Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Recaps have already been made, and the footage showing the Hodags playing some of their best disc of the season will soon be available.
I will only touch on thoughts here.
First, the drive there and back (12 hours each way) for only 3 hours of Ultimate was exhausting, and worth it. The Hodags answered the challenge and did it well. Watching my brother score goal after goal wide open was awesome. Watching him throw the first upwinder to Ted was better, checking him toe the line on a fading huck upwind to set up the second upwinder was better still, and watching him jump backwards and plant his feet in as another huck started sailing away for the game-breaking upwinder to take half and the wind at 7-7 might have been my favorite. The connection he and Ted share is sweet to see, being able to remember the way they'd both energetically chase my hucks down when I was a senior in high school and they were merely freshmen.
The Hodags are still improving. They looked better during spring break when I practiced with them than they did in the Centex video, and once they started clicking they looked even better at Regionals. Their first outdoor practice wasn't until after Centex. They are exactly where they need to be to peak at nationals.
My brother's upwind goal to take half off the Matt Rebholz backhand huck was the play of the game for its monumental momentum swing. Second place is for a call the observer made. Late in the game CUT made another run and scored upwind, broke downwind, and was working upwind again to tie the game at 13's (and pull downwind). With Heijmen on the mark, Chris Rupp stepped into him, threw an off-balance and erratic backhand and called the foul. The disc sailed up and started fading, and two nearby CUT players started going for it. Yet, with the disc suspended in the air and starting to catch an edge, another CUT player called them off the disc when he heard the foul call, expecting the disc to return to Rupp in the middle of the field with a new stall count and 20 yards out of the endzone. The players obeyed, gave up the chase, and let the disc fall harmlessly to the ground some 5 yards behind where Rupp threw it. It would have taken hustle, but as the disc was released it was perfectly catchable, and playable. They chose to let it drop. And, when the call went to the observer, he ruled no foul because Rupp had thrown himself into Heijmen to draw the contact. Turnover. Wisconsin throws to Ted, who sends a huge hammer to Rodrigo in the endzone, and next point Dan Miller throws a backhand to Shane upwind. Game over. Huge foul call, huge ruling by the observer. Bad form on those two CUT players for not chasing down the disc like their season depended on it. It did.
The CUT alumni and fans trying to heckle Carrington by imitating him were unsuccessful. Sooner kindle fire with snow.
Despite the roped-off field, as Wisconsin started asserting its control the Hodag alumni started charging the field after every score. Eventually #15 on CUT started taking offense, and more than once as I ran into the blue pile his foot or shoulder happened to be in my way. I started cheering with more exuberence every time he was within earshot. Late in the game the guy was a complete non-factor. Focus on one or the other, you obviously couldn't do both.
My parents were there with my sister and uncle. Almost the entire graduating class of 2003 was there, and many parents were there. It was great to see everyone so energetic, the positive energy definitely helped the Hodags early when the offense was looking confused.
Sam O'Brien was there, helping CUT, and though animated at first, I started hearing less and less from him as the game drew to a close. He didn't even say goodbye.
Rodrigo Valdivia for Callahan, but when the game footage comes out, you won't have to hear it from me. Or you could just see him on CSTV as a sophomore killing Colorado and Oregon.