Sunday, June 24, 2007

Boston Invite

Well, didn't add another tournament victory to the list, but had fun, nonetheless, plus I'm sporting 7 stitches in my forehead thanks to a collision.

Here are the results.

After a little to-do about format, we were seeded 10th in the lower half of the Elite division, which says something about us (we rock!) and the tournament (less rocking). This meant we had to finish in the top two of our pool in order to have a shot at the A quarters where we were hoping to take a crack at Boston Ultimate (or, as I referred to them this weekend, our farm club, although I think they are all a few years of seasoning away from being ready to play with us).

As compared to our previous Open tournament where we had 11 on Sat and 9 on Sun, this time we had 18 on the roster for Saturday and 14 for Sunday. Except that I forgot that one of them wasn't going to show up for either day (and I had just golfed with him a few days prior), one cancelled for Sunday, and two just didn't show up on Saturday, putting a crimp into my plans to make money on entry fees. And the usual assortment was late, so once again at start time on Saturday we had about 7 or 8. Our first game was against Chuck Wagon, whom we had beaten at WMO. Rough game for me, throwing away a goal on the first point on a dumb throw that had been working for me, got partially point blocked, dropped two less-than-perfect dumps, and almost certainly did something else bad. I had made a comment on George's blog about how anything more than 10 warmup throws was inefficient, so I felt compelled not to do any warmup throws at all. I learned my lesson and threw a handful of throws before our first game Sunday while waiting for my teammates on the line for the first point. Nonetheless, my mastery as a motivator must have been worth a few points as we won 15-12. By now we were up to our full squad for the day (but still missing a bunch of guys who were great players in the '90s).

Our next game was against Phoenix, whom we had played as DoG at this tournament not two years ago in a tight game. We had a tight first half, but then pulled away for a 15-8 win. This, we thought, guaranteed our spot in the pre-quarters (we were mistaken, as HOV was losing to Chuck Wagon, meaning that we were in as long as we lost by no more than 5). However, our hopes for a quarters matchup against Boston Ultimate took a hit as they lost to PoNY. There was still a chance if we lost our last game and BU beat Pike (and of course we won our pre-quarters), but it looked a lot less likely.

Our final pool play game was old-fashioned DoG. We knew we were in and we just cruised. HOV kept getting mad at themselves while we looked past our mistakes since they didn't matter, and found ourselves up and expanding the lead. (I will admit to being confused by other teams discussing point differential but it didn't dawn on me.) I sat out all but a few points in this game in order to have some legs left for the pre-quarters. Final score 15-10 and first place, giving us a matchup against Zebra Muscles.

ZM played a lot better than a team that got shellacked 15-6, 15-4, and 15-2 already (or maybe they were fresh). They didn't make the drops or simple mistakes that some of these other teams had done. Our best chance at winning this game was early, as we went up 4-2 while still squandering a few opportunities. They got a run to take half 8-6 and expanded it to 12-9. At 13-10, we got a turn near their goal line but failed to put in the upwinder, they scored the downwinder and then closed us out 15-11. We tried hard but we weren't that disappointed since it meant we did not have to play at 8:30 in a game we knew we would lose (especially so given that we probably would have had 4 players there on time).

So, we had a 10:30 game against the winner of Colt .45, who had gone winless on Saturday in lower Elite, and the Gunslingers, who had won all their games in the non-Elite section. We still struggled to get a full team there on time. The Gunslingers are a young Boston team, possibly none of whom were born when I started playing (1983). I had a good game, making several blocks (at least three, maybe more) and some good offensive plays while playing every point. We took half 8-6 but couldn't put them away, and found ourselves pulling upwind at double game point. They had a simple throwaway (either a miscommunication or a disc that stuck to the thrower's hand) in their own end. After a disputed line call on a second chance catch, we forced up a stall 9.9 pass into the end zone that found its way into our of our hands for the game-winner.

I have to admit, it's been awhile since I felt so involved with the team's successes, even if it was the B pool quarters. Even in those recent years with DoG where I was still playing almost every O point, I still felt a little bit outside the team. I expressed it once that it almost felt like there were two alternating games going, one when we received and another when we pulled, and they somehow combined the scores of those two games to determine a winner. It really is a different perspective that I had mostly forgotten, to go into a tournament with your normal team thinking that making the quarters would be a good showing, but I guess that's the reality for an awful lot of players out there.

We moved fields, again (we did not play two consecutive rounds on the same field all weekend, George), for our B pool semi against New Noise, who had barely lost to Pike in the pre-quarters the day before (but had also barely made the pre-quarters, winning a one-pointer in their last game). They were similar to Gunslingers but a couple years older and possibly having some ties to Amherst instead of/in addition to Boston. I hadn't done anything other than walk or sit from the end of the previous game until the first point had started and I found myself setting up for a cut to a long backhand from Alex off the walkup. But then I realized that even though the cut was open, there was no way that I was actually going to run that much right then, so I yelled something about how I wasn't going to cut there and instead cut back to the disc. On the next upwind point, they again pulled it out and this time I told one of the other players to get in the same place I had been and to cut deep for Alex's backhand. He tried, but his defender was backing him so much that it was impossible. After a few seconds more, I found myself at the back of the stack so I just cut deep. I saw the throw hooking so I angled toward the cone, only to find that it hadn't hooked nearly as much as I thought. Fortunately for me, the defender (mis)played the disc, not me, and it went over his head to me for the goal.

They took half, but we broke twice to start the second half. I believe that we kept trading after that. At 12-12, again going upwind, they turned it about 20 yards outside the endzone. Alex walked it up, and I cut for his hammer after making sure that the stack got away from that space. He had overthrown me in almost the identical situation the previous game, so maybe he overcompensated by hanging this one a bit. It hung long enough for a poacher to come over and clobber me in the head sometime after the disc had been tipped away. I yelled "Jesus Christ" at his carelessness and started to play defense only to see blood spurting from my head. I rotated my body to try to avoid getting blood on my shirt and lay down. I popped up again to yell at the sideline, "I'm bleeding here! Pretty bad. Someone get me something. Call for help." Someone got a towel, and the trainer came fairly quickly, so I realized I wasn't going to bleed to death. But I still needed immediate treatment and got taken away in a cart so he could clean me up a little. He drove me back to frisbee central, cleaned the wound and put some bandaids on, and told me I really needed to get stitches in the next hour or so to reduce the risk of an ugly scar. So I got them to call for a cart so I could talk to my wife. I waited, we drove over, I tried interrupting their game by calling "Injury time out" (strictly speaking, it would have been) after yet another turnover (I said, "I hope this isn't a hell point," and got the reply "It already is"), but yet they continued. After another turnover, I caught my wife's attention and yelled, "My head is cut, I'm ok, I'm going to Emerson Hospital to get it stitched", at which point the girl she was defending cut. It was incomplete, and by now several people on the field knew they might want to stop play, so they motioned to the thrower to call timeout (someone on the side even said, "yeah, we haven't used any yet"), so of course the thrower decided to keep playing. This time, however, the pass was caught for a goal and I got to repeat the information, adding that my head didn't hurt and it definitely wasn't a concussion and of course I was fine to drive. So, back into the cart to be driven across the grounds to my field, expecting the game to be over but finding that it was only 13-13. As I later found out, we traded yet again, but then turned it over twice on double-game point to lose 15-14. Once again, it was a bittersweet defeat, as the team was already pretty spent and another game might have started to see my teammates dropping like the elderly during a heat wave.

So, off to the hospital for the first time ever in 25 years of ultimate (one other time at practice I got hurt, stopped playing, and went to the doctor the next day). I gave my name at the desk, sat in the waiting room for a bit, talked to someone at the desk finally, got shunted off to another room, waited, talked to another person, and then was told to wait some more. At some point I debated acting delirious in order to be seen more quickly. I was disappointed in the wait because I had chosen the hospital in the more affluent area, figuring there would be fewer Sunday afternoon trauma cases to delay me, but it still took me about 2:30 before I finally got out of there. Anyway, at this point I decided to go clean myself up a little and finally looked in the mirror to see dried blood all over my face and even in my ear. Sweet. My wife and the boy finally show up as I'm being shown to my room (where I waited another 30 minutes). Finally, more cleaning, some anesthetic, and I get stitched up and released.

Overall, we ended up where we were seeded, just about. I think we would have had a better chance in the games we lost had they been earlier in the day, but that's part of the nature of ultimate tournaments. I don't really know what to make of our team's chances this year. I would really like them if only everyone were 38 again.

Anyway, I had a good time, and am surprisingly not sore right now. I need a couple more tournaments like this between now and September to go along with the other things I'm doing and I'll be raring to go.

13 comments:

Henry Thorne said...

Man you're a good writer.

That was a great read.

Thanks.
Henry

gcooke said...

Hey Jim,

Glad to hear you are fine. Good playing this weekend. I am glad to hear your team had fun.

As far as the field changes go, we were well within the parameters of the "accepted" practice this year. The schedule was pretty similar, in terms of field changes, to what has occurred in the past. To me it sounds like you have been a bit out of touch of what the "average" Ultimate player goes through when playing in the Easterns bracket at the Boston Invite. While you had to change fields frequently, you never had to hike out to 22-27 for 1 round and then come back to the main fields...like some other teams did.

This year we received other concerns about the seeding or format from guys that played on Elite teams like Dog, but were now on teams in the Easterns Div. I think it is possible when playing on an Elite team to have a perspective that at least briefly considers what is happening to the other teams, maybe even in other divs! If Elite players don't care then...why should we care now?

-G

parinella said...

George,
Thanks for your concerns. I should be completely ok unless the cut gets infected.

I was just having fun with you. I am still comfortable with giving the Elite teams the central location. I guess I just expected that the other mini-divisions each got their own set of fields that they played on all day, possibly switching once when things got shuffled. The bright side of shuffling was that we seemed to be the field-caddie for Boston Ultimate and I got to heckle/be heckled by previous teammates while waiting for the next game.

I have always been aware of field allocation and shuffling and formats. I was a format nerd before Tarr ever picked up a manual.

Anyway, thanks for the tournament.

Anonymous said...

"At some point I debated acting delirious in order to be seen more quickly."

Chest pains, Jim. Go to the front of the line. And you call yourself a masters player.

gcooke said...

Jim,

Thanks for the clarification. I don't mind being fodder...especially when it comes across like you are whining.

I would like there to be a sense that each mini-div had their set of fields, but that would basically relegate a bunch of teams to the netherlands of 22-27.

I have spent a day there and it is really hard to feel like you a part of anything. So the concession is to basically rotate people through the "better" slots and try to minimize the time that each team spends on the remote fields. Of course, the downside to this is that folks move a lot. I do try to create a sense that if you do well, you at least get to be on nicer fields...but you still have to move a lot if you are in the Easterns bracket. Lastly, as the number of Open teams changed the week before the event, and we changed the format...I felt locked in to where I had allocated the women's div as I had published that they were confirmed. Schedules that I derived from the ground up had a bit less switching without this limitation.

-G

parinella said...

George,

Thanks for being nice. I think I defended the format on rsd and in email to you.

I thought fields 22-27 were only in use for a few rounds, which may have been the case a few years ago. But I see now that (Open) Pools G-H had to play there in rounds 3 and 4, plus apparently the whole 25th-36th action on Sunday. My bad.

See, without this public airing, some may have been grumbling privately, but now they know...the rest of the story.

parinella said...

Anon,
I told my doctor that I contemplated this, too, and she said that it would only have gotten me a free CAT scan, not quicker suturing.

The Pulse said...

As someone who had to move from field 20 to 22/23 twice this weekend, all I can say is that I'd much rather have played all of my games in the same general location (the bye round is good enough for visiting the central fields - can't do much during the other times anyway, especially with all of our games going to the cap), and that teams who are waiting on the far fields for their opponents to arrive should be a little more considerate.

Oh, and it wouldn't have been so bad had we been playing on fields closer to the satellite fields, as opposed to the farthest possible fields. Just because the numbers are close doesn't mean that 21 and 22 are close.

Tarr said...

We actually dealt with the same issues with the fields at College Nationals this year. There were 8 fields on the main site, two a short walk away, and two a short drive away. We ended up making teams move a little more so that no team was on the satellite site for too long at a time.

Ma$e said...

Great playing Jim. You skyed the hell out of me and my teammate simultaneously at some point. You guys played really well and really hard.

You are right, we have no guys born before you started playing, and 2 guys born when you started playing ('83), most of us were born between '84-'86.

-Tom
Gunslingers #7

Bill said...

Jim --

Completely off-topic, do you have an email address for Greg Connelly? I sent an explanatory note to your old tiac.net email address, but it bounced. Drop me a line and I'll fill you in. It's a nice story that we can help start.

Bill Penrose,
former UPA Newsletter editor
bpenrose [at] gmail.com

kisd said...

Hey Parinella,

I have been out of the scene for a while. It is amazing you are still playing. I am playing as well but not as intense. Anyway this is a blast from the past. A good friend but we have not been in touch for about eight years. You always had great advice and I always loved talking strategy with you whether is was in Madison or Boulder.

Always the best,
Karen

Alex de Frondeville said...

kisd: Hey Karen, if you get this comment, give me a ping over on my blog, countal.blogspot.com. Good to see you are still playing also.

Alex de Frondeville