Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This was the question that Billy Stone, CBS Sports representative, posed to us, the captains and coaches meeting before the beginning of the championship. By far the most dynamic and exciting of the speakers at the captain's meeting, he had everyone present fired up to finally get some real exposure for the sport.  Frequently stressing the need to tone down the language in huddles and on the field, he was adamant that having seen the footage from last year's natties, the top brass at CBS Sports was ready to double down this year with their coverage and exposure of college Ultimate's hallmark event.

"And next year, we want to go...live!" His energy was infectious. Hell yes, of course we want to go live. We all do. It'd be great to have a well-produced live showing of the championship games for the open and women's division. After our incredible semifinal game against Colorado, in my opinion the game to watch of the tournament, Peggy, a Wisconsin alum and producer of the Alt Games footage, said that in production meetings they had talked about adding more footage of Ultimate to their CBS broadcast, from the planned 6 minutes to as many as 9. This would be the footage that gets televised to 120 million homes.

But all of this was before finals against CUT. Carleton vs. Wisconsin, the rivalry and history promised to make this game one to remember. Then the winds came racing down the foothills, shearing the support cables from the Alt Games inflatable arch and sending it tumbling end over end above the fence behind the north end of the fields. I could see our team game plan fly away with it, and I'm sure that Tom Crawford and the rest of USAU saw the promise of a watchable game of Ultimate soar away as well.

Jack Marsh, Harvard Red Line and Wisconsin Hodag alum summed it up best, watching online from NYC and tweeting his opinion, "I can hear @cbssports shredding its @usaultimate contract from here."

Nationals was an incredible experience, so much fun and so rewarding for many reasons, but that wind made the open finals game unwatchable. It certainly wasn't Ultimate in the way every game beforehand had defined it. Are we ready to go live, Billy Stone? I am, I certainly want to be, but then again I won't be the one watching, I'll be the one living it.


Anonymous said...

The UK ultimate scene were watching the live stream with interest, hoping for an exhibition of US ultimate which many over here hold as the pinnacle of the sport.

However, we were all shocked at how bad the US players were doing in the wind. Pretty strong throughout, granted, but set a couple of the top UK teams against each other and you would still of had a great game, not the embarrassing turnover fest which resulted from these national finalists.

The UK scene is trying to emulate a lot of how America plays, but learn one thing from us. When its windy stop trying to huck it, use your players and work it down the pitch. The resulting game of bad ultimate wasnt due to the wind, just the two teams inexperience of how to play in it.

If you're worried that CBS arent going to want to run with the open final, make them show the womens. A great exhibition of how the game should be played.

Anonymous said...

The top players on CUT and Madison are as good or better than most players on the top teams in the U.K.

I think you're strongly overestimating your ability to throw in the wind and strongly underestimating just how strong the wind was in Boulder.

Kyle Weisbrod said...

I agree with what the second anonymous poster said here. The correct strategy in this game was punt and play D. Carleton implemented it better than Wisconsin did.

It is quite bold of you to think that by watching over the internet that you would have a better idea than two of the most experienced college teams in the country, who frequently compete in heavy winds, and everybody else at the field site (which includes many of the top coaches in the game).

You mention the women's finals. The women's game had wind speed that was about half that of the wind speed in the men's game.

25MPH winds = 40 Kilometers per hour (avg winds speed during the men's game)

50MPH winds = 80 Kilometers per hour (maximum wind speed during the men's game).

If you aren't playing a "no short fields" game in those conditions, you are losing.


vatz said...

I'm thinking that Ultimate should be a game where games should be canceled or postponed in winds greater than 25mph sustained. Maybe even lower, like 20mph. The game sucks for both the players and spectators when winds get too high. Thoughts?

Kyle Weisbrod said...

vatz, I agree. In fact I had meant to put that in my article last night but forgot.

But then what do you do in the case of this past weekend? Everyone has flights, we've only got the fields for certain days, and the whole CBS crew would need to be paid for an addition day (not a trivial amount).

Ariel Jackson said...

I realize that Nationals is already 4 days long, but maybe it would make sense to plan for a 5th day as a backup. That way, there would be time to rearrange the schedule if awful weather (wind, rain, lightning, etc.) forces certain rounds (pool play, or bracket play) to be postponed.

Maybe the schedule should be shortened to 3.5 days, with the half day used as a buffer. As a spectator this year, I loved being able to watch each semifinal separately and have fewer pool play games going on at once, so it would be unfortunate to lose some of that. Would it be worth it for better finals weather? I don't know.

vatz said...

Kyle - Tough to say how to handle it from a logistics point of view. I think it would be more of a "perfect world" type thing. Having said that, I think for something like a Nationals Final that's going to be broadcast around the world, waiting another day and bearing that expense (heck, maybe USAU could even chip in for players flight changes) seems well worth it. I think for a normal tournament wind cancellations are probably out of the realm of possibility, but for any game being broadcast I'm all for it.

The way I see it, canceling/postponing for Wind in Ultimate is no different than canceling for Rain in Baseball. Simple fact is that a 175g frisbee just can't fly properly at a certain point.

Brody said...

I think they could schedule the final earlier.

Colorado weather (and everywhere weather) tends to be worse in the afternoon. That is when wind and rain come up, not in the morning.

I realize 8am is too early, but 10 and 12 is doable. That also gives 2-4 hours of delay for wind/lightning.

I realize that CBS needs time to set up, but we didn't move fields all weekend. I don't understand why they couldn't set up the day before or just get up earlier on the day of.


Anonymous said...

I am a former US player from the Great Lakes region playing college ulty in the UK. I therefore can make an informed comparison.

Anonymous 2's comment is an understatement. Anonymous 1, I'm afraid that your comment smacks of the deluded pride that attends ignorance (DFW).

Ian T said...

Well said in your first post, Kyle - Anonymous 1, there is no way you could perceive how strong the wind was over your internet stream

One example that has been tossed around on RSD but not mentioned here: the merchandise tents (Warheads, Five, Savage, etc.), which were tied to large cement block supports on the ground, were getting pulled off the ground; the Warheads tent, full of heavy canvas and steel piping, started to blow over the complex's fence and into the parking lot before latching/hinging onto the complex fence; teammates, fans, and volunteers all had to do deadhangs on the support bars to prevent other tents from blowing away

The fact that any hucks were completed in this game is beyond impressive; if the above examples don't indicate the severity of the wind to you, the fact that 1 yard dishies got blown 20 feet into the air (multiple times) should - I have played in the UK and with UK players, and I really don't believe any of your lot would be any better equipped to play in these conditions - CUT and Wisco play in the NORTH CENTRAL; come on man!