Thursday, December 21, 2006

Logo Battle - Round 9

Hey Folks,

First off, a reminder that you should only vote once and not for teams you play on. There's nothing I can really do to monitor this, and in a sport like ours I'm hoping for some spirit of the game. Anyway, round 7 has:
  • Slow White and the Seven Dwarfs taking 40% of the vote in a highly commented grouping
  • Rhino with 71% of the vote in a sweep
  • Riot with 49% of the vote
Round 9 has the following groups. Vote once! Don't vote in a grouping that has a team you play on!

Group 1

Wisconsin - College, Open

Zen Asylum - Toronto, ON - Mixed

Virginia Commonwealth University - Biscuit Villians - Richmond, VA - College, Open

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Group 2
Williams College - Purple Cows - Artist: Young Hahn - College, Women

Wicked - Women
Tufts - Medford, MA - College, Open

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Group 3
Valdosta State - Artist: Brice Zimmerman - College, Open

Wisconsin - College, Women

UCLA - College, Women

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ultimate Christmas Wish List - Part II the Philisophical Version

As practical as many of the gifts in the previous Christmas post were, let's take a step back and get more philosophical. I'll let a good friend of mine, Norman Farb, take the keyboard in his reply (essay like) to my question:

"What an Ultimate Player Wants for Christmas

There’s a lot of things an ultimate player could wish for at Christmas time, beyond the usual consumer goods like shiny new discs or the wicking-est swag. When you’ve reached the point when you no longer think that new compression shorts, gloves or visors are going to be the difference-maker to ultimate supremacy, what do you wish for?

Do you wish for skills? Crazy IO flicks that bust zones wide open? Jaw-dropping speed? Fearless 7 foot layout leaps that strike fear into hearts of defenders and offensive stars alike? Sounds good, but no man (or woman) is an island; no matter how good you are, a great team will bring a lone star shooting down to earth.

So then, do you wish for strategic prowess? Perfect field vision? Knowledge of every zone and how to beat it? Charismatic leadership powers to draw the most elite players into your fold? Surely with such a powerful squad, victory is inevitable; and at the end of the day, winning is what makes an ultimate player happy, right? Sure, right up until the day you wake up for a game and wonder why you’re playing.

But if winning isn’t what makes an Ulti player happy, then what should they wish for? I’ve played games where we’ve won and I’ve left the field feeling like crap, and I’ve lost games where I’ve had a blast. The difference lay in what I was playing for.

In games when you’ve got something to prove, like you’re better than the opposition (or your teammates for that matter), or that the training was worth it, or that whatever else isn’t perfect in your life is balanced out by a good display on the field, well then that’s a recipe for disaster. Failure ceases to become an option because you’ve got ego at stake. A loss means a personal failure, and that kind of thing leads to anger or despondency. Even a victory is rarely conclusive- how often do you know really know you’ve done well enough?

On the other hand, there are games where you just don’t care, where you’re playing to push yourself, stretch your legs, have some fun along the way. There are games when you don’t think outside the point you’re playing, you just play the point. Those points, I find, always work out, even the times you get scored on. It seems like one way to happiness in ultimate is to just stop caring; the trick is letting go when you’ve sunk so much caring into it. We can be our own jailers when our ego runs our play rather than inquiring as to what we can really do. When we are motivated by expectations of greatness instead of curiosity therein, it is hard to be satisfied and even harder to be pleasantly surprised.

So then, what does an Ultimate player wish for at Christmas? Maybe humility; a willingness to realize we and those around us will never be that perfect player, and in the space of that knowledge a willingness to see what happens anyway."

Thanks Norm,

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Logo Battle - Round 8

Round 6 saw:
  • Queens with 43%
  • Violet Femmes with 51%
  • LCN Soldiers 40%
To the next round:

Group 1
Thong - Australia - Open

Torontula - College, Open and Women
Truck Stop - Washington, DC - Open

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Group 2

Texas - College, Open

Stanford - College, Women

Sublime - Australia - Mixed

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Group 3

Stanford - College, Open

Ruby Cruz - Toronto, Ontario - Artist: Hilary Leung - Women

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ultimate Bangkok Style

Hey Folks,

I've been in Bangkok for the last little while, and this Sunday I had the opportunity to play some ultimate with the locals. The Soidawgz run pickup a few times a week, and I thought I would join them. Not expecting any high quality ultimate I searched for the fields and, finally, found where they hold pickup. It's actually in the army base on a soccer field. People were throwing discs which suggested I was in the right spot.

Pictured Above: A blurry version of one of two pickup games in Bangkok. Great people and ultimate.

Any time you travel the world I suggest checking if there is some pickup ultimate in the area. Send a quick e-mail to the contacts, and when you find the field just introduce yourself and start playing. It is amazing how cool ultimate players are throughout the world.

The Soidawgz are no exception. I met a few people and after cleating up I was on the field throwing around. After an insufficient warm-up, the darks and lights separated into seven and a game began.

With my experience in Toronto pickup and other pickup games in Europe. I was quite pleased with the level of ultimate. The majority of people had a backhand and flick, and they were looking for dumps at high stalls. This quality was probably the case since this pickup was for a club team that goes to tournaments instead of general pickup like many other places I've been.

Some of the stronger players were quite good. I had the fortune of being covered by a 6'6"" giant called Dan (could have been taller) who I found out later played with Ring of Fire in Raleigh, NC. There were some strong players from Seattle and San Francisco, and there was also some visiting players from Washington. That along with some strong throwing, fast locals made for two competitive games.

I held my own other than a disastrous drop off the pull, but I blame the heat and my concern for the sideline. Overall, it was a great experience, and if you're ever in Bangkok, I suggest you come out and play.

The most interesting part of the experience was stopping play to stand for the King's anthem. Even the little kids playing soccer on a nearby field stood to attention.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Ultimate Road Trip

Every tournament I've been to is usually great for one reason. No, it's not the ultimate, the parties, visiting other cities, or even winning. Sure, each of those is great, but what I love about the ultimate weekend is the trip.

As you travel to the tournament city, you're usually going to find yourself in a car with two or three others. During the next one to ten hours, depending on the distance you travel, you will go through a process of meeting or familiarizing yourself more than you could possibly imagine.

Think about a general day in your life. How many times do you spend more than an hour with a person without distraction. Sure, maybe this happens with your children or significant other, and these are intimate relationships. Well, the ultimate trip has a similar affect. Let's call it intimacy by force.

But like all social situations there are rules/gudie lines. Here are some rules I've come up with:

  • On the way back at least one person needs to stay awake with the driver.
  • Try and involve everyone in the car.
  • Keep the music at a reasonable level so conversation flows.
  • Talk about ultimate. It's a guaranteed topic that people are interested in.
  • If someone in the car isn't an ultimate player, then make sure you talk about other stuff.
  • Lulls in the conversation are okay.
  • Try not to make the driver laugh too hard, it can be dangerous.
  • Stay away from risky topics, and avoid language that people won't accept. In other words, stay within the boundaries.
I've met some of the greatest people on car rides, and an added benefit is it will make your team much tighter. For this reason, it is a good idea to mix up who goes with who on a trip to make your team tighter. This can be useful to bridge across team cliques, like new an old team members or even women and men on a co-ed team.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Logo Battle - Round 7

Hey Folks,

To the next round of the competition. A quick summary of round 5 has:

  • Monster with 44%
  • Metal with 38%
  • Lily with 52%

In this round, we have some interesting logos up for competition.

Group 1

Ring of Fire - Raleigh, NC - Open

Sockeye - Seattle, WA - Open

Slow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Boston, MA - Mixed

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Group 2

Safari - San Diego, CA - Women

Rhino - Portland, OR - Open

Roy - Toronto, Ontario - Artist: Hilary Leung - Open

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Group 3

Roughriders - Vancouver, BC - Women

Revolver - San Francisco, CA - Artists: Nick Handler and Mike Jones - Open

Riot - Seattle, WA - Women

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Extreme Throwing

The most advanced stage of in the development as a thrower is being able to get almost any throw off. Also, you need to know when you can make those throws. In this talk, I'll talk briefly about a theory on how to train for advanced throws.

Advanced throwing isn't about specific throws like a thumber, hammer, blade, or even, forehand. Instead, I beleive advanced throwing is about getting off backhands and flicks in any situation. These situations include along the sideline, when falling, and even from the knees or a sitting position. Similarly, these backhands or flicks need to be made including a high release and a low release.

So, essentially, advanced throwers can make simple throws under almost any conditions. How are we going to train for these throws?

My suggestion is first practicing awkward throws without a mark. Work on your high release flick and backhand. Try throwing while falling to the side, backwards, and on an angle. Throw from one knee, both knees, and sitting down.

After you get good at these throws under all sorts of conditions, then start using some of these skills in threeman. The problem with threeman (as much as I love the drill) is that you get used to making the same moves to break your opponent. I encourage you to try, 1 out of every 3 times you throw in threeman, something new. This will give you the opportunity to try some of your falling throws, lean back throws, and high and low release throws in game like situations. Plus it can be fun. to try new things.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Logo Battle - Round 6

Hey Folks,

Into the sixth round of the logo battle. In round 4:
  • Jonhy Bravo scraped out a win in a three way battle with 35% of the vote
  • Goat moves on with 55%
  • Georgia comes from behind to beat the Fatties with 48%
Now to round 6...

Group 1

Queens - Kingston, Ontario - College, Open
Ozone - Atlanta, GA - Women

Rare Air - Boulder, CO - Women

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Group 2
Oregon - College, Open

Ninjastars - Toronto, Ontario - Artist: Hilary Leung - Mixed
NYU Violent Femmes - Artist: Julie Sussman - College, Women

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Group 3

Mephisto - Montreal, Quebec - Open

Jawbone - Cleveland, OH - Open

LCN Soldiers

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Warmup House of Pain Style

Sometimes in the middle of a tournament you have to warm up, but the regular warm up just seems like a dreary effort. This emotional warm up spot comes up either after a loss, a tough win, or possibly, just a long day.

I've seen some teams, like Goat, use little games to relax players and get there minds off the game by bringing a little bit of enjoyment. My suggestion is a game that is both a warm up and some fun.

I call it "the jumping game". There are two stages in the jumping game.

  1. Separate the team into 3 or 2 equal groups. In each group throw the disc around (in a circle), the trick being that you need to jump, catch the disc, and throw it to someone else before landing. Each group tries to link up as many of these in air throws and catches. The challenge is to be the group with the highest number of linked up throws.
  2. After so many tries, make one large circle and perform the same in air catch/throw, but the trick here is that as soon as you either make a bad throw or drop the disc you are eliminated from the circle. Decisions of elimination are made by people who have already been eliminated.
This little game is fun and surprisingly active. I would, however, suggest that you start this little game after your first stage warm up. This normally includes some sort of jog and stretch.

Note: I'm in Bangkok, Thailand now, so I can't guarantee regular posting times, though they seem to be pretty connected. Checkout: if interested.


Friday, December 08, 2006

No Hitting, but Tough - Part II

Hey Folks,

I've given you a bit of time to think about it. If you've read my blog I've always looked at Ultimate and asked questions like, "Should juniors be playing ultimate or not?" and "Is the tournament format crazy?"

Pictured Above: Two more pictures of the Capitals at UPAs (both from Shawn Chua's collection)

I ask these questions because I feel that Ultimate is a tough sport. It's tough, and I look forward to playing hockey in the winter.

The question is why is Ultimate tough. I think there are a few key physical factors:
  • Very little positional play - you can't rest, and if you are, you're hurting your team.
  • Full field play - means the entire field is a threat so you can't play too much easier (maybe zone) in different positions on the field (as opposed to most other field sports).
  • Format for tournaments - they're just too long and we play with too few players (this applies to most sports).
  • No on the fly subbing even with timeouts.
Another reason ultimate is tough from the psychological side:
  • Throwing in conditions is tough since the disc is relatively light and oddly shaped
  • Catching is challenging for the same reason
  • Defending is an uphill battle (you feel open to attack)
I'm sure there are more reasons, but it's a tough sport. Maybe we don't hit, but we all push ourselves.

Ultimate definitely isn't the toughest sport. It lacks pushing your mind and body to the extreme. It lacks danger and physical contact.

So, my rankings would be:
  1. Mixed Martial Arts (still has the word Ultimate in it and includes wrestling)
  2. Marathon runner (representative for the extreme individual sports)
  3. Ultimate
  4. Badminton
  5. Hockey
  6. Squash
  7. Basketball
  8. Football
That was fun,