Monday, September 25, 2006


Luke says that nothing is going on in Boston. Last I checked I was still posting, but I guess my comment that I had heard OTHER people say that the West Coast Offense was a tacit agreement to neuter the meaning of a turnover really hit home.

In other news, the 11th edition draft is here. I have taken a cursory look at it. I like the new Cap language. I dipped my toe over in the 11th Edition discussion group and asked Peri if there had been discussion about raising the minimum number of players needed to start play (currently 2), and she, as usual, took a moment out of her day to inquire why I would ask (there had been no discussion on this topic apparently). Ultimate7, as usual, weighed in with the tact and finesse that we have come to expect from him, so I think I will write Peri directly as it seems like there won't be a conversation over in that least not when there is an "RSD voice" present.

So Sectionals is complete. I have been "on-call" for the past three weekends. I work sometimes on the weekends (lately I have been doing audio work for BC football games), so my colleagues don't know quite what to make of me stopping work to discuss the placement game rule in the 13th place bracket of a tournament 2000 miles away. While all the results are not quite in, I think things seem to be playing out as expected. Mischief beat Brass Monkey to win the NorCal tournament. All the talk this year has been around Brass picking up Griego, Casey, Coco, and Greenough, but Mischief must have done some serious recruiting as they are playing very consistently in a very tough Region. Moe beat the Carleton folks to win NWP. I will be watching to see if they can do it again in two weeks. Slow White went through ENE without much difficulty. They seem to be ramping up very effectively. There was talk on RSD about the Gendors "curse" and them not being able to beat a team twice in a weekend. We shall see this upcoming weekend when we have three Regional tournaments (anyone else notice that there is no RSD talk about the other divs for yet another year. Someone said it is because the results in the other Divs are probably set in stone. This goes back to my post last fall about upsets equaling excitement). I think Regional is the best time of the year.......

On the home front, practices at Wellesley started last week. As usual, we have many brand new players, but this year the new folks seem to be hanging in there a bit longer. I have been impressed with my returning players as they have been working very hard to teach the new players the basic fundamentals. I think we need to remain committed to working very hard to push the new players through this stage even though it feels like the vets are not able to focus on their skills and progression. This is going to require patience and I hope it will pay off in a few months as there is a great deal of energy and enthusiasm overall. Things did get off to a bit of a rough start at the first practice, however. There must have been forty people there and it was very exciting. We introduced ourselves, and then the team went for its usual jog warm-up. I made my way around the field putting down the eight cones. As the team passed me by, one of the girls toward the back of the pack said to me "What is this? The track team". Weird, but I could let it slide. We stretched out in a circle and went around and said names. We then did the NUTC throwing demo. Have you ever noticed that people from Canada and Minnesota manage to work in how great those places are into most every conversation? You can say something like "I saw this coffee mug I liked the other day", and the response will be "Yeah, I have this friend back home in the Twin Cities that is a potter, and she makes the BEST coffee mugs!". Etc, etc. I am like this about NUTC now, and my captains have pretty much had it with me. They will say "Let's do go-to today", and I will say "Great idea! Let's do the REALLY GREAT version we did at camp". So far no one has rolled their eyes at me (which was a big camp no-no), but I think we are close. Anyway. So we are doing the NUTC throwing demo. I have Jess, Angie, and Peter out there to demo the basic throws (Peter is a Wellesley employee and an Ultimate player. He has been at the school for a year now and is coming to pretty much every practice to help out with things. He is great with the girls and with so many girls right now we are able to split up the squad and be
much more efficient). We start with flat backhands. I am talking while they are throwing and I go through the basics of the motion. As I start to talk about body rotation for power, I hear giggling from the circle. I turn around and it is Track Girl. I walk over and ask if there id a problem. She says "I just think talking about this is so funny. I mean.....its just frisbee". Now, I think I have demonstrated that I maintain my sense of humor through most circumstances. I do have a problem, though, with disrespect. My first thought was to tell her to get the fuck off the field and don't come back. I did manage to have some self-restraint (which my captains thanked me for later) and I just walked away. Peter came up to me once we started to drill and said "We won't see her on Thursday", and, indeed, we did not. While I was quite taken aback by such of show of disrespect for a voluntary activity, I have to say that was far and away the only display of this sort that I have experienced so far at the school, and in all other respects, it has been a great start to the year.


Tarr said...

The unfortunate fact is that the sentiments of "track girl" are very common, even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Classic cognitive dissonance - she had her opinion of "frisbee" all set, and she wasn't going to let reality get in the way of it. The only difference betweeen her and most know-nothings I've had to deal with, is that most of the people who have this opinion never show up to a practice.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the biggest barrier to our sport gaining traction is that the object that is central to our sport is percieved as a childish toy. Something you use to play with dogs or throw around on a crowded beach.

Don't take this as a defeatist statement that we will never be considered "legit". We just have a harder battle because of this perception.

luke said...

fine. other than the erudite musings of the distinguished upa guy from up by the bigdig...

jtflynn said...

i definitely agree that regionals time is an exciting time, especially in divisions/regions that are in flux. i've been busy this month getting married and trying to prep the W$ ready for regionals, so I have had little time for looking over the results and changes. However, I gotta agree that a lack of talk is disappointing. Lots of new names in mixed regionals pools. I can only assume (meaning: hope) that as sectionals reports start to filter out and more regionals seedings start to develop that the predictions and discussions will bloom.

Whor$hack #2

Sam TH said...

I'm sad to hear that you won't be participating any more in the rules discussion group. I think it's very important to have these discussions in the open, and have the participation of the whole community. Even if some people aren't civil, that's no reason to leave the forum to them.

gcooke said...


Its funny. I have never thought about the toy thing, and it would never have occurred to me to view any sports implement and lesser than any other. I think your comments are very interesting.


Thank you for acknowledging my trash....talking.


Well, there is some talk about SW and MA on RSD and I think the NE, NW, and Central discussions should heat up shortly. At least there is something going on....


Well, I appreciate that. I am probably naive, but it was just another example of why I appreciate, for the most part, the level of discourse in the blog world...if for nothing else than the tone. I will try to send Peri a message and go from there.

Jeters said...

With respect to retaining new players at the college level, this is a major challenge (challenging at the club developmental stage too). "Our team in Canada (we make great mugs too ;)" has both an A and a B Open team. The major challenge is having quality leadership for the B team that is respected and can keep the new guys on board.

The B team sits in the flux of experienced and non-experienced players in which both are craving to become better. Unfortunately, the experienced guys are at the point where they are still more worried about their own game than helping the new ones.

As for NE Open, the current 4 horse race should be an exciting one. Women's I'm guessing is almost a given (you never know), and Mixed should be good. Ottawa is sending a good mixed team from Upstate, NY. They didn't win Sectionals, but I wouldn't be surprised if they had a good run at Regionals.


degs said...

Since this post seems to be a catch-all, I have a request: might you write something about the presumed effects Nationals will have on Worlds and vice-versa? Since you are in charge of the UPA Mixed Div -- and esp since it seems the Mixed Div will be the most competitive at Worlds -- I think you are in a unique position to comment. Are teams skipping Nationals? Are teams doing both? Will Mixed Nationals have a lower than usual talent pool? Et cetera...

Thanks, in advance. You may want to take off your hat.

CTW said...

From somebody that has played more pickup then competitive ultimate, I see track girl's point which is overlooked by many in the ultimate elite community. She is not there to win nationals or become the next callahan winner but at the same time she came out for the same reason almost everybody joins ultimate. She came out because somebody said she would have a good time. In my college, every year 100-300 new people came out to play frisbee of that a max of 30 each year stayed with a minimum of 4. The people that stayed found what they were looking for the people that didn't found something else. One game they found was the Sunday game at 11pm at Marsh Chapel. The game was played on a stone area with a big statue in the middle making stacking impossible and two grassy endzone each side with some benches and hedges in the middle. Anywhere from 10 to 50 people would play each night with teams of up to 25 players. If at any point it was unfair teams, the powers that be would congregate and change the teams. If you didn't feel like playing or you saw somebody walking by that you knew you could stop mid game and then just run back into the game. Bystanders would regularly walk through the game and nobody cared. I also saw the most awesome tricks from chicken wings, bounce passes to jumping from a park bench into a hedge to catch a disc. I know it isn't ultimate according to the upa rules but it was still alot of fun.In many ways, I think this is ultimate in its truest form. yours, CTW

Gary said...

Geez I didn't know I had any reputation on RSD. I still don't see the reason for changing the minimum number of players on the field. I went back to see what I actually posted I guess I was a bit blunt in expressing my opinion


Neva said...

Well, Potomac DID finish 4th at Sectionals - minimum RSD talk about that. And Hippo beat Rhino, who was the favorite to take the final spot out of the NW.

For the ladies, there are likely only 2 bids out of the NW, which should mean Riot and Fury. However, Riot has had a bunch of injuries this year and only brought 16 to Sectionals. They were actually down to Prime 6-9 and came back to win. Oh and Leslie Calder is playing again - I think she's retired and come back every year I've been here.

So you tell me something - what's up with Godiva? I thought they disbanded? I know Vy is playing for Fury, JoJo is playing for Annapolis All Stars, and Shana is in Maine. Who played at Sectionals?

Handy said...

CTW, I understand where you're coming from because I remember those days, but as someone who has experienced both that and the sprot as it is organized now I have to disagree about jumping off park benches and the like to be the "Truest form" of ultimate. I'm out to have fun and not out to win nationals, but that being said, I find that I don't have much fun when it's so many people you can't move and every defensive play is a foul and to ruin a team's O just force flick. I like a relaxed 7 v 7, but the truest form of baseball isn't stickball, or home run derby.

gcooke said...


I will put some thoughts down here in response to your questions. Of the 6 Mixed teams that qualified for WUCC's, one team has given an indication that they might skip Nationals this year. The general sense I am getting is that teams consider the UPA's to be their priority and are focusing on getting their most competitive squad down to Florida. As such, I don't think this year will be an "asterix" year at all, and I did have concerns about that when the idea of WUCC's in Nov was put forth.


gcooke said...


Thank you for your comments. I appreciate your call for perspective. Like Handy, I remember getting back into the sport in the early 90's and feeling that pick-up was the "true form". My how times have changed......

I do think that your suggestion that we remind ourselves about maintaining proper perspective is positive. I try to make sure that I don't take things for granted and that I appreciate all that we have. I also try to take steps back and reorient my perspective, and if I go far enough, then it is true that our concerns about frisbee seem quaint. At the same time, however, people do all kinds of kooky things, and it is really interesting to listen to the Public Radio sports show "Its Only a Game" (appropriate title in this context) and check out all of the weird sports that people invest themselves in. This does not even mention all of the weird hobbies that can be found with a simple Google search. So, as usual, it is for me about balance. Understanding how crazy it is that we invest all of this time into frisbee (it is actually pretty easy for me as my wife reminds of this every day) while at the same time having an appreciation for the opportunity that Ultimate provides in challanging our abilities, fostering team growth, and creating a sense of community (all traits that are shared by both pick-up and Nationals).

So, when Track Girl said "Its only Frisbee", your suggestion of perspective actually crossed my mind, and perhaps this is why I held my tongue. I basically thought "Well, she does have a point". This thought was pretty quickly dismissed, however, as I realized that she was in no position to know or judge whether my (and the team's) perspective was skewed, and I did not trust that she had the experience to be able to make an informed judgement about, or even be aware of, the differences between pick-up and Nationals. As such, her comments were at best disrespectful and there is no real place for that attitude, regardless of one's perspective.

So, again, I really appreciate your comments and reminder that Ultimate takes place in many siutations and serves many different functions. Certainly that is a positive statement. Thanks for writing.


gcooke said...


I actually did not attend any Sectional tournaments this year. I had a free weekend on the 23/24th so we did family stuff, which was great. I did not head out to coach the Wellesley squad, so I did not get a chance to see the new Lady Godiva. I was surprised as well when I saw them listed on the SRT. I believe the team is made up of folks like Sarah Cook, Mo, Jess Blanton, maybe Amy D, etc plus some college kids. At least that is what I understand, but I am quite uninformed.


gcooke said...


Thanks for writing. I don't really have a problem with blunt. Sometimes blunt very clearly lets you know where you stand. I guess I was put off by what seemed to be your lack of interest and dismissive response to my question.


Julian said...

Neva & G,

I never really believed that Godiva was gone. The team may not be what it once was, but they're no push-over either. They handled everyone at sectionals except Brute Squad, and that looks to have been a pretty competitive game. I wasn't there with the Portland squad (Gale Force), but Godiva crushed 'em. I heard positive things from the Maine ladies, but the result was never in doubt. Also, it looked like the brought a smallish squad to Clambake, but I think they beat all comers there as well (I don't know for sure because the results haven't been posted to the web yet).

News of Godiva's demise has been greatly exaggerated.

Gary said...

I still wonder why you want to increase the min #.

The only reason I can think of is that it would make the game look like a mockery if played say 7 on 2 just to avoid a forfeit.

I don't know that I've ever seen a series game played with less than 7, maybe way back I saw a team play with 6 for the first few points because the team showed up late.

I've been part of league games in which we played with 4 for the first half because so many people were late, but I really see no need to change the rule.

gcooke said...


Thanks for that info. Cool that they are getting the band back together.......


gcooke said...


Thanks for following up. I have never stated that I want the minimum number of players to be increased. My inquiry was "has it been discussed?". I have some opinions on the rule and specific experience with Series games being played with 2 in order to avoid forfeits, but, honestly, this rule has a lot of considerations (other than just making a mockery of the sport) and I have not reached an final opinion on the matter or even a simple answer.

My purpose was to ask the question that I asked, and I felt that that was what the forum was purported to be: a discussion. I felt that your response, which was based on your assumption that I had an agenda, basically negated any inquiry or chance to consider the multitude of potential factors that are involved in this rule.