Photo by John King – UltiPhotos.com
Tipped discs … Zero Quarters … Manufacturing Opportunities for Your Opponent … Collared Shirts … In-Rhythm Spikes … Head on a Swivel … Another Two-Game Weekend … The Dark Side of the Weather … Ongoing Examination of the “Experts”
Short Sips of Hot Bitter Blackness. A hint of far-off stone-fruit sweetness. A smoky thickness lingers from the roast.
In the second and fourth quarters, combined over five points the Rumble defense failed to force a turn and thus, in over half of the game, had zero defensive possessions against five offensive possessions.
At first, this might seem like a problem with the defense. With context, the problem is more that Rumble’s offense couldn’t get off of the field in either of those quarters (Converted 3/10 offensive possessions in the second quarter, 2/10 offensive possessions in the fourth: 5/20 combined) and that both quarters closed with Philadelphia stalling the clock out with possessions of under 15 seconds.
This is an example of the continually shifting responsibility for success between offense and defense in ultimate. No matter how good one line is, it cannot provide positivity for your team without support from the other. Offense can score consistently, but if the defense fails to provide enough rest with or without scoring, a break is often in the offing. Similarly, no matter how well your defense plays, if your offense slumps or shambles for scores, the defense will not have enough time to chip away at the opponent’s offense.
New York’s offense needs to clean up the errors to learn if their defense can keep up the pace (3 goals on 6 possessions over 9 points is solid work for two quarters) over more opportunities.
D.C. pulls out of bounds, so Boston neither has to touch the roller to stop it, nor do they need to start on the sideline. So, D.C. sets up a double team on the thrower. Seems reasonable enough. Ref blows whistle on what, if a foul, is a humble foul. From this not only does Boston get 10 yards, they also get 10 seconds on the clock. Seems more a statement about the letter than the spirit. If anything, the Current should get the home-cooking, right? (Jump to 36:49 after Clock Delay). Boston strings a couple of throws together to put up a hanging backhand into a scrum near the end zone.
This is the sort of outcome at the end of quarters which can be the difference between a one- and two-point lead at the end of a game. In this case, the Whitecaps did not score, but the Current would be well-advised to refrain from being lean-into-able on the mark.
Boston, being polite, did not regift. However, just following this we would see the Current have a possession with three seconds left, and put it up into the end zone on the first throw. In the end zone when the disc first arrived, there were only Whitecaps. They all, for some reason, smacked down on the disc rather than catching. This created more airtime for the D.C. Current runners to get down near enough the disc to think about catching it. A harbinger for Sunday’s play from Philadelphia? Or just two separate selections from a weekend of conditional ultimate?
Tastes good so far. Future health consequences are sticky.
I like the full-on rugby-shirt look from Mr. Billy Sickles in warmups for the Spinners this week. This is actually one of my favorite things that MLU Canterbury items consistently on display in the office.
I like the Hop Punch Spike (to make it 6-4 D.C.). It is in-rhythm, emphatic without being overly dramatic, and executed cleanly. Applause, Andrew Ferraro.
For your pleasure here is a list of tipped disc plays from this weekend’s games:
Ah, the core of the non-vegan breakfast. Boiled. Scrambled. Poached. Fried. Loco Moco’d.
Portland has the third weekend of two games in 2016. Last weekend, Boston and Philadelphia both played two games, and met each other on Sunday. Portland will have no such luck in their Sunday match. They will face a rested Seattle team they’ve already faced. If Portland powers through this weekend with their usual regular-season efficiency, 3-0 should be the result. As we will keep an eye on all year, whomever has the double-game weekend is at a crossroads of sorts: They can go 2-0, 1-1, 0-2. Any of those represents one fifth of the season and can drastically alter the composition of the conference tables. Boston did well enough with their 1-1 record while Philly leapt to the lead with a 2-0 start. Will Portland take this as a boon or a burden?
This starts with a strong lefty backhand pull from D.C. which Boston does not feel cleanly. Then a scoober into the end zone, and then Boston is off to the races. This was when D.C. was up 16-13 with 3:34 to go in the game. If they didn’t get another break here, the key for them is to at least make the Whitecaps take a long time to score. Instead what happens is that once the Whitecaps get through the first lines of defense, there is little to no hesitation on every pass left in the possession. Of course one of those is a throw to Piers MacNaughton consistently creating separation as one of the fastest players on the East Coast. I type “East Coast” because we don’t get to see the comparison of the all-important “relative speed” across conferences that frequently. It is one thing to look fast. It is another entirely to always win every your race.
And this “I have so much greatness there is no need to conserve it.” moment from Nate Young. His assist here to Daniel Naruo put San Francisco ahead five with 6:27 remaining. (For the uninitiated the above upends the traditional frisbee trope of yelling “Conserve your greatness” to someone who makes a particularly fantastic play only to follow it up by failing to execute something or missing on a heat-check moment. It is nice to have so much greatness that you may use it profligately on plastic. This is what one would yell at a play like this from Nadon.
Fruits? Yogurts? Something light and probably a smart decision.
So long as you don’t have too much. Here is too much:
And here is the other side of the wild winds and wet discs and tipped plays:
Waffles or Pancakes?
Choose… but choose wisely.
The Picks and Predictions so far have been an exercise in similarity.
Is MLU like the NFL in which there is so much parity that picks are bound to normalize or is it the NBA Playoffs where the winners are clearly separated from the losers and predictions are likely to be accurate?
Well, one way to look at it is to consider more factors for folks who are picking the games.
Rather than just the record, let’s looks at more. Can they: Pick the winner, the winning score, the losing score, the margin of victory, and the total number of points? So what we’ll do is count the number of exact values picked for each game (four possible) and tally up the total divergence from each value. (Sum absolute value of each iteration of Real Value – Predicted Value).
Ranked by this, let’s take a look at our competitors:
|Paul Des Marais||4||1||3||56|
So, ranked by record, then by perfect values picked, then by overall divergence from reality, the board is a little more interesting. Perhaps we’ll keep this section as a check on the ego of our prognosticators.
My big error was picking New York to win. Aside from that a general underestimation of the degree that weather would affect the opening weekend put me in the second tier. At least I’m not riding the pyrite findings of Ruby. Aim for perfection and see where you end up. This is what makes me the sort of disc golfer around whom no lead is safe be it yours or mine. Anything could happen.
Beverage of Choice
Players or matchups to watch.
D.C.’s defense versus Philly’s new-look offense should be the top item on the viewing docket this weekend.
There are two games of tape on the wrinkles and changes Coach Stanley has implemented from the helm of the good Ship Spinner-top, and Coach Smolinski is known for preparing the Current to overflow specific opposing circuits. Up to this point, the Spinners have faced teams who were not prepared for them (To be fair, each team had this element of surprise over the first weekend. With the possible exception of the Portland Stags. Who look just like the Portland Stags).
This weekend, Philadelphia will be exposed to not just excellence on the field in the form of players, but from the sideline in terms of specific game plans. This is one of the key positive features of match play ultimate compared to tournament play ultimate. The variety which can be implemented on a week to week basis rather than between games over the course of a day or a weekend is much greater.
Rumble and Nighthawks vs. First Week Memories
To put it bluntly, these teams were outclassed on the first weekend for enough of their respective matchups that they have provided more questions than answers. And while this can be attributed to some degree on poor weather and the attempts to put new players onto the MLU fields for the first time, this weekend is a whole new task. To start, anyone who played in their first game might still be a rookie, technically, but they now have game experience. This, of course, is a double-edged sword as opponents now also have tape of you, your team, and your role.
The opportunity here is to improve from the first week and work for a good showing, which may then produce a positive result. The risk here is falling into a perception (whether or not this is congruent with reality) that you are weak overall. Either trying too hard to compensate for weakness or failing to reach for your own highest level of play are both all-too-common ways to attenuate potential.
The Place to Be
Personally, I’ll be…providing color commentary for the Philadelphia visit to D.C. to cap off a fantastic sports week in general. There was Kobe Bryant’s dream-state 60-pt last game, Steph Curry broke his own season-old record for threes by 116 while the Warriors recorded a new record 73 regular season wins… Cristiano Ronaldo hat-tricked the upstart Wolfsburg into a loss, and Atletico Madrid eliminated last year’s UEFA Champions (And all-world exemplars of stylish football) FC Barcelona. After last weekend’s madness all over Major League Ultimate, I’m quite curious to see what will come to pass this weekend when a stung Current squad and a floating Spinners side collide.
I’m also curious if I’ll watch the Washington Capitals at all in their postseason run.
But before I figure that out, I’ll have an opportunity to check out an MLU live-stream from the comfort of my own home on Sunday with Portland and Seattle. Should be fun!