Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wordpress is the new black.

Later days Blogger!


(now if only I could actually think of a suitable title)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Myself, I blame the WSOP

You really know shit's gonna go down when even the bridge world goes crazy. Oh those old ladies, what will they do next!

Personal highlights: "This isn't a free speech issue."

“By trying to address these issues in a nonviolent, nonthreatening and lighthearted manner [they] were doing only what women of the world have always tried to do when opposing the folly of men who have lost their perspective of reality.”

“I earn my living from bridge"

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Ascent of Stan

Here I am again, four hours before I set out for an ultimate tournament and still not asleep. Slave to some sort of quasi-karmic law prevents any ultimate player from sleeping the night before. Or maybe it's that 4 hour nap I took earlier today.

Tomorrow's some sort of Hat Tournament hosted by Prion Ultimate, a mixed team based out of Illinois that got 3rd in Mad-isc-on. Due to funding problems we had to sacrifice a tournament in either the spring or the fall. Naturally we chose the fall, thus a hat tournament rather than a full team one (for 15$ + gas is a pretty good deal I thought, although the 5 hour drive is a bit much). Roughly six of our players are going, three of our better ones, so hopefully this will help them get over the plateaus we've gotten ourselves into.

It occurs to me that I never updated about Glory Days, I should probably do so. I'm thinking I'm going keep this short, quasi-karmic laws be damned, I'm going to get at least 2 hours tonight.

Our pool consisted of Loyola, Missouri B, Western Kentucky and Northwestern. My pre-tournament predictions were something like 13-15 Loyola, 15-6 over Mizz B, 15-10 over Western Kentucky, and 7-15 Northwestern. Unfortunately these were based upon UPA rankings, turns out are much more fluid than I expected. Overall we came in thinking we could put in a solid bid for the champion's pool, but we were missing our key defensive freshman for a wedding, and our third best player (Cartier) due to a lacerated kidney. The kidney thing was a bit of a bummer.

We got to the fields before most of the teams, but for some reason our warm-ups continue to leave something to be desired. I was planning on starting with a scrimmage to erase some of our first point dropsies, but I got caught up in the captain's meeting, and by the time I got back we only had about 5 minutes until game time. Hindsight tells me that I probably could've delegated or gone to the captain's meeting late to meet the slightly higher priority of winning. Unfortunately I find it hard to delegate, due in great part to a severe lack of leadership after myself, Terp (who was with me) and Cartier (injured). B-Long's been trying to step up, but unfortunately he doesn't command the sort of respect needed, and everyone else...just kinda stands there.

Either way, we didn't scrimmage, just did some paired throwing and Endzone O, cheer and then hooray playing. The entire Loyola game was characterized by an incredible amount of drops, throwing errors, pretty much every turnover imaginable actually. They were ranked 101st so I was expecting a pretty rough match up, but we ended up taking half 7-2. They staged a comeback during the second half, but ended up unable to convert for the most part, even with the help of some of our players. Us 11-7.

Missouri B. I was expecting some rest after the Loyola game, playing a B-team and all. Unfortunately the team just kinda died, and continued to die for the first 4 or so points. This was a drastic and somewhat scary change; at Grinnell the team did fine when I subbed out, but this time around we ended up completely losing our focus. I ended up coming in on point 5 (1-4), and managed to help spark a comeback just in time for the hard cap. Us 9-7.

The Mizz-B team did help highlight some of our flaws as a team, hopefully ones that I can address in the future. They essentially had two handlers and then a team full of rookies, but even with this they still managed to keep some nice flow going, something that we lacked the entire tournament. I especially noticed when I watched the ISUC-Truman State game, we're playing more of an Ames ToP ho-stack: rely on two or three good cutters to advance it up the field, then rely on Greg to bomb it deep (it's much less deadly without Greg). Glory Days was just further proof of our inability to create an offense with in-cuts, especially when I was handling. It's actually pretty humorous, we have most of our games on tape, and every first point I have it's like dump throw, swing, Iain huck. Luckily for me we have a lot of track burn-outs on our team.

Western Kentucky: probably the more interesting of the games in pool play, we started the game by going down 0-6. Kentucky had been running a cup in their earlier games, but we still were unready for it. At 0-5 we finally got our zone-o clicking, I just remember looking at Terp and B-Long after we worked it full field until an ill-fated strike cut; they looked back at me with faces beaming, a mutual epiphany that we could break a cup, as opposed to being crushed by it a la IFUC at Grinnell. We then went on a 6-0 run until they utilized the girl-guy mismatch to score for half.

They subbed in their all-star after half, although he was slightly injured after Kentucky's game against Northwestern. He proved to be too much for us, even injured, unfortunately, hard cap is called at 8-10.

We then lost to Northwestern 7-15. The team had been relying on myself and our main cutter to propel both our offense and defense, and by this point we were absolutely drained. This was probably the most tired I've ever been during an ultimate game, I could barely even play defense, blech.

Day 2, we missed the champion's bracket by 6 points. First game is against Chicago-B. Another example of why we need to scrimmage before the game, this time I was indisposed getting our water, why I didn't delegate I don't know. It's a pretty tough game, nothing exciting, we win 10ish-8ish.

Grinnell was next, and I don't know if they had a tough game against Lewis or if they were missing some star player, but they just played terribly. They threw this 20 ft. cup on us, I just stuck a permanent crash in the center and we just worked it up easily. Only thing they had going for them was a few tall guy mismatches, but our speed was able to overcome them. We ended crushing them, although not without two spirit fouls called on me for encouraging my team to take it easy for the next game. Us 13-7.

I once entertained ideas about going to Purdue for college. I expected their team to be much worse than they were. In reality they were probably the most solid and utterly average team I've ever played against. Also had a taller, slower, less accurate throwing version of me - we had a fun time guarding each other. I don't remember why we lost this game, probably due in part to a lot of fatigue, some mismatches that were never really resolved, I don't know. A tough game laden with Iain and Iain-clone layouts, but ultimately we lose 8-10.

Pros: Layouts from lots of people, spectacular deep catches, great d throughout the tournament, freshmen stepping up, cup ownage, bright future for UNIPUC(?!)

Cons: Really really hard ground, our handlers breaking under pressure, inability to utilize in-cuts for an offense, no Champion's bracket, lack of flow/movement, throwing problems for a lot of our cutters, last tournament of the fall

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Icarus ain't got nothin' on me

I don't think I've ever been more excited for a tournament than I was for this last Elephantitis. The three days leading up to the tournament I probably slept for a combined 10-15 hours. I'd always be in that semi-conscious, half-dreaming, half-awake state when I'd start to think about ultimate, the team, what I taught them, what I didn't teach them, and the all around thrill of just playing ultimate in general. Even after, with the tournament over, I'm still thinking about ultimate, what I need to do with the team, what the team wants, and of course, Glory Days.

Hello. My name's Iain Wilson. I'm addicted to ultimate.

I was a little surprised about IHUC's strong showing this year, although apparently the people at Grinnell were expecting it. For some reason I thought that they were losing most of their veterans / good players / sucked a lot. In fact I had just had a conversation with one of our quasi-members from St. Olaf about how suddenly IHUC's program had died after their nationals appearance a handful of years ago. To say I was a little surprised is actually a bit of an understatement. I was hoping to depose them later in the year of their #3 spot in Iowa's rankings. ...Shucks.

UNIPUC came to Grinnell about 20-strong, six newbies, three seniors, and 11 other mostly sophomores. We also came to Grinnell excited, ready to put in a better showing than last year, and hopefully play either IHUC or ISUC to demonstrate our potential to be something more than some dark horse team with delusions of grandeur. Unfortunately that didn't exactly happen this tournament. To start off our fledgling program we were given the pool of Truman, Winona Y, Luther, and Grinnell 1/3. A somewhat sobering pool of ultimate know-how. Either of the other two pools we could have reasonably (and easily) finished 2nd or 3rd, but with this hellish pool seeding those options were closed to us, although hey, at least we had 4th on lock down right?

I gave my team a brief pep talk during our warm-ups. Yes we had a hard pool, but we had traded points with Truman up to 8's last year, Winona was split into two teams, and Luther's history was of bringing a B-team to Grinnell. It may look intimidating, but gosh, just keep your chin up team and we can do it!

With those words echoing through our anxious bodies we set to work.

Game 1: UNIPUC v. Grinnell Z
We came into the game looking a bit lackluster, for a lot of people it had been over 6 months since their last tournament; as such we took a few points to regain our tournament intensity. Our vert stack was looking very not-flowy and our defense on their vert stack was suspect, but we still were able to build up a three point lead after our iffy beginnings to take half. Grinnell comes out strong afterward, utilizing their one 6'+ tall guy and our apparently lack of a strong handler mark. They make up a few points, bringing it within one to tie, but then one of our players catches an iffily thrown disc (most certainly not from me) and simultaneously sprains his ankle to throw off their game. A risky maneuver, but one that pays off, we rail off 3 quick points and win on hard cap, 11-8.

At this point in the tournament it was too early to really get any sense of how we were going to play as a team, although a number of motifs had already been established. Our defense never really picked up all that much other than a select one or two layout-happy players. Our marks left something to be desired, there were a lot of IO breakmark throws this game. A lot. I too received the IO breakthrow memo, I think I had a good four or five this game. Additionally, for some reason those first few points we didn't mark our deeps against that one tall guy, and those that did didn't force him to handle, they just kinda let him do his thing. Our basic defense was relatively fine, it's just those little intricacies that mark the difference between shut down defense and a lackluster one that seemed to be missing. Positives? Intensity, our first half cheer, the beginnings of stack flow, and a legitimate deep threat (a theme we pursued relentlessly for the rest of the tournament).

Game 2: UNIPUC v. Luther (B?)
Ah Luther, the greatly polarized enemy of Cartier, Terpstra and the old guard of UNIPUC. Some people looked a bit scared before they stepped on the line, I guess Luther's a scary team. They all look wiry, lanky, and ultimate-esque. Our team does not. They also have a Sub-Zero player and Greg Shirbroun. Both whom I've played against (Dill in Duluth, Greg everywhere), but two people of amazing skill and a seemingly comprehensive knowledge of the game. Luckily when I play against people like Greg and Dill I feel like I tend to step up my game as well. I probably put a lot more effort into this game than I should have, but I was determined to at least give my former teammate a reasonable run for his money.

We started the game strong; I think my intensity was starting to trickle down to my teammates, or maybe it was just a flat-footed Luther team that started us off well. We go up 3-1 and Luther calls a frustrated timeout. Luther takes the time to probably admonish their players for thoroughly unchilly throws and bad throwing decisions, I take the time to frantically explain the ho-stack, its premises, and what to do about it. To me it seemed like a steep learning curve for our relative newly competitive team, although it apparently presented little challenge. Our defense was understandably still off and on (note to self, need drills on this), but satisfactory. Luther continued to make a multitude of TTO's, and we capitalized on nearly every one. We probably took half 7-4 or so. Pigpen articulated his frustration with the classic hat spike and one word explicative (personal victory).

At half I continued to go over the ho-stack and to warn of the intensity Luther would bring in the second half, but the team was optimistic. I don't think any of the veterans had ever played in a game like this before with UNIPUC, that being a relatively close game that actually contained solid ultimate. Walking (okay strutting) back to the sidelines and being greeted with Cartier's silly grin was one of the highlights of my tournament, I think that single half inspired my players more than any of my pep talks could ever hope to do.

The second half went by in more of a blur. I think we mostly traded points and beat off any beginnings of a Luther rally attempt until the soft cap was called. The final point was most likely another capitalization upon a Luther turn. UNIPUC 12-8.

It's not that UNIPUC didn't earn this game, as we had a lot of hot plays and nice flow, but it did feel like Luther essentially served it up to us nicely. Their play was, frankly, unimpressive. I felt like their Stanford handler dump system was easily defended against (although perhaps that's just my opinion), their continues weren't there, and that their players just didn't play good ultimate. Greg can only do so much for freshman and B-team players.

This game my throws were finally starting to warm up, especially my deep forehand puts; my defense and especially my Standford D were hot, and the Luther defense was absolutely full of holes that was I easily able to exploit. I ended up with three layout D's (the utmost measure of worth), one on a Greg Stanford, and two on the same guy, on the same point, on the same cut. I love playing defense on a ho-stack.

UNIPUC v. Winona Y
Having a tall guy named "Easy" as their captain probably should've tipped me off to their particular brand of offense, but unfortunately for those first three points, I was blissfully unaware. After that relatively rough start, we bring the game back up to 3's or so, and go on a short run with our old tactic of all deep throws, all the time. Winona adapts, but not before we manage to take half 7-5.

The half marked a turning point in the game, for some reason we came back out looking tired, sleepy almost. Winona brings it back even, although we manage to stay up a break. We start getting jumpy, a lot of times throwing to the deep cut regardless of the defense and lacking any good in-cuts. We get it to 12-11, but lack the polish to finish it out, end up losing it on universe, 12-13.

A lot of things to work on in this game. Our throws were still looking pretty crisp, even on our bad decisions our receivers could still beat out their defense. Though once we started getting tired in the second half we started having problems. Conditioning, ho-stack defense, and chilly O, all big players in our loss.

UNIPUC v. Truman State
TSU had finished their Luther game early, so they came out with a straight-up force to help frustrate our deep throwing abilities, smart. I was able to break their marks a few times with moderate success, although ended up being inconveniently handblocked late second half. Unfortunately I didn't notice the straight up mark for quite a while, and by the time I did I didn't really do much about it. Definitely a mistake on my part, if we would've just started swinging the disc we would've been able to score easy. Swings and continues are still a problem on my team, although that doesn't justify my mistake.

We still looked tired as a team, had problems with in-cuts and our defense again, basically the usual. Truman didn't play spectacularly, they didn't even play great, we traded points and breaks up to 10s, and it wasn't until those last three points that we finally broke down. Definitely a team we can beat in the future. Truman 13-10.

We went to go find our hotel pretty beat. I had played a good 90% of the points in every game, probably more in the Luther one, something I didn't want to do, but what the team ended up wanting. This year though, when I go out we don't get completely massacred, we're still able to play pretty well, it's just that none of the other players have really stepped up for leadership. I'll probably need to moderate my play at Glory Days in order to be ready for Sunday, but it's hard. I don't want to make the team dependent on my play to win, I'd feel like I'm taking away their chances of getting better by continually taking the fast people or the main handlers, or running the offense. I'm sure the other handlers probably don't like that either, I'll need to tone that down next tournament.

The hotel was beautiful, we probably sat in the jacuzzi for a good hour or so, my entire body was basically a prune by that point. The team got in a nice simu-game of Settlers in, then headed out to the party. Better than last year I thought, congratulations on ISUC for winning it, Luther for being able to drink a lot, and Joel for puking all over his pants. I was DD so I wasn't expecting much from the party, but the energy was infectious and it was nice to see all the old crew again. Also blindsiding all our newbs with Terp's firewater was beautiful, enabling people is fun. Highlights: disc drinking, everyone asking "...so I heard you beat Luther?", lots and lots of actually cooked hamburgers this time, B-Long peeing out my window when going 55, Charlie passing out mid-text message trying to get some, seeing Dunlay(!?) at a party for once.

So second day. The second day wasn't quite as forgiving as I had hoped it would be. I dislike the second day.

First game, UNIPUC v. iFUC
Well we came within 10 minutes of needing to play, quickly cleated up, warmed up, a few throws through Endzone O, bad idea. Second choice I deferred to Terp for advice, also the second disappointment, dang it. We start the game as our little warm up time allows us to, badly. We go down 1-3, but iFuc manages to light a fire under us and we end up going on a 5 point run. But strangely once we get to 6 we decide to stop scoring? iFuc takes half 7-6, ave maria. iFuc's playing a simple front cut vert stack, yet for some reason we keep on letting them get open. From playing these guys multiple times I know how to shut down their main deep handler Aaron (I do so) and their single deep we line up our best defender against. Why are they still scoring. I don't know, soft cap gets put on during half for some reason.

I ask for a solid D line, we pull, get a D, score. 7's. We pull again, we score, 8-7. Pull, they work it up the field, somehow we fuck things up, 8's. They pull and put on their weird 4-person zone. I dimly recall hearing my poppers saying to each other "now what are we supposed to do again?", I realize that we're not in good shape. We turn it a few times although we continue to stuff their feeble attempts at offense upwind. I remind the other handlers that the point of zone O is movement and constant swinging, they ohhhhhhh me. We swing, but with no poppers we don't have much to work with. I punt it, they work it back up, we get a D. Cartier picks up, turns it into the waiting hands of two of the cup players, fast break, score, loser's bracket for us!

We play the consolation semi-final game or whatever, beat the Grinnell 1/3 team, not a whole lot interesting happens - everyone wants to leave, the rookies are playing a lot, hooray. UNIPUC 9-4.

Loser bracket final: UNIPUV v. Grinnell (full squad kinda)
After arriving at the campus from the high school fields I spent about 15 minutes relaying messages from my team to the Grinnell team and back again. My team kinda wanted to leave, but kinda wanted to play, the Grinnell team wanted to play, but a lot of their team had left already? They end up pulling together a dece team of most (it looked like all?) of their captain/handlers, the tall guy, a few others, and Dennis Kuo. By this time our quasi-handler St. Olaf guy had arrived (punctuality isn't his strong suit), so wahoo Iain cutting time! Things proceeded naturally from there. A few layouts from myself, a lot of long puts from everyone, we destroy them 9-3.

It was nice, as basically every moderately good thing I ended up doing was made when the Scorned team was actually watching, hooray/thanks ladies! (also congrats for completely owning everyone at that tournament)

Clearly as a team we need a lot of polish, although I'm sure every team needs that around now. We'll be switching to the ho-stack now that everyone has the endzone O / proper idea of continue cuts down, so hopefully that'll help with some of our offensive problems. Hopefully I'll get the team to try to understand individual defense a bit better, now that I've gone through a tournament I can adapt what I feel comfortable / decent at and pass that on to the team. We've adopted a late night Wednesday throwing workshop sort of thing, so any implements of throwing will be put there. The team isn't serious enough to allow for any sort of Texas drill, there are a good handful of people that genuinely want and continually try to improve, but the majority are still in the fun over improvement stage.

I took notes throughout the tournament, so I have a good deal of things the team needs to work on, I've been using the drills and subsequent practice aims, and greater week aims to pull it together. It's hard working with the team trying to get some of the basic things understood (the cup, continues, ugh), but considering how well we performed I'd say there's a decent groundwork at least. There are a few potential handlers / people I know are dedicated to the sport, and Ellsworth your advice of talking to them about improving certain aspects has worked wonderfully.

As a captain I still need to step up in a few areas. I'm still concerned a lot about my play and less of the team, so I need to somewhat distance myself, probably go out more often especially, so I can observe the game objectively. I didn't call a zone when it could've changed a game (iFUC) and I didn't realize the straight-up mark / adapt to it until it was entirely too late (Truman), and with both games I probably could've influenced the outcome. I played solidly through most of the tournament, I only had a few turns per game, admittedly some bad deep choices mostly, but no turfs, only one or two throws badly thrown due to the wind, a lot of D's. Generally it was just a good tournament for me. I do need to work on my breaks, especially my backhand, but that's always been a problem of mine.

For those of you that witnessed some of our play, any helpful tips? Greg seemed impressed with our potential, but really that only tells me that our team has athleticism. With some polish we'll be a solid team, but then again I don't know how the ho-stack will treat us. Practices don't go nearly as well as tournaments, we always go to tournaments and get a good flow going, but once we come back to UNI all of the non-serious players break it up again. Still, a ho-stack, a continued intensity, better throws and decisions; this is a UNIPUC I'm sure many people weren't ever expecting to see.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Most Dangerous Game

It's funny how badly confused my priorities are. Luckily, they aren't badly enough confused for me to need to change them. Homework's got nothin' on me!

For those of you that find ultimate recaps bothersome, I present to you an abbreviated version:

Ames ToP arrives at Oregon, Wisconsin. Ames ToP beats everybody real bad, but absolutely nothing exciting happens. The next day comes. Ames ToP beats everybody real bad even more, but this time plenty of exciting things happen. Ames ToP eats a complimentary ice cream cake.

It was actually a bit depressing in the first day, what with the little to no excitement during our games - also, very unfortunate for a recap. Saturday was the day of the team as a whole rather than specific standouts. Greg, Misra, Myself, Dunlay, and Tai all contributed solidly, but there were no flashy Tai-layouts, no glory-filled hucks from myself or Greg, although strangely there were the usual amount of slightly-bearded swings and dumps to support our offense (our lifeblood at times it seemed). No one played spectacularly, no one played poorly, but our team went 5-0, and the rest of the teams were stunned.

Due to unforeseen circumstances after the first day, Dunlay, Myself and Ying returned to Ames to drop off Jessi and Jazz (can I spell it Jazz, or should I use "Jas," I never know). As such we were not expected to play to the best of our abilities, I do believe we broke those expectations.

We arrived about 20 minutes late to the fields and were greeted with a 4-4 tie against Oh Boy!, one of the as of yet un-Top'ed teams of the B-Pool. Oh Boy!, with their fancy jerseys and their can-do attitudes were a stark contrast to the previously uninspiring teams of Pool A; as such they were putting put quite a fight. But after a brief warm-up, Ying, Dunlay and I were ready to enter the fray, and Oh Boy! didn't know what hit them. The three of us had been abruptly aroused from sleep a mere half hour earlier and we milked that indignant grumpiness for all it was worth. In hindsight I may have gone a little too far in that respect, but a little grumpiness never hurt anyone. But A little grumpiness did force me to spike a disc. Turns out I don't deal well with lack of sleep.

All disc spiking aside, in both this game, and the next against Prion, Dunlay and I were working some sort of crazy Iowan magic with our cuts. It wasn't until the finals that we finally started to run out of steam, but luckily we had our incredibly deep bench to help shore up our cutting positions in that respect. Anyway, ToP 13-9

Apparently nothing of note happened in the Prion game, as all I remember of that game is the relief that we didn't have to actually play hard. 13-4, Top.

Actually now that I think of it I don't remember much of the Implants game either. I do recall that they had a few older guys that thought they could push us high schoolers around, as well as that one Wisconsin chick that could probably huck a good mile or so. We went down early, something like 2-5, but ended up going on a run to take half after a sick layout-D from Greg. That play was easily the turning point of the game. Our offense wasn't working as well as it had been against the previous teams, our handlers were too hesitant to look for the deep throws that Dunlay and I had been reeling in so easily, and our defense was just looking sluggish. It wasn't until Greg schooled that old annoying guy with his layout that we awoke from our stupor.

Top continued its run for another few points, and ended up trading points for the win. Contrary to popular belief though, the Misra-Tai iso call resulted in game point, not the win. I'm probably stealing their thunder, and I apologize, but the truth must be heard. The real final point was thrown to probably Meghan...or something. It's hard to hear the truth when the truth can't accurately be remembered; maybe it was Misra and Tai that scored the final point. Either way, we got cake, and it was really tasty cake. I had like five pieces. It was awesome.

I looked at Greg after the game and he was so happy he was almost crying. I felt the same way. What a capstone, captaining a team for so long to finally result in that lofty tournament win, it must've felt amazing. All of us, on the cusp of our individual teams and eras, all assembling for one last tournament.

Here's to you Greg. For all of those Luther handler hats thrown to the ground in indignant fury. For all of those crazy forehand hucks that to this day impress me still. For that first tournament in KC, showing me that Ames ToP did in fact, have a chance in youth ultimate, to this recent culmination of Ames ToPpery. Thank you for everything you've done, the stress you've gone through, and undoubtedly, the large amount of cash you've lost in the process. It's been one heck of a ride.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Iain and his forays into the realm of leadership

Being a blog christened after its author's attempts at captaincy, its author feels obligated to update. Also, the fact that a tournament, a location change and the return to the college lifestyle have all occurred way heavy on its author's shoulders. Unfortunately this post is about none of these.

UNIPUC's first practice occurred back on Sunday. We had some decent turnout, a lot of people that have played back in high school, a few people that "played some disc back in gym class and thought it was fun," and one or two tournament goers. Also present - an inconceivable amount of wind and rain. The latter was not well received by the team.

Due to those conditions we weren't able to get as much done on Sunday as I had hoped, the usual introductions were performed, a few basic explanations about the stack and force, nothing too fancy. I did discover though, that I'm really bad at explaining things. Really really bad. Abominable even. This isn't all that desirable of a trait for a captain to have.

Sunday practice also had very few of our old team present. We were missing our three main players at Cooler playing with the PaB team, while the rain probably drove off any of the other slightly less dedicated members. Two of the three members at Cooler were also former presidents, which somewhat left me at a loss for what to do. I worked with what I could.

Afterwards (with the addition of the three Cooler-ites) our first team meeting was held. It proceeded exquisitely. Chili red and marina blue are now our two jersey colors, although no input was given for a name change or a new insignia for that matter, mostly because I didn't have any of the drawings on my person.

Another no-ultimate Monday came and passed and then Tuesday practice arrived, hooray! This time around my explanations were much less of the abominable sort, quite the opposite in fact. With an official practice under my belt I was feeling confident, so my stack and force demonstrations flowed much more smoothly. Even with my peerless demonstrations though, the team still has a lot to work on. Unlike ISUC we don't have as solid of a core of veterans, so not only do we have to teach the newbies, but we have to reteach some of the team members as well. The newbies don't have that competitive ultimate atmosphere to learn in yet, I'd like to try to cultivate that, but I don't know how.

It's hard for the new players to learn how to play correctly when a lot of the older members don't quite know when to make a continue or how to make a proper cut. It also worries me that none of the older players really understood the necessity of the stack moving upfield when the disc moves upfield. Whenever the disc is caught a lot of people just panic and sprint wildly away from the stack in these dazzling circular continue cuts, which although I'm sure look absolutely scintillating on paper, lose something in translation to the field.

I should probably stress a bit more the necessity of the stack moving as a group, but I'm still trying to feel out when exactly it's proper to give advice, and when it's not. People tend to misinterpret what I say into something a lot more harsh than I intended, so I'm somewhat hesitant to tell people what to do. With this being only our second practice as well, I don't want to put people off by having them think they're doing absolutely everything wrong, but I also don't want them to build bad tendencies that we'll have to overcome later in the year. I'm sure the happy medium is what I should aim for, but those happy mediums tend to have a lot in common with sublime circular continue cuts.

The basics are what the team needs though and the basics are what I'm going to have to focus upon for the next few days. Whether or not the team understands the main nuances of the stack will make or break our play this year, it's what kept us from really playing all that well last year.

This brings in another issue though, our practices starting at 3:30, when about five or so people have classes until 4:45. If those five people miss out on Tuesday/Thursday explanations and drills, then they're going to be leagues behind the rest of the team in terms of understanding. I'd like to move practice times up to 5 or so, but then we'd start to encounter the problem of not eating dinner until 7:30. With the dining centers closing at 7:45, that probably wouldn't go over very well with the team.

This all sounds like these last few practices have been fruitless, but for the first two practices they've gone quite well. We converted a track athlete permanently to our heathen ways, as well as picking up a few other pretty athletic people. The older players seem almost excited, if not more excited about this year than I am. Additionally the intensity of our last practice was a pleasant surprise from what UNIPUC is usually like. I'm hoping to try to help foster this intensity by raising my intensity as well. Hopefully it will trickle down to the other players so they can try to learn from my example, as well as to help minimize any loss of skills that I might have (this I'm very worried about).

Getting used to teaching players that are completely unfamiliar with the game is new to me, although nothing I can't adapt to. It'll take time and I'm sure a lot of frustration, but when all these drills and explanations finally pay off and the team starts to click; it'll be worth the effort a thousand times over.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Iain and his birth as an internationally renowned critic

Picked up a Newsweek the other day and read this little treat. It instilled within me a sort of illogical disdain that I carried with me throughout the rest of the day. Being as I am the sort of person to share to others his normal, every-day illogical disdainery, I will now endeavor to do so.

Although before I write any further, let me say that any cliches to be found in this entry are there unknowingly. I'm not trying for some pedantic attempts at witticisms here, as it seems I have the entirety of the article's comments section to do that for me already.

Oh yeah, I went there comments section. You thought I was just going to talk about the article and leave you by the wayside didn't you. Not so. Burn.

At the beginning of the article the guy has a good point; cliches are the crutches that lazy writers rely on. About when he gets to "mass exodus" and his laughable exposition against the medicinal industry though, he loses me. Clearly it's a case of a good idea gone awry in the pursuit of a more entertaining article, but still, he just blatantly carries on.

Just take a long look at the article once you're done reading it, it consists entirely of alarmingly bad examples of colloquialisms in normal speech. Forgetting for the moment that a colloquialism, i.e. cliche, is a happenstance that occurs solely in informal conversations, and therefore both the part of my previous sentence "colloquialisms in normal speech" is redundant, as well as over three fourths of that article. What's the point of filling up an entire article with such terrible examples? I've mentioned this before to Ali, but when you're trying to be critical of someone, it is imperative that in the process you don't expose yourself for being the pompous moron you really are.

Here's a great example of it (no, not this entry, that article I linked to you earlier in the post). A stirring rallying cry, railing against the inadequacies of our nation's writing abilities, that in its single-minded zealotry, manages to transform an otherwise reasonable argument and possibly well written article into a meaningless piece of chest beating. A tirade devoid of meaning; merely a crotchety old professor airing his grievances, repeatedly and without end.

There. Illogical disdain complete.Then again, I'm probably missing the point of the article and magazine entirely, but hey, they don't call it illogical for nothin'.

While I'm still going though, I think I might just hit another topic. This subject reminds me of a logical fallacy-laden argument once given to me. That of, if you aren't capable enough to do something well, than you have no foundation with which to stand on in order to criticize. In response I always thought to myself, "Wow, how novel. You just single-handedly denied legitimacy to the thousands of people that hold job as reviewers, commentators, critics. Way to go. Douche." Now if only I could have thought of that when I was actually in that conversation.

The sheer amount of irony contained in this one post is overwhelming. I think I'll stop now.

Edit: While making this post I wrote "meaningless piece of drivel" only to replace it with "chest beating" to try to stick the drivel theme, but still to stay true to my pompous and decidedly not moronic tendencies. A quick Google search gives back the headline, "Is Chest Beating as Good for People as it is for Primates?" Touché God, touché.