Club Nationals: Saturday by Grant
November 11, 2010, 12:45 pm
Filed under: tournament write-ups

I can only hope to be playing at the Sarasota level when I get to be Master’s division eligible. I’m impressed to see guys who are still visibly 100% after 2 days of playing and at the culmination of the season. The good men from Chesepeaked gave me some advice to for maintaining their playing health:

-Lots of ice baths
-Vitamin I (Ibuprofen for the ill informed)
-Compression. They didn’t really elaborate on this but I assume any sort of compression is good then.

Even more fun is to see the cornucopia of historic discs and gear that litter the sidelines of all the masters games. Something you simply don’t see everyday is this jersey:

Double Happiness, San Francisco, 1997 Worlds jersey


I was told this was the original 1997 Patagonia Capilene shirt that was first screen printed for Ultimate and the screenprinters weren’t sure they could even print on the material. I feel like this is one of the those early moments that started a revolution of elite apparel that we have today. Without instances like this, Spin might not be around. Retelling this story to Danny Karlinsky later, he mentioned that his older brother Dennis was one of the guys who was playing on Double Happiness during that year and helped organize the deal. [ED. note: After more concrete investigation, Danny has informed me that his brother did not engineer the deal but rather Billy Layden did, although Dennis was a member of the team.] Again, you just don’t find that out hanging out on the open sidelines all day.

Danny Karlinsky also shared a little bit of information about Ultimate Peace and it’s a wonderful program. I even challenged him to sum up the program in 7 words and he countered with 10. I agreed and after a few minutes came up with the following phrase, “Promoting peace through Ultimate, where kids need it the most.” Well done sir. Check out their upcoming summer camp next year at http://www.ultimatepeace.org

I don't remember these Dwarf names from the movie

By the time I’m done making the rounds over the massive field site, Sockeye and Revolver and locking heads in the semifinals. Everything is top notch including Sockeye’s call and response cheer on the sidelines:

“Hey Sebby!”

“What?”

“Do you have any 6’s?”

(Entire team) “GO FISH!”

Ironside had jumped out to a comfortable lead early and Sockeye had almost let the game get out of hand before halftime but Joe “BJ” Sefton stops Boston in their tracks with a big layout to validate the zone defense. Sockeye zoomed back the other way and Ben Wiggins makes the swing cut towards the end zone hoping to superman into the goal area with the catch but the observer doesn’t believe him. He resets on the goal line so he dishes to Nate Castine instead, making the game 7-5 Ironside. Boston would take the half 8-5, but even the difference of one goal is significantly better than being down 8-4 at half. Folks are in for a treat the rest of the way.

My favorite moment of the first half included a stoppage of play where a huck is brought back to the original Sockeye thrower just shy of mid field. There is also some side confusion about the possibility of another violation but that point was negated by the previous infraction. Never the less, Reid Koss is unaware of both the thrower violation and where the disc is when it’s sent back. Both teams shout heads so Reid gets down low, almost in a ball… and the disc still hits him. Everybody laughs at Reid! I asked him about it later and he said, “It was rough. I tried to be small.” Sounds like something to work on in the off season.

During the half I also got a chance to get some words from Andrew Fleming as everyone knows, blew up all over ESPN this summer. Well it’s been a sufficient few months since then so I asked him about the changes that clip has brought him in his life. Fleming said he was called by a few sports radio stations in Seattle and D.C. which was fantastic because they were asking a lot of questions about the sport basically had the attitude, “hey, this is sweet. We want to know more about it.” He also said the folks who didn’t know he played Ultimate were sending him the clip, which was always good for a laugh. The best thing he says, was the attention was awesome because it wasn’t the usual misconceptions about the sport that were brought up. There was much more of sense of legitimacy which he found to be very enjoyable.

Will Neff, showing me what kind of food a Callahan winner eats

Continuing to shift my attention away from the game which Ultivillage was covering as well (except their pen and paper was an HD camera), I caught up with Aaron Bell of PoNY, who qualified for Nationals for the first time in two years, surprising both Bodhi and GOAT on their way to Sarasota. Staring at the score reporter can be tough to try and figure out the story behind the games so Bell enlightened about PoNY’s determined run through the backdoor bracket as the 4th seed to take the second and last bid to Nationals out of the Northeast region. PoNY has finally become more of a structured team this year. Before, the team was just a hard running team but now they were able to implement a meaningful strategic plan. Another big hurdle is the traditional lack of consistent practice space in the city. Before they would try and find places in Brooklyn and even New Jersey but spots would change and it was a tough time to figure out a schedule. Fortunately, in the off season, the city bought up Randall’s Island, right in the heart of NYC and made it available to more of the club sport teams in the city. PoNY now has their practice field and it’s accessible by a variety of modes of transportation. As far as being able to conquer their regional foes? “Hard running. GOAT and Bodhi do a great job of that so we tailored our game to handle that,” says Bell.

There are always a group of games I was interested in watching but had never taken the time because of the spectacle that is the semifinals: the 5 through 8 bracket of games. These teams still fall in the top half of the teams at the tournament and still produce a lot of action yet know they are playing for placement and pride. What kind of mindset does a team have going into these games and how do you get psyched up? Tully Beatty, the coach of Phoenix said this, “You can’t be indifferent… The season’s over in a few hours. Just go out and play. Don’t be indifferent.” Sometimes we all need that reminder that it will end soon so enjoy it while it lasts…

5th place game, Women’s Division

Traffic (Vancouver, B.C.) v. Scandal (Washington, D.C.)

As it is the last game of the season for both teams, the two sides agreed upon a mutually beneficial solution that would give them a meaningful game after more than two days of play: game to 11. The game was already in high gear by the time I arrived with Scandal constantly having to battle against Traffic’s zone. In the early going, Scandal has little trouble zooming through the zone and Sandy Jorgensen benefits for the goal. All square at 4-4. Traffic comes right back with a quick efficient offense of their own. As the sun beats down on both teams, Scandal can’t catch up to the swing goal from Eva Cham to Amira Maddison. Traffic’s back on top, 5-4.

One striking feature about this game is the sparse sideline as all the other fields have been cleaned up and abandoned by the players, fans and personnel whose seasons have already finished and are elsewhere watching other games, drinking beer and generally enjoying all the good times at the lovely Sarasota Polo Club. The persistent wind that was present over the previous two days is gone and the sunshine is all that’s left. Water and shade are critical, not only for comfort, but also for health as one Nemesis player has already needed attention just to avoid being in the danger zone.

Since the game is short, this next point could mean half for Traffic. With a Scandal turn, it looks that way. Candice Chan throws up a flick on the liveside that trails away from the defender towards the deadside and right where Janice Lo can’t be D’ed. The Canucks take half, 6-4.

After a respite from the heat for a short time, both sides jump out of the gate with superb highlight worthy defense. Neilu Rishi gets a big layout D for Traffic, but just when you thought they are gaining momentum and might score again, Scandal’s Charlie Mercer gets one of her own and keeps on trucking towards the end zone. Her throwing has the green light to go for and sends a huck Mercer’s way that she tracks down for the goal, 6-5 Traffic. The girls from the north of the border get their insurance point back and but Scandal won’t close the door. 7-6 Traffic. The Washingtonians throw on a four man person cup that makes it hard for the girls north of the border to move the disc. Scandal causes a turn only to give it back. The defense isn’t the problem though and they get another turn and the thrower gauges the huck correctly this time to tie up the game at 7’s.

Only four more points to claim supremacy of the non semifinal qualifiers and Traffic lays it on thick. A bullet of a pass up the gut and then a quick out to Ashlee Davidson wide gives Traffic the advantage again followed by Kira Frew getting a poach D on the next point and then a fast pass to Davidson for the Canadian break, 9-7 Traffic. This team is very sharp and Kira Frew is an absolute spitfire for the team, making plays on offense and defense.

The Beltway gang will not go down easily though. Jenny Fey throws up a pass that Jorgensen pulls down for the goal, climbing over the heads of multiple defenders and receivers. Scandal gets a crucial turn on the next point and Jennie Wellman scoots deep and is the target of the handler. The pass isn’t going her way and looks to fall to the ground but Ashley Daly is there for the recovery and suddenly Scandal is right back even with Traffic, 9-9. Back and forth they go!

Each side spots the other a turn but on Traffic’s second offensive chance, Frew takes a dump pass over the line with a hop to put Traffic in the first chance to win. Scandal tries to get a quick O point but gives up the disc and Traffic is working the red zone. Sanya Pleshakov turns to dump to Betsy Chan. Chan continues over to Frew and as soon as the disc is released, Chan bursts upline and Frew gives it right back for the goal and the game, 11-9 Traffic.

Ironside has fans of all ages.

With another day in the books, only six teams remain vying for a championship. Our merry band of spectators made the ill informed move to try and meet up and party the previous evening with teams in Siesta Key which left us a little gassed for the Saturday night activities. After joining up with a huge Atlanta contingent at the Spin house, the party ballooned to starting including the rest of the nation and folks began to migrate towards the local hotspots. Without proper identification from some folks in our running crew we headed home only to find out the next day, folks were partying till 5am. Rats.


1 Comment so far
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You weren’t kidding, that Double Happiness jersey is really cool.

Comment by neeley




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