Wednesday, July 13, 2011

“Even Shameless, Pathetic Losers Occasionally Bumble Their Way to The Top"

One has to ask -- when does age disqualify you from success in Summer League?

If you have an 80 yard bomb in your arsenal and a savvy knowledge of throwing lanes why can't you dominate a seasonal series filled with part-timers, college undergraduates and parking lot drunks? My guess from both experience and from this particularly noteworthy roster--

Westchester Summer League (NY) - Team White Open Draft Division

-- suggests that, well, most readers here, even those on this team, have a few generations to go before age prevents them from playing at a sustainable summer league level.

But therein lies a conundrum. Can an aging core (conveniently labeled [core] in this roster) get by with skills and thrills in a league where speed is cheap? From my experience playing Open league WSL there's a ton of wheels out there and trying to cover all of them is like trying to eradicate graft in Afghanistan.

So even if Team Red has been labeled a bunch of shameless losers by a veteran war hand who knows how to put down an insurgency or two, will it matter in the end?

I don't know a single name on the Red roster. On White I've played with half of them and at 38 I pre-date that half. Put that White roster circa 1996 up against PoNY circa 2006 and I think White's got more than a chance. But maybe, just maybe, an ungrateful shameless foul bunch of losers like Red circa 2011 have more than a shot against the aging former champs.

Only time will tell.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chicago Sandblast Sunday Finals

Sandblast Final Results

Sandblast finals Sunday

The clouds came in the afternoon today making for a temperate finals with a touch of wind. Great weather for watching.

As expected, top seed Team USA was in the finals with their deep bench and bounty of speed. They matched up against Drazba XX, presumably a team going back to the Southern Illinois days or at least named in homage to the SIU captain killed in a car crash in 1985.

Now a Chicago-based core who has played together for more than ten years, Drazba added Ron Kubulanza and Alicia White to the mix, formidable pickups for any team. The combination proved effective as Drazba took half 8-7.

Team USA finally reeled in Drazba by converting giveaways and looked to close it out at 14-11 before Chicago rebounded with two straight to make it 14-13. Finally a Jared Inselmann forehand down the line to a streaking Brett Matsuzaka provided the win for the Beach Worlds team.

In semis, it was Drazba over Team USA2, aka the Masters team, 15-12. A sloppy game for the most part on both sides but Drazba proved more up to the task, completing the big plays and buckling down when needed. It ended a nice run for us (Team USA 2), playing together for the first time and initially seeded 11th.

In the other semi Team USA defeated Red Stripe. Red Stripe then removed their Speedos, donned velour tracksuits, set up the loudspeaker, and live commentated/heckled the finals entirely in Italian. To understand more, you have to see the DVD.

Beachface, the ND alumni team always sporting the camouflage, took the betty pool with three straight in the morning to win out for 9th and an overall 6-1 record.

In the Sky'd writers versus Sky'd writers II (who knew so many Chicagoans?), Team USA 2 defeated Randy Graves and the Kansas-Deerfield combo team Beach for America in quarters. This was the game I learned the bro-smash and hope to employ it as a psych-up tool at the next tournament.

As usual tournament director Twirly provided plenty of giveaways for everyone. Spirit winners Drunkards and Dragons received some nice schwag, the tournament champions on Team USA got shirts and a free bid for next year (!?) and everyone got plenty of drinks from Fuze, 5 Hr. Energy and Cruzan Rum at the Saturday night party.

No, actually, no one paid me to write that. I just thought it would be nice if I did.