Thursday, July 22, 2010

Up Next: Wildwood

I guess it's good to get out of the house in July. Especially during a multiple-continent heat wave.

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

Blauer Burgunder wins Pig Me Up 2

As advertised, the Styrian-style pig roast was tremendous. The large hog-on-a-spit was expertly turned by a man of similar color and demeanor as the pig and received a standing ovation for his slow-cooked masterpiece.

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.