Photo by Scobel Wiggins –

Welcome back to Disc Don’t Lie!

It has been a long, cold offseason of contemplation about if a disc can lie in the first place and whether we should laud discs for not-lying if they, in fact, cannot lie to begin with. While the debate rages (okay, more like simmers), let’s dive into the first week of 2016’s MLU season with a new Disc Don’t Lie format:

These Don’t Lie


Kickblocks don’t lie because there is no other block so demonstrative. When a player gets kickblocked, the disc usually goes directly to the ground without passing go or collecting $200. Often the disc makes a uniquely onomatopoetic “THUNK” as it contacts a defensive foot. One might at first think that handblocks are as fun as kickblocks, but that’s a lie: Kickblocks are better than handblocks because you have shoes on your feet. It is the safe block, for the defender.

However, these same protective shoes are a hazard for the thrower. This is why any reputable kickblock artist aims feet and shoes away from the thrower and into the disc’s flight path. The moment the path is interrupted should be chosen such that there is very little chance for hands and fingers to be unceremoniously introduced to foot in shoe.

In multiple games this weekend, there were defenders on the mark giving sufficient space for the thrower such that the immediate physical danger in the equation is limited to the disc. Come to think of it… perhaps we’ve been thinking about this “mark” thing all wrong by consistently getting so close to the thrower that marks are easy to throw through/around.

Then again… the purpose of a mark shifts with different defenses. Variation of distance from the thrower is likely to create opportunities to force sub-optimal offensive play. The last thing a mark should be is predictable.

Boston Offense Off of Pulls

Thus far, to these eyes, the Whitecaps have the most robust set of possession-opening offensive sets and scripts. Over the past weekend they ran multiple pull plays out of multiple sets. Some were more spread looks, some were more side-stacked. Some seemed to be anticipatory of specific defensive looks from their opponents. While Boston was far from flawless on the weekend, their ability to get what they want from the first offensive sequence is, after one week, the best in the league.

Philadelphia’s Hot Start

Sure Boston made a 5-1 run to finish the third quarter and start the fourth, but the success of the Spinners remain the story of the weekend. They look more purposeful this season in their variations of lines and roles over the course of a game. The structure of their offense has clearly shifted from last season and seems to place more emphasis on purposeful passes than the basic completion of passes.  There is often more space for cutters to work in, and there are often multiple options for throwers. Past Spinners have often had one receiver with multiple options for their throwers rather than multiple receivers each with one or two options. The diversity of attack should help Philadelphia over the course of the season, as should their ability to attack on break opportunities.

In short, this team no longer feels like “The handler give-go show supported by some opportunistic cutting”. It feels like a team whose players are working as a cohesive whole rather than cogs working at cross-purposes. I look forward to seeing the Spinners develop over the course of the season.

Brad Houser Breaking the Double and Scoring the Goal

Not only does this remind us that the efficacy of the double-team is often a lie, it is also a reminder that the awkward hook shot push pass is a throw that never lies. Ever.

These Do Lie

Sickles to Hirannet to MAC Off of Hircshberger to Bank Off of Damiano to Mehta for the Goal

This is the play that everyone wrote home about. At the same time, home was writing everyone who saw it.  However much you like it, it is also full of lies and half-truths.

First, it seems like Hirannet is the most important player. This is a lie.  The play would not exist without that presciently floaty/awful toss from Sickles. Hirannet was just cleanup crew on aisle three.

Then it might seem as if Mehta is the most important memeber of the cleanup crew. However, upon further review, he wasn’t actually chasing the disc until it bounced off of the most important Spinner in the sequence: Damiano. He tracked the greatest from the moment it left Hirannet’s hands, only to have Hirschberger step in front and not-catch the disc. Damiano’s focus on getting to the right spot to make a play resulted in not a catch, but a truly fortunate bounce. As Woody Allen has said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

Now, to the most important player in the play: Hirschberger. The immediate reaction is “Catch your D’s, sir.” But really? That’s a lie. If everyone caught their D’s we wouldn’t have plays like this since nobody told me there’d be plays like these. Thank you for not catching your D!

Sickles to Hirannet to MAC Off of Hircshberger to Bank Off of Damiano to Mehta for the Goal

This play earns a second entry for knocking off the following plays (and more) in the battle for play of the week:

Mehta catches a point block, Mehta’s deep block, El-Salaam’s second effort goal, Saunkeah’s goal-saving block, Christian Duess Third-Effort Catch

Sam Franer’s Near-Awesomeness

Franer makes two (1, 2) fantastic near-catches on a single point.  However, they will forever remain what might’ve been. These are the plays all players tell ourselves lies about. The question becomes, “Which lie?” The lie that you should’ve gotten it? Or the lie that you shouldn’t try next time?

The Weather

The weather this weekend lied about all of the skills of all of the players in Philadelphia vs. New York, Boston vs. D.C., and Vancouver vs. San Francisco. Nothing has been learned about the real versions of these teams yet as their strategies and execution were off due to weather-related difficulties. This is April, kids. The same way that baseball gets played with cold gear under uniforms, Major League Ultimate gets played with full on balaclava-style hats and “all pants available on body” style. Personally, I love bad-weather ultimate. It tests players and teams beyond their normal bounds. However, any conclusions drawn from crap weather games about performance in nice weather games are lies.

Balaclava and Full Pants Style

Midfield Heave as Time Expires

Please see Danny Trytiak ending the third quarter with a hammer for a goal over Mount Woodside.