Monday, February 20, 2006

Dear William and Mary Alum,
I am in a muddle. I love two men. One is my ex.-boyfriend who wants to come back to me, the other is my current boyfriend. Both are lovely men, but feel more spiritually attached to my ex. I am unable to make a decision. Do you have any tips?
How'd You Pick Either Dude?

"Admit it, when you found out that W&M had made it to nationals, the first thing you said was "Who the heck is William and Mary?"
Upon finding out that William and Mary is actually a state school located in the heart of the #3 tourist attraction on the East Coast you said to yourself, "Hell, self, you don't have to worry about these chumps! They'll be so scared of all the big strong other teams that they'll be too busy crying to even remember to show up!" But show up W&M did, a week early, to have exhausting two-a-days in the crappy freezing Spokane rain.
And then, in the tourney, they make college ultimate history by making it to the semis from the pre-quarter round, something no other team has ever done, ever. EVER! NERVER!
W&M won way more games then anyone thought they would... except them. "

Dear William and Mary Alum,
I just recently started sleeping with my boyfriend, and he's the first person I've ever been with. I love him and trust him completely, so why is it I feel so embarassed to be naked around him? I always turn the lights off, and when I get out of bed I run to the bathroom with a blanket wrapped around me. I want to be as relaxed as he is with his body, but I just can't do it. What can I do to change? Please help.
Ashamed Lady Lover, The Almighty Lord Knows

"I've played against all these other guys that are being hyped for callahan, and dont want to take anything away from them (valley, richter, jared, chase etc) but it really doesnt even seem close. Mangry has a complete game. Fastest player in the country, can sky over anyone, can put the disc anywhere at anytime, and most importantly, his attitude that he brings to the game is absolutely perfect...Take a look at this man before even thinking of casting your vote elsewhere."
"You are out of your mind man. Nobody has ever dominated mangry, and certainly not richter. I really can't think of a single category in which richter is better than mangry. They're both great all around players but andrew is faster, has better leaping ability, quicker cuts, better throws and decision making, not to mention spirit\attitude. Andrew Mangan is the best all around player in the country this year."

Dear William and Mary Alum,
I was reading your recipe for canning cabbage, and I am wondering, you say to process the jars for 60 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. Now my question is are you using a pressure canner or hot water bath? And do you really mean to process for 60 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure? I’m questioning the 60 minutes.
Help One Tired Amateur Impress Rest

"Sam got the right idea because NC State and W&M both brought B squads to that tourney that april 8th weekend. That is not an indication of the A team strength of either team. The two wins W&M got against NCstate were both teams and full strength. Though, it seems a bit unfair to say that W&M cant hang with the NC teams because we dont ever get to play with any of them because we're always underated at tourneys and get put in the lower bracket. We battled our way back up from the lower bracket at Terminus to finish 5th. We have played UNC, but that was at Tune-up, so long ago!! We have played Duke and lost and also Wilmington. If we played these teams as much as they play each other, we'd get some wins too. I do recall beating Duke in the fall, but that doesnt really mattter, and we only lost to Wilmington by two."

Dear William and Mary Alum,
Hi, I'm a Japanese student from Japan. Since I used to live in Swizterland and England, I'm interested in other countries culter. Here I woul like you to tell me how you feel about Japanese culter and how it is different from your's.
I'm looking forward for your answer.

Would Adore Advice About Anyone's History

"Yes we did indeed expect to beat ucsd and some would say we choked. Its a shame we were not able to show the country just how well we can play. we came out very slow and did not have a very good game all around. we did mount a comeback down 8-3 at half to bring it back to 9-9. we just failed to pull it together after that for some reason. i refuse to believe it was due to "running out of gas" as some have said in other threads. it was the first game of the day. anyway the game of the tournament for us was the brown game. in a highly contested game that could have gone either way, we ended up losing. i just wish the brown players would stop laying out into all of our backs and stop trying to control the game with calls. that is not the way ultimate is supposed to be played. anyway, if we win that game we make it to the semis, easily. and then, anything could have happened. Sometimes things do not work out the way we want them to, but that's what happens when you are on a national stage with so much sick competition."

Dear William and Mary Alum,
"While I am watching this game I keep hearing loud cheers down the way. Mary Washington making grab after grab. They were down 6-1 and came storming back to tie at 8-8 then take the lead 10-8 I believe on 50/50
huck after 50/50 huck from what I as seeing from the upper field. I got there at 11-10 Mary Washington. Cap goes on and it becomes 11-11. 12-12 and hard cap is on so it is double game point. William and Mary pulls goes zone. Mary Washington works it. Luke gets it about 10 yards out and throws a hammer to a wide open Connor but it hangs. William and Mary player gets there but Connor still has a chance. I think William and Mary player touches it and it pops up into Conner's hands, down his jersey and onto the ground. William and Mary throws an errant throw to 82 on WM and a foul is called as both he and defender layout. Contest. A dump or to. William and Mary player get stranded ount about to stall out, I believe from my head count a dump throw at about ten and Connor sideways layout catches for a Callahan on double game point. Thrower had nowhere to go from what I could tell. But William and Mary's season ends and Mary Washinton goes to regionals for the first time I believe."

The Real Ultimate Team Heckler

No comment.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I've been reading the criticism that has been receiving on rsd with some amusement. People have ragged on everything from the design to the content with various levels of vitriol. Some offer friendly suggestions, others start hating. While I have a few quibbles about the site, mainly the overhyping of Wisconsin, I've not felt interested in joining in. I give them mad props for all the work they have been doing so far, and I'm sure they will work out the kinks as they go along.

Yet in a brief visit the other day, I saw something on the site that made me have to click the back button immediately lest I were to spill the drink I was holding from laughter and incredulity.

What had me so appalled, so humored, was their current Power 16 ranking for best tournaments. In it, they rank College Centex #1 and the UPA College Championships #2. Clearly, Cyle from Florida, you have never been to Nationals.

Forgetting that the rest of the list contained some tournaments that are either incredibly forgettable or run haphazardly year in and out (are there really 16 college tournaments worth ranking?) I couldn't believe they would rank a midseason tournament over the Championship. Are you serious? Clearly, Cyle from Florida, you have never been to Nationals.

In my college career we won and lost at some of the most competitive tourneys of the season. We made finals or semis and battled in game after game against the best competition at Easterns, the Stanford Invite, and other tourneys. After losing close games, after being eliminated from competition, or after losing early and making our way to the shitbox fields for consolation, I never saw a single one of my teammates shed a tear. The accolades we received from our successes we pushed back in our minds, and the disappointments felt we used to drive us the rest of the season. These tourneys were a time to fine tune our plays, scout the rest of the field, and ready our minds and bodies for the real task at hand that season: the road to a national championship. Clearly, Cyle from Florida, you have never been to Nationals.

Centex "hands down the best?" Whose hands? The people who have hands down for Centex are the same people with their hands down grabbing their ankles come Memorial Day Weekend. In the list, their explanation for why natties is #2 is filled with more criticism than praise. While allowing that there is no trophy like it, they denigrate it by saying only a handful of teams start their season hoping to go, much less win. However, with Centex being an invite-only tourney where most of the 24 teams have little chance of winning, the same could be said. But nationals - ah! Nationals! Clearly, Cyle from Florida, you have never been.

College nationals might not field the best 16 teams, but it is the toughest tourney of the year. It's a feeling of such expectation and anticipation when arriving at the fields for the first time that it forces a bowel movement. Here is that girlfriend that leaves you broken or in flight with a word, a tourney where regardless of the outcome at its end you will embrace your teammates glassy-eyed and express your gratitude. This is a tournament full of false bottoms, where cocksure teams have found they can always drop lower, until they find themselves losing to a team they've ridiculed all season playing with more heart than what they decided to show up with. It's not the best 16 teams, but the best teams are there, fighting tooth and nail, trying not to drown in its gravitas, showcasing 32 weeks of hard work that hopefully manifests itself in the best disc they've played. This is peaking. Cyle from Florida, it is an otherworldly experience, different from any other tourney you'll play. I am sorry you have never been to Nationals.

Friends disappear for the summer. Brothers and sisters you breathe in unison with go to their separate corners after nationals. Teammates you injured yourself for get a job and move away and wistfully remember natties, and some you never see again. It is the last tourney of the season, for many, the last college tourney of their career. Everyone knows it. Everyone plays like it. You walk the fields on Saturday as rounds end and they are littered with players prone on the field, or held up in a friend's arm, grown men and women and Callahan could-have-beens crying. They know why they cry. They didn't get this emotional losing or winning Centex. At that moment Centex doesn't mean shit to them. They cry because they love this sport and the friends within it and Nationals is a time to give them your thanks by playing as hard and selfless as possible. At Centex if a superstar feels a tight hamstring they'll nurse it and if aggravated, will rest and save themselves. It is a long season.

But at nationals those same superstars have a hamstring colored like Picasso's mural to Guernica taped twice over, they've taken all the ibuprofen they can and maybe sprinkled in codeine and they are out on the field running around as if pursued by the Hound of the Baskervilles. No one is saving themselves. This is why we save ourselves! To play till our organs burst at the end of a long season and have for the rest of the summer three days of memories we can thumb through in our minds over and over. For the rest of their lives, for some. Clearly, Cyle from Florida, you have never been to nationals.

But maybe this is your year. Florida has some studs, won Vegas, and is looking very strong. Though I think you'll find yet again that the season is long and as you begin to tire Georgia, backed by everyone's Callahan favorite Dylan Tunnel, will win the region again and you'll lose the subsequent backdoor game to the best NC team. Not everyone knows how to plan a season carefully and peak when the time is right, when the stakes are highest, and when the outcome of the best college tournament is on the line: Nationals!

Clearly, Cyle, you have never been.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I scanned the room for something familiar. I needed to be able to find something I knew, something I could use to remember who I was and perhaps give me a clue to how long I'd been there.

As I peered at the world from the sunken rotating sofa, I became aware of giant television screen pulsing out every sporting event from polo to midget wrestling. On one particular television they were showing a continuous version of sports center with no commercial interruptions. ESPN 3:Casino. And hundreds of bulbs, bald little illuminated heads, covered an entire wall of the room with an odd dance of numbers. It began to sink in: I was in the Bellagio's Casino Sportsbook.

The bets were numerous and odd. Besides betting on the winner and spread, you could also place wagers on anything your mind could conceive. The first person with a fumble. The last team to score. First player to receive a penalty. Finding no energy in my legs to move from the spot I set about to read all the possible betting lines. It took forever. As I neared the end I found I could move again and so stood up to leave. As I walked to the door, in the corner of the wall on a small betting screen hidden from plain sight, a word caught my eye. There, glowing out of the wall in a serene green was the word "ULTIMATE" in all caps. I stopped to read.

It seems like the Sin City has caught wind of this week's tournament, and where ever there's hot college competition Vegas has a hand up its skirt. I asked a cocktail waitress for a pen and a kiss and, receiving the pen, began to jot as best I could the Vegas betting lines on Trouble, and when interesting some of the odds. My hand shook from excitement, fatigue, and the car bombs, and the napkin was later soiled and blurred wiping vomit from a teammate's mouth, but here is what I was able to transcribe.

Colorado -250
Wisconsin -200
Richmond +1,000
Texas -110

Most Arrests Per Team
Most Arrests Per Player
Brian Frederick -110
Number of Organs Clandestinely removed from players by scam artists
12 Over -120 Under +120
First strip club visit
noon Friday Over +220 Under -180
A Player will Fall into the Bellagio's Fountains
Yes -110 No +120
First Unassisted Hook-up Between Men's and Women's Teams from Different Universities
Saturday 8am Over +150 Under -150
Metro east team in Semis
(I couldn't quite get these odds, as it smudged. It looks like a plus sign, and then a really big number)
Death of a Coach
Yes -110 No +100
Number of Break-ups between Visitors and their partners
52 Over -200 Under +220

At this point I felt my strength waning, and realizing I'd eaten the last of my elven Lembas bread, I began tripping to the door. I'm not sure I made it that far, but I awoke on the floor of my hotel room later that evening, surrounded by teammates in mid-rally and ready for more.

Tomorrow I will post a last minute survival guide for those teams going with some must-have tips on minimalizing your losses and getting attrition to work for you.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Las Vegas is the kind of city where you feel like brushing your teeth more often than usual. The casinos leave a film over you like the tar on a cigarette, and by the time your trip is done you're moving and thinking slower because of it. When I returned Monday night, I couldn't wash it off me. Only today have I begun to smell less and less like Her alleyways and more like myself.
I returned and the first person I saw was my roommate Michael Whitaker, coach of CU's Kali, and a favorite to win the tournament and the national title. He asked me how my weekend had gone and how I'd liked Vegas. I lurched towards him hollow eyed, grabbed him by the collar and gurgled at him, "Don't take them Whit! Don't do it! They will die!"

I had stared at the belly of the beast, felt its stomach acid and returned to warn the world. Las Vegas, college edition, is going to end in ruin and woe.

As I conversed with Whit and other players from teams around the country, one thing became clear: no one has any fucking clue how crazy it's going to get. They are all in denial. Most of those players are on teams looking to win the tournament outright, but they're fighting a losing battle. Trying not to party is like walking around all day with a midget around your neck, easy at first but before midday, the weight will pull you down.

And those are the teams trying to win. There are 64 men's teams in attendance. Of those, at most 20 really believe they can win. By Sunday, only 8 will still believe. That means there are at least 44 other men's teams, milling around after games, with only one thing on their mind: the rabid submittal to their vices and passions.

Skip! As I type this right now I am awestruck by your sheer arrogance! You are sending dozens of college kids to their deaths and you know it!

I tried to talk Whit out of it, but was met with mild amusement and a raised brow. "Don't worry Hector. I'm going to keep my girls nice and safe all weekend."

Fool. His feelings of smug assurance bordering on hubris are probably echoed by other coaches and captains on attending teams. Their desire to win a national title at all costs will make them zealot Ahabs willing to risk the lives of their players in their quest for their white whale. Don't go!

Vegas is a drug, overpowering, arrogant and seductive. It's human to succumb, to falter, to sway a measure in the city's rhythm and get lost. These are college kids, players with tickets for the day after, or the luxury of having a team that doesn't give a shit about results. This is pawned textbooks, made-up college expenses for daddy, sold iBook for another chance at greatness in the Roulette wheel. This is underage drinking and walks down casino hallways and street sidewalks where you're offered anything from opium to sex to religious salvation. These are kids who last partied hard the night of Prom. This is Trouble.

I came away with a nicked dignity, a lighter frame, and twenty in cash. On my team I was one of the lucky ones. As much as the memories will never be forgotten we all walked away as if we'd lost something, the city had pick-pocketed and fondled us as we were looking. The college kids will come back from their three day affair and it'll be, "show me on the doll where She touched you."

Between visits to the Bellagio water show and their hotel rooms it will happen. The air will get in their lungs and they will taste some of the city's offerings, becoming modern-day Persephones amidst the barren decadence the city offers. From there the tumble is mercifully swift, and a few short hours later they feel strangely calm despite the two grand they just dropped in craps. Western Union standing by to serve you.

Don't go! As Admiral Ackbar famously said, "It's a trap!" We all as elder ultimate players bear a burden to protect the younger ones when we can. Those players in attendance at Club Trouble have no excuses. We know what will happen. We witnessed. Having survived the weekend and kissed my front lawn because of it, I ask those in charge of college teams not to go. You will be implicit in their deaths! Felony records don't stay in Vegas. Neither do VD's. I doubt everyone that needs to will stash the body in a place where it's unlikely to be found.

To the first and probably last Trouble in Vegas College, to the death of Ultimate's innocence, akin to the Stone's Altamont concert, akin to the Kent State shootings, akin to the Catholics' retaking of Moorish Spain - to the end of an era - I toast.

There's trouble brewing.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Starting Seven
1. My travel Pillow
2. Skin on and around both elbows, hips, right knee
3. One brown dress shoe, size 12
4. some disc, stolen now at least three times over
5. dignity, on the steps of the Bellagio
6. Rowan's glasses
7. Matthew Pankratz, at last head count

Official Vegas lines on Next weekend's aptly named Trouble in Vegas (college edition) were released yesterday. I sat down at the sports book couches of the Bellagio with a pad and pen and wrote down as many of the interesting ones as I could. I will write them here, as they were displayed, tonight.