Sunday, December 5, 2010
Fox News is an entire network with millions upon millions of followers who have nothing else to do but complain about shit.
The very foundation of journalism is built on criticism and critics mainly serve to complain. OK, look, there are exceptions of course.
But then comes a month and a half of Thanksgiving to Christmas and then New Years (and assorted related semi-religious non-Judeo Christian holidays and various days of merit like Festivus) in which it seems the entirety of American culture is primed to sell sell sell! And buy buy buy! And unveil shiny new cars. And belts. Shiny belts, or purses, or clutches.
Celebrate touchdowns on Thanksgiving by passing the turkey! Go out on Black Friday, stay in on Cyber Monday. Hit your holiday party for the office. All three of them if you're a freelancer like me.
The action is hot and heavy! Deals on plane tickets to warm places like Reno, the Bahamas, Ecuador. My neihgbor is going to Sri Lanka for Christmas and he's Jewish. Viva America!
People complain about this lengthy stretch of consumerism like the plague has finally descended upon Earth. Worse, they are comedians using the holiday stretch as a punchline. The buy-sell, buy-sell, buy-sell routine that marks the high point of our high capitalist culture is cause for concern! Or comedy! Or business-speak (but not so much on the bonin').
Well screw those people. Them. You know who you are. The complainers. So we have a 6-week stretch of car ads, Christmas lights, snowball fights on TV, spam emails trying to sell you things, etc etc. Why not?! Better than stretching the madness over, say, four months. Better than sitting around in mid-January bored mindless by gray skies and cold weather, waiting for Mardi Gras.
Hey, I live in Brooklyn. The holiday stretch in New York City is actually kind of nice. The streets are lit, the shopping is the bomb, the partying holds off the cold. The city gets scenic. It's a great time, a perfect city for that action.
Basically I'd like to officially register my complaint about the complainers. They're the losers and all their complaints are tired. They are complaining because they need something to complain about. Because they believe in a dead age, as if life in the 1950s in America was free of strife and anguish (ok, maybe it actually was). They complain about capitalism, the right-wingers complain about socialism, the pundits complain about each other. So very unnecessary.
Just give it a whirl. The holiday season. Why the eff not?
Oh, and you can buy my book if you haven't already. A gift for someone. Hot holiday action.
All of that was a set-up to post this link:
Ultimate: The Greatest Non-Bitchin' About Sport Ever Invented For Holiday Gift-Giving and General Fun n' Games
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Friday, November 12, 2010
If you're a full time bog'o'rama then by all means, go for all that action and post away!
Otherwise it behooves one to think of a few inverse relationship rules. I made these up, half-assedly, so no need to buy into them.
The more posts one makes to a blog the less effect they will have.
The more serious your blog sounds the more people will think you're all serious and shit.
The more you write, the less you will be understood.
Blog frequency is inversely related to blog popularity.
Popularity is inversely related to perceived intelligence.
Most blog posts, when re-read by the author, sound whiny, self-involved and totally wrong-headed
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
That's mainly because Cuervo wanted the sport to sell-out not sell-in.
How can you define "selling-out" for a sport? Well it's not that difficult actually. It means to take something organic and try to monetize it. it means letting sponsors and advertisers define success in the sport. It means pretending to be something you're not.
Here are some great examples of what won't happen to ultimate
1) Tough Mudder/ Warrior Dash
Chris Cline sent me this link to a competition modeled on what looks like Cyclocross (mountain biking mixed with an obstacle course) and the set of Braveheart.
So is this "sport" a sell-out/ First, it's a competition, not a sport. Second, its website screams "enjoy life! drink alcohol like
here's a direct quote from the Wikipedia page. i'm not going to get into the credibility argument about Wikipedia at the moment, decide for yourself if it's accurate.
"Tough Mudder was founded by Englishmen Will Dean and Guy Livingstone. Dean came up with the idea while at Harvard Business School, and it was a finalist in the Harvard Business School’s annual Business Plan Contest. He brought on Guy Livingstone to act as Chief Operating Officer."
2) Flip Cup Guys
You know flip cup, I know flip cup, utlimate players have been playing flip cup as far back as the late 1990s if I recall. Early 2000s? I'm sure someone here could pipe in with the first time they played in college. I don't recall playing in 1995, my senior year.
Regardless, two guys in New Jersey, ie, "Two White Guyzz In New Joisey" decided at some point to try and make some cash on the event. And i'm sure they succeeded. They've tried to monetize an organic drinking game and are probably sitting at home in a mini-mansion in Ridgewood wearing T-Shirts that say, "Suckers!" and "I Love Taking Advantage of College Chicks When They Drink too Much Playing In My Flip Cup Tournament."
3) World Series of Beer Pong
You know it's a sell out when they stage it in a shitty new York City bar, borrow the design of a major league sports logo (in this case, the north Carolina-based New Ultimate Association, founded by Toad and others) and make sure to hire strippers in thongs to show up. Add in prize money, trips to las Vegas and a "documentary" and you've got the makings of a total unadulterated sell out.
I'm not sure where to qualify this one. I'm thnking they are trying to "sell-in." Amusing that they are trying to go the NCAA route. Good luck with that fellows!!
So what's the point? The point is that thank God we're not like these jokers, all four of them.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
However, the National Championships, which if you're keeping at track at home have gone from "Nationals" to the "UPA Club Championships" in order to indicate the inclusion of Canada and pump up the UPA brand, now to the "USA Ultimate Club Championships" with a logo/design actually featuring a map of USA, Canada not included (even though Canada was well-represented here as usual, of course) which means they might soon be called "Nationals" again -- anyway, the Championships are now one step closer to corporate.
Not such a bad thing and we've been going that direction for a long time and this is really what players seem to want: increased media, increased tournament size, observers, accountability, etc etc. In order to do this the UPA had to evolve into a non-profit entity and soon they will become an Org with sponsorship and advertising and this isn't a bad thing.
ESPN.com was at the tournament, CBS Sports paid a visit as well as many potential (and lucrative?) sponsors and advertisers.
If we get there, this is a good thing. The sport will grow up. But remember something unique: the Ultimate Player's Association no longer exists. It's true the Board, elected by the membership of USA Ultimate, chooses the CEO which is Tom Crawford and i think Crawford is great for the role. The Board is almost exclusively made up of ultimate players and this may never change.
But the captain's meeting at Nationals this year wasn't a traditional captain's meeting at all that I could tell. Captains didn't get to choose rules or come to agreement on terms. They don't usually at Nationals and perhaps this might have been done online but in the rules of the game the "Captain's Clause" allows for just about any rule of the game to be voted on and agreed to by captains. Heck, they could have voted for free beer, yes?
Yes, I believe they could have.
But that didn't happen. And this is fine. But someday if sponsorship comes and advertising comes might there be the return of the UPA but this time the UPU -- Ultimate Player's Union? For the players, that is, and not the administrators?
Would be many years in the future. There aren't going to be Ultimate Team Owners in the near future, or at least I doubt it, but it's something to think about.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Where I am out, very hard to tell, i would say out, who knows. But next to me is a veteran observer. On the field were two observers and one from crossfield ruled out and one near sideline ruled in. The "in" call stood even after Korber discussed it.
The observer by me said:
"I would much prefer to be 30 feet away than 6 feet away, that was a really really close call, i hope they got that right"
but thats your ball game! exciting way to finish
Well, the end is nigh.
D5 scores downwind to RAFE (check his Facebook page, it's all caps) and they get it to 14-11. But the Polar Bears sidelines are all "mon mon mon!" and "rawr rawr rawr!" and are good to go right now
before the goal, an up/down call was called up by Bears, down by D5 so they went to the observer, who can make rulings but not ACTIVE rulings on such calls.
call was ruled down so D5 had yet another chance and yet again, failed to get yardage, making a short turnover that paid off for the Polar Bears.
Now on D, while D5 do the same and go Z? they need to mix it up, it has been too comfortable for the Polar Bears.
It's a tough spot to be in. If the NorCal Bears score downwind and trade they will win easily.
While D5 can bring the pressue by scring upwind. They get their first chance after a PBR hucks sails long, but a turnover on a bad throw gives the Bears their downwinder to 13-9.
Running out of time and facing the wind and their own lack of mojo, D5 has to now be chilly and score on O
Polar Bears are basically in command after scoring the downwind at half and then converting the upwinder after a short-field turnover mistake from D5. That made it 10-7 and grim looking for D5. Several big plays from Justin Segool, a d-block in the Polar Bears attacking endzone, a hammer reception and hammer goal catch get them the upwinder, but then Polar Bears come right back with Liu for the goal up-wind to negate the advantage.
Once that happens they make the downwinder break conversion count and its 12-8 for "da Bears" now.
They come in vert stack with ho handlers. First look short corner hot cut is shut down but the _second_ cut is not and at high stall count the forehand connection is made and Polar Bears take half 8-7 and will receive to start the second half.
You had the feeling, and the past results, that this game was going to be close and neither team had some intangible advantage. Both are new, both are collection/combos of players and not defined cores of players from college units of long-serving clubs.
neither are heavy with Open and Women's crossovers and both teams can find talent on the Coasts.
The wind too, would provide an advantage to a team with some old man veteran huckers like we saw in Masters, guys who chuck it up wind for goals with ease. But neither team has this option.
ClayZ provides pipe and baggage to me because he's getting on a plane soon. I am now the secret SAG squirrel.
Meanwhile, "Bob" Liu, so-called at home in Ames, Iowa, throws two nifty lefty backhands for a score. D5 answers back, 6-5.
The timeout call by D5 works. They convert the downwind break to Korber to make it 5-4. The wind seems to increase every point so we'll see how that works out.
it's been sloppy hucks from D5 and a bottled-up offense. Polar Bears seem to have more composure. But with the wind and the chances both teams are taking this could be a game going to the wire
Right now after about 4 turnovers apiece at the start in what's shaping up to be a long point there's a timeput call.
Chad Larson is telling me that the main guy for Polar Bears, #1 Michael Bob Liu, who according to Matty Spillum the Mixed reporter is the key man for the team "the entire team runs through him, if he rocks it, they win, if he makes mistakes they're doomed."
"they probably got tired from breaking us all week. Their break muslces are worn out," jokes CLX.
This point is hellish
A basic preview: D5, named after a reference in the movie Mighty Ducks, is sporting rather garish Hockey-style teal-and yellow jerseys whch have to be distracting as hell. The team is the first from Connecticut to rock Nationals even though many on the team have come from veteran units like Slow White, Puppet Regime and others. Still, the team was put together just to represent a section.
Polar Bears i ran into this morning, they are staying next to me on Siesta Key. A very mellow NorCal team comprsed of men's players from former SF team YR and graduates from college in the area and across the nation.
The team name comes from a joke they would ask, "How much does a polar bear weigh?" but I can't remember the answer. The shirts respond, however, by depicting a polar crunching on a penguin and the words "mon mon mon!"
And "Rawr!!" which is cool.
Both teams are nationals first-timers so looking forward to some action and glory--
"The aforementioned Surly-Real Huck semifinal, a rematch of the central region finals, hinged on the first two points in the second half. Surly was up a break, 8-6, and pulling."
Actually we (Old Style) have been in the Regional Champ game the last 2 years, beating RH on sat both times. This year we lost to RH after being up 8-5 at half in the 2-3 game after a blown observer call at 12-12. We also were the only team to take Surly to half 7-4, only to lose 13-11 (score reporter has this wrong). Sorry just setting the Record straight :) Sorry your writeup just brought back bad memories, since we thought we might be the 2 or 3rd best master's team and got stuck at home....again....
so my bad to Old Style, who I believe not only represents Milwaukee, but also another great beer.
so here's the low-down. Ironside kept making unforced errors. They basically could not keep up their confidence. They started to unravel a bit, the O line particularly, and became a collection of players rather than a team.
Revolver never changed their mein.Never slowed down. Kept making throws and catches, and won out with ease, 15-10.
The double is theirs! Winning Worlds and Nationals is extremely difficult. You have to be very smart, disciplined and yet relaxed about it. No doubt Mike Payne's guidance helped them tremendously.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Quickly the two most notable things at Nationals today.
1) the era of unabated partying, the clubby camaraderie of belonging to "Nationals" and slamming down unlimited beers from the beer tent in grand appreciation of friends, the wonderful Florida weather and sun, and a great many toasts to the intrinsic fun of playing ultimate -- is over. Many a beery evenings spent with many lower-seeded teams, volunteers, writers and just damn good partiers will likely never return. It was a simple thing, made sense, and was probably needed for insurance purposes (ahhh, that evil but necessary insurance thing) but the new USA Ultimate officially nixed free beer. Now, it's 2 bucks. Budweiser and Modelo Especial, in very small cups. In a specific area.
Basically it's over. It's ok, we've been going to this split for awhile: fun, party tournaments and competitive, non-partying tournaments. In my memory it first took root at Regionals in Devens, outside Boston. There's a clubhouse there and the parties were great. Abut 8-9 years ago, they stopped, and Regionals became the only tournament I knew that withheld the time-honored Saturday-night party.
Well, you can add the USA-U Club Championships to that list. It's been a gradual process and the writing was on the wall. Last few years the beer-drinking was ghettoized. Now it's effectively gone.
Of course you can still drink cans of beer on the field so its not like we've totally gone down the rabbit hole.
2) The big fun matchup tomorrow may be the top scorer from Worlds, the unstoppable force Matsuno from Buzz Bullets playing on Furious George, playing against the only man known to have actually stopped him, Beau Kittredge from Revolver, in the upper pools tomorrow. Should be exciting!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
New director of the USA-U, Tom Crawford, basically confirmed that the mainstreaming of ultimate has fully been set in motion. Changing the name from the Ultimate Players Association to USA Ultimate was a clear step to make the sport more appealing, less cult-ish, and more in line with Olympics sports.
What surprised me was how fully behind the name change Crawford (and by extension, ultimate) really is. So far this year he's tackled just about every major issue head on and he's done so with vigor.
Last week USAU announced the Beach was going to be a division within ultimate for 2011. Thats a pretty big step.
At the captains meeting, he presented the fact that USA-U is actively enticing sponsors (he named but didnt name a confectionary company, a sports-beverage company, and others), that the numbers of Youth participants has, for the first time, out-numbered all others combined, has convinced CBS Sports to come down and take a look at the Club Championships with an open eye towards acquiring broadcast rights, signed an extension with CBS College Sports to continue and increase the coverage of College Nationals, and announced that the USA-U would host the "U.S. Open" which would invite international teams to compete against (presumably) top U.S. teams.
All of this, frankly, is a long time coming and all of this makes perfect sense. But it's being ramped up now, super-fast and it's impressive.
There are two things now in play which haven't been in play for ultimate in 20 years at least.
First is the Olympics -- this is a long-held dream of many an ultimate player. It makes sense on the most basic level: the Olympics sell the idea of sportsmanship and fair competition for all men and women from all countries. Sort of a basic principle of humanity thing.
Yet the Olympics has been about much more than that, it started as a geopolotical event and remains so. The Olympics is concerned with money and TV ratings, money to feed the every-hungry revenue stream for Olympic cities and the worldwide media coverage. And ultimate, we knows, has no truck with money (or advertising, or any of that).
But I will say this: Crawford has that dream of Ultimate in the Olympics wrapped inside his head. As he and members of the new USA Ultimate team have for a long time served on Olympics sports boards (Volleyball, Cycling, others) the Olympics is more a reality to them than to us.
And they are trying to bring it to the sport and they seem to really mean it.
The Olympics was debunked by the head of the UPA in 1990 (Nob Rauch) who sat in on USO meetings and actively pursued what it might take for ultimate to make it. All signs pointed to "no chance" (for various reasons, the most prevalent being -- its a team sport and the IOC cant pay for team sports, it doesnt have refs, it isnt in enough countries, it doesnt draw revenue or advertisers and other team sports are "ahead" of it).
So can Crawford revive, for real, the dream? It's in his head and he's running at full speed. It's interesting.
Second is the holy grail/cursed sword of ultimate: money. We've never had it, we never will. That's my perspective and and it's been tried trued and tested for 40 years.
But everything here has a subtext. Beach Ultimate. The US Open. CBS Sports, increased advertisers and sponsorship. All this either needs money or creates money.
It's there somewhere, the money. Paid athletes? Maybe just maybe something is happening and we don't even quite know what it is.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
This is not actually a preview of the USA Ultimate Club Championships. In case you were wondering.
it's an example of one of the worst articles ever written on ultimate, and that's saying something because there are plenty to choose from. I found it in my archives while doing research for the mockumentary script on ultimate soon to be, uh, finished!
Bonus points if you can count the number of errors: grammatically, stylistically and factually. I stopped counting myself.
BY JIM MERRITT, Newsday
May 23, 2004
Remember when Frisbee was a rite of spring as cool and undemanding as catching rays in the campus quad or hanging out at the rathskeller?
Well, hold onto your hackysacks: Now, Frisbee is a fledgling intercollegiate sport at Hofstra University in Hempstead and Adelphi University in Garden City, and its players are clamoring for respect.
"I don't think [people] appreciate how hard it is to throw a Frisbee well, and the conditioning it takes," says Aaron Bjerke, 21, of Alexandria, Minn., a junior communications major and member of Adelphi University's Frisbee team.
The 25-member Hofstra team, formed last fall by A.J. Pave, 22, a history major from Holliston, Mass., prefers to call the sport "ultimate disc" or flatball. The team matched discs against Northeastern in Boston and Penn State before ending its first season earlier this month.
Ultimate disc "is fun and very, very competitive," says Michael Chan, 22, of Baldwin, a Hofstra player who specializes in airborne grabs.
The laid-back rules set by the Seattle-based Ultimate Players Association prize sportsmanship over winning. (For those keeping score, Hofstra beat Adelphi in three out of four games this year.) Players toss the disc down the field and score a point in the end zone, not unlike soccer. Disputes on the field are settled by the players themselves, but clashes - and crashes - are inevitable.
"I get really bad turf burns just from diving," says Seth Dellon, 20, the Hofstra co-captain with Amy Ostroff, 20. Dellon says this disc deserves respect - and maybe even equal footing with other varsity sports.
Whoa, dude, say varsity athletes.
"More power to these guys that they are really excited about their sport," said Thomas McCormack of Rockaway Point, a senior sports management major at Adelphi and guard for the varsity men's basketball team. "But, in all honesty, collegiate basketball and football can't be compared to Frisbee."
Which goes to show you, Dellon said, "We don't get respect from anybody."
Or what we used to call "Nationals."
I will be there with the Masters team Rumble in Pool B and covering the division for USAU. Expect some posts regarding Masters and other divisions as well, not to mention ephemera and anecdotes, as per the course.
Friday, August 13, 2010
There are numerous factors in my reverse-aging process. First I was diagnosed with an old man's colon disease about 4 years ago. Doctors told me to prevent the attacks that sent me to the hospital I would have to change my diet. Fatty foods would have to go.
In about a year and a half I lost 35 pounds. Furthermore I started eating healthier foods which helped my energy levels and my overall fitness. For instance, i eat grilled chicken instead of hamburgers and I stay away from cheese sauces, pizza and fried foods. After 30+ years it is hard to change your diet and lifestyle but I had to do it.
As this happened I started to notice I was quicker on the field, faster even. Certainly I was as light as my senior year in high school, yet unlike high school where I was more on the gangly side I have come to "grow into my body." Also I wasn't getting tired as often. I could run longer and play more points.
My mind and body work in sync now, my delay time on hand-eye coordination has been reduced. I understand how my body works best and how I can get the optimum on the field. Furthermore after all these years I have a great understanding of the action on the field, when and where throwing lanes are appearing, how to position myself on hucks (both O and D) and other such things.
I still make plenty of mistakes -- old habits can be hard to break -- but overall there's no doubt that my game now is better than it's ever been and this has been something of a renaissance time for me.
While I'm on the subject of numbers, two days ago number 44 Roy Oswalt pitched for the Phillies who won over the Dodgers 2-0. And then in my somewhat cheesy, somewhat pointless, and perhaps typically unnecessary post of a week ago, number 44 Kenneth "Free Kate Newburgh" Dobyns evidently accepted my facebook friend request along with 20+ others.
Honestly, just writing that is so silly, so I think i will stop.
Just remember one thing: you're never too old to improve in ultimate and never too old to keep trying new things. And if you haven't already changed your diet, give it a shot. It's difficult but rewarding.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I had played something like 4 or 5 weekends in a row, including a ten-day tour of duty at Worlds. Followed by the hat tournament in Austria and then Wildwood -- both of which tournaments have shorter games -- and I computed my July 2010 record to have been 21-10, not counting two forfeits in my favor, a television appearance on Austrian TV which I am declared one the greatest players in the world, and the game of mini mini won by myself, X and Q at the Five tent.
When you play that much ultimate, you need a break. But when you play that much ultimate you also have the drug in your system. You're going to need to play again.
This weekend I have nothing on my ultimate calendar and it is starting to gape at me, wide-eyed, barren, my cleats lie in wait. My body starts to get antsy -- I do try to keep up with the joneses by riding in alleycats from time to time or just pretending to when I haul into the city on my mudder, the Gary Fisher -- but it's not quite the same. There's little reciprocity. Not much sideline jocularity. No crossfield hammers to Coe alone in the endzone.
I'm not running, jumping, jacking the pull. It hurts to even write about it in the summer and not do it.
Well it is New York and options abound. I've got other things to do, plenty to keep me busy (my short film won a film festival this past weekend, so that career path may materialize and push ultimate further away). I've got family coming in next week, friends from out of town this week, and a puppet movie to help with in two weeks.
All that being said...still.... cleats are ready, disc is at hand....
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Keneth44 lives a few scant blocks away from me in South Brooklyn. He's in Bay Ridge and I'm just on the other side of the expressway in Sunset Park. It's a minor distinction. If I had thought about it in advance or been made aware, I might have joined the Westchester Summer League this year because I could have gotten rides from Bay Ridge to SUNY Purchase. It's a haul, believe you me, and the main reason I am not playing summer league this year is that drive-time. But Ken is there and in WUDi, I discovered later this summer. It could have been so easy.
I'm not sure if Ken would say we're friends. Close friends -- certainly not -- but we've spent some quality time together and he has been a mentor to me and many others. I consider him someone to look up to, someone who's seen more of the world and isn't afraid to tell us what the view is like.
We've been in phone contact, email contact, we share close friends on both coasts.
But when it comes to Facebook, this apparently isn't the case. We aren't friends on Facebook. I checked again today. I check everyday, every hour, every time I can, waiting slavishly to get the notice "Kenneth Dobyns has accepted your friend request!"
There's that picture of Ken right there on FB, wearing a fedora at a Yankees game. He always loved the Yankees, was a die-hard fan. I am speaking in the past tense, of course, because I feel I have lost a friend. Next to Ken's smiling visage it says, "awaiting friend confirmation"
We have 37 friends in common, including a certain Jose Invencio who I'm not sure anyone in New York has actually met and whose stated goal in life is to help start a referee-type ultimate league on the East Coast separate from the Mike Gerics/Toad Leber triangle of shame. It's a positively quixotic quest and it's comically doomed to obsolescence.
But I digress. See, Facebook doesn't make Ken and I friends or non-friends. That's a little silly. It's Facebook. I have friends I've never met, Friends of Friends I've never met. I'm a bit of a friend whore, racking up 800 people in my own little niche of the world.
I don't mind the numbers. I like people, I enjoy Facebook, i like stories and seeing snapshots of different people's lives. This entertains, inspires and grounds me all at the same time. It's a simple thing.
My opinion of Ken will not change if he never accepts my FB request or if he reads this post and accepts me tomorrow (ok, honestly, if he reads this blog post and accepts my FB request tomorrow, my opinion of Ken WILL change -- for the worse).
Kenneth44's blog titled "You DIdn't Here It From Me, But..." has long been a great read. I love how his posts aren't just ramblings. They are stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. They are smart, sometimes savage, and they are precise. Reading Ken has always been an enjoyable experience, dating back to the last time I played summer league with him, in the 90s. He wrote insightful and analytical profiles in the WUDi newsletter, a double-sided one-sheet photocopied 60 times and handed out in the parking lot after games.
I wanted to fashion my infrequent blog after Ken's style of writing. I'd like to be clear, concise and sometimes controversial. Perhaps throw in a 50 cent word from time to time and to always have a beginning, middle and end.
With or without that Facebook confirmation. Because in the meantime I have a new number 44 friend in Roy Oswalt, with or without Facebook...
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
You come for the sand, the boardwalk, the walking legions of wiz-made bodies, the SpringShot, the taffy (ok, that's a lie, no one comes for the salt water taffy anymore) the 99 cent pizza, the rollercoasters, the drinking, the mild debauchery, the water parks, the rusty nails, jam bands, monster trucks and this year's top-line shirt (a pinnie, aka a reversible sleeveless basketball-style mesh jersey) that read in big block letters COME AT ME, BRO.
Startin' fights on the boardwalk at Childwood? Naw, too much fun to be had otherwise.
I've had my share of good times and good stories to tell from the annual beach extravaganza that is Wildwood, now with 436 4-on-4 teams this year. My father lives just down the road, i've been to this tournament with two ultimate girlfriends over the years, I've been on near-championship teams and championship beer bracket teams. This year was more of the same, i suppose, but different.
I didn't party much. I played well with the ATL boys and girls, a good bunch of folks. The tournament got a carton of my books, 68 of them, and sold none. I played, i think, in 11 games over the weekend which ties a record for me. The goal, of course, is to play as often as possible. It is sand after all, even if the sand was baking hot (99 degrees in the air on Sunday, hotter on the surface) and my feet got shredded on Saturday so badly that I had to wear tennis shoes, but STILL -- it's Wildwood. It's fun in the sun and it shouldn't end.
But everything comes to an end.
And then when you leave there goes the $200 a night hotel room, minimum 3 nights. The $25 SpringShot ride. The countless dollars spent trying to win a SpongeBob SquarePants stuffed animal at the basketball carney game. The $26 Shrimp Bonanza (George Carlin would call this one out) that had 6 pieces of battered and fried shrimp and 6 naked shrimps from a supermarket platter. The cases of beer, the gas and tolls to spend countless hours on interstates an the Garden State Parkway, the $300 tourney fee split between ten teammates. The money, it goes, usually, but this year I stayed clear of all that.
It's a beach town and a beach summer and you're there for action. The action was had.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
So I played in hot Prague, then to steamy southern Austria where Zen and the Art of Team Building got us a first-place talisman and little bit of good karma. More on the Zen later.
And now to Wildwood, again, playing with two teams who picked me up at the very last minute -- this week. I wasn't going to go, I even told people I was canceling my team (which I did). My knee is a bit wobbly, a lateral muscle strain from the last tournament. I've played 20 games on grass in the last 20 days.
But its Wildwood. Sand. The circus atmosphere. Family and friends will be there and everyone from New York and Philly, not to mention half of Boston and half of DC.
I'll put a knee brace on and try my luck. I could end up with glory, or I could finish with regrets.
But hey it's good to get out of the house...
Monday, July 19, 2010
Outside of that, the team I ended up on called "Blauer Burgunder" after a local red wine, somehow and somewhat improbably, won the tournament. As per usual hat-tournament protocol we had a melange of players.
Soni was 16 and heading to U-23's the next day, as was Ami. Vale, 14 years old with money throws and quick cuts. Frischi, the veteran engineer from Vienna. Izi, our co-host for the tournament and a wonderful handler. Flixi -- his first tournament ever and now his first tournament win. We worked out the forehand before the second-to-last game on Sunday. We had Martini, a short quick handler-type woman who we called in as a handler, only to find out at the Saturday-night party that she had been playing ultimate for now her 5th month. Richey, a burly flag-football player with "the heart of a lion" according to Tommy, my friend from back home who has been living in Vienna now for a year.
As you can tell, we decided at the first game to have everyone's name end in the "y" or "it" sound. So that made Veronica a Veronicky which became "Key" which when I called her in the wing of the zone never quite worked because I don't think she had ever been called "Key" before, but that was ok. Flixi was really a Felix, Ami an Amadeo and Martini a Martina. It was nice. We were a team!
We had Andrea (Andi) for a half-day and then there was René, whom I called either Reeny or Rene or something like that. And there was James who we had to call Jamey of course, a lanky lefty from Australia. I hope I am not missing anyone. Will have to look at the pics.
We played zone the entirety of our last two games on Sunday which ended up being a semifinals (winner of that game would make the finals) and then the finals. In the finals we played a team that went up on us 6-2 and won 6-4 in a sloppy game which they clearly got the upper hand behind a basically un-guardable Erik Doesburg, also known in certain circles as "that tall blonde Dutchman from Mouthful of Sand/Gronical Dizziness." He won MVP/MBP (Most Beautiful Person) at the tourney, and deservedly so. I tally up to 6’4 and change but hand to hand he had a full hand on me and rang up as 6’6” at least.
We won the finals on double-game point, 7-6 on a sweet lefty backhand deep huck from Jamey to Ami. It was a nice way to end the trip to Worlds and meet some super fantastically cool, fun, vibrant and new-to-the-game southern Austrian players. It was like a mini-Poultry Days, with teams camping out, the pig roast, the beer and wine, the communal atmosphere. Wonderful.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The Czech organizers did an amazing job in my opinion. My broadcast partner and GOP founder Bryn Perkins, Lucia, Carlos, Honza, Jana the TD, Bart, the Strizna TV crew -- i am still not sure how they managed two gigantic field complexes in two totally different locations but they did. The buses ran, the fields were all lined, the schedules were effective, the score keepers (did you see the stats?!) were nice and they took their jobs seriously. It sounds like a small thing but it made a big difference.
I heard the dormitory-style dorms were less than swank, but when your team signs up for the "dorm option" at a European tournament you should expect to be in a dorm. So hey, in this case they were Soviet-built. Welcome to Prague!
My next stop is the self-styled Styrian hat tournament in Southern Austria. I'd like to promise updated blogs about the 9 teams but its a camping tournament in a town called Kirchberh-am-Raab so I'm not really counting on wifi from the fields or anything. And thank god for that.
Thanks to everyone who complimented the broadcasts we did. It can't be said enough that the Strizna TV/webcast crew was ultra-professional and very much on the ball. I heard the cameramen and crew came out to a Czech team scrimmage before Worlds to learn how to cover ultimate. It really shows -- they got the pulls, they followed the d's and nailed the instant replays. They were so good it was almost invisible -- but if you've watched the state of ultimate videos in the last, uh, 42 years you won't see anything like this.
It was always an unproven theory that ultimate would be exciting to watch if it was shot properly. Well, i think that theory was proven true. Again -- you can click on the links on the right to watch the videos. They will be up for some time, a month or so...
And finally a shout-out to my team O.L.D.S.A.G. aka One Last-Ditch Shot at Glory, Philadelphia masters. This may have truly been the team's last-ditch shot. With a thin squad of 20 that was whittled to 16 by the end, with four players added just for this tournament, and without a set offense or defense that you could identify, we beat seed and finished 5th. Disappointing perhaps that our 5-2 pool play record tied us with Munich (who we beat) and Helsinki (who we lost to) but lodged us in 4th because of point differential, thus sending us to quarters against Surly and an early exit from our attempt to return to Finals.... but hey, i think we left it on the field and can be proud.
That last sentence was poorly written but it's late at night and Styria is coming up. It just means more to come I reckon.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
In the stands everyone eyes everyone else's shirts with envy. Can i get a Sockeye shirt? What about that Magon one? Who got lucky with the Vigi 2006 shirts? Is there a Buzz Bullets shirt without the Bunka Shutter logo?
Most of all, already, I miss the competition. It's been great to play at this high level with a good bunch of guys who competed every day on the field and never gave up. We finished 5th overall, one ahead of seed, and won our last game so we can leave the tournament with our heads up.
I hope to be back four years from now for another Worlds but it's never easy getting here and i'm sure there will be more things going on in my life.
Right now the cheers and the medalists are still going -- Buzz Bullets get a hearty cheer for their third-place finish. Basically, no one wants to leave. Why would they? Free entertainment, cheap beer, cool shirts everywhere, cute girls and guys, a nice stadium -- we're all just waiting to crash, basically, or at least throw down some more good pilsner before an early rest.
CLX uses their men and height to great effect and are rolling through this game right now with ease. Onyx looks behind by 2-3 steps on every cut
Friday, July 9, 2010
Anyway outside of that I have to crash now to get up and ready and prepared for tomorrow's 9am mixed finals start and live broadcasting
as always, if you email/blog post comments i will try to bring them up during the broadcast
hella, its 2am right now
If you missed the live broadcast, you can watch it again because i believe they will still be up online afterwards.
They told me they have about 1000 people in their Ultimate association, 50 summer league teams in Quebec City alone and 100 winter-league teams, and winter is indoor and 8 months a year just about.
First thing to say is that MTF has the break advantage, receiving in a tied game with the time cap. But a lyout block by CLX gives them the disc at a critical juncture and they convert with, what else, a huge hammer to #77 for the score, 14-13.
Receiving, MTF moves four passes but then i think 77 for CLX makes a layout block and now Iowa has the disc with 20 yards for the game. But after a swing, tall guy #01 for MTF gets a two-handed layout lunch and MTF can tie it up. After working halfway downfield, an IO floaty deep huck is put up -- why not, and seems to track perfectly into the hands of the receiver in the far back left corner for a goal.
Double game point, CLX receives, they work it and then captain Kevin Seiler unleashes yet another hammer, about half-field, never quite turns over and stays bladey instead, going to #77 who is covered, but he can get this disc. instead it sails through his hands and into his chest like Terrell Owens dropping a deep ball and its MTF's disc on their goal with the field ahead of them. No timeouts are called. Instead the work it, but up the sideline I think CLX gets the block somehow. Disc gets back to Seiler who throws it to a wide-open Christine Rosen for the game-winning goal.
will find out more later perhaps, but Fury and Uno in finals, as expected (and seeded, i believe).
But I digress: at 12-11, Onyx got another break, working dishy upfield passes to a lefty 5 yard score shot to keep the lead comfortable and take a 13-11 lead. QC receives, works downfield and then with about 15 yards to score, Judy Winglee is trapped on the sideline by a creative and aggressive quasi straight-up to forehand mark by Onyx's #10, Jessie. On stall 9/10 Winglee has to chuck it into the endzone and she does but Kate Beaulieu gets the layout block and suddenly Onyx has the disc with a chance to end it.
After several swings, facing a long field too, a short under cut by Jessie is baited by Winglee and she gets her disc back with a brilliant catch block. After a dish, she gets it back in the endzone for the score, 13-12 now.
For ultimate strategists, the next point is a reminder. QC pulls, down one, game to one, and it never comes close to staying in bounds. Onyx starts with a very, very short field and lines up in a ho stack. As usual, with the pressure of a late game in the air, its hard for poachers to be active, lest they get burned and embarassed, so the ho stack leaves room for cutters and the green lawn beckons like a wide open sea. At about a 6 stall, the Onyx handler who took the brick rips a low forehand zinger that is tracked down and caught by #5 with about 5 yards for a score.
mark gets on him quickly, stall 1-2-3-4-5-6 and no one is moving in the endzone, especially Jessie faceguarded by Judy Winglee (apparently a good matchup both ways) and so #5 unleashes a scoober over the top and Jessie with the 5-6 inch height advantage, two-hands it and the game is over.
CLX (i have the full name story now, will come later) and MTP are identical teams with very exciting styles of play, big, rangy players both men and women, and fearless huckers sending it deep out of Horizontal stack varieties.
The vuvuzelas sound off after scores. Big layout after big layout, neither team tired.
On serve, MTP now up 12-11. QC player Eric Stevens makes an impossibly sticky super-high sky grab in the endzone on a floaty huck to tie it at 10s and hold serve, Onyx receiving but the excitement from the grab might provide some momentum
but Mental Toss Flycoons went down 6-1, tied it at 7s, Chad Larson Exp (CLX) took it to half at 8-7, MTP got a break off the half, 8s, then CLX scored for 9-8
Tim Murray of MTP says "we are very similar teams"
Onyx from Montreal versus QC from Boston: also similar score, was 8-7 Onyx when I left. Will find out more soon
I just have to figure out what mode of public transportation to get there and then it's Fury-Riot (!) and Brute Squad versus Uno (Japan)
Basically, as expected, it's UPA/USA semifinals to a tee.
It holds up across all divisions: Mixed is a NE regional battle between two surprise contenders in ONYX from Montreal and Boston's Quiet Coyote, a team that's been peaking. I remember playing them several times over the past several years and defeating them and then they kept getting better and better it seems.
Chad Larson Experience versus Mental Toss in the other semi, sort a Western battle (Iowa + surrounding states versus Montana + several states). I may actually try to cover Mixed instead of Womens. I guess we'll find out with the next post from me,
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Sockeye wins now, 17-15, on a huck and dish but Fleming with the grab was tremendous.
they need that identity it seems. Even if it's "we're a great mix of players from everywhere and this we relish" then that's cool. but they need something. without money in this sport, you can't build around a lackluster brand, and Sockeye's brand is better.
they do score to make it 14-15, however, Trey (a ringer recruit for the last few years) toe-ing the line.
but THEN i think andrew fleming makes one of the greatest layouts anyone has seen in a long time for Sockeye, one of those ones where he hit the ground first sliding head first and the disc somehow lands in his hand
Crowd begins its disinterest phase. The vuvuzelas sound off from time to time. But its a good size group here: 2-3,000 perhaps, maybe more? Hard to tell, but its packed with players from 30+ countries, that is quite clear.
This is a different field site than the other games and one playing live at the moment (Riot vs Huck look at the link on the right).
Turnover on Sockeye's goal by Ironside (missing an easy chance to stay on serve but down a break) but they get it back on a half-field huck turn by Sockeye and its 14-13 Sockeye
Next possession is a huck too far by Boston followed by the same for Sockeye. Its 11-10 Sockeye now.
By the way, I picked Ironside by 1 or 2 in this game.
"because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" is the answer from Al from Columbus, Ohio, backpacking through Europe right now and spectating at Worlds, although she is flying to Boulder THIS weekend (leaving tomorrow) to play women's masters with Mojo.
Question from Paolo to Al: "you're going to miss the finals?"
"yeah, but I get to play next weekend, so i'm all for that!"
the guy in front of me with a video camera is taping the event as part of a doc following two Chinese ultimate players who gave up their banking careers to pursue ultimate and promote the Spirit of the Game.
yes, this is true. And so he is following them for maybe a documentary that will go to Sundance one day. As a filmmaker, i can suggest that this is highly unlikely, but strangely possible.
In any case, teams trade, 7-6 Ironside
Then Sockeye turfs it. 6-3 Ironside.
-- "or pick up with a team from ______" says Stenclik .
Anyway, Nasser slices in a nice forehand to Chicken from 25 yards out for the score, 4-3 ironside
Teddy gets a D on a 50-50 huck and Ironside with a disc
Bailey Russell, formerly of New York's PONY (Ironside regional competitors) and a former teammate of Boston's Danny Clark, is playing for Sockeye
Nasser Mbae from Ultimate Vibration/ Skogs is playing for Boston, for some reason.
Yaka female player from France-- "I'm tired and I want to drink" -- with three drinks in her hand
Paolo from Brazil's Brazzinga - "She is the cutest thing. I was so happy to give her disc back, but she doesn't seem like talking"
Nicola says - "if you start calling me Nicole or Nicola I will pinch you."
Quick poll: Sockeye (Seattle) versus Ironside (Boston).
Sockeye 9, Ironside 4
Carlos from Kwata, the Colombian club team in Bogota, calls Ironside by 1
The Russian girls, French girls, Nicky from Melbourne, Paolo from Sao Paolo and two fans of Chevron from the UK vote for Sockeye
Two Montreal Mephisto players both choose Boston's Ironside.
Jaap from the Netherlands chooses Sockeye, "because they are playing in white jerseys"
I will try to live blog as the game progresses
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I come from playing in New York, east coast, playing for Philly now, and I love myself a good character or two. This team has a few of them.
First of course is captain Mike O'Dowd. In the 1970s when he was in his early 20s, O'Dowd ran a numbers scheme in his native Chicago from his father's O'Dowd Bar on Milwaukee Avenue. If you're playing the numbers i can tell you right now: you aren't going to win. There's a reason it's called a numbers game. It's a fix and when the fix is in and you owe a few big ones, young man Mikey OD as they called him, would beat the shit out of you with his face. I mean, pummel you, more than KD beat Sanchez with his face. If you haven't seen a man pound another man's face with his own face then you haven't seen what brutality really is.
Forehead to jaw, ear to ear, cheek to jowl, a face attack from Mikey OD is like getting taken out back by the wood shed.
30 years later, that's pretty much what Troubled Past did to us in a game almost as fixed as the numbers. We weren't going to beat TP (as they call themselves) and we couldn't even wipe with it because it was already dirty -- they were the better team, deservedly so, but the game was still fixed.
Barry Switzer was there, Cooper, Sanchez, some cornhole with glasses, some redbeard hat-wearing typical call-making type -- just by writing this I can remember an old canuck friend of mine telling me about shooting pictures for the UPA at Nationals in San Diego and a team known as Blaze of Glory with a similar makeup threatened to fight him. I mean, fist fight, a face beatdown, the kind of cheek to jowl hurt that only guys who've had alcoholic fathers can relate too.
So I may run into my own Czechered Past later this tournament, who knows. I'm not a fighter, but I do have Italian blood so I get hot. I curse, yell, celebrate, taunt, throw the finger, i've gotten in pussy scraps before but never really a fight in a long time. I'm not above the Past, I would never claim to be holier than TP (but certainly cleaner) and I can make calls that are dicey -- but I won't generally.
Sanchez suggested I add a footnote to my book(s) about giving their team the finger after a pick call on a player not in the play negated one of our scores. Well, here it is, if it makes him or anyone else feel better: I'm no angel, none of us are, and angels I would tend to be a little suspicious of.
Furthermore, I don't mind playing these call-fest games and there's a part of me that kind of likes them. I don't mind controversy, i don't take offense at bad calls, I don't think negatively about the other team or player and I like the hot-bloodedness that courses through the body.
But the point is, if you want to see what ultimate and the Euforia-Doublewide game was all about at its core, you don't need to look to the future. You just need to look to the past.
As Mike O'Dowd said in last winter's UPA newsletter, and I quote, "We finally exercised the demons."
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
By far this is the best setup, on par or eclipsing what CBS College Sports did for USA-U college championships. The Czech company really seems to have good pacing on their shot selection, excellent replays, they are following the disc extraordinarily well and the graphics are good. All told, it makes it a lot better when the full package is put together.
Seeing the game like this (i watched monday's broadcast live) definitely ramps up the level of excitement and showcases ultimate as an actual spectator sport.
Broadcasting games live with multiple camera angles isn't a new thought, Charles Kerr and I talked extensively about putting together live webcasting for games almost 10 years ago, but without support from the then-UPA we had no chance. CBS College Sports involvement is great, I wonder when the time will come to do it for Club Nationals. UltiVillage is also a good tool, but limited.
Since I work in the TV/Film/Video business in New York i can tell you that putting together the kind of operation you see here (click to the right side to watch the games, even now they are up so it won't be live, but more like a DVR'd replay) in the United States would not be cheap. Those cameramen with good enough skills to follow the action and the director calling shots in their headsets want 500/day. The camera rental (looks like we had 3 primary cameras for Worlds, possibly 4, plus a small miniDV cam in the broadcast booth) would tally 1000/day easily, likely more. Add in a director and the switching equipment, etc etc and I'm guesstimating 5-7K a day, at cost, a company might charge 10K for the whole operation. Fortunately finals are all on one day.
Still -- it can be done for cheaper with cheaper cameras and cheaper cameramen, but quality would suffer. Even so, for ~10K to the USA-U/players to broadcast Club Worlds, is it worth it?
The answer is rather simple: sponsorship. Even if a sponsor only throws 2K at USA-U for getting their logo on camera, in the shots, on the screen (like we saw here) during the webcast that's a great start to the USA-U's decades-long quest for someone to be interested in the sport.
Invest now is my suggestion: down the line in 4-5 years Club Championship broadcasting should pay for itself -- and then some.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Which happens, of course, just not so often in opening round pool play at a 136-team worlds. But the upsets -- they do occur.
Fortunately my team did not succumb to one today, defeating the strong Masters team Wolpertinger. Looking back at the scoreboard provided by WFDF we ran off 4 straight points to win 15-13. The last three on defense. Nice.
My point all along was that I thought maybe our featured Game of the Day would truly be one. But Doublewide crushed Bogotá's Euforia, the Colombian national champion. I got a lot of good info on the scene in Colombia from Luis Rodriguez who plays for 2600 Mixed and joined me in the broadcast booth for the game. I wish I had more time to blather about it all but it's late already and sometimes there's just too much information.
Generally speaking, there's so much going on at Worlds that it's hard to keep track.
But the upsets and the big games -- they're coming. Right around the corner, in fact. Power pools are set. Actually, i wish I could find out how the heck 4 of the 6 best team's in the women's division ended up all in the same power pool together, especially if there are 4 power pools. MUD (Japan) Fury (San Fran) Backhoe (Raleigh-Durham) and Huck (Japan) are all together and that's deathly.
Controversy to come, for sure. But for now - the top teams remain on top, the new nations still looking for the footing on the field. But the Yanomami drums keep everyone's feet dancing and the great amount of teams that have come to represent keep the universal spirit of ultimate strong, status quo or non.
here is a link to see the Open "standings" although its not entirely accurate because we are all in pool stages of course. if you click around on the left hand side you'll find more info on teams, games, specific points scored by specific players and much more.
and one last note -- I haven't even seen CLX yet, nor about 100 other teams (Sockeye, Fury, Riot, Chain, Mental Toss, Axis of Cville, etc etc among them) so if you are waiting for updates on some of these top teams they will presumably have to come at later stages.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Pretty awesome game to watch. I got to watch from the play-by play booth as well as in the stands and the entire match was electric. The stands were half Czechs and half ultimate players and both halves ended up rooting for the home team. It reminded me a bit of the year the local Rimini team Cota Rica made (and won) the finals of Paganello in front of a crowd 0f 5000+, many of them from Rimini.
In this case the home team Hot Beaches, it turns out, play a fast and loose game: they absolutely loved to rip it deep and seemed both fearless and overly determined to do so. Storm had some pretty smooth receivers themselves and a good zone.
Long story short: Storm took a 15-11 lead about 10 minutes after what some thought to be a hard cap. After scoring the 15th point, they ran on to the field and celebrated while the Czechs walked back to their line. The mixup ended up in Hot Beaches' favor: it was a game to 17, not 15, hard at 17
Hot Beaches scored the next possession but then Storm worked it down again to make it 16-12, game point.
So the Beaches were definitely in trouble. But somehow they just keep lasering 50 yarders to the endzone and this time, came down with the catches (whereas in the first half they dropped several long bombs). Soon it was score, D-block, score, Storm turnover, Beaches 35 yard crossfield hammer rip on stall 2 for a goal, d-block huge forehand huck down the line, Storm turnover, Beaches backhand huck.
After every big play the crowd kept roaring in approval and it was clear that Storm was rattled. At 16-16, game to 17 it was possible that the quite miraculous Czech comeback aided by a stadium of supporters could actually be willed to happen. Storm called timeout and were receiving the disc now for the fifth straight point.
Hot Beaches came down in zone. Several near-D's were caught by Storm, who looked patient and willing to work it. After 40 passes or so, the teams at a standoff but field possession favoring Storm (they had gained yardage to within 20 yards of the game-winning goal) Storm finally tried to break the knot. A forehand to the short corner on an in-cut would have gained them 15 but the throw sailed up and over the target. A Storm player alertly kept her feet in the goal and lunged out to catch the overthrow. Game set match, 17-16 Storm.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
10am. Evidently that's morning time in Praha 1, near Old Town Square, close to Powder Tower. 10am. That's when the city starts to wake up. Every day, not just weekends.
The hired minivan taking the team of 20+ wives, girlfriends, children and Clayton departs 8:45am. Game time 10:30 versus Helsinki.
Then 2:30pm scheduled game versus Surly. Or is it? With all three American teams in the same pool for the Masters division (out of 8 teams total in the pool) and given the fact that Surly won UPA Nationals two years ago, lost in the finals this year, they were seeded behind GLUM from Canada who finished 5th at Nationals this year and bottom half in 2008. So on one schedule it says we play Surly, on another schedule it says GLUM. They may have switched the seedings to move up Surly, which would make an awful lot of sense for everyone.
However, as Jane Carlen has aptly noted before, "no one cares about Masters." This, of course, is a fact. At least from a spectator point of view.
6:30pm highlight game broadcast live is Women's Hot Beaches (Czech Republic) versus Storm (Montreal).
I went to the cozy stadium today to see where those featured games will be. It's nice. Maybe room for 5-8,000 spectators I'm guessing? One berm side with built-in stands and a long row of press boxes above it. A clear view of the turf field. An orange running track encircles the field.
All around the stadium are smaller field areas which will be lined for ultimate. There are 12 additional fields surrounding the stadium, all on various levels, like conjoining Vietnamese rice paddies.
This is the Vrsovice area, one of two distinct cross-town areas for the tournament. The other is on the "Castle side" of the river and a 30 minute bus ride away. In between is downtown Prague. We've got the city surrounded.
The next few days my bloggotyping will join in with the WUCC newsletter, both online and printed. You can see the link on the right under "Worlds Main Link."
If anyone reading this wants to add Worlds blogs, contact me. its mrtonyleonardo AT yahoo DOT com.
Also: feel free to text me. I have a USA phone number and its easy and free. Email and I will give you my phone number if you don't already have it or didn't already get it from the women's stall at Tenjune.
And finally: a tidbit rumor picked up today was that BULA, the Beach Ultimate Lover's Association, would be joining WFDF as a separate but equal entity (or something like that) and that USA Ultimate was taking a strong interest in the Beach game, anticipating a possible future when the Beach game could become a very marketable and successful part of USA-U. Details to be ironed out, i suppose, but this is basically something I have been advocating (and others, certainly) for about 6-7 years now. So maybe its time has finally come.
Friday, July 2, 2010
It took me awhile to navigate the Dovnis and Odeslats and çûvrk-type but here I am. And my bitching about book sales in my post yesterday? The gods have bitchslapped me by losing my luggage with 60 books. So now I don't know what the F is up, but it feels like I did something to deserve it.
Cleats and shorts, by the way, i failed to mention always bring shorts with you as well, were with my carry-on.
Tomorrow I will have some team and scouting report updates, plus some more about the tournament from the inside after I meet with Carlos who is charge of all the media.
At the gate in Dusseldorf awaiting the plane to Prague I ran into Andrew Lugsdin who told me about a few things I had an idea about but didn't fully grasp. One was that the Furious team and Vancouver players in general tend to skip Club Worlds, preparing instead for the WUGC Worlds and the World Games, which they have been going to, more or less, every other year for 10+ years. The exceptions he said were 97 Club Worlds in Vancouver and Hawaii in 2002 (2001? 2000?).
Lugsdin almost picked up with Skogs, who wanted to basically combine with GOAT and have 7 or 8 players from GOAT on their team (and Lugsdin from FG) but WFDF put the kibosh on that and limited the Swedes to 3 international pickups.
So Lugsdin is with Mephisto, out of Montreal.
He was also talking about the comparison/difference between traveling to Colombia with Furious George to play in their tournament and going to the Dream Cup in Japan. On both occasions the team was invited and local players knew the team well -- he said he signed a lot of autographs. He talked about how fast and exciting the Colombia game is and how much the game is played by the youth and is developed in the school system.
Could Colombia/Venezuela be the first countries to have a semi-pro ultimate league? Quite possibly.
Seems like a pretty good thing happening down there. Maybe I'll see if I can get him to stop in on the broadcast and say a few words on Monday when we do Doublewide versus Bogotá.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
In the states, it usually translates to something like a pint of Bud Light Lime at BW3s. Or in my case, three 24oz cans of Busch at the local bodega.
In the states if I bring out 10 books and sell them each for 10 dollars and don't lose, misplace, or give away any of them, i might pocket about 20 bucks. The key here is that i've almost never been to a tournament where I've sold 10 books or more.
When I flew to USA College Championships, i brought 8 books to sell. Then I left them in the plane. Haven't been recovered yet. So that's a loss.
In any case I am pretty sure the publisher is doing ok. I'm selling the books, he sits in a canoe somewhere, automatically has the warehouse send them out to Amazon, B&N or wherever and they send him checks. Actually, I order books with my half-off-cover-price and pay for them on my AMEX. Since the publisher put the price at $14, i get the books for $7 (recently re-negotiated to $6). Then add shipping them to me. Then realize that no one in their right mind would buy this book for $14. It's not even in color!
So I sell them for $10. But for Worlds, I'm going for the gusto: 12 euro. Comes with a free can of Busch. in Prague, that has to be special, right?
Don't worry by Friday night all the books will be discounted to 'cost + Staropramen pint.' And I hear the beer is cheap over there.
Monday, June 28, 2010
Everything I know about the world, however, comes from ultimate.
A team from Bratislava, the Slovak capital, came to Paganello one year. I got to play against them, talk with their captain, find out a little bit about the split of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. For instance, Vaclev Havel, president of the time and internationally known as one of our generations' more remarkable 'philosopher-kings' was against the split. Prague and the West had more capital and prestige, perhaps, but the Slovakian side wanted to do it and so it was done.
The Slovaks were nice people and it was great to play against a team from what was then a brand-new country. And the Czech team at Paga always had the girls hitting the guys with a bundle of pussy-willow sticks so that they would stop jerking around and come around to fertilizing already. A typical Easter tradition in Prague, of course.
The Netherlands, well, we know Red Lights of course, and the Dutch women's team that made the finals of Paga one year was extraordinarily tall. This means something. Or maybe nothing.
Sure Brazil has a great team but their ultimate scene is dicey at best. Not nearly as large or cohesive as Venezuela and Colombia. Is there a connection? Can a country be good in both sports?
But I digress. We need to hype hype hype the tournament because if it isn't talked about, then WUCC 2010 will have never happened.
With exception, of course, to the 130+ teams in attendance. Which is sort of the point of ultimate sometimes, isn't it? It's for the players. And if you're reading this, chances are you are a player yourself.
So then -- tune in to watch live after catching up on your reading at the main website.
Live broadcasts on July 4, 5, 6, 8 9 & 10. Check it out, hype or not, and whether or not you know the teams playing. Because maybe by watching you just might pick up on a few new things.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Canadian teams diminished from the Furious George highs of the late 90s and mid 00s and Vancouver Men's and Women's teams skipped Canadian Nationals and thus will not be in Prague.
Will Japanese still bring it? Likely yes.
Australia does not appear to be sending their top teams. Likely too expensive.
Can Sweden, Finland and Germany recover lost glory?
Will Great Britain's rise continue? They have the highest-seeded teams of all the European squads.
USA USA USA: Across all divisions, no U.S. team is seeded lower than 12th. That 12th-seeded team is Backhoe, the women's team from North Carolina, a perennial Nationals semis contender. I am putting 50-1 odds that they finish higher than 12th.
Where's Europe: Despite a home-continent tournament for the first time since Turku in 2004, the highest seeded European team is Iceni from the UK at 6.
What European teams will surprise the field and rise above? Is the time nigh for Switzerland, Denmark or another to upset the European order?
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
But I have been a long-time rec.sport.disc contributor and these days that forum is falling into disrepair.
In the mid to late 1990s I started my own zine, a self-published production titled Derivative. I met some friends in the alternative press that way. I learned graphic design and desktop publishing. Inspired by the original and highly entertaining online literary magazine McSweeney's Internet Tendency (which does still appear to be in good shape) my housemate and I created the online zine Rivative, which is no longer in good shape.
The publishing world, it turns out, is not entirely my cup of tea. Filmmaking, playing, writing and doing play-by-play commentary of Ultimate is more my style.
My point is: if I make horrendous rookie blog mistakes, pen terrifically annoying blogowhines or provide redundant or rehashed blogostuff, then don't be afraid to either let me know or to dismiss the writing as the work of an inexperienced bloggo who only hopes to provide a sliver of entertainment and a tad bit of usefulness.
I will get better. I promise. Call it a blogopact.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I will be writing for the Worlds newsletter, drinking Staropramen, playing with the Philly Masters team O.L.D. S.A.G., and at the end of it all doing the Finals live play-by-play commentary for the tournament at www.wucc2010.com.
My first piece will be about the history of the World Championships, which dates back to 1983 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Included will be interviews with Dan "Stork" Roddick, Charlie Mead and Juha Jalovaara about the early days.
In the meantime, here is a link to the announced seedings: