Going to the Show


Having won our semis yesterday, we had our first game today at 1:00 in the afternoon. I used the time to work furiously on POUNDS, only to discover that I needed an internet connection to build the AIR release package (YEARGH). So, I had to take stats AGAIN on the paper. Good thing I had my notebook from yesterday.

The finals were against Mental Toss Flycoons, in a game that was, I thought, spirited (but I wasn't on the field). The scores went 0-0, 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 3-3, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 4-6, 5-6, 6-6 (hey, it's a game of runs), 6-7, 7-7, 8-7, with our taking half, and no team having any net breaks at half. The scores continued 8-8, 9-8, 9-9, 9-10, when the soft cap went on. The problem with the cap going on during the 9-10 point was that on the far sideline, a guy was blowing an annoying horn. I heard the soft cap horn go on before we scored 10-10, but everyone kept telling me, no, it was the annoying horn on the far sideline. I kept insisting, so Warren ran over to frisbee central to find out. Sure enough, the soft cap horn had blown when I heard it, and the game was capped at 12.

We scored the last two points, 11-10, 12-10 to take the top seed from the Northwest going into Nationals. WHOO!


On Saturday, we rolled up to the fields to find that Corvallis, Oregon is
not nearly as sunny and warm as San Francisco. Amidst some good-natured
grumbling from the Bay Area teams about why we don't have Regionals at home,
we warmed up in 40-50 degree weather, leaving footprints in the frost.

We expected our first two pool play games to be fairly easy, and they were.
We came out as fired up and on top of our game as any of us can ever
remember starting a tournament, and forced 3 turnovers to take a quick 4-0
lead on Night Train from Sacramento. They eventually worked in a score, but
our offense couldn't be contained and our defense went back to work, taking
half 8-2. We cruised in the second half as much of our sideline was watching
the other game in our pool on the next field, looking for scouting
information, and closed out the game 15-8.

Having watched some of the other game, we expected our second game to
involve some questionable hucking from the other team, and we had also
identified a few women who were weak throwers that we could pick on. After
some scolding from our captains about losing intensity and focus in the
second half of the previous game, we poured it on all game and took it
pretty easily, 15-4.

The last game of pool play was against a team of pickups, mostly from
Carleton College. We didn't know anything about this team, except that they
had blown through their section and there were rumors of some very strong
ringers playing with them. Luckily for us, they weren't taking the
tournament very seriously and hadn't quite gelled yet, and we made sure to
keep on our heads on straight and play them seriously. They seemed
disappointed that their good-natured heckling was largely ignored by us
(apparently we've gotten a reputation for being less fun-loving as other
mixed teams), but we made sure not to let them feel like they had a chance
at this game, keeping their ringers unmotivated and off the field. Final
score of this one was 15-6 but it could have been a lot closer.

That set up a semi-final game to go against Shazam Remains, the 2007
National Champion and Worlds runner-up. They've lost some personnel since
Worlds, but they pretty much owned us all last year, and we'd only barely
eked out a 16-14 win in our last meeting in Seattle. As expected, this game
was tight; we mostly traded in the first half, with their offense having
several quick scores off hucks from mainly two throwers. They broke us on
offense to take half 8-6, and did it again on the first point out of half to
put us in a 9-6 hole.

For some other teams, things would be looking grim at this point, needing to
score 3 times on defense just to get the lead back. But this team is full of
heart and fight, and we managed to get a turnover near the opposing end
zone. We spotted a mismatch, with one of our fastest cutters being covered
by a slower handler, and called a play for him. The Shazam defender
committed a pretty egregious foul to stop the cut, and then contested, which
only made us more determined. We called the same play, and this time our
cutter roasted him to the front cone, caught the goal, and spiked the
disc...accidentally hitting one of their players in the chest.

Tempers flared and everyone eventually settled down, but that was the
turning point for us. The handler who'd gotten beat had thrown several of
their big hucks, and getting beat so badly (twice) took him out of his game
-- he didn't play but one or two more points the rest of the way. We also
did a better job of forcing their cutters to come underneath, and making
them throw more than three or four passes to score gave us multiple chances
to get a D. We went on a 9-3 run, and closed out this game 15-12 to earn a
trip to the finals, two byes to start the next day, and most importantly, a
guaranteed spot at Nationals!

Our coach and captains allow us to celebrate just for a few moments, and
then remind us that we aren't satisfied merely to get back to Nationals, but
that we should remain motivated to capture the #1 seed. We institute a rule
that anyone caught celebrating our win may be summarily tackled, Terry Tate
(Office Linebacker)-style.

Sunday comes a little earlier for some of us, who choose to come to the
fields to watch some of the 11 am games. Nevertheless, our captains have
done a great job keeping everyone focused, and we are there on time and
ready to warm up for a finals game against Mental Toss Flycoons, from
Montana. Flycoons goes back a long way with us -- we beat them in the game
to go in 2005 to earn our first-ever trip to Nationals, they made it the
next year, and both teams have been back to The Show ever since. Tall, fast,
and athletic, they've been improving steadily over the years, and remind us
a lot of ourselves. While some might consider their semifinal win over D'oh
an upset, we know we're in for a game.

And what a game it is! Much like yesterday's semi-final, we are down 3 at
one point, mostly owing to some great handler movement on their part,
followed by pinpoint hucks to monstrously athletic receivers. The points are
long, with many turnovers, as both teams are going full-bore on defense, but
we battle back, and eventually it is 11-10 Mischief, soft-capped game to 12.
We force a bad huck, work it up the field, and a floaty break-side throw
goes to captain Mark Smith, who hauls it in despite a broken throwing hand
for our first-ever Regionals win!

We're not sure what we'll be seeded at Nationals, but we're pretty confident
we will be one of the top four seeds. There've been a lot of upsets this
year, and the teams we've played who have qualifed have all been tough, but
we've been steadily improving and I think we'll have a good shot if we play
up to our potential for the tournament.

We hope to have more good news to report in three weeks -- stay tuned!