Thursday, July 30, 2009

I find it no coincidence that Madison plays Sub Zero first and Machine last.

At this moment various members of Madison Club, Sub Zero, Machine, Johnny Bravo, Showdown, and Nemesis are all remembering the tall tale of Schloski Carrillo - and thus we have the reminiscence of Bill Locker:

He's grown up now, but on a March evening as a sophomore Bill Locker tempted fate and logic, and lost.

The typical shenanigans that seem to follow college spring breaks were blossoming about the evening's stem. PoNY captain Tom Burkly was engaged in a strategy meeting that lasted longer than anyone intended. With each new strategic point, beers were cracked and Bill found himself owing liver debt early in the festivities.

The corpses of the cases killed during Burkly's soliloquy littered the common area, and Bill played Ramses II and commissioned the construction of the largest beer-amid the young team had ever seen. Thirsty from backbreaking work, they quaffed the rest of the beers and began a series of endless arguments about pecking order, shitting on each other in the sorts of brotherly spats that bring a team together when that energy is focused outward (and frequency of which made this crew of players such dominant studs when they took over the team's reins).

Demostrating his resourcefulness, Bill spotted a bottle of Fleischmann's Vodka on top of the fridge and offered the rest of the soldiers still raging kill it by waterfall. It goes around the bullring once before Bill, sense of time and danger probably distorted by the same beers he'd earlier imbibed, took the initiative to coup de gras what was left, an amount enough to give even Judy Garland a buzz.

Everyone looked at him with an equal mix of awe and concern. He took the plastic from his lips and slowly lowered the empty to the table. As he let go of it, the slightest of a body tremble was the first subtle foreshadow that trouble lied ahead. He gripped the bottle hard and leaned through it against the table below. His eyes went empty, the curtains closed though he remained standing.

In the next waning moments of consciousness, something goes terribly wrong. Billiam attempts to open the window as a door handle, spilling syrup serendipiously, and dancing pop-locker-and-drop it. As Mr. Locker was pushed into the stairway bathroom, his muscular physique saved him from certain trigger-pulling. With a great feat of strength, Schlockster breaks through the crowd and storms the hallway, demolishing his once perfectly perfected pyramid of beers. In two giant leaps, Sausage Links is down the street and disappearing. "Where are you going big guy?" Locker's face fills with glee as he slowly turns, steadying himself on a car hood, just moments before slipping and curbing his face.

Within seconds, Bill Locker is carried back into the fray and forced to sleep it off. However, as the sun rises, Bill is nowhere to be found. His suit coat, shoes, socks, and shirt are all left strewn about the landscape and the legend of Locker can be construed through the images of Lou Ferrigno skipping though the streets of Madison.

Today was a brutally long day of ultimate. Madison Murder Club jumped all over Sub Zero for a 5-1 lead and 7-4 half. Sub Zero pulled the game to 10-9 before Madison finished strong 13-11.

Madison traded with Doublewide to a 3-3 score before Texas broke twice to lead 3-6 and half 5-7. Club could not make up the deficit, losing 9-13.

Johnny Bravo was playing fast, taking the early lead 3-5 and half 5-7. Madison Went on a 5-1 run to make it 10-8 before stealing the game down the stretch 13-11.

Last up was Truck Stop, who broke quickly to a 1-5 lead. Madison cut it to 4-5 before losing half 4-7. Madison made a late push, closing the score to 10-11 before Truck Stop gritted out the win 11-13.

Madison is 2-2 with JAM first thing in the morning.

Now for the overall scouting report.
CUT still fouls intentionally.
Kurt still wears gloves.
Stout still takes off shirt in between each point.
Muffin still screams Boom Headshot after boom headshots.
Johnny Bravo still isn't laughing.
Prairie Fire is still looking longingly from the open bracket.
Georgia Bosscher is still SAF as funk.
Doublewide isn't quite sure what "swagger" is.
And Damien is on crutches.
Fury won 13-2 in the showcase game...
10 degrees hotter tomorrow

Thursday, July 09, 2009

As I arrived into Seattle-Tacoma Airport, my stomach and mind were famished; one for food and the other for answers to questions that had gnawed me hollow.

Among them:
How ready were my legs and throws to play quality competitive Ultimate for three straight days?
How would Downtown Brown connect as a team throughout the weekend?
What kind of response would we receive when the circle is opened to any comers? Would there be a response at all? (toward this question I felt as I had when filling out invitations to my grade-school birthday parties - what if no one comes?)
How would I react at a tournament that has such strong emotional memories attached to it?
At weekend's end, would I leave the Redmond fields with a sense of connection, family, and hope for my future, or would i leave feeling alone, rejected, and cut adrift?

This being my third trip to Potlatch, my prior two visits had answered most of my inward questions across the spectrum of the positive and negative. Aside from playing well, what I wanted most was to leave Potlatch confident, accepted, and whole.

These might seem to you as needlessly heavy concerns, considering that I was heading to a tournament many place atop the list of capital-F Fun tournaments. I acknowledge that. Thing is, this would not only be my first tournament since the end of last season's Club Championships, but in the interim I also fell into a dense fog of anxiety and depression that had made it difficult to accomplish much of anything without a Herculean effort, and it had only been a few months since I'd come out of it. The clarity I now had, and the difference from where I had been at year's end, were like cleaning a hundred-year old window in your room for the first time, and looking out of it. I feel good, and worry wort that I am, I wanted to continue on the up and up.

So that's the backstory to what was in my head as I touched down. I had reason to believe the weekend would be a positive one; my ticket there had been free after a fortuitous bump in a layover Denver-to-Madison, which not only got me the voucher, but also allowed me a week in Boulder with my brother and a trip to Breckenridge for my boy Whit's wedding to all-around hottie Jen. So good karma abounded.

Shortly after landing my boy Feldspar scored me a Double Whopper meal, so with one of my hungers satiated I waited until two DTB teammates showed up to carpool. We relaxed and ate, framed by a fashionably late sunset, and returned to the airport to pick up a Team Canada player before quitting the night. Never far from me, settling into a place alongside my travel pillow, was that nagging voice of doubt. "Dude, this might get fucked up." I was thankful to be too tired to pay it much heed.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I'm incredibly glad that Degs wrote that throwback article harking back to the days when things as pedestrian as loose tournament organization were a treat, rather than an expectation. I distinctly remember going to Easterns back when Mike Gerics was at the helm, and wondering who this dude was patrolling all the fields in the morning yelling and threatening to start assessing points if the game didn't start that instant.

"Dude's got a stick up his ass" might have been along the lines of what I was thinking as I saw him get red-faced, but by tourney's end there was no doubt that he held everything down and that, compared to other tournaments being run at the time, he was worlds above the rest in organization and professionalism. By way of example as to what was happening elsewhere, nine Madison dudes once showed up to a Easy Coast tourney on our way back home from spring break and picked up, as a team, at the tourney, half an hour before it began. Those were the days, for better or worse.

Since then we as a group have gotten our shit together a bit better (with still room for improvement) and tournament games start on time and expectations are clearly stated.

So why the hell is it that, three days before Hoosier Hodown, there is zero information up on their website, or on the UPA's tourney page, about what teams are going and what the format is? It's Wednesday. They already have a skeletal page constructed for the tournament. It would literally take 5 minutes for someone to go and type in, at minimum, the names of the attending teams. Or 20 minutes to go to the UPA's tourney page and plug in the format without team names.

But, c'mon. It's 2009. We as a group should be beyond this. I know that organizing a tournament is hard work, and delegation, and many small details aside, but at minimum post online for the few who care what teams will be playing. It's similar to the tree falling in the woods; if there's nothing online to begin planning, hype, and talking points, why would anyone care what the hell happened?

I don't think that is too much to ask.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Dear Grand Masters and Masters Women's division players,

We're all set for this weekend! Following the bi-annual East Coast captains meeting in April I rounded up everyone's addresses and phone numbers. (A few of you are now using something called CompuServe but I can't figure it out! We only got a facsimile machine this year.) After trying to get a hold of everyone for weeks and weeks, I finally did. Had to leave a bunch of messages but got called back by enough teams finally man. Enough commitments in the end. For the first time you can't just roll up to the tournament and expect a bid -- we're getting serious or something.

Speaking of, can you believe the UPA is making us wear numbers on our jerseys?? And no more tie-dye, sorry everyone! I was shocked when I received the uniform requirements (by mail of course).

The fields are supposed to be super-kind. I can't believe a pro soccer team has its own stadium, but apparently the fields that surround it are nice. My team is looking at a nice long drive -- 20 hours!! We should roll up in time to play the first round (+40 minutes -- Ultimate time!).

OK, couple of other crucial bits of information... we are not using the Wham-O 80 Mold! Some upstart named Discraft is providing something called an Ultra-Star. Eric Simon said it's legit, so that's fine by me. Also, go over the rules, dudes! Word on the street is we will not be playing by the 7th Edition, but instead the 11th Edition. I hope we get lined fields ... I know, I know, I've never played on lined fields in my entire life, but hoping might just make it happen.

I heard a couple volunteers are also coming down to write up articles for the newsletter, so tourney results will be freshly delivered sometime in September.

All right friends, see ya in Denver! Drive safe -- and definitely go the speed limit!

p.s. No camping at the fields! Sucks, I know.