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.