After so many trips to nationals, what, if anything, surprised you this year?
there's been a lot of chatter that the O was out of sync. what was going on?
why are you posting at 6am?can you give your thoughts on the current domination by the NW? is there an end in sight? reasons behind it?now that you're retiring, who were some of the toughest defenders you've faced and what made them effective?how have you maintained such dominance against metal?
Does height mean a whole lot? I noticed Revolver was a relatively short team, but DOG seemed to hit stumbling blocks versus them?
How tough is it to motivate a whole team into believing they can beat teams they never see at full strength till Nationals? (A tourney such as ECC is usually for development for the top teams)It seems like being above and beyond any other team in the NE+ region may be more detrimental to the team than good- thoughts? AS you walk away do you feel you could still run with anyone- or are there limits given the new players in the game?
Are you going to join Moons in NY and play with Above and Beyond?What're DoG's chances of making Quarters next year?How well did you play this year in comparison to years past?
Who in your opinion were the best players at nationals this year?Now that you're retired, is there anyone you would out as being overrated?
for a young player, what do you have to do to get on a nationals caliber team? what does it take in terms of conditioning, experience, skills and anything else that is relevant?what do you see for the future of boston/cambridge ultimate? any mergers? it seems like the city could content for a title if they got all of the top players on one team and put the remainder on a second team.what teams/cities do you believe will win titles in the future? there must be enough talent in cities other than vancouver and seattle to start winning, no?
why doesn't DoG dominate like they used to?
are you going to ever wear those bright orange umbro shorts you wore back at nationals in 1994?
how does a top team at nationals use there bench? how much play time do the top guys get compared to the bottom guys? how does this differ in pool play, power pools and elimination? are players ever benched for extended periods, or does everyone contribute?
It seems Huck n Hope was Huck and suceed down there. I hear only 2 turns in the first half of the finals. And a few more in the 2nd half. Comments?
How will you possibly answer all these questions to everyone's satisfaction? Can we vote for which questions you spend more time on? I'm only 50% kidding.
Wow Jim, you sure put the Q in the Q&A there.
Why does everyone think I'm retiring?Ultimate as it appears on uvtv is about 10 times as HnH as it appears in person.Rats, congratulations, whattyagonnado, all that. At least I didn't punch someone in the face and tell him "Just call that."6 am = 6 am PT = 9 am ET.
why do you think you're not retiring?
After so many trips to nationals, what, if anything, surprised you this year?I'm surprised that I'm always surprised by how new and different each year is, even when the end result is about the same. 2002 was excitement and sighing, 2003 was disgust, 2004 was melancholy, 2005 was wouldacouldashoulda, and 2006 was resignation. And disappointment each time.Re: height. Obviously, all things being equal, being taller is better, but "tall" often comes with "gangly". I generally love it when a tall guy covers me because I know he won't be able to move with me. Even if it's a deep throw, it won't matter unless it's a bad throw that hangs a ton. In general, height isn't as important as you think, because everyone has some big guys and they can match up against each other if it's that big of a deal. But in the specific cases of great athletes who are also tall, then you can have a real matchup problem. Think Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan, who were significantly larger than their prototypes with similar skills.I had a pair of throwback shorts and socks all ready for the finals, but didn't get a chance to use them. I'm not sure if I would have been willing to pay the $25 fine to the UPA for non-standard uniforms, or even if they would have allowed it. For next year, I've been telling everyone that I'm getting the band back together. Maybe our team uniforms will be the vintage short shorts and tight cotton T-shirts.
why do you think you're not retiring? It's easy to rationalize as to how next year is going to be awesome. For instance, I was already thinking that if I got up early or stayed up late and worked out on the exercise bike a little more, did a more dedicated stretching program, threw discs in the backyard, and spent my morning commute visualizing, it would be simple to play again at an even higher level.
can you give your thoughts on the current domination by the NW? is there an end in sight? reasons behind it?Sickening to an East Coaster. At some point this weekend, I thought to myself, "My God, we've become the Central Region."Reasons: recruiting and competition. They got lots of athletes, and that's always a plus. One of our big flaws this year was that we never learned how to win, and we could possibly have learned that had we been playing the WC teams every few weeks.
anyone know how they grow 'em so big out there? or do they just import them by providing them with hovels in which to reside?
If N were played at a less windy venue would that make you more or less inclined to play Open in '07?
I really am not sure what to say about HnH, and probably should say nothing for a few more days at least so as not to come across badly.But here goes.Obviously it worked well for Sockeye in the finals. Zero turnovers in the first half overstates how effective the method was, since one of those goals was on a Greatest and another came after the disc landed on the receiver and another missed the intended receiver. And another came on a defender miscue. So, possibly, maybe, the credit for this great performance belongs to the highly-skilled and heads-up players who actually had to overcome the system.I was, shockingly to all, actually defending the HnH (or SLG (Sensible Long Game)) during a conversation with another experienced player, saying maybe the ho-stack creates lots of good long cutting opportunities, not every single long pass that could be thrown _was_ thrown, many of these passes didn't require phenomenal effort from the receiver to be caught. This player asked simply, "where's the D?" There was one point in the finals where I specifically watched Cruickshank play as one of the middle cutters in the ho-stack. He made the same cut six times (quick shoulder fake out, one step in, break deep) and was wide open on four of them, the fourth one being thrown to him. Sure, you definitely don't want to give Shank a free 20 yarder and let him loose in the middle of the field, but four times in a point? Is it that the D players are also just relying too much on athleticism and expecting to make contact so that when they're matched against athleticism and fail to make contact that they get blown away?I'm well aware that even though I'm analytical and have been there in the old days and today, I'm in a much different position today than I was then and so don't see things the same way. Does anyone, even a devil's advocate, want to debate this point either way? I'm willing to allow a guest author on this even.
Top teams all seem to have pretty strict O and D lines with very little crossover. There are clear benefits to this approach (more synergy, taking advantage of skills), but it's possible that we've gone too far with this strategy. Certainly compared to 10 years ago, the top players play fewer points, although it's possible that this could be due to a more intense level of play (obviously you can play more points as a practice level than at a game level). It certainly could stand a new look at to how strictly to platoon.I haven't really paid attention to what any other team has done with their bench. Probably it just depends on the quality of the bench and what roles they fill.
I felt like I played pretty well, although I had only one play worthy of a highlight film (at least one I'd want to be part of; I also got skyed once by a taller player, although I have evidence that my feet were higher than his). It was mostly just getting open and completing passes. I think I had four turnovers and two other incompletions on passes to me. First turnover came when Forch changed his cut as I was throwing and I couldn't stop it; I almost nailed the marker in the face with that one. Second came when I threw a with-the-force backhand into the ground a lot shy of my target; there was something funky with the mark that made me think I was just going to be fouled or maybe I just lost sight of where I was throwing or something that my mechanics were way off. I dropped a low pass in the wind against Rhino (got a brushburn from that one). And I threw a pass to BVH when he wasn't open but was still cutting; it was my first point after being on the massage table for 20 minutes (I took this long only because we were up by several and there was only one O point in that time) and I was out of the flow of the game a bit, so when I caught a swing I just turned and threw, but his defender was already on his way by him by that time. He called a foul, there was some bitching about it, after about two minutes the coach went up to him and said something and I came up to him and tried to say that it wasn't a foul but he had already put the disc down. On the receiving end, Alex threw me a huck in the Furious game after we were already down by 6, I looked up to the forehand side because there was a lot of room there and I thought the force was that way, and by the time I caught sight of it and turned the other way, I had lost too much momentum and couldn't catch up to it. Had I been expecting the backhand the whole way, I would have caught it. And Doug threw me a too-weak forehand in the Sockeye game where another cutter took too long to clear out and his defender got the layout poach block.I felt that Friday was my best day of the tournament, in sharp contrast to the past several years where Saturday was my best day. I once again felt stronger on Saturday, but the space wasn't there or something such that I didn't get the disc as much as I wanted to against Sockeye, without feeling that it was because my man was on me (although maybe he was, I don't know). Sockeye was effective at clogging the lanes against us, and maybe our overall team speed (especially on offense) killed us.Defensively, I felt ok. No blocks, but I created several high stalls (some of them leading to turnovers) due to good non-fouling marking, and I remember preventing some cuts. There were two long passes thrown to my man and caught on the first day, but none after that despite playing some HnH teams who got the disc plenty of times when I was on the field. There were a few passes over the weekend where my guy beat me right away on an in-cut so I just ambled in after him. Maybe it's a little lazy, but there is no practical difference (given that I'm not going to administer a bump as soon as he catches it even though the kids today seem to think it's cool) since I'm not going to be able to catch up anyway and I was there by the time he caught it and turned and the force didn't change.I played a little more than I expected and probably about as much as I deserved, maybe a little more, maybe a little less. Forch played well offensively except for a bunch of forced hucks, but otherwise I didn't feel anyone on the O stood out as playing well.I had two points that stood out for me. One was against Furious on the first point of the game. Pitted against a defender that apparently everyone on Furious knows I can't stand playing against because of his hands and bumpiness, I was determined to show him, but I established that I wasn't going to be intimidated, got open for four or five passes with the force, and scored the goal. The other point was an upwinder against Rhino. I was called as the third handler, and got open on several resets and quickly got the disc moving again, leading to a big goal.Overall, I was somewhat disappointed in the amount of contact and petty calls. In order, among the teams I played with and against, I would rank them Furious, Sockeye, Revolver, us, Rhino, the others. 3 of the 4 NW teams outcalled/outfouled us despite us being a little chippy ourselves. I didn't watch either semi (beer tent was too far from the fields), so I can't comment on them.
Are you taking notes after every match? Amazing that you can remember all the plays like that. Also complements for your input. It is an interesting inside into top level matches that is hard to come by. The UPA write ups are good but extremely descriptive with no analysis. And if you go looking on other participating teams sites you find hardly anything since they are updated once every 6 months. By the way I find the UVTV clips entertaining but it is almost impossible to get an idea of strategies, O and D, running patterns etc. from the back field angle. The camara should be elevated.
who is the furious defender?
The NW is ahead of everyone else, for starters, because they have had established competitive ultimate starting at the middle school level from Vancouver to Eugene for years now. I recently spoke to a middle school coach from the NW and she singled out a half dozen Sockeye players that she had personally coached years earlier. Recruiting just follows suit. Who even needs to recruit when you've got a National title in bold letters at the top of your resume? After years and years of losing, just about everyone is going to want to play for the Yankees eventually.
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