Fitness by fire


Today was the second day of Fools Fest West, at Santa Cruz. I missed day one yesterday at the UPA coaching clinic, but the clinic, and meeting John made missing day one worth the loss.

I asked Kris if I could be on his team when the tryout committee was creating teams for the tournament, so I was on Mischief X, which had won all of its games yesterday, and remained seated first in its pool. Mischief Y, however, lost to Pleasuretown, so was seated second in its pool, and was our first competitor of the day.

I struggled in this game. I wasn't completely ready for the game mentally, and physically my hamstring was aching from the stretching. I've been psyching myself up for playing ultimate, going out with a bang, so I tried to play well, Mark's words of encouragement and praise of my play against Team USA a year and a half ago playing in my head.

I had one particular play in the game where a disc was thrown behind me. I had only a step on my defender, so any bad placement was going to make the catch difficult. When I saw the disc go up, I immediately adjusted my path and went hard to the disc. I wish I knew how to layout. I missed the disc by barely a centimeter, my defender having longer arms than I do. My aggressiveness to the disc, however, really impressed and pleased Kris. He complimented me on it several times later in the day.

We lost the game, giving Mischief Y a rematch against Pleasuretown in the finals. Mischief X and Pleasuretown wanted to switch the pools around, meet new teams, but Mischief Y wanted a rematch, so the scheduled stayed unaltered. Mischief Y won their game.

Our second game was against Batwing, which Kevin told me was really Schmatwing. I finally warmed up, and thankfully both started cutting hard and in the correct places. In one point, a breakmark throw went up to my woman who was way too far in front of me to the break side. I managed to run a full sprint to catch up, going 100%. I'm happy to say my hamstring bothered me only a little bit after that run, so it is healing and becoming stronger.

My defense is starting to clean up, also. I was punched in the face by their woman hucker who put up a lot of crap, more so after punching me in the face, but I can live with a punch and crap because our downfield defenders are so strong. I had some down moments in the game, (when I missed a high throw from Kris, and missed another couple throws: one from Lori, one from Roshan who was fouled, one from DanO), but I did have at least one brilliant dump defense where my woman went the wrong way and I sprinted to the endzone alone for a good ten seconds. No love, though, as a teammate overthrew a covered teammate on the opposite side of the endzone. I tell you, no love.

The end of the day, I was tired. Nothing like playing ultimate to get into ultimate shape. Fitness by fire.

Mischief tryouts


Well, the first of two Mischief 2007 tryouts happened today. I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed in the turnout. You'd think the National Champions would have tons of people trying out for the team. We had maybe 20 tryouts today. Sure, we're in the South Bay, but come on, Brass Monkey had 50 tryouts last year and had to close tryouts after one, given the number of interested people they had on the first one.

How is it that Mischief goes all the way to the top and still doesn't receive any respect? Sometimes I really hate this sport.

I played okay when I played. I didn't participate in all of the skills and drills sections. In particular, I skipped the huck drill, as it seemed too much long distance sprinting for my hamstring to take. I have an appointment on Monday to see what's up with my hamstring, why hasn't it been healing very well over the last two months. I really don't want last year to be my career ending year: I'd like to actually play in my last year.

On the sideline, I talked to Kyle, who also was sitting out some drills. I commented that I hadn't played a full Sectionals since 2001, since playing with Rippit.

In 2002, I pulled a hamstring on the first step of the first game of the second day and was out the rest of the tournament.

In 2003, I rolled ankle in our Donner Party game, which I think was on our first day of play.

In 2004, I was out for four broken ribs from my Ben squishing.

In 2005, I played some, but not fully, as a hamstring injury impaired my playing significantly. Playing on Vicodin is worse that not playing, in retrospect.

Last year, I rolled ankle at Labor Day.

I'd like to play at Sectionals this year. We'll see how this season goes.

Mischief EYE


Tonight was the Mischief End of Year Extravaganza, our end of year par-tay. The event was a potluck, with Shirley winning in the food category, providing the most amazing guacamole. I think I ate an avocado's worth of tasty guac.

That, and three brownies. Curse the teammate who brought those.

Doyle put together a great video / slide show, which was totally awesome. Though it was great to see everyone, I'd rather be playing ultimate.

Four star, my foot


When I made the hotel arrangements for this so-called "four star resort" for Worlds, I agreed that, should the need arise, the two 2-bedroom rooms we have would move into two 1-bedroom rooms, with the additional persons sleeping on the sofabed or a hotel-provided-at-no-fee rollaway bed. From the pictures on the website, the place looked roomy and cushy enough that, well, even if we did, we'd be moving for the night before the finals only, so, hey, no problem.

Several days ago, Lynelle stopped by the room and said, as per our agreement, you need to reduce rooms. To me, that meant reduce from a two bedroom to a 1-bedroom as agreed.

To her, that meant move from two 2-bedrooms into 1 2-bedroom, since weren't most of our people leaving on Saturday anyway, and, oh, could those two 1-bedrooms that I also reserved, could they move into one 2-bedroom.

Except only one person was leaving on Saturday. And the two 1-bedroom families each had infant children. My original reservation for four rooms was dropping to two rooms, and this "four star resort" was asking us, pushing us, to having seven people in one room with two bedrooms and one toliet.

I'm glad Brynne was around.

After the disaster of confusion, negotiation, and foot-dragging (oh, and a shoulder breaking by Mark), Brynne put on her hard-ass persona and gave Lynelle a one-two about moving all the rooms around. She, Megan and Katie managed to keep all of our rooms, the latter by refusing to move in the first place.

My favorite part of the whole disaster (if disasters can have favorite parts) is Mark's, statement, "I know you think what you're offering is a good deal, but it's not," directly to Lynelle, words for some reason I couldn't say.

I should probably find my notes on this issue, instead of summarizing from memory. The event was so disastrous it makes my blood pressure rise thinking about it, so maybe just spewing will be sufficient. Regardless, I think I can mark this down as another reason why it's very unlikely Kris and I will ever bother to come to Australia again.

Season over


Well, this ultimate season is finally over.

The season is over, and I find myself struggling with how I feel about it. It's been a great season for the team, losing only six games the entire season, and winning Nationals: a season doesn't get much better than that.

But, it's been a not-so-great season for me. I'm struggling with injuries, my ankle at Labor Day, my back at Grub. I'm struggling with teammates, some I don't like, others whose style of play is the antithesis of our proposed team personality. I'm struggling with a marked lack of confidence caused by the injuries preventing me from maintaining the fitness and skill levels needed to participate fully in our games.

That one is the worst: the lack of confidence. It adversely affects every aspect of my game, from cutting to throwing to defense.

Part of me wants to be done with the sport, find another sport and move on. That part of me is tired of certain personalities on the team, and wonders if my thoughts of quitting ultimate entirely come from not having fun playing with ththose personalities.

Part of me wants to go out on top. I didn't fully participate at Nationals, but I'm on the team that did, and I contributed to that team's success at practice, and early tournaments before the injuries, and organizationally after the injuries.

The bigger part, however, wants to keep playing. That's the part that wants to see if I can double my current vertical jump, if I can learn to throw a baseball sidearm to help my forehand throw, if I can run consistently during the off-season, if I can throw enough to be confident, if I can learn to pivot with Kris-like effectiveness on my fakes.

That's the part that doesn't want to give up on the easy fitness that comes with ultimate, the part that screams, I'm not done yet!

I've talked to Kris about finding a mid-level team where I can be a big fish in a small pond, where I do need to be the go-to person, see if that will help my confidence, as the increased fitness and consistent throwing will.

Yet, I'm not sure. I do know this: I don't want another half-assed year. And there are personalities on the team that I don't want to play with next season. Negatives shouldn't necessarily be a guiding force in decision making, but they can give nudges, I guess.

We'll see. This season just ended. I have lots of time to figure this out.

Fifth day at Worlds


Fifth day at Worlds, and, well, we're out of the running.

Part of me is disappointed, but another part of me is relieved. We as a team originally said we came here to have fun, but, in reality, we were playing to win: subbing in our top roster, getting snippy when we didn't play well, the usual.

We lost in the round of 16 to the Bombing Mad Fatties who, as a team, has pretty bad spirit (independently confirmed by teams that play the team on a regular basis). We didn't figure out how to defend against their big players until late in the game (the top receiver is one of their worst throwers, and their women were universally non-stellar), so forcing to the women and their top guy under (instead of allowing him to score in the endzone) worked effectively. Tragically, we didn't figure this out until the gusty game was too close to overcome, losing 16-17.

The worst moment of the game was 14-14, when Mark went out of the game with a level 3 separated shoulder, requiring x-rays, an MRI and most certainly surgery.

Then losing to another team nearly immediately after that, a team that was clearly inferior, but we lacked heart.

We're on our way to 13th at the rate we're going. We'll meet Joyride again tomorrow morning at 8:30, and play our final game at 12:30. I'm uncertain to play, having rolled my ankle (the "healthy" one) in the second game of the day.

Can't say this has been one of my best tournaments.

Or vacations.

Third day at Worlds


Third day of play at Worlds and the flies are relentless. They're buzzing all over the place, landing on every body part, exposed or not, and staying there. Kris says they're biting him, which thrills me not at all. Mark discovered the flies will move if a fast moving object, say, a hand, is coming towards them, but not if a slow moving object is coming toweards them. He also learned how to squish the flies moving his hands slowly together, the fly trapped between.

Mark is brilliant.

We won our first game of day three against Joyride, a practicing mixed team from Vancouver, Canada. They were at Regionals, also, and played Family Style to a close win, finishing fifth in the Region, I think. We won 17-8, though, which was surprising for us, actually.

We have the retarded 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM schedule today, so most of the team has gone on a lunch cruise. Kria and I are, as usual, here at the fields, watching games. Kris is anyway. I'm writing this.

We're so predictable.

Second day at Worlds


Second day at Worlds, and Mark is angry at me. What a sucky suck day, when Mark is mad at me.

We beat the China/South Korea team, 17-5, in an incredibly blustery, windy day. We're undefeated in pool play, and will play Joyride, a Vancouver, Canada, team, and I think Osaka Natto from Japan tomorrow, with the retarted 8:30 AM / 4:30 PM schedule.

First day at Worlds, continued


Won our second game against the German team Endzonis 17-10 Good game in general, I dropped two discs in the endzone, fortunately on the same point. The wind grabbed the first one and pushed it down. I don't know why I missed the second one.

With the win, we secured the A pool win. Tragically, this means we have an 8:30 am game and a 4:30 PM game on Tuesday. The schedule for this tournament has been remarkably retarded. We're tourists in this city, it would be nice to actually spend our dollars with a schedule that permits us to travel outside the tournament. Though, admittedly, in later days, playing means we're doing well, and I'd prefer playing a crappy schedule to being knocked out early in the tournament.

Tomorrow is a game against Zhong, a China/South Korea team of expats similar to the Hong Kong team I played with at Worlds in 2002. I wonder if I'll recognize anyone.

First day at Worlds


First day at Worlds here in Perth, Western Australia, and they keep booting me off the wireless internet.

Turns out that, in Australia, it's not uncommon to nickel and dime everyone to poverty. Oh, you want ketchup (sorry, tomato sauce) with that? That'll be another 20cents. Oh, you want a second room key? That'll be an extra five dollars a day.

Because of the nickel and dime culture, complimentary wireless internet at the hotel costs $30AUD a day (or about $24/day on current exchange rates).

It's kinda annoying.

The only free wireless is at the fields, and they keep bumping me off the connection. Must be the massive uploads I've been trying to do to Flickr. Sigh.

We won our first game 17-11, against Dis'chords, a Montreal based team. The next game is against Endzonis, a German team, so we expect the style to be considerably different. Should be fun.