Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chicago Sandblast Saturday

Sandblast Saturday

First, some answers from Thursday's preview.

1) Team "Threat Level Magna" is actually a typo as the team is supposed to be Threat Level Magenta. In the high-stakes action on the beach today the defending champions TLM were upset by Scottie's Revenge, a team entirely outfitted in Scottie Pippen #33 Chicago Bulls pinnies. Led by some monster with huge ups named Tyler, the Scotties rolled as TLM faltered badly.

2) Team USA – will they lose in the semis like that Potlatch year or win the whole thing like several other iterations? Right now their number one seed looks spot-on as they rolled. Their speed is just too much for most teams and when you realize it's Team USA Open + Team USA Women's then you kind of get how good they are with very little fall-off top to bottom.

3) Team USA 2 found themselves in the aforementioned pool with TLM and the Scottie Pippens and finished 4-0 fairly easily, ending the day with a thrashing of the TLM defending champions who never looked comfortable. "On second thought we shouldn't have gone with a roster of 21," reflected captain Matt Davidman afterwards. The USA2 win also ended a personal challenge as I defeated Sky'd founder Elliot Trotter and he owes me a six-pack.

4) Number of teams representing the Midwest with an over/under of 48. This is a tricky one. Of the 20 teams I polled, only four weren't local. You do the math.

In other news, in the Spirit division the Teenage Mutant Ninja BUFF squad, alumni and undergraduates from Bradley University playing in the D5 position and dressed entirely in Donatellos, Leonardos, Michelangelos and Raphaels, won 13-12 on double game point in the last game of the day.

Euro-themed Red Stripe sporting swank banana hammocks underneath their Euro-styled velour warm-ups, finished 3-1 with a win over the 2nd place team to advance. I think this is actually the same group of guys from the original Speedo team I remember from 2005.

Notre Dame alumni Beachface fell to North Park (Chicago-based, likely alumni) in a reversal of College Regionals past. Beachface may have a chance to advance to quarters based on point differential.

Party tonight is at a rather large bar eatery called Mad River on North Sheffield. Much drinking to be had by all as wristbands get competitors free beer for some amount of time.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sandblast 2011 Preview

This may also be posted on Sky'd Magazine as we are doing a cross-promotional beach tour '11.

My last trip to Sandblast was in 2005. That year I shot, edited and commentated the finals for the tournament DVD and played with Hurt Locker. Back then there were several teams that could make finals but you couldn't tell who they were. The crew wearing thick tans and thin Speedos? Bunch of guys and girls in button-downs and ties? And there were friends you didn't recognize because you weren't used to seeing them on sand.

I'm back for 2011 and have to wonder about the tournament and how much it's changed or remained the same. Here's a few questions I am asking myself for the overdue return to Chicago.


Defending champions Team Esquire changing their name to Threat Level Magna — mistake, typo or savvy marketing? (answer tomorrow from captain Matt Davidman).

Team USA @ Sandblast – Potlatch semis losers or Poultry Day champions?

Team USA 2 – First losers, second-tier winners or the age-defying 2011 Dallas Mavericks?

Number of teams representing the Midwest out of 60 total across both divisions. Over/under: 48.

Quantity of Fuze drinks given away by Fuze, the Official Sponsor of Chicago Sandblast 2011. I'm gonna guess 750.

A question we've all wanted to find out the answer to: who plays better on the sand, Milwaukee, Grand Rapids or Sheboygan?

Beach etiquette: should I call that travel or just maybe hold it back because the sand is really deep today and heck, it's only beach?

Looking at the pools I see eight teams with dirty, double entendre names referring to adult situations. How many more can there be?? The eight I have are: Ski Unit, Highlighter Nation, Labor Party, Hoffman's Mom, Big Fun, Crunkzilla, Team USA2 and Beach for America. Gnarly stuff.

Crystal Ball: Looking to the future USA Ultimate is starting a Beach Division in 2012. There's a theory that the beach game could go big like beach volleyball's raging success in the 1980s. Let's say the ruse works and beach ultimate is the hippest activity on the planet. Does Zima provide the first major sponsorship? Or Kangol?

How many months away is the 2011 World Championships of Beach Ultimate this August 21-28?

If something happens on the beach, does it stay on the beach?


Answers to some of these questions, a Q&A with Davidman and other burning answers tomorrow sometime.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Team USA's Beach Tour 2011 -- Chicago Sandblast

my return trip to Sandblast is just around the corner. It's been far too long since I've experienced the tournament. THe giveaways, always a treat in this low-profile sport.

The radio station at the fields. The effervescence of Tournament Director Adam "Twirly" Levy. The team that plays in speedos. The warm water. Heck, Chicago is even in its early summer glory.

Six years have passed since my last trip to Chicago for the tournament. Last time I got to throw down with a pretty good bunch of Wisco and CUT guys and girls. This year I have the privilege of playing for Team USA in the masters division at Beach Worlds and one of our "training" tournaments is Sandblast.

Of course Sandblast doesn't have age-specific divisions and is 100% mixed male and female. So it's not quite so much a practice in terms of strategy and structure. More like a chance to get out on the sand, comingle with teammates, and TAKE DOWN REIGNING CHAMPS ESQUIRE!

There. It's been said. Bring it.