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.


Marshall said...

Cathartic post? Or mostly documentary 'cause you're over this stuff now?

Barrett said...

Fantastic - my earlier cryptic responses were to rile up Luke and Nathan; I had forgotten how Nathan's comment could pertain to you.

I believe I was the one who nearly tackled your teammate, but come on Jordo went down like a sack of potatoes. (luke, this was simply The Good Solid Mark)

Knocking him down these days, now, would be another thing altogether.

gwbuhl said...

You should have put the "'sprint from the back of the stack to the only possible place that you could cut' cut was bad for endzone offense" part in bold. Shout it from mountaintops: This is crappy endzone offense!

parinella said...

You should have put the "'sprint from the back of the stack to the only possible place that you could cut' cut was bad for endzone offense" part in bold. Shout it from mountaintops: This is crappy endzone offense!

Unfortunately, it's endzone offense 101 and 201, and to this day even a certain unnamed previous six-time National champion preaches it.

parinella said...

Cathartic post? Or mostly documentary 'cause you're over this stuff now?

It's Sweeps Week at, and I need to get more hits.

I guess it's 80% entertainment and the remainder some form of emotional outlet, with a little bit of preemption against being called a hypocrite.

And as for the entertainment, that's equally broken down into "providing entertainment for others" and "amusing myself by the act of writing and reliving notable events." I definitely chuckled to myself a few times thinking about storming off toward that bench.

There is more insight into the writing process in a three-piece article I did at One of the three pieces is pretty good (although I don't remember which one) and insightful.

Edward Lee said...

Assuming the disc is in the center of the field, I count three places where the guy in the back of the stack can cut:

- The corner
- The other corner
- The gut cut on the open side

Maybe endzone drills should allow cutters and throwers to use all their options instead of just having them dump and swing the disc to and fro.

jason sweeney said...

I tore off my shirt and started to walk off the field

I love this line. I just picture the Hulk.

Wicks said...

Wasn't 2003 the year of the bad teammates? Who can forget:

- Cameros giving up after 3 points at Sectionals, taking off his shirt, drinking beer, reading the paper, and chatting on the phone for 2 hours. Oh wait, all of the old guys can forget it, because they weren't even there (perhaps that is why the O didn't have a turnover in the finals).

- The entire O team telling the D team how much they sucked all year, then the O collapsing like a house of cards at Nationals. We stunk it up.

- I believe Jim walking off from the endzone drill was actually 2003. If not, it should have been.

I actually wanted to start this comment as "In 1998, back when Parinella wasn't so old and over the hill that he should have stopped playing..." but couldn't think of anything interesting that happened in 1998, or thereabouts. Nope, nothing whatsoever. Was any ultimate even played in 1998?

parinella said...

When the disc is in the center of the field in the traditional endzone O, the pass is a swing to a handler, who then looks for the strike. The cutter from the back could turn in for the gut cut, or he could go there immediately, but those both take a lot of time, and if the defender is able to stop the cone cut, he probably will stop the gut cut as well.

The spread O endzone O could be devastating if you could just get into position, but from flow, that's often not possible. You have multiple cutters from various angles, each of whom has several viable options.

parinella said...

To what do you attribute all the problems in 2003?

(I guess the drill incident was indeed 2003, the year with all the guys. How soon we forget.)

Wicks said...

Problems in 2003? Lots of reasons, but most of those could have been avoided had the junta sacked up and made some cuts, I think.

We could have been a better team while still a big team that year (though certainly not 28 or whatever the hell it was), but the magic of the big team in 1999 was that everybody understood that it would take sacrifices to achieve what we wanted, and everybody understood that without the "other guys" we would lose. Even you Big Ego guys seemed to think you might need something slightly more than blow-up dolls to get the job done, and we young guys knew we couldn't win without Bill.

Other thoughts:
The D team in 2003 needed strong veteran leadership, which didn't happen. They had a fair bit of young talent that didn't progress as much as it could have. Plus the O team did our usual thing of telling the D team they sucked, which they seemed to believe some of the time that year.

The O team spent all of 2003 believing we were as good as Saturday of Nationals in 2002, so we didn't feel any urgency to improve. The D team's slow progress helped us maintain that illusion.

Plus the problems associated with big teams:
-Lack of ownership on the field
-Easy to not go 100% at the track or practice
-People got lost and didn't improve

Actually, nevermind, it was all Moses' fault. That guy sucks - good thing the team cut him and sent him to Seattle.

Jon said...

what's the "gut cut"?

parinella said...

The "gut cut" is the cut up the gut. It's halfway angularly between the cut to the cone and the stack (sometimes called a "45 degree cut", but it's probably more like 30).

parinella said...

On my website, I said the following about the 2003 Nationals. In summary, it says that the O sucked because the strong cross-wind had a greater effect on our game than it should have, due to some flaws in its structure:

First time since 1990 that Boston was knocked out by someone other than the champs. First time since 1985 that Boston failed to make semis. It was windy again in Sarasota. It was a cross-wind this year, providing a better test for the teams than in upwind/downwind games. After sparkling in practice, our offense suffered in the strong wind, as our long throws were crap, which in turn altered the cutting and offensive flow. Nearly all the deep looks came with the disc on the trapped sideline, making even unmarked throws difficult. There are several reasons this happened: our handlers never got the disc in hucking position (I'll guess that 80% of our huck attempts came from receivers), our offense continued to force it up the line, and our throws aren't as strong as they used to be/they should be/other teams'. The D also struggled offensively. No doubt, these were difficult playing conditions.