Monday, June 26, 2006

Boston Invitational 2006-Write-Up

Saturday:

The day started off rainy, so I hung out underneath the shelter at Frisbee Central. This meant getting to watch Dog play Potomac on field 8, which also meant, of course, getting to see all of Al's turnover's. Dog definitely took some time to find their groove, and I noticed, in most of the first round games, that the pace was a bit off from what I was expecting. I moved quickly to check out Clapham on field 7, and they're a fun team to watch. Nothing earth shattering, but good skills and they run hard. I moved on to check out the new-look Brute squad, and I must say that it is a bit jarring to see the Godiva players wearing Brute shirts. They look very solid throughout the day. In the end, a New Boston Team was put together and Godiva vets like Mo, VY, and Sarah Cook showed up. They pulled off an upset of Lotus 13-12 in the first round, but ended up 4th in the pool. While there seems to be a desire to continue the Godiva pedigree, I think the general sense was that this "NBT" team was a pick-up team.

I moved on to check out Metal playing Sub. Close game. Metal seemed more comfortable with longer possessions than in the past. They ended up beating Sub by 1, I believe, and ended up winning their pool, which was great.

I checked in on the Mixed Div and things seemed to be running fine. The first real news of the day was Camelot beating 6TM 14-12. 6TM was inconsistent on offense, but looked pretty good when I was looking on. Camelot is very defined about their approach, and they seem more active and aggressive on D than in years past. Lorne displayed high sportsmanship, as usual. I saw him quietly intervene two times when his players had made calls, and both times his teammates changed their calls. I am not much for the whole "the disc never lies" karma thing, but I did think at the time that if Camelot overturned those calls that they would win the game.

I went for a run during round three.

I got back from run in time to eat some lunch and pick out a seat for the Dog-Clapham game. It was around this time, during a conversation, that I got my first (of 2-3) "Is that going to go into your blog?" comment. That was a bit weird. It will probably get to the point where I will need to define if my conversations are on or off the record.

The Dog-Clapham game began with a lot of pace. Good offense and defense on both sides. The gentleman that Al mentioned talking to beat Zip deep for a goal early on. You don't see that very often. Dog got a Callahan goal late in the first half. Both teams tried some standard cup zone. Someone commented that the zone looks seemed as much or more about slowing the pace down than trying to get a block. Al threw a lot of hammers. Zip seemed to have a good day and I was impressed by Paul V's work on O.

After gathering scores in the Mixed Division, I came back to check out the Dog-Metal crossover. I was a bit disappointed that the game was meaningless from a formats point of view, but I was pleasantly surprised by the overall level of intensity. Unfortunately, early on, Dog made The Worst Call of the Day when a strip was called that took away a Callahan goal for Metal. I was about 15 yards away and had a good angle. Metal clearly gained possession first. The thing that bothered me as a spectator was that the call came across as "We're Dog. Callahan's don't happen to us". I am not saying that this was the intention of the player that made the call and I do trust that he acted fairly, but it did feel like one of a few examples over the weekend of "when the going gets tough...out come the calls". To digress for a moment, the refereeing debacles at the World Cup have reinforced my feeling that those who think that adding refs alone will take our sport to the next level are at best misguided, but if I am going to be candid, it's calls like that strip call that are frustrating for the spectators and make me wonder if self-officiating will go down as a failed social experiment. Honestly, I lost interest in the game at that point and slowly made my way around to check out Brute Squad again. As I was leaving field 8, though, Dog turned the disc over in the end zone they were attacking, and after some good defense, Jim P called a stall on the person he was guarding. After a brief discussion, Jim overturned his call and Metal promptly converted the break. While it might seem hokey, I left with my confidence in self-officiating intact. I was glad to hear that these calls were not the difference makers in the game as Metal went up by 3 or 4 after half, but was unable to close out. Dog ended up winning 15-13.

I stopped in on the Brute-Stella game, and Brute was very much in control. I talked with Beth N a bit after the game, and I agreed with her that seemed slightly tired on D. I was not impressed with Stella's throws and Brute seemed to be a much deeper team.

I finished the day checking out the 1v2 pool play games in the Mixed Division. When I got to the 6TM-Puppet Regime game, Puppet was up 6-1. One of my Wellesley girls, Ralph, is trying out for 6TM, and she made a very nice block which began a run for 6TM. Puppet played inconsistently all day and ended up losing 13-11. As this is Puppet's first tournament of the year, one gets the feeling like the wheels are just getting going for them. They will be fine in a few months. 6TM also had an inconsistent day, and they are very much just beginning to get a feel for what their roster will look like for 06. It will be very different from previous years, and as Marshall said "We got some work to do". I moved over to the Slow White-Amp game as SW scored to make it 10-9. This game probably had the highest pace of any mixed game I watched. Both teams were playing well on both sides of the disc. Jasper had some very nice long throws for Slow White, and Doc did a good job of running the show for Amp. I would not be surprised if the finals was a rematch of this game.

Sunday:

There was only one team with anything truly at stake in Open quarters and it was Clapham. A win against Goat would put them in semis and give them the chance, due to a bye, to watch England in the round of 16. As consolation semis occurred in the next round, there was clearly much to play for and Clapham seemed very fired up and won pretty easily. They played good defense and were able to convert their breaks. In general, Clapham does nothing very different. They like to break the mark on O, and they can play good D when they have energy. I did find that their overall pace fluctuated quite a bit from game to game.

After Clapham secured their victory, about 40 folks descended upon Frisbee Central when the word got out that Tommy had brought his satellite dish to the fields plus 3!! TV's. His efforts were met with great cheers by the Clapham guys, and it was fun to watch the game with them and get a glimpse of real appreciation for the game.

I went to check in on Brute Squad in their quarters game. They were very on all weekend and seemed to be more athletic and have better skills than everyone else. I was quite impressed, and they cruised to the championship without being really challenged. Congrats to them on a great start to the season!

I found the Open semis to be a bit low key. I was very impressed with Dog's man defense over the weekend and they handled Sub Zero 15-11. In the other semi, Clapham was a bit slow to get going and Metal jumped out to an early lead that they held to a 15-11 win. Clapham plays a very clean game and makes very few calls as does Metal, so their semi was a good show of athleticism. Clapham looked long at the end of the game, and in one exciting sequence, Rob A was able to go deep for a huge gainer to the end zone line, but his push pass attempt to a teammate running by him fluttered in the wind...big groans from the crowd.

The Open final was played with a lot of intensity and it was very fun to watch. I would say that a key part of the game is that Dog's O just seemed easier. They had a few 2 or 3 pass points, while Metal had to work very hard and throw a lot of passes against both Dog's person and zone D looks. I think Metal's willingness to possess the disc bodes well for them, but they had to work a lot harder than Dog. Zip made some huge cuts for Dog and was a factor on both sides of the disc. Ryan (newly in from Pike) made a great layout grab for a goal, but Dog took half by a couple. Jeff G had a lot of energy for this game and had great ups, but several times was working against double coverage (twice it was both Mahoney brothers). Brian Stout, whose body type might be the prototype for the future of Ultimate, had two huge D's followed once by a goal and the second by a big layout grab. This second grab, though, was brought back due a travel call, so instead of it being 12-10 it ended up 13-9....that is a big momentum shift. Dog was able to close the game out at 15-11. I was very impressed with Dog's intensity over the weekend. They ran very well and played good defense. They deserve congratulations for their second Boston Invite championship in a row. If I have any negative comments at all, it was that I felt that the other semis teams called cleaner games over the course of the weekend, but that is just my opinion.

Mixed quarters went to seed, and I spent some time watching semis. Slow White jumped out on Camelot 8-3, but Camelot made a game out of it before losing 14-12. Slow White had tightened their rotation for this game and Camelot did have a bit of trouble matching up. Overall, though, I thought Camelot made a great showing. They have strong women and men players, and Lorne really runs their O very well. In the other quarters, Amp continued their strong weekend by beating 6TM 15-6. It looked like 6TM struggled on O.

The finals, as I predicted, was a rematch of pool play. I got there at the beginning of the second half as Slow White went up 9-8 over Amp. They trade to 11-11. Both teams are running tight rotations. Slow White is getting good long throws from Teddy, but Amp is very good at possessing the disc. Doc runs the O with confidence, and Jeff is a strong D handler and his ability to run the D's offense should be a source of confidence for them this year. The teams trade until 11-11, then Rosie put up a throw for Teddy at the back of the end zone, but he can't grab it as it goes out the back. Amp works it all the way down field for the big break, 12-11. Amp secures another break to go up 13-11, and then, Teddy gets footblocked about 15 yards out of Slow White's end zone. Teddy gets the disc back with a huge block, but the teams trade turnovers. Then Sloppy gets a big catch in the end zone to bring it to 13-12. Amp displays confidence in their ability to possess the disc, and the teams trade to a 15-13 win for Amp. Amp looks very good this year, and I can see why the loss of Doc last year was a big deal. They have fast and athletic women and their overall rotation is tight and organized. I am going to be very interested to see how their Philly Invite tournament plays out as most of the top Mid-Atlantic and NE teams will be there. So congrats to Amp on their win in Boston!

As usual, Tommy and Barbara ran a great show and the teams seemed appreciative. We were lucky to avoid the rain that swamped other parts of our area.

20 comments:

Neva said...

So Godiva is really and truly over? Very sad. I suppose Verge broke up, members merged with the second team to form Riot, and they went on to win the UPA championship (a goal Verge never reached). But this feels different, because it seems to be more a matter of a younger, newer team taking their place. That's probably pretty unusual in the frisbee world.

Riot, undefeated in over a year, is the standard everyone looks to - but their game is completely different from Godiva's, more focused on athletic defense and spectacular plays on offense than on taking care of the disc. I don't think there's a women's team today that comes close to running an offense as pretty as Godiva's. Instead, even blowouts like Riot's win over Backhoe in the finals are marred with lots of turnovers by both teams.

Perhaps it's just a matter of personnel, in that Godiva's throwers were always able to break at ease and put the disc anywhere on the field that they wanted. But it's also a matter of philosophy. After all, Teens and Goodwin could huck with the best of them - but the chances they took were closer to 90%, whereas many women's teams today throw 50-75% looks. If your philosophy is "Take care of the disc", you will practice offense till the cows come home, making sure it runs like a well-oiled machine; you will recruit throwers that you teach smart defense to; and you will rein in the throws of your primary cutters and teach them to do what they do best.

There's nothing wrong with having a different team philosophy, one focused on defense, for example. But I think the women's game loses as a whole when there's only one model of what a team can do. I hope at least some of Godiva's beautiful offense survives, in Brute Squad, the NBT, or in some place new.

Corey said...

George wrote:

Unfortunately, early on, Dog made The Worst Call of the Day when a strip was called that took away a Callahan goal for Metal

and

"when the going gets tough...out come the calls".




It's nice to see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.


Corey

Ryan said...

Unfortunately, early on, Dog made The Worst Call of the Day when a strip was called that took away a Callahan goal for Metal. I was about 15 yards away and had a good angle. Metal clearly gained possession first. The thing that bothered me as a spectator was that the call came across as "We're Dog. Callahan's don't happen to us". I am not saying that this was the intention of the player that made the call and I do trust that he acted fairly, but it did feel like one of a few examples over the weekend of "when the going gets tough...out come the calls".

I also had a great view of the play, defending near the front of the stack, and I have to disagree with your "worst call of the day" statement and "we're DoG" comment. I do think the DoG player was wrong, and that Wiseman caught a Callahan, but the players were attacking the disc from opposite sides. It was a close play, so I think it's pretty reasonable that both players would believe they got it first. That's self-officiating for you.

You were definitely right about one thing: It wasn't the difference-maker in the game.

gcooke said...

Neva,

Thanks for the comments. I have gotten the sense, from talking to some former Godiva players, that preserving the values that you describe is important for the Godiva vets. There are rumors of a loose Godiva-vet team for the fall, and perhaps Godiva will continue to give back as coaches ( a few have already gone down that path).

In any case, it will be interesting to see if any of the discipline and attention to detail gets passed along to the newer teams. Perhaps it is obvious, but the loss of Godiva, as you describe, represents a huge change for our sport.

-g

gcooke said...

Corey,

I am not that aware of history, but I have witnessed many examples of Dog taking the high road when it comes to calls. I think Moses, Forch, Jim, and others have carried themselves with class, in terms of sportsmanship, over the years.

My comments were not meant to pile on in any sense, it was to say that, as a spectator, I appreciate and respect clear displays of the highest level of sportsmanship.

-g

gcooke said...

Ryan,

Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your opinions and your different perspective.

A couple of things:

-While I strongly disagreed with the strip call, calling it "TWCOTD" was over the top and I did that with awareness.

-I said "the player acted fairly" meaning that while I strongly disagreed with the call( I believe I said at the time that it was "terrible"), I didn't think he was cheating.

-The "We're Dog" comment was a gut reaction and purely my opinon. I think I was clear that this was not a factual statement.

-"That's self-officiating for you". I think I was clear later on in the paragraph that this is exactly what I felt.

In terms of being a difference maker, I am glad it wasn't. If Ultimate spectators are to respect the time and effort that elite teams take toward making the right decisions, and we come to expect that the talent level makes games like the 02 Dog-FG semis game not an anomaly, then turnovers are a huge deal, and it makes for exciting viewing when they happen. So, in a sense, I was buying into the idea that the opportunity for Dog to break (which is a huge deal) came as a result of the call, and that if the game proceeded "on-serve"....then it was game over...as a result of the call.

-g

parinella said...

Ryan,

That's a very classy way to handle the situation. It also looked to me, lounging on the sideline, watching but not Observing, that it wasn't a strip, but the call-maker has no history of making questionable calls like that.

George, I'm just giving you a hard time, I wasn't offended. But it was 0-0 when it happened. It might be a pivotal point, but it was too early to say that the going was getting tough.

Now, if you want a game-changing call, take a look at today's World Cup game. You can't get any more game-changing than a penalty kick in a 0-0 game with 12 seconds left.

To be honest, I'm getting sick of calls. This whole "I fouled you but it was before the throw" and "you traveled after I bumped you" and whatever other "pussy" calls, as one might say, just destroy the aesthetic value of the game, and leave both teams feeling cheated, in some sense.

gcooke said...

Jim,

Thanks for the comments. I agree that, as a spectator, it is much more pleasing to watch a "clean" game. I don't think the strip was a "pussy" call at all....

From an aesthetic point of view, I also appreciated Jeff G's no foul call during one of Dog's zone D points, that is, until he got up from the contact and was called for a travel.


-g

Julian said...

To be honest, I'm getting sick of calls. This whole "I fouled you but it was before the throw" and "you traveled after I bumped you" and whatever other "pussy" calls, as one might say, just destroy the aesthetic value of the game, and leave both teams feeling cheated, in some sense.

and

From an aesthetic point of view, I also appreciated Jeff G's no foul call during one of Dog's zone D points, that is, until he got up from the contact and was called for a travel.

To me, this kind of thing is the biggest threat to spirit in Ultimate today. I understand to some degree the "you didn't call the foul, that's your fault--I'm not going to let you get away with _traveling, fouling, etc_" argument, but I think it implies a kind of disrespect for your oponent and the rules. If you foul on the mark, and the thrower moves four inches as a result, you should let it go; it's clearly a result of your failure to follow the rules, not his.

Right. /mini-rant.

j

gcooke said...

Julian,

I don't know if you were at Boston or not, but this situation was a bit more dramatic than a bump or simply a failure to follow rules. Jeff was fouled, in my opinion, by a legit attempt at the disc. It was the choice, as he was knocked to the ground, to not call the foul that was pretty dramatic, and, if were not for the travel call, in my opinion, would have left Dog at a great disadvantage as the mid-mid was on the ground and Metal was off to the races.

-g

Julian said...

G,

I was there, but didn't see the play. Sounds like a different situation than I thought.

So, play goes like this: Legit D attempt is unsuccessful, but results in a foul that leaves Jeff on the ground but is not called. Jeff gets up off the ground to exploit the fact that the bidding defender is out of position and is called for a travel because he traveled when he stood up. Right?

That's a bit different from the "pussy" calls Jim was refering to. Sounds like Jeff took a risk by not calling the foul, and it didn't pay off. Unless Jeff had yet to establish a pivot because he ended up on the ground as a result of the catch/contact, in which case it couldn't have been a travel. Yes? No?

j

gcooke said...

Julian wrote:

"So, play goes like this: Legit D attempt is unsuccessful, but results in a foul that leaves Jeff on the ground but is not called. Jeff gets up off the ground to exploit the fact that the bidding defender is out of position and is called for a travel because he traveled when he stood up. Right?"

I believe so. I couldn't hear the specifics of the discussion.

"Unless Jeff had yet to establish a pivot because he ended up on the ground as a result of the catch/contact, in which case it couldn't have been a travel. Yes? No?"

The contact was made simultaneously with the catch, but I would say that he probably did establish a pivot foot. The trvael was called after he got up and threw the disc. The travel was not called, as far as I understand, because he moved his pivot after the contact.

-g

micah said...

From my (admittly baised, but also less than three feet away) perspective it went like this: Neale makes a bid at the throw and both he and Jeff end up on the ground and in a pile, but Jeff makes the catch. Jeff gets up with Neale still on the ground and covering much of his legs; makes a throw upfield and DoG defender calls travel saying that his pivot foot had moved on the throw.

Now, it seemed to me pretty clearly that Jeff had gotten up and thrown legally and we were hurt by the stoppage of play (no longer attacking on a fast break against a broken zone). I really couldn't see how there was movement in Jeff's pivot as the disc was basically instantly thrown as soon as he was back on his feet. Maybe the defender saw somthing I didn't, but like I said I was probably the closest player on the field when it happened.

Neale ended up saying something like "well, maybe he travelled but I did really foul him pretty good, so lets just keep the disc as completed to the next receiver.

So, the stoppage sucked, but I think the disc ended up in the right spot.

-Micah
Metal #9

gcooke said...

Thanks, Micah, for the clarification.

-g

Wicks said...

From further away, that is pretty much what it looked like, except that Jeff had to do a bit of a dance to extricate his legs from Neale's (it looked pretty funny, actually). I imagine that dance is what caused the travel call, though I agree it stopped the break through the zone and is an unfair call - refs would have just let them play, I imagine, or maybe called the foul on the reception (not that I am advocating for refs).

gcooke said...

Wicks,

Thanks for the perspective. I wondered at the time if the travel was called because Jeff started moving downfield at the same time he threw the disc.

I think your interpretation (same as Micah's) is what the call was based on.

-g

#24 said...

Great comparison with World Cup Football, sorry, SOCCER!

Germany 06 will largely be remembered for cheating actors indulging in 'simulazione' to persuade the ref they were fouled. Without pointing the finger too much (ahem, Portugal, Italy)it's a pity that professionals feel the need to sacrifice their respect for the game, aka spirit in our sport, in order to achieve 'higher' goals - winning, cash etc. While some players might perhaps make bad calls sometimes, thankfully I'm fairly sure that we'll never see an Ultimate player feigning injury in order to make a foul call. Then again, most football (soccer) fans would probably shudder at the thought of a 'spirit violation' call!...

gcooke said...

24,

Thanks for your comments. I have personally found past World Cups to be worse in terms of diving, but I agree, I think this year might mark the first time we begin to really acknowledge what a problem it is.

Wouldn't you say, though, that a yellow card for diving is given for a violation against the spirit of sportsmanship?

So we might not call it a "spirit violation", but there are similarities....

-g

#24 said...

"Wouldn't you say, though, that a yellow card for diving is given for a violation against the spirit of sportsmanship?"

Sure, but so many dives go unnoticed and therefore unpunished, that it still worth the risk of faking it, especially in the penalty area where you're almost certain of earning a goal and therefore glory for your country and probably another 0 on your club salary!

Long live unpaid sports players that respect the rules.

gcooke said...

#24,

Right on.

My point was that diving is a "spirit violation". Even though they would shudder to call it that.

Thanks for the good comments.

-G