Thursday, February 12, 2009

Should'na left you

Hey buddy. It's been a while. Truths be told, I ain't had the desire to write about Ultimate in a bit. Sure, the occasional musing or memory, but none yet have compelled me to sit down. But I'm sick as a dog today, and I'd rather do this than surf the web and all its vacuous content.

First, the band is breaking up, I'm certain. The Sub Zero experiment, fun and successful in its own right for 4 years, sang its swan song in the 9als against regional rival Machine. At season's end, many of the Wisconsin alumni that provided the magnet for Madison talent moved away, and Madison club came into its own. So much so, that had the commuters stayed home, this year as in 2004, Madison and Sub Zero would have been very evenly matched at regionals, and would have left Machine touring the Navy pier on Halloween weekend.

Needless to say, I highly doubt there will be any Madison commute to the twin cities this year. No one explained just how much it sucks to get in a car at 6am Saturday morning and tighten up for the next 4 hours. This large commuter group, maybe, can be blamed as the reason why we were never able to gel as a team, and why, although we played the top teams to the wire time after time, we never won any of those games this year. Some may look back at Sub Zero 2008 and call it the great team that never was. I will look back on it fondly, happy to have played again with some of the best friends I have.

The cutting of the Madison umbilical will force Sub Zero to take loads of young talent this coming season. They will be green as fuck, but I think the divorce will ultimately help out the Minnesota college ultimate programs, who will benefit from their best players gaining valuable club experience. And this also puts Machine in the driver's seat this coming season, as long as they manage to stop turning it brutally on offense. However, with three bids to Natties next year, the Central could be represented by any number of teams in Sarasota next year. Madcow and BAT showed they have a ways to go, but another year changes much.

Changing gears a little, Pride of New York is on the receiving end of a blockbuster Midwest diaspora. Jack Marsh, CallDan Heijmen, and Kevin Riley are all set to take a bite out of the Big Apple and strap on cleats at PONY tryouts. The young squad instantly gets better with the addition of two prime-time, intelligent cutters and a stable, consistent handler moving the disc. I rate PONY a buy.

And now for the real impetus to write: among many great stories of the 2008 club season, my favorite. Not only for the players involved (whom I will not name, for their own protection), but for the hilarious circumstances under which it all happened.

Labor Day's waxing hours, and the tournament party isn't in full swing so much as free-falling from its pendulum string. Having narrowly avoided arrest in a parking lot, Muffin, my brother, and I went looking for more trouble to get into or witness. I found it at the bar where Damien Scott was (now famously) ringing up a $1700 bar tab and passing out drinks to anyone around like proselytizers hand out Testaments. The tab is important only so that you understand the levels of alcohol that were being consumed. I leave you to infer the sobriety states of these stud players.

At some point, a group of jokesters whose names you would recognize decided it was time to play jester. Among them one stepped forward to fill an entire pitcher of beer with piss, and when it was full in all its IPA frothiness, they left it on a table with a clean empty pint glass, then moved away and staked out spots nearby where they could all see what unsuspecting fool would come and take advantage of a free pitcher of beer.

Moments later a gigantic, muscular Hispanic steps to the plate. Instantly the members of the group recognize two things: this man does not play ultimate, and if he gets duped and recognizes the setup, he will fly into a murderous rage.

Across the group eyes met, and they all held the same pupil-dilating message: DO NOT, under any circumstances, crack up and laugh when he takes a drink, or you will be killed and the rest of the group will disavow knowledge of who you are. Hombre MĂșsculo looks at heady pitcher, looks around, grabs the pint, and pours himself a full draught. Raises glass to lips, neglects to inspect the bouquet, takes a sip. Finding something amiss, he dips two fingers into the pitcher and brings them to his nose. Sets down glass, looks around, exits bar quickly. Dudes lose it.

But they weren't done yet. The group decided that the aggro behavior a Worlds Runner Up had been demonstrating all night needed to be checked. For every action an opposite reaction type thing. Karma, if you will. They decided to let fate and a Rosham decide who would bring WRU back to balance, loser pours the pitcher of brew over his head. The Rosham's loser didn't feel like he'd lost at all, considering the behavior he'd been putting up with all night from WRU. Calmly he poured the contents down onto the unsuspecting head of WRU. Too far gone to retaliate in any way, WRU more or less left it at that, and the group moved on their way.

It's interesting to note how dehydrated two days of high-quality ultimate leaves you, and how concentrated urea becomes a golden amber when placed in a clear receptacle. Unclear in this whole story are whether the unsuspecting victim even knows or remembers, to this day, what happened and how it went down. But you can be sure the pranksters involved do.

Fuck, what a crazy season it was.

Note: Thanks to a few witnesses and participants, the story has been edited to set the record straight. —Ed.


Anonymous said...

Wondered when this would get out. Your recount has many holes and inaccuracies. Let me get in touch with you so you could correctly detail this moment in time.

Hh said...

Please do. As everyone was drunk to varying degrees, I'm down to hear all the accounts, and retype it to make it as accurate as possible, because really, that shit was too crazy to make up.

Anonymous said...

I think the story would have been a better read had the muscle bound hispanic figured this out and dealt with the pranksters for the BS stunt.

Dean Bolton said...

Do you think it was the commuting that really kept the team from gelling? Or maybe it just takes a certain amount of time on the field before the team can reach its full potential? I would assume that Sub Zero practiced together about the same amount as the other top teams, so it seems like it just might take a few seasons for the team to really come together. How long was the roster on Bravo stable before you made Finals? Also, see other recent teams like Ironside, which had a large number of new players and took a season to gel.

Anonymous said...

oooh oooh you got those mean old sockeye fuckers good didn't you...

Hh said...

To clear it up, I personally had nothing to do with this.

Hh said...

And Dean, the quality of our practices on the weekend suffered because it was hard to transition from hours in a car to the necessary intensity for improvement. We never practiced midweek, for obvious reasons, and I think that hurt too.

Drew said...

Did anyone else burst out laughing at:

"Instantly the members of the group recognize two things: this man does not play ultimate, and if he gets duped and recognizes the setup, he will fly into a murderous rage."

And Hec, how are we supposed to play together if you don't play for Sub this year? : (

Corey said...

bad news on your logic regarding the commute. condors had 5 guys driving 5 hours from bay area for all of our title run years. and in reverse style, jam had hollywood & brandon driving up to bay area.

all that sitting in the car probably wasn't what put you in the 9als. i'm guessing it had more to do with your talent level. I think Dean Bolton is onto something in his comments, too. it's about gelling and time, not that you had to sit in a car and that threw off your game.