Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Crystal Ball: A Player's Union for USA Ultimate?

Free beer is gone from nationals, a telling and damning sign. The apocalypse is surely at hand! No, not really. Plenty of fun times were to be had and I don't think the elimination of free beer is going to ever end those.

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

the End of the Season

Panda Bears versus Polar Bears was the last matchup at Regionals... but here in Sarasota it was West Coast vs East Coast.

Mikey from Five says hi

Big Controversy? Polar Bears win 15-11.

whoa, a high hooking forehand caught by the wind tails away fast and a Polar Bears player make s huge grab ON THE LINE. Korber from D5 is on the play, both players went up and.... a slight delay, oversver rules "in"

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

14-10 game point Polar Bears

D5 has disc. Seabirds are flying over the fields so every now and then I will look up and see something in the air, could be a disc, and its a bird floating past instead and the disc is on the ground or something like that.

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

Zone in Effect

D5 has put on the zone while Bears are going downwind. But the comfortable handling of #22 Matty Sung, Liu and Tsou make it look easy, fast, quick movement and Bob Liu throws the goal to make it 14-10.

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.

Bears in Zone D with D5 Going Downwind

One thing to note is the Bears' use of the zone going both ways. While D5 was playing man, the Bears zone both directions is totally in the heads of D5 and affecting their throws and concentration. They manage to score, Redding to Segool as Segool sneaked around behind the deep in the zone to make it 13-10.

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.

12-9 Polar Bears, now 13-9

So basically what we have here is that D5 needs to do what they did in the first half to come back from two upwind breaks to get on serve, here in the second half.

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

Big Plays try to Revive lackluster D5

but they're falling behind...

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.

Patient Upwind Handling Nets Timeout fo Polar Bears

They've got the disc now 5 yards to the upwind break. A score here would change the balance in their favor for the net of the first half. Timeout call gives them a new set.

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.

Mazur Push Pass to Korber, 7-6 D5, back on Serve

After a smart timeout call from Chris Mazur on D5 following an easy Korber block, they work it around to within 5 yards and Mazur finds Korber in the end zone to hold serve now, not surprisingly i feel, at 7-6 them.

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.

D5 gets the final break back

upwind makes it look easy, pretty pass into the wind, 6-6 tie game.

Sean Laing Fails Physical to be Observer

He passed the written exam, but the Slow of Slow White couldn't keep his clown feet running fast enough

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.

Big Upwinder to restore Sanity

Redding from D5 jacks a forehand that speedy Justin Segool baits beautifully with a huge right-ward swing before easily coming back around to the disc.

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.

Downwind turn d5

But not short field.

but 82 An-chi Tsou on Polar Bears makes a sweet layout catch on a tough upwind huck for a HUGE goal and break, 5-2, as the wind increases

4-2 Polar Bears non upwind break and downwind conversion

OK, so its been a long couple of points and I'm sure you can watch the live video commentary with the peppy commentary, so i am just now catching up.

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

1-0 D5

I'm sitting with half D5 fans and the Chad Larson Exp team who played both teams at Nationals, losing twice to Polar Bears and once to D5 in a DGP game in their power pool

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

Live Mixed Finals

i will live blog mixed finals between D5 and Polar Bears.

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--

Old Style- Real Huck - Surly: Masters Correction

from Tim DeBayl, after reading my coverage of the Masters division for USAU, which can be found here:


"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.

oops, lost signal

heh heh.

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.

chicken throws it to sherwood, on revolver

ill-advised throw to two defenders results in predictble. conert attempt is a foul call in end zone

revolver sends Garcia deep

Out of the handle position, Garcia runs the play and gets 10 yards deep an Watson another unmarked backhand for the easy score, 11-8.

Mahoney gets block and score

on hammer throw from Neff after he gets a layout block on an in-cut. i've seen that before. 10-8, revolver

Will Ironside D win game?

they have to but now the O is tight. Flow not grat bur Crcket punches it in, 10-7 revolver

Live Open Finals

ok, tsting this out -- after 8-6 half, revolver gets score to 9-6 then forces a turn from Ironside and sends an unmarked backhand huck for a goal, 10-6. their game to lose