlers, 2 middles, 1 deep?), and unrealistic spacing.
Some good players will retire/play coed rather than compete on a lesser men’s or women’s team.
Some decent players will want to play but won’t make it on any roster, and unless there is a critical mass of them and at least one or two are organizers, they’ll be out of luck.

On the other hand,
Players will have to condition better, so maybe that will raise the play.
Second-string elite teamers will now be playing bigger roles on lesser teams, bumping down those players to a lower level.

And another thing:
There will be more tournaments, as teams decide that they can’t get that much out of 6 on 6 practices and so will decide to go a relatively weak tournament. Having more tournaments that are competitive is definitely a good thing, but what is the cost? Perhaps it is that teams won’t practice much. Maybe this would lead to a rise in conglomerate teams who get together at tournaments every weekend.

And one more thing: I’ve been discussing this from a team level, but of course it is individuals who play. I listed a few types who would be hurt by this, but who is going to be helped?
Players who would prefer to be a big fish in a small pond but all the other fish prefer a big pond. (Ok, let’s be a little kinder to them: perhaps they think that it will be better for their career if they spend a year or two playing full-time at AAA instead of practicing with and riding the pine on a big league team, and without roster limits there would be no AAA team for them.)
Players on a team whose natural roster limit is 15. They actually won’t get any better or get to play more, but their best opponents will be a little worse. (Otoh, maybe their chances at making Nationals are lessened. Red Tide might have been good enough to beat Dark Horse twice when it counted, but they probably weren’t good enough to beat Dark Horse reinforced with a few of the extra players from DoG.)


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

blowouts and upsets

Are there too many of these in ultimate? Are upsets so unlikely that most games are a given? A couple months ago, during the ever-so-boring winter, I took a look at the RRI for club teams for 2004 (rankings are no longer available on the UPA site since the 2005 season is going on). One nice feature of this Bradley-Terry model is that you can easily convert rankings to expected point differentials.

The next logical step is to convert point differentials into expected winning percentages. I want you to make a quick guess on the following problem. If the rankings predict a 15-12.5 victory, how often will the underdog actually win?

Baseball teams that outscore their opponents by that ratio will win about 59% of their games (96 wins in a 162 game season). NFL teams: 63% (10-6). Soccer teams: 55% (counting ties as half-wins). NBA: 94% (77-5). Ultimate: my brief, severely flawed study shows 65% for women's games and 85% for men's. An earlier brief, less-flawed study came up with an estimate of 67-75%. (The other estimates use a version of Bill James' Pythagorean Theorem, which says that the expected winning percentage is A^N/(A^N + B^N), with N=2 for baseball. Other sports' exponents: NFL 3, NBA 15, soccer 1.2, ultimate 4-6. If you had a sport where every game was 1-0, the exponent would be 1.)

I took all the games for the top 27 ranked teams in 2004, and grouped them according to the number of goals a lower-ranked team should score against them. For instance, where the score should be anywhere between 15-14.99 and 15-14, the higher-ranked men's teams were 59-34. (Incidentally, I think the one defeat for 15-7 men's teams was a mistake in the reported score.)

One major flaw is that this method uses actual results to predict those same results. Really, the rankings should be calculated ignoring each game, one at a time, and then using that. But here are the results:

Men Women
Spread W L W L
14 59 34 19 7
13 65 29 20 10
12 51 9 36 19
11 45 3 31 10
10 45 3 42 4
9 52 1 35 0
8 35 0 44 4
7 30 1 29 0
6 18 0 38 0
5 29 0 28 0
4 22 0 23 0
3 20 0 27 0
2 23 0 24 0
1 21 0 37 0
0 17 0 52 0

Couple other interesting things: women's game are much more likely to be expected blowouts (three times as many 15-0 matchups), and slight underdogs in women's games actually had a much better chance at victory than in men's. But maybe that second part is just an artifact of the ranking system, since the disparity in women's abilities are much greater and it messes with the rankings since you can't win any worse than 15-0. (The #1 women's team is expected to beat the #14 women's team 15-5, while that matchup for guys would be 15-10.3.)

Overall, about 45% of men's games and 60% of women's games were simply going through the motions to see what the final score was.

Friday, June 17, 2005

in search of the perfect game

One of the hidden gems in our book is a little statement that you generally need three errors to make a turnover. (Of course, one monumental error by itself will do it just as well.) One cutter starts his long cut from too deep, then the fill breaks in too late, and the thrower just puts it up instead of calling a timeout or looking sooner to the dump. People tend to assign the blame to the thrower in this case, but he never would have been in that situation had not two teammates made mistakes before that, mistakes that will never show up in their personal stats.

I'm grumpy on the field sometimes after I make a mistake like this, even if no one else notices because we scored anyway. I'm always in search of the perfect game. It's easy enough to have a turnover-free game occasionally, but the truly perfect game is much harder, if not impossible.

I don't think a stat sheet would ever capture this, unfortunately. It would show up in other people's stats or the team's stats, since that stall 9 desperation turnover now appears as a simple 10 yard completion, but no one would have any idea why it happened.

I sent off an article about this titled "Team errors" to Chasing Plastic, but they've apparently had some publication problems. As I say at the end of that article, it's the mistakes you don't make that win games.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

When Jim loses it

In the "Sprinting" post, two teammates referred very cryptically to events where I lost focus during practice. More correctly, I threw a nutty. I've played against guys for 15 years who have never seen me do this, but it can happen. So, without further ado, here are some of my nutties over the years:

1. In 2002, back when Wicks wasn't so old and over the hill that he had to stop playing, we were doing one of his college-boy endzone drills that I had last done in 1988. A subplot to this was that Alex and I had both been saying for years that the "sprint from the back of the stack to the only possible place that you could cut" cut was bad for endzone offense as it was often well-defended and it took forever to materialize, and that quick cuts from the front of the endzone were more in line with our basic offense (and, as Idris would note, were the kind of cuts that we each preferred to make). So, not only did we have to do a drill, but we had to do a stupid college drill that taught bad ultimate, and we had to keep doing it until we completed 20 in a row. (I'm not sure of the details of it any more, so I might have one or more inaccuracies from here.) We kept turning it over (I don't even think there was defense involved) and kept going back to 0. Finally, after yet another miscue (I might even have been involved in it), I just grunted angrily and walked off the field and sat on the bench about 40 yards away and stewed while the TOs kept on coming. Eventually Jeff Brown wandered over to ask me please to return to the drill for the team's sake. I refused. He persuaded me to walk _towards_ the drill and watch it from the back of the endzone, and I grudgingly accepted.
I wasn't a very good teammate that year.
2. Let's go to the email archives for this one from fall 2001 (also, I note that I had broken a blood vessel in my eye at the track that Tuesday from squinting in anguish so hard):
I went ballistic at practice Thursday night. There has been an increased emphasis on "hard" marking lately, with no distinction made between legitimate aggressive marking and lazy hacking aggressive marking. I said my piece earlier in the year about "let's not cheat, please" and said I didn't need to keep saying it. On Thursday, though, both teams were lazily or deliberately fouling an awful lot on the mark. After one near-tackle on one of my O teammates, an injured D player on the sideline shouted out encouragement to the fouler, and I couldn't take it anymore. I tore off my shirt and started to walk off the field, saying I couldn't take this bullshit anymore and I'm sick of this cheating. Someone said that the O was fouling too, and I agreed that both fuckin' teams were bullshit. Someone pointed out that there had been a request from the O to get some tighter marks so we could get used to it, and we only had 7 players, so I put my shirt back on and resumed playing. But I made short work of my defender, caught both goals (we were playing double score), then had a hearty spike into the ground. I was still pretty fired up the rest of the practice.

No one said a word to me about it, but first thing Saturday at practice, Nathan clarified what he meant by aggressive marking, I thanked him and added that there has been no distinction from the sideline between good marking and sloppy marking.
3. Nationals 2002, pool play against Furious. Again, from the archives, edited for protection:
I was covered for most of the Furious games by Ricky Melner, who had previously played with Oregon, Sockeye, and BoG. He had a very late hit on me in the 1997 finals, when I jumped straight up and had practically landed when he got there with his bid. Gewirtz had fouled Seeger and contested, then did a quick, quiet tap-in which only I heard, being a few yards away. I therefore cut up the line, Seeger threw the floater, and I caught it in the endzone before being taken out. I got up and screamed "You fucking asshole" before realizing I couldn't breathe and collapsing again on the ground. Meanwhile, both teams are gathering around the Seeger/Gewirtz argument, perhaps when Jeremy called Jon a name for the cheap tap-in. Only Bim runs over to me, asks me if I'm again, I nod and mutter "Wind," to which Bim says "Ok, good" and trots over to join the discussion.

So, on the first point of _this_ game, they play a transition D and Ricky ends up covering Cogan. On a tight pass in the endzone, Ricky sorta tackles Dan and I yell, "Nice fuckin' cheap play again," "again" referring to the above play. After the point, I say, "I'm sorry, I'm still mad about that play five years ago", and Ricky knows immediatly what I'm talking about. Anyway, over the course of this game and the semis, he fouls me repeatedly on the mark and while cutting, and I call him "cheater," "fuckin' cheater", "mother fucker", and probably one or two related terms.
Umm, please disregard the above paragraph when viewing other things I write about how to behave on the field.
4. Gewirtz, once or twice, maybe more. In 1990, while they're drubbing us, he drops a pass and I begin sprinting for the fast break, and he kicks the disc. I think I tell him that he has fouled me more than the rest of ultimate combined, which may have been true at the time. Then in 1992 semis, I run at him to force him into an error, then sidestep him, only to have him lean into me and sprawl back while calling foul (or call foul while sprawling back). Instead of a goal, it's a foul (amazingly upheld by the observer), and we turn it over.
Jim: Jonny :: moth: flame. I've hated him and made my peace with him a couple times. I don't remember where we stand now. He's a dad, I'm a dad, I offered to help him get his kids to the field before our quarters game last year. I had an extremely odd and interesting conversation with him at Tuneup once (overheard by a dozen people sitting on the line next to us) where he talked about crazy people he grew up with and living on a kibbutz and his past.
5. Indoor soccer, that fat clumsy guy who took me out once and was cheating non-stop the way that soccer players try to do, except that he wasn't any good so he just came across as an ass. More f-bombs and screams and threats and uncontrolled anger. I think I blogged about this earlier this year.
6. Steve Frombach, senior year of college. He pledged our frat, lots of people didn't like him, I didn't necessarily like him either but I went out of my way to defend him for some reason, he depledged and then pledged a neighboring frat. I ran into him at a party at the other frat, and he went out of his way to be an ass. I said, "Steve, I'm above you" and walked away to stew. After a few minutes, I just couldn't take it any more, and went and found him and said, "you know what, I'm not above you" and pushed him. People stepped in and calmed things down, but later, a fellow frat member said that with how mad I was, he was scared because there was only him and one other guy between me and Steve.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mechanical cutting

I noticed that some of the tryouts this weekend cut very mechanically. They might fake, but then their actions do not depend at all on what their defender does. They don't even appear to be watching the defender at all.

Idris talked about this in his Oh you had 'em blog entry (Idris has this annoying practice of making everything point to, even when you link to another blog from his page). Players just don't seem to realize when they're open. I commented there, "Bad players either plan too many fakes or else they get so caught up in trying to read the defender that they misread him. Instead, do a simple fake, expect that it's going to work, but be ready to do something else after 2 or 3 steps if you see that it hasn't worked."

Maybe the way to drill this is to have them watch real cutters and defenders and attempt to identify the exact moment at which the cutter simply needs to move in a straight line to get open. Anything a cutter does after that is at best inefficient and at worst the first part of a miscommunication turnover.

We sometimes say that a cutter has several seconds and several options before he has to clear, but that includes the setup time, which should occur before the disc is live.
1. The setup. As the disc is in the air to the new thrower, the cutter moves into position and might do a little bit of juking, but is basically trying to force the defender into a repositioning error.
2. The cut. Make a final sell and then go hard in one direction, making a commitment. THEN you evaluate whether you'll be open. When you get good, you'll know as you're making that hard move whether or not you're successful. If not,
3. The 2nd cut. Turn 90 or 180 degrees and go hard that way. If that's not open, clear. The only exception is when you're in an iso situation with a lot of field and the defender overcommits to the 2nd cut, and you are 100% guaranteed to be open in a good place if you return to your original direction.

I guess basketball players work on their fakes by themselves, repeating until they've internalized the sequences, but they will still need the feedback of whether their defenders are going to buy the fakes.

Monday, June 13, 2005


Speed is a product of stride length and stride rate. When you're tired during a workout or during sprints at the end of practice and you feel that you can't maintain both, pick one of them and maintain that, rather than cheating on both. If you're maintaining your stride length, just think about keeping your form, with head still, arms moving forward and not left-right, and good steps.

(Nothing more to read.)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

More about fouls

I've been having some discussions with a bunch of people about whether the game is deteriorating as shown by the 85 calls in the College Nationals finals between Brown and Colorado.

As always, the answer is yes, but I'm not sure what to do about it.
I think it comes down to two things:
1. More markers today make it a practice to mark so closely that a lot of fouls are inevitable, although no single one is intentional; and
2. More players make calls that are legit per the rules but that few 5-10-15-20 years ago would have dreamed of calling.

These reflect a change in the culture of the game, and perhaps the culture of America.

Some are calling (and I might end being one of them) for some new set of penalties to discourage games from getting out of hand. The rule being suggested (two overruled calls or contests results in expulsion for the rest of the game) doesn't strike me as being particularly effective, but I'd like to see something positive done.

Is there a way to get the culture to change? Colorado has been cited as being especially offensive with their treatment of opponents, their own players, and their general approach to the game as some bad-ass Program that everyone else just wants to take down. I don't know whether the kids on the team know any better, but there are enough good people that they should be looking to as role models that this doesn't happen.

Oh, the usual disclaimers about how this isn't necessarily representative of a trend, I'm not blaming everyone who plays, and I know that old people are always saying, "Kids today."

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Masters, day 2

Well, we beat everyone at the tournament, and we had fewer losses than every other team, so in one sense, we were the winners.

But in another, more accurate sense, NY was the winner. We just didn't force any turnovers, made a few ourselves, and lost 15-9 in the finals. It was again very hot, and we had few subs (1-2 in the semis, 4-5 in the finals) although we had some cloud cover toward the end.

It was great conditioning, and good working on some throwing skills (and swing thoughts!), but not good for developing good cutting or defending habits. Good defense requires a lot of work. Good offense does, too, but if you're playing against bad defense, you really don't have to work hard either physically or mentally to get open. I made some very lazy cuts knowing that I would get open anyway and that I wouldn't have gotten open doing the same thing in the fall.

My decision-making was occasionally lazy, too. Part of that was due to a fear of Mooney. Even though he's 47 and long retired, it takes a brave man to look him off even if he's not really open, and I only had the guts to do it once.

The "stay low" swing thought was a mixed bag. My forehands were still turning over a little bit (except for one which stayed flat and out of bounds and another into the wind which floated) but had decent length on them. Alex said that I still wasn't getting low. I only threw a couple backhands but those went well. It wasn't a problem for me to take the time to have a swing thought. There was one time where I didn't, and threw the disc from a fairly upright position, and the disc did indeed turn over more, but I had to get the disc there fast and as a result there was a lot of margin of error on the throw (which got there for the goal).

Our field sense was good as a team, and we didn't have any players (unlike the other teams) where you questioned their disc skills. We even ran a spread O (although it was called the "Swedish," it looked suspiciously like the "brown" O we have run on DoG for the last 5 years some of the time).

My body is nearly recovered after lots of leg twitching. I felt my calves twinge a couple times during play, but never actually cramped then (only while sitting at home on the couch).

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Masters, day 1

Today was literally the second warm day of the year in the Boston area, and we had four games to 15 with 9-12 players. Big Ego Ultimate is playing in the Masters tournament at Devens this weekend, with 5 teams from all over Boston (actually, two from here, some NY guys, a team from Western Mass, and Pittsburgh). DoG is playing in Jersey, but there's no way I could have made that tournament anyway. It's so hard to get away to those random spring tournaments anymore, but back when _I_ was in my 20s, I would have gone to this with 8 guys and loved it.

I was cramping by the last game today, about the 5th time that's happened (Goaltimate II, summer league that one year where I couldn't complete a sentence after the tournament, ECC, one other). My legs started their weird twitching sometime during the third game. Lots of water, not much food or sports beverages. No sunblock. Wore a hat a little, but I can't even play softball wearing a hat. Pretty effin' stupid, in summary, especially when we had only 2 subs for the last game and a half.

Lots of old DoGs, Mooney, Alex, Dennis, Cork, Bickford, Bim, me, Whitey. Dude, we rock. 4-0 today, three wins by 15-11 or 15-12, one other game. Semis and finals tomorrow, but we had only 7 guys lined up for tomorrow as of 6:30 tonight. I think our youngest player was 36, and most are in our 40s. Cork was hoping to use this as a springboard to a fall Masters team, but it doesn't look like it will pan out.

This should be good training for me. In the old days, I would just play my way into shape by killing myself at spring tournaments, but most of them these days don't offer the opportunity to do so.

PS. Worst blog entry ever.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

the american life

There were two articles in the Sunday Boston Globe that caught my attention. One was about a philanthropist who made a promise to some 2nd-graders 15 years ago that he would pay their college expenses. The other was about trying to repair a baby's defective heart.
The article (which is available only through the paid archives, but here is a link to a related story) said that only 4 of the 69 2nd-graders from Cambridge have graduated from 4 year colleges on time. An editorial today paints a slightly rosier picture, as an additional 12 completed technical school and 25 are still in college, and the offer is good through 2008. But still, to me these numbers are shockingly low, and what's worse is that these numbers are considered to be above average. These kids and their parents and their teachers had 11 years to prepare, without the excuse of "how can we afford this", and yet so many of them didn't make it.

I bring up the other story less for what happened to the kid than for what it means for everyone. A baby was diagnosed in utero as having a hole in his heart. The parents decided on an experimental procedure to fix it. It was only a partial success, and the kid had to undergo the standard procedures once he was born.

Nowhere in the 4500 words did the cost get mentioned.

As a parent, I was saddened by the ordeals this family had to go through (I've been told that I have very little empathy, but having a kid changes that). But I just didn't know what to make of it. The procedures must have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, the family was typical middle- or upper-middle-class, so who is paying for it?

Maybe it's just considered R&D money, as one theme of the article is that doctors need to do dangerous procedures now so that they become viable in a few years (one ethicist even argued that the parents have an obligation to society to consent to the surgeries). Companies certainly have the right and stakeholder obligation to invest in the future, and in this case, the R&D benefits not just this particular company/hospital, but all companies (and thus all of society) since they share knowledge.

On the other hand, maybe the best thing for these kids is to die with dignity (which a majority of the experimental physicians said they would do if it was their own kid).

I think this illustrates the best and worst of American medicine. It's really amazing that doctors can and do go in utero to try to save a baby's life, and that's possible only because they keep on trying. But on the other hand, to spend that much on such a small chance of life while other things go untreated says something too. (And it's not the parents' or the doctors' money that is being spent, or even the hospitals' money as the costs are probably being absorbed by the system. Although others might have, I wouldn't have even brought it up if it was Bill Gates spending a couple million of his own dollars on his kid's life.)

And I don't know what I would do if it was my kid.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

swing thoughts

One of those golf magazines had an article a few years ago on the top 25 swing thoughts, images or key points that you keep in your head as you swing. I have probably spent more time golfing in my life than I have playing ultimate, but I still need to focus on a swing thought in order to get my swing back to where it is supposed to be.

Yesterday, I tried a swing thought for my long throws.

I could not believe how successful it was. Without consciously changing anything, my throws became better and more consistent. Whether I'll be able to focus on a swing thought while playing is another matter (I was just throwing in my back yard), but could it really be that simple?

And if it is, why couldn't anyone have told me this? Is it so difficult to analyze the throwing mechanics? There are literally millions of golfers who could have made a comparable diagnosis of a hitch in my golf swing.

For the record, the swing thought was "stay low". I mentioned this today to Alex, and he said, "Yeah, especially on your forehand. It wouldn't turn over so much." Thanks for the effin' tip, Count.