Second day of Poultry Days


I slept much better last night than I had the previous night. I'm not sure if the fundamental reason was physical exhaustion, or dehyrdation from the sun and the wind, or increased comfort levels of sleeping relatively exposed in the back of a mini-van, or just finally adjusting to the timezone changes, but I was able to sleep.

Since we didn't make the A bracket, we had to drive to the next fields to play up through the B bracket. The games were supposed to start at 9. We left the main fields at 8:55 am, never mind about actually getting there on time. I warned the team that I may not be able to play today, depending on how I reacted to the aspartame I accidently drank the night before, but I'd play until I couldn't. Which, fortunately, meant all day.

We won our first game, capped at 11, against Huevos J-Bird, which was a team based mostly out the Bay Area. I was surprised we won the game, until someone pointed out our opponents were playing with just 9 people. Yeah, that would definitely have an effect on the game. During one point, Alex was working over Shasta (local Bay Area Open player, played for Vahalla years back, possibly Kaos, dating J-Bird now). We were able to tease Shasta during a point that Alex was only 12, which made everyone, including Shasta laugh, then get worked over a bit more.

The next game we also won, something closer like 11-9, having gone up big at the beginning, and letting the other team come back to make the game close. Now, how familiar does that sound?

The next game was against a Michigan team, on which were several players who knew many players on my team, Breast and Thighs. I think they're all in the Central Region, so play local(ish?) tournaments against each other a lot, so knew each other. There was some good comraderie amongst the players, which made the game both interesting and frustrating. After half time, which we took, it was clear that the team was getting tired. A couple players commented that, although they didn't really want to play another game after this game, they didn't really want to lose to this team, either. Losing would give the other team bragging rights for the whole next year, something that no one who knew the other players could bear.

So we won.

And won the right to play in the B bracket finals.


When we moved back to the original fields to play the finals, with everyone going over (a surprise for me, as the only injury was Dylan's chronic calf pull, an unmitigated success in my book considering how uneven some of the fields we played on were), most everyone was delayed by a parade of vintage and retro collector cars whose path just happened to cross ours on our way back to the fields. I guess it was part of the Poultry Days celebration, this car parade.

When we arrived at the finals fields, everyone's asses were dragging. I talked our opponents down from a game to 13 to a game to 9. We also found out that not only was one of the A bracket finals teams the only team to beat us this weekend, the other team in the A bracket finals was the only team to beat our B bracket finals opponents.


From the start of the game, it was very clear the other team REALLY wanted to win. Since we REALLY wanted to be done, the score reflected our mutual desires, and we lost 4-9, having been down 2-8 a few minutes before. Our loss in the B bracket finals did, however, secure the team a top spot in schedule for next year, and an easier road to the A bracket. I was told that, in the end, if we couldn't win it all, that was still a good achievement. Yay, John, Noz, Patrick, Dana, Karen, Alex, Truesdale (who is 25, not 29 like I thought), Amy, Dylan and everyone else. Yay, us!

The drive home to Valparaiso was quite pleasant. I'm actually surprised at how fast four hours of farm land can fly-by. I was definitely happy to be back home at the end of the day at Dad's place, and just as happy to head out with him for ice cream. Small moments like ice cream with Dad are parts of the big reason I came on the trip in the first place: to spend time with Dad. I'm glad we had many on this trip.

World, how small art thou


So, yeah, at the tournament, teams with a 2-2 or better record on the first day could send a team representative to the tournament's All-Star game, which started at 7:30 last night.

After the long day of ultimate, just what someone wants to do: play another game of ultimate. We ganged up on the youngest team player, Alex, and nominated him. Alex, being the soft-spoken, cool kid that he is, agreed to go and during the game, made a great catch and threw a score. We all cheered for him.

Although there's a carnival in town, and lots of opportunities for drinking, I was really more interested in a quiet evening, as I do after most tournament days. I'd say I'm getting old, but I've always been this way. I simply cannot understand how people can play ultimate hung over. Or while drinking for that matter. Maybe I should try it some day.

So, when Karen invited me to dinner with Matt and Rene, I accepted after asking John if he was going, too. Since he and Truesdale were going, I figured I had a ride to and from. The event sounded pleasantly quiet and perfect for my tastes.

Originally, one of the huge draws to the tournament for me was a chance to meet Paul Greff. Paul looks like Mom's Eric, they could be brothers, so every time I saw Paul on one of the DoG videos, I'd call him Eric. I was looking forward to calling him Eric to his face, not that it would be particularly endearing, I'm sure ("Hey, John, who's the crazy chick who keeps calling me Eric?").

Well, meeting Paul's brother Matt was definitely a treat. I enjoyed listening to the group talk about previous tournaments, stories and victories over a light meal (following the chicken dinner I had earlier on the field - can't play at Poultry Days and not have chicken, you know). As the stories came out, a lot of history came out with it. And, as more history came out, I began to realize just how small this world is.

Alex, the 17 kid on the team, was playing with his mom, Karen. Sure, their last names were Thorne, but it wasn't until someone mentioned Henry Thorne that I realized they were of the same Thornes I had met last year.

Dylan, a teammate of Kris' from Mr. Yuk, is on the team with me, too. He's been playing on the team for 13 years. Thirteen. Years.

Matt's been playing on the team for 20.

Dana works at Carnegie Mellon. Amy was dating Paul at one point. Kris says the last time he saw Alex, he was 4 and already had a forehand. John was my UPA Coaching Clinic instructor (Note to Self: take the coaching clinic test before next week, for goodness sake!). Ricky I met last year as he was new to the UPA board as I was leaving the UPA.

I don't know. I expected to know only John on the team, and here I walk away realizing that I know a lot more people than I was expecting. What are the chances I'd play on the same team as one of Kris' former teammates? I mean, come on, that's crazy, given I knew no one on any of the teams I played against today. I knew of Jessi Witt on the first team. That's it, and I pick up with a team I know three people on, and peripherally three more?

That's just crazy talk.

Or, as John commented, "Welcome to the small, small world of ultimate."

Group shower


For teams with a 2-2 or better record on the day, a team representative was sent to the tournament's All-Star game at 7:30 this evening. I missed the first half of the game wandering over to the local pool and showering. Mostly showering, I should say.

I didn't have a towel.

Or shampoo.

Or soap.

I still managed a full shower, though. But that wasn't the strange part of the adventure. What was odd was the requirement that all women must shower with shorts and tops on.

In a women's locker room.

Full of women.

No men, just women.

Not a requirement I've ever seen before.

The 4" standing water, however, I had seen before. I managed to shower all of 30 seconds before standing in that much water (in a 12' x 12' stall with three other women) annoyed me too much and I went over to remove the 6" round hair clog covering the central drain. "Ew! That's so gross!" was the only help I received from my fellow showermates.

I should have flung the thing at one of them.

First day of Poultry Days


While the team is back in sunny California (oddly enough, sunny Northern California), I'm in sunny oh-HI-oh, playing at the 26th annual Jeff Warrick Memorial Poultry Days tournament in Versailles. That's Ver-SAILs to us non-oh-HI-oh people. Pronounce it ver-sigh and you'll get a head-dubbing worthy of a king.

John saved me a spot last night by double parking when he arrived earlier, so I had a sweet parking spot when I arrived at 12:30 am (nearly the whole time thinking it was only 11:30pm, because I was a nut and forgot that valpariaso is on CENRAL time, not EASTERN time - brilliant me). I went to "bed" where "bed" is the back of the aforementioned van.

My bed sucked.

It was hard, and lumpy, and curved in funny directions. I was unable to sleep well at ALL, and ended up ossing and turning the whole night, wishing that I coudl fall asleep and being completely unable to do so. 1:30. 1:54. 2:26. 2:54. 4:11. 5:27. each of these times a wakeup point. Annoying wakeup points, actually.

When 9:00 am rolled around, John knocked on my car window, telling me to get up, they were going to breakfast. Fine. Fine. Fine, I'll get up. So, up I went, moving slowly. Turns out, there are hide-away storage areas in the van, so I was able to hide all of my valuables in the bottom of the van, while carrying only the stuff I really thought I needed.

The first game at 11 am was against the top team in our pool. John mentioned tehy were a college all-star team, which didn't do much other than psych us out. We lost half at 7-2. We did, however, come back in the second half (or they didn't think much of us and relaxed), and the final score was 13-7.

The second game was against the fifth seed in our pool, and not much of a contest. The hardest part was, of course, not playing sloppy and causing the game to drag on forever. They managed two points on us, for a 13-2 score.

The next game was against the fourth seed in our pool and, although they seemed to have better throws than the previous team, the final score of that game was 13-4 or something close. I thought they were better than the fifth seed team, John didn't agree much. No matter, we won.

The last game of the day is the game that mattered. The second place team in our pool had lost to the first place team in our pool. A win over this team gave us a chance at the A bracket tomorrow: the bigger the victory, the better the chance. The team, Hee Haw, was a little odd for my tastes. They came with baby-dolls covered in crude, quite offensive words and phrases. I'm not sure if they drank all day, but our margin of victory of two points didn't really give us a great chance at the A bracket.

Having never been to this tournament before, I had no idea what to expect next, so I just went with the flow. When the team wandered over to the shade at the side of the field, instead of my usual panic rush-rush-rush to get our field area cleaned up and eat, I followed the team and sat in the shade. Matt and Rene Greff had not only sponsored the team by paying for the tournament fee and buying the team shirts, they had also brought two ice chests of food for us to munch on while several ambassadors went on a chicken run for us. I sat in the shade and enjoyed the feeling of being a team player, instead of a team mom.

Admittedly, it was nice.

So, first tournament day done. I've finally figured out how to stretch my hamstring so that I can play all day. I'm excited about the discovery, which will continue my journey of healing.

Most retarded thing ever heard at an ultimate tournament


"I'm old!"

"How are you old?"

"I'm old! I'm 23!"

The usefulness of vans


I'm on my way over to Ohio today. When I arrived at Dad's house, I promptly complained (Imagine that. Me. Complaining. Strange thought, eh?) about the fact the car rental company had run out of compact sized cars, a size I had specifically requested so that I could sleep in the back seat at Poultry Days.

I opened up the van and showed Dad the small back back seat, the only bench seat I could actually sleep on, given the bucket seats in front and in the middle. Dad took one look at inside of the van, and turned to look at me with an expression of, "Are you insane, child?"

An expression which I've noticed heading my way more frequently as of late.

"Looks like a good place to sleep," he commented, as he turned to open the back of the van. Three pulls, two pushes, one grunt and an old heave-ho later, and the back-back seat was folded down into the floor, the two middle seats were folded up, and I had a large flat surface to sleep on, no tent required.

Well, well, well, what do you know? These vans are good for something, eh?