Monday, September 08, 2008

Super Middleweight

I'm always ready to eat crow when the eatin's good. I said we shouldn't have gone to Heavyweights because we needed some disciplined and focused practicing this weekend rather than a bunch of games against flyweight opponents on granite surfaces.

So I was wrong. I admit it.

Thank heaven, first of all, for Gustav, all but forgotten now in Ike's wake. The residual rains left over from the gulf's tropical storm apparently soaked the Naperville Polo club all week, rendering the stubborn surface pliable against cleat and cut. I layed out several times during the course of the weekend and this morning awoke without evidence of any of them. Perfect. After Chesapeake, it was a bit awkward apologizing to the freshman girl sitting next to me for bleeding on her half of the desk.

Sub Zero went into this tourney as the 1 seed, and we knew that our nationals seeding (and our own thinning patience with ourselves) depended on defending our top-dog status. With cheers and chants pulled directly from the Republican National Convention delegates ("Drill, baby, drill!") we opened up on the teams in our pool. After a shaky start in our first game, we came out hot against natties hopeful Madcow and sent them to the abattoir. We held court at field 10 all weekend, and the nearby trees and clubhouse proved to be a huge advantage, shading us all weekend long and providing our field with a measure of protection from the cross-winds that plagued the rest of the polo grounds.

After our disappointing performance at Labor Day, we shook up our lines and rotations and I moved to the D line. The first game was a major paradigm shift for me, and it took a bit to find my legs, but by the time we got to Madcow my body remembered the feel of pulling and running down, and I fell into my role as seamlessly as sex with an ex. Having lost Muffin and his giant (but oftentimes out-of-bounds) pulls, I was happy to be able to place most of mine within the opposite endzone.

After Los took half on us in quarterfinals, we pulled out some caffeinated gum that tasted bad but did us good, and we rolled on them in the second half, allowing only one point, at 14-8, before finishing them. A wily but inexperienced Bodhi hung on due to a series of unforced errors from the offense, but the D line fire was lit all weekend and got the breaks necessary to put us in finals against a Machine team that had dispatched Madison Club on the adjacent field.

With the sidelines full, we set to work on Machine in a game that never lost its intensity despite our commanding the pace. My pulls clicked right when I needed them to, and despite throwing two out of bounds I was able to let the rest hang with enough time so that I was still the first or second Zebro down on each one.

I had fun. Fuck it, I had a blast playing this game. Despite the fact that my hamstrings were beginning to mutter a bit under the breath of my footwork I was running and playing like the kid I used to be, the one lost in the joy of play. And because of it, I played great, throwing 4ish goals and scoring two, including a season-rejuvinating layout grab to put us comfortably in control that even I was surprised ended in my hand. Naturally, I acted naturally, and we pushed hard on Machine in front of their friends and family.

In the end, our offense was disappointingly broken once before we finished the game 15-10, but we couldn't be too upset. We righted the ship, got our job done, and were rewarded with a championship title belt that ranks amongst the coolest tourney trophies I've seen, and a full set of championship jerseys courtesy of 5ive Ultimate.

Sectionals and a hungry Madison Club await in Maple Plains in two weeks, and next weekend should be exactly what we need to tune our sets and defenses before the series begin. Drill, baby, drill!


Juan Sebastian said...

...good inspiration for upcoming Colombian college and club natties, which we plan on taking.
EAFIT University and Kie
(Ask the fish, they've been down here).

Nice blog, I like what you write, plain and simple. Better than MD anyway.

Anonymous said...

You're pretty arrogant.

Hh said...

I appreciate your literacy.

When I play shitty, like Labor Day weekend when I handed Sockeye and Bravo 2 breaks apiece like an octogenarian giving samples at CostCo, I may write about it on my blog about ultimate. When I throw and score for 6 breaks against our main regional rivals, i may write about it on my blog about ultimate.

Feel free to introduce yourself at the next tourney we're at together. I'm usually around, and I don't bite.

Hh said...

Y Juan, buena suerte cuate. Hechenle ganas y que todo les vaya bien, me alegra que mi gente donde este le encanta este deporte como a mi.

Nos vemos.

Hh said...

The Broncos are waxing the shit out of the Raiders right now. It's embarrassing. For the Raiders, that is.

Match said...

D-line eh? Sounds like a good move. Its too bad no one brought that up sooner.

Schmelz said...

That's because until the end of Chesapeake, we were running a rotation of up to 6 D-line handlers, excluding Sr Valdivia. Plus, as a team, SubZero believes very strongly in closed borders (between O and D lines) and country first.

I really do hope someone got a pic of your layout in the finals. It was almost as good as Feldman's from semis.

Anonymous said...

That Layout grab was pretty sweet-- I was near that sideline, and thought even as you were laying out, there is no way he is going to catch that, and was amazed when it ended up in your hand-- it was pretty sweet to watch.

Great Job in the finals--despite being one of those home town fans, you guys clearly deserved to win .

Presumably this will be the regional final, and that should be an exciting game to watch.

Anonymous said...

I've been playing competitive ultimate for a year on a so-so college team and I'm glad they put you on D, because now I know how to play it.

Anonymous said...

"Presumably this will be the regional final, and that should be an exciting game to watch."

haha... we'll see about that...

Anonymous said...

our blogger: "I had fun. Fuck it, I had a blast playing this game. Despite the fact that my hamstrings were beginning to mutter a bit under the breath of my footwork I was running and playing like the kid I used to be, the one lost in the joy of play."

The above is what is experienced in all levels of our sport ultimate.

Dig it.

Hh said...

I agree, it's experienced at all levels. I've played at all levels. It's just not always experienced at all levels all the time.

The game was the funnest one I'd played in in a while. And it took me back. Ten straight club seasons can wear you down sometimes, and it's good when you're reminded of why you play.

Dig it.

Anonymous said...

stop hating on naperville fields, they're nice.