Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Year

I think there are tumbleweeds blowing around this blog. It's time that I started writing again because I might have some worthwhile things to say about ultimate.

2011 was a huge year for me, ultimate-wise. I made my first trip to club nationals and played a substantial role on the team. I captained a summer league team to the finals game. I won beach league, my first LA league win. It was a damn good year.

I achieved a lot of the goals that I've been working towards for a very long time. The emotions of qualifying for nationals was overwhelming. It was surreal. My girlfriend told me that it was the happiest she's ever seen me. The tournament itself was incredible, deserving of its own post.

On the other hand, I feel a little different about ultimate now. Going to nationals was, for a very long time, one of my most important goals. Achieving it was great, but...now what?

It's not that I'm done playing ultimate. I still love it, and more importantly, the people that play it. I think I'm going to train even harder in hopes of making it back. It's just that there is not a whole lot higher to climb, and diminishing returns on the effort that I put into it. When you measure your life, how your frisbee team places nationally is not one of the most important criteria.

Anyway, my point is, I'm looking for new motivations and new goals to fill the spot previously held by the idea of going to nationals. I'm not really sure where that will come from yet. I'm in a bit of a purgatory right now, studying for the bar exam but I have a lot of things to think about. I didn't touch a disc for five weeks over break and I was surprisingly ok with it.

Lei Out is this weekend, and I'm super excited to play with all my good friends. It's going to be a great time because it always is, and we're going to have the best players in the world come to us for a change. It's been a very long time since I've played the silly, social, co-ed version of ultimate. I've didn't make it Potlatch this summer, and the hours of exhausting Condors practice have a way of grinding the silliness out of you. I think Lei Out is just what I'm needing right about now.

Anyway, I'm making it my goal to write more in this blog over the coming months. Here are a few topics that might be good to talk about:

  • What happened at SW Regionals
  • What happened at Nationals
  • What club nationals is like
  • What playing with Condors was like
  • How can I continue to grow as a player
  • Off-season training
  • Principles of good offense
  • Why regionals should never ever be in Colorado
and lots more that I have yet to think of. I'm open to suggestions.

See you at Lei Out.

Monday, September 19, 2011


Sectionals were disappointing. We lost to Renegade on universe point first thing in the morning, then lost to Streetgang 13-8ish a couple rounds later. With that, our sectionals were pretty much over. We finished third and our road at regionals will be tougher.

I'm not feeling terrible about the weekend, though. For whatever reason, we just didn't play well on Saturday. Maybe it was waking up at 5:30 in the morning. Often times, teams walk away after losing a game to a better opponent and think, "Man, we totally should have won that game. We just played badly." In reality, the other teams good defense was the reason that you didn't play well, and there's no way you should have won the game. I don't think that's the case here.

I think we can play much better. Whether we will or not, and what the conditions will be like in Colorado, that we will have to wait and see. But at the moment, I'm not especially broken up or worried about it. Just back to the grindstone for 3 more weeks with a focus on regionals.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Discos Champs!

I haven't felt motivated to write for a while, but winning a tournament has a way of getting you excited about ultimate again.

Until recently, this summer has been a grind. Studying for the bar kind of sucked the life out of me, and Condors have been grinding out long practices without much actual playing yet this summer. I wasn't able to go to the 1 day Scramble, so the last time I played a real game with the Condors was in late May, and it was with a squad of 13.
We knew ahead of time that the level of play at Discos wasn't going to be very high. I pushed hard to go to the tourney, though, because I thought it was important to build chemistry and log more games playing together before the series. I hadn't really played with a lot of my teammates, so I think every game we can get together is beneficial. Also, Chico is really fun.

There were 8 open teams, but only Wolves, Boost and Condors had a real chance of winning it. (Why the change from Wolf? I always liked the lone wolf sound of it.) We started at 1 PM, during the hottest part of the day - probably around 95. We were efficient with putting away the first two teams, Chico and some Cal college guys, many of whom had played 3 games of co-ed right before. Both teams went down 13-2, and we had plenty of time to hydrate and re-apply sunscreen between rounds. The big game of the day was against Boost Mobile, a very athletic squad of Palo Alto/Stanford guys. Their scouting report is in th
eir name. We were pumped up to play them again after receiving a frustrating 15-10 loss at the thrown together Cal States in May. This time, we had a full team and a few months of practice under our belts.

We broke them for a score out of the gates and never let them see a lead again for the rest of the game. Our offense moved the ball quickly and we took only smart deep shots when they presented themselves. Our D was on fire this game, including a couple of super impressive layout D's on hucks from Peter Raines. It stayed pretty close til the end when we pulled away from them with another break or two to take the game 13-8.

Sunday had us in quarters against Paradox, a first year team out of Long Beach. They struggled with both our tight man D and our junky zone looks all game, and we took the game quickly 13-0. Semis were against an Oregon team, Darkstar, that drove down to the tourney in the NexGen bus driven by Cody Bjorklund. They played flashy Oregon style offense (which I love) but they didn't quite have the skill to make it effective. We won 13-5.

We went over to see the end of the other semi, Wolves vs Boost, which came down to the wire. Wolves were up a couple (9-7?) when we showed up, but Boost got a break or two back to bring it to universe. Wolves received on offense and dropped a nice medium range huck to take the game.

We were 1-1 versus Wolves this season before the game, beating their tryout team at Cal States, but losing on universe at the Scramble. They had a lot of turnover after last year but, Bay Area ultimate being what it is, they still have a lot of talent. We scored the first point of the game on a quick huck by Ian, and then broke them on a dirty layout D by Curtis the next point. We got another turn the next point, but I over threw a downwind huck to Dirty Dan by a few feet, and they scored to make it 2-1. After that, things took a ba
d turn for us.

Shy and Mateo were abusing us on the break side, dropping dimes on offense. Our O had a bunch of mistakes, bad decisions and tight D by them that had them taking half 7-4. We traded out of half until 10-6, when our D went crazy. I think the heat and fatigue started getting to the Wolves, because their hucks started floating and our D line started getting opportunities for huge blocks. Adam Bolenbaugh in particular went crazy during the second half of this game and got us some huge D's (pictured).

The momentum of the game turned very quickly. Wolves made sure the caps were on, and used some time outs to try to stop swing of the game, but it was too late. We got possession at 11-11 and brought it down to the goal line. The hard cap sounded a few seconds before we connected on a short pass and the game was over. 12-11. I always prefer to just let finals play with no caps, but we had an 8 hours ride home ahead of us, so I wasn't complaining. After a quick dip in the river, the ride home was a much happier one than it would have been otherwise.

This game made me happy that I chose to play with the Condors. I've been on teams in the past that would have folded in the same situation, but instead my teammates got angry and stepped up. We might not be the most experienced team, but we're sure as hell not going to give up.

Next weekend: Chicago Heavyweights. So excited.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Condors 2011

I'm not sure if I've said it on here yet, but I'm going to play Condors this year. It's gonna be a great season. They just announced the roster today:

Condors 2011

Adam Bolenbaugh
Adam Paicely
Alec "Strider" Surmani
Andrew "Pebbles" Pebley
Blake Robillard
Collin Gall
Curtis Worden
Dan Bellinger
Dan "Vector" Oettinger
Ed "Biclops" Melo
Evan Brydon
Ian Meyer
Jason Craig
Jordan "Fawkes" Gatti
Keith Reschke
Ken "Gambit" Soo
Kevin "Nos" Stefaner
Mark "The Arbiter" Elbogen
Michael "The Sultan" Kiyoi
Nate Young
Peter Burke
Peter Raines
Ryan Gallagher
Tyler Bacon

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

End of Year Thoughts

Smaug had a great regionals. Unfortunately, I had a final first thing Monday morning and couldn't make the trip up to Morgan Hill to help out the team, but I followed the team closely all weekend through score reporter and twitter. My heart was racing and I must have hit the refresh button about 100 times when they went to universe point with Chico on Saturday.

I'm really proud of what the team accomplished this year. We knew that the team was going to be young and that there would be some bumps along the way. However, at the beginning of the year I said that I thought Smaug's program is developed to the point where it doesn't matter who is on the roster - you should expect us to be good every year. The guys proved me right. Smaug finished tied for 5th (you might call it just 5th based on head-to-head with Davis at regionals) in the brutal new Southwest. Along the way, they beat Davis, Long Beach and Arizona, and finished higher than UCSD and UCSB for the first time in recent memory.

A lot of the credit goes to Peaches, who did a great job coaching and staying tirelessly energetic and enthusiastic. Even though we implemented a new system this year, it was looking great by the end of the year. New players stepped up and figured out what it takes to win games when teams are fighting tooth and nail. We overcame number of big losses to injury, including Zodiac, Machina, Gambit, Spectre, Scarecrow, and Fawkes for Sunday at regionals. Those guys are all starting players when healthy, so it speaks to the depth of the team that others were able to fill in and still keep rolling. Although the regular season was really inconsistent, the team peaked at the right time and finished as well as anyone could have expected.

The outlook for next year depends entirely on how many returning Smauggies find themselves a serious club team to play with this summer. Smaugs have always come from LA Open and Condors. If the young guys actually take the effort to try out for top teams, Smaug could be very good next year. There are a lot of athletes and a lot of good returning players. Most of the big teams in the Southwest are graduating a lot of their big players. UCSC, SDSU, Cal and Long Beach will be different teams next year, off the top of my head.

This weekend, though, it's time to put the team back in their place at Alumni Day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What does this say about law students?

From a school-wide email:

International Beverage Tasting Contest!
J.D. Students v. LL.M. Students v. Staff v. Faculty

2010 Champions: J.D. Students
2009 Champions: J.D. Students
2008 Champions: J.D. Students
2007 Champions: J.D. Students
2006 Champions: LL.M. Students