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Going for gold, falling flat on your face

As I'm sitting here near the end of my work day, I can see one of the silver medals won by Team USA at the 2001 World Games in Akita, Japan.

It's a lovely medal: big, hefty, detailed, shiny.

And silver.

I look at it and wonder about this year's Team USA. From the rumors I've heard and the stories told directly to me, I have to officially predict another shiny silver medal for the team I so desperately wanted to be on.

Team USA (that would be the self-proclaimed premier ultimate team of the United States) lost in the semi-finals at Potlatch two weekends ago. Given the personalities on the team, I guess I shouldn't be surprised:

On Friday night most of Team USA gathered for a pre-tourney dinner and then continued on with some libations. Those of us still operating on east coast time—or those not fully willing to join the sub-group of our team known as “team evil”—went to sleep. Others (far more evil) stayed out until last call. The core of evil ended up hot-tubbing in the building where Kati Halmos lives. I don’t have the details on how Kati’s condo mates felt about having Alex Nord running the hallways at five A.M., but I am pretty sure the almighty’s name was soon invoked.

Emphasis mine.

Sure, the tournament was supposed to be a fun tournament, a chance to lighten up and play some fun ultimate.

But, they lost in the semi-finals to another American team.

They lost. In the semis.

As ambassadors of my sport, for my country, this freaking sucks. You are supposed to be representatives for ultimate, not a bunch of over-confident, hung-over, undisciplined lushes.

That the team selected thinks drinking and hot-tubbing is more important than playing a tournament well is wrong. That even the coach thinks partying all night and getting drunk is okay and even encouraged, is wrong.

Potlatch was a tournament to practice, to learn how to play with the other players who, up until this point have probably been opponents, to finetune the offense, to learn where the weak points are on the team and how to minimize them. This isn't a tournament to get drunk every single freakin' night (read the rest of the coach's entry).

So here are my words to Team USA. $1 says you'll never hear them:

You suck.

Those words don't go out to all the members of the team. Those who went to bed early, played well, drank little, worked hard, and practiced diplomacy, I would say, "Thanks," and a big "Good luck! You, I'll be cheering for."