Tuesday, August 29, 2006

UCPC: Venue, Date, and Request for Proposal Announce

I just finalized the permits for our venue, so I can announce that the Ultimate Coaches and Players Conference will be held at Newton South High School in Newton, MA on January 27, 2007. Newton South has just undergone a major renovation, so the UCPC will be held in a new venue that should suit our needs.

Also at this time, we are seeking proposals for presentations. We are hoping to have a wide range of topics at the UCPC, so we are excited to hear about your ideas.

Please go to www.buda.org/ucpc for the latest updates. If you wish to submit a proposal, please click on the "Submit a Proposal" button and fill out the form. We look forward to hearing from you.


Monday, August 28, 2006

Where is the D?

It is interesting to be attending tournaments as a spectator these days. I enjoy watching games, which is good, but my viewpoint is understandably quite different than when playing or coaching. I find myself sometimes watching the games with the underlying question "Is this something that the general public would find exciting?" I think this is because I am highly invested in the sport and want it to grow, obviously, but I am also subjecting the sport to my awareness of the "issues of the day": how does the sport flow, how is the self-officiating working, would it work on TV, etc. In general, I find that the sport has a varying degree of excitement very much in line with other live sporting events I have experienced, and, as I have said before, there are predictable circumstances that contribute to excitement such as semis vs pool play, athletic plays, good stories, etc.

In any case, it was with the above baggage that I decided to take my daughter to the end of Saturday's play at Chowdafest in Seekonk, MA. As an aside, I have been very much enjoying my new found free weekends with my family, but as my wife was not feeling well in the afternoon, I decided to pack up my daughter, hit the zoo, and then catch the last round of pool play.

After driving down south and arriving slightly after the last round had begun, I managed to check out all the games in the round, say hello to a few folks, and even grab a bowl of the Chowda, courtesy of Matty B, the TD. Maybe my expectations were too high due to not having seen any club play since the Boston Invitational, or perhaps it was the last round of the day and the games didn't matter, but I found the overall energy of play to be quite low. Don't get me wrong. I have slogged around with the best of them at this very tournament, especially in 04 when it was 100 degrees and we had 10 people, none of whom were younger than about 30. Mostly I just felt, from my spectator viewpoint described above, that the intensity on D was non-existent. Teams were able to score without many turns, but it seemed that this was the result of a lack of adversity rather than excellent O.

It did make me realize that when it mattered, the D line of 6TM 04 (I was on the O line) was about as fierce as any I have experienced. This is not meant as a reminiscence or a "Glory Days" moment. It is meant to say that while there is a lot of focus on offense in this sport, watching seven folks sprint down as fast as they can after a great pull knowing that the other team will be lucky to complete three passes is quite exciting. I believe in a previous post about what creates excitement in our sport, that Jim P said that "either team having the potential to score" was a big factor in contributing to excitement. I agree with this, but I also feel that great defense, and the resulting intensity, is as compelling as a game with very few turns. Perhaps this is due to a lack of publicity. I recall that in one of Seigs' posts that he said that Jeff "Dick" Brown said that the D line should never talk or write about what they do. On the other hand, Jim P has said several times, when talking about Dog's D "Well, that is enough about the D"(I am sure that this is his blog point of view and not the point of view of his book). Steve Mooney's Conceptual Ultimate articles were very balanced between O and D, and while a bit outdated (the articles are 12 years old now), they do offer some interesting and fundamentally solid perspectives on how think about defense. So, while the D does not get much lip service in our sport, I think the lack of intensity of the defense during the games that I saw on Saturday contributed greatly to an overall lower level of energy than I was expecting and made spectating not as exciting as I hoped.. I am sure that as the Series begins that this will change.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Upcoming Pre-Season Events

As I have said before, I am really excited about the Fall Series this year. The first big milestone is the early deadline for online roster submission, which is this Friday. In addition, there are four pre-season tournaments that I will be watching via the trusty SRT. These events all look to be competitive and will provide important intra-regional data points.

Aug 26-27:

1) Chesapeake- Mostly top MA teams like AAS, AMP, Olio, and Hooray. I will be watching to see if newcomer, Black Molly, can follow up on its Howdown win. Garrett says that this team, with a full roster (it looks like Spear/ Raleigh Llamas), can play with anyone in the country. Added in are NE teams Puppet Regime and Tandem.

2) Chowdafest- Since this tournament moved from late June to late August, it has become an important preview of NE Regionals. This year should be no different as Slow White and Chinstrap will be there plus MA teams Philly KRU and Animal.

Sept 2-3:

3) Labor Day:

Highly competitive 10-team field with 5 National Qualifiers from the NW and SW. Throw in the Gendors and this is a great group of teams.

Sept 9-10:

4) CHC- Once again we get a nice blend of teams with 4 regions represented. All the top Central teams are there (CLX, Moe, ICE, Mr Briefcase, Salsa Police), plus top teams from the MA (Black Molly, AAS), NE (6TM, Slow White, Puppet Regime), and the SW (Pleasure town). Should be true to its billing: a great tune-up.


Monday, August 07, 2006

Looking Forward

I am going on vacation for the next 10-12 days, so I will not be posting during this time. I have been quite busy with Ultimate since NUTC, though. This is what I am working on.

First, the Fall Series is starting to ramp up. I am looking forward to the Series. I know I differ from some players, but I like Sectionals in the early fall as teams roll out their new rosters and are fresh with expecations and anticipation. I am doing a lot of work these as NXD on scheduling Sectionals, Regionals, and dealing with various issues. We also need to make a big push to make sure that teams understand that they can only use the on-line rosterinf system this year. No more paper rosters. Thst is a pretty big deal.

Second, I am working with a bunch of great folks on CHC. We are currently working on formats and team confirmination for that tournament.

Third, there is some basic debriefing to do about NUTC. I am working on notes about what worked well and what didn't while it is still somewhat fresh.

Lastly, there is a lot of work to do on the UCPC. I hope to have the venue permits done when I get back home and be able to announce the confirmed date and location. We are also starting to contact possible presenters and develop a request for proposal form that will go online in a few weeks. A big task that needs to start in Sept is contacting colleges about the Recruiting Fair.

There is a lot of work to do, but I am quite excited about the fall. It will, though, be nice to recharge the batteries for the next week or so.


Thursday, August 03, 2006

NUTC: 2006 is in the books

NUTC Sessions A, B, and C came and went this year bookended by heat waves. Combined with the large numbers in Session C, we needed to adjust the schedule radically this last week to keep the kids out of the mid-day sun. When we were on the fields, we provided salty snacks and took to having "salt parties" with each team during half time. I bought some sea salt and the kids responded well to the "Death or Glory Salt Party Half Time Show". I appreciate Al's reminder of this method back in Session A.

I became a bit concerned early this past week when I perceived that we were not being as diligent as I would like about certain parts of the schedule. We had trouble getting off the fields early enough for rec hour, and one of our evening events ran a bit late. However, when the heat wave hit, the counselors and staff went into "crises mode" and everyone had each other's backs. If tasks had been put aside due to concerns about dehydration, someone stepped up and took the initiative without being asked. Really, I can't thank the counselors and CIT's enough for their efforts.

A big story this year was Jody getting his first NUTC tournament win and emerging from a losing streak that had the emotional ups and downs of a Shakespearean tragedy. In session B, he won twice as many games as he had in the previous 6 sessions as a counselor. In session C, he went undefeated on his way to second straight championship. This is pretty disappointing really as there is nothing to talk about anymore under the tent.

The energy of the campers this week was great. They worked hard and played good Ultimate. There are a couple of young phenoms with good throws but also very good, albeit young, Ultimate minds.

The camper/counselor game was fun this past week. One point featured the counselors wearing old high school Ultimate jerseys. While the counselors were changing, however, some campers managed to steal their coveted NUTC instructor jerseys and then revealed them from under their camper jerseys while on the line. That pretty much one upped the counselors and there was a few minutes in which it was feared that one of the jerseys might have fallen into a campers hands permanently. There was also a point that featured the weird but compelling game, "Miniature Tanks". Ask an 06 alum about "Miniature Tanks".

So, I am off for a bit of a vacation with my family. I hope the campers and staff from NUTC 06 have a great rest of the summer.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Ultimate Coaches and Players Conference: Boston 2007

After a year's worth of initial planning, I am pleased to announce the first Ultimate Coaches and Players Conference(UCPC). This event will be held in Boston in January 2007, and the website is www.buda.org/ucpc. The sponsors for the event are BUDA and NUTC, so my thanks goes out to them. The website is a simple introduction to the event, but we will be adding content about the venue, presenters, proposals, etc. Tiina Booth and I are going to host the event and we are close to signing the permits for the location. We have begun contacting possible presenters from the wonderful crop of Ultimate coaches and players, and, additionally, we will be soliciting proposals for presentations shortly.

The UCPC is being planned as a one day event, and it will feature seminars, presentations, panel discussions, as well as the Ultimate Expo. The Ultimate Expo will be a Trade Show with Ultimate vendors, and a Recruiting Fair for college programs.

The plan is to have content that will appeal to a broad range of attendees. We hope that people involved in Ultimate from the middle school coach to the elite player will find topics that interest them.

So stay tuned for more info shortly. It should be an exciting event.