Photo by Bob Durling –

Table Setting

Throw of the Weak … No breaks, No Mercy … Tables Not Benches … Unforced Errors … No Breaks … New Angles … Opposition Research … Keep it on the Field … Crossfield Passing … Differential Tables … Wrong-footing … Correct Handing … Game of Offensive Chicken … Check in on the Picks … Battle for the East … 


Short Sips of Hot Bitter Blackness. A hint of far-off stone-fruit sweetness. A smoky thickness lingers from the roast.

Throw of the Weak

Now that you’ve seen that moment, we’ll dive into some break and hold numbers. The first bit will look at how each team does by quarter. The second will look at how the opponents of each team perform. As so often happens, the best start is a look at the basics in table form:

















Why is this in the “hot bitter blackness” section? Vancouver has zero breaks in the first quarter. That is 60 minutes of ultimate without a single break. Which leads into this clip which shows a big chance for Vancouver to go up for the second time in 240 minutes of play… Drop. Which illustrates the largest problems for both of our bottom-ranked teams: Unforced errors. And not just unforced errors, but poorly timed unforced errors at that. Going up 1-0 with a break is not a guarantee of victory, but it is a step in the right direction and a statement that the opponent must be on notice.

A few things to notice as your eyes wash over the chart:

– Portland and Philadelphia are the only teams which average double digit breaks per game.
– Every team averages between 10 and 13 holds per game.
– Vancouver, New York and D.C. are the only three teams with fewer than five breaks per game.
– Portland has the two highest-scoring quarters (First: 6.3, Third: 7.0).
– New York’s first quarter (2 points) is one of only two quarters with fewer than three points (San Francisco second quarter @ 2.3).
– Philadelphia (Q1 and Q2) and Portland (Q3) are the only teams to average more breaks than holds over any quarters.
– San Francisco (16) lags Vancouver in total breaks (17) by one despite playing half as many games.


Tastes good so far. Future health consequences are sticky.

Vancouver’s Aaron Chan leaving from in-bounds keeps it all the way down the field.

It seems like just a failed bid, but the accomplishment of forcing the Rainmakers to start all the way down the field rather than where the disc originally went out of bounds is a worthy victory. In this case, it nearly results in a Callahan and does result in a short-field goal for the Nighthawks.

Trusty old offense:  Nothing beats offense.

From 8:09 in the first quarter through 5:13 in the second of Portland vs. San Francisco (13:22 in game time) there were 18 consecutive holds.

Nice crossfield completion from Dave Baer to kickstart the offense.

After this, the Spinners don’t really slow down on the way to the end zone, with an eventual goal to Baer. The quick change of the angle of attack is the precisely the sort of boon which, like an #ultrafresh IPA, turns into dirty malt-water if you wait too long to enjoy.


Ah, the core of the non-vegan breakfast. Boiled. Scrambled. Poached. Fried. Loco Moco’d.

Let’s dive back into some numbers. This time for the *opponents* of each team:
 PHL OPP 0-5q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 BOS OPP 1-3q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


DC OPP  4-1q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 NY OPP 5-1q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 POR OPP 0-6q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 SEA OPP 2-3q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 SF OPP 2-1q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 VAN OPP 6-0q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


Things to notice:

– Portland (3.0) and Philly (3.2) are the only teams to concede fewer than four breaks per game.
– Vancouver is the only team to concede more breaks than holds.
– Portland concedes less than a break in every quarter.
– Philly, Portland and Boston are the only three teams who hold their opponents under five goals for each quarter.

As is my wont, I want to dive more deeply into this with words, but the question of differential over quarters and the like is more compelling.  Below is a list of the differential for each team in terms of holds and breaks per quarter:


 PHL diff q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 BOS diff q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 DC Diff q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 NY Diff q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 POR Diff q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 SEA Diff q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 SF Diff q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


 VAN Diff q1q2q3q4AvgTotal


Things to notice:

– Boston is the only team which, on average, does not lose a quarter with respect to breaks or holds.
– Vancouver is the only team which loses, on average, all quarters by breaks (and only wins one quarter by a .2 margin while tying the other).
– New York and Vancouver both lose the opening quarter by over three points (the only teams to lose any quarters by as much).

Veggies? Fruits? Yogurts?

Something light and possibly a positive decision.

Martin gets his paw out and gives it a go!

The best way to beat Woodside?


Wish this was a turnover.

Definitely a thumbs up for keeping with ultimate culture by throwing the same pass again.

Waffles or Pancakes?

Choose… but choose wisely.

Another week, another perfect pick. This time it was Statmaster Luke with the 25-15 perfect call on Spinners vs. Rumble. This leaves the standings at:

 WLEXTotal Variance
Wins = Higher is better
Losses = Lower is better
EX = Higher is better (“Exact Values Picked”)
Total Variance = Lower is better (“Total Variance From Actual Values”)

If you’ll take note, I am no longer in the basement with Poster. Not even in the proto-basement which Poster and Paul moved into together. Nope. I’m tied for second place with four other valiant prognosticators at 17-3. I lag behind only Luke and Tim in terms of perfect picks in that tranche. To that end, Curb’s top-notch picks in terms of wins and losses are still the second-worst w/r/t overall accuracy, trailing only Mistah Ruby.

Now, I shouldn’t tell you how to meta-wager on these game pickers, but I’ll bet that betting on this group would have a higher variance than betting on the actual games themselves. If gambling were legal. Which it is not.

Las Vegas Ultimate? Yes please.

Looking at this weekend’s picks, everyone has picked San Francisco over New York, while Luke, Ruby and I picked Boston over Philly while the rest of the group has picked Philly to go to 6-0.  That, as far as the picks of record are concerned, is the game to watch.

Beverage of Choice

Players or matchups to watch.

New Tests for Proven Veterans

While we’ll get a look at East vs. West next week too, this is the first chance we’ll get to see a few of the league’s brightest stars play against new teams. The obvious players to watch this week are Gabe Saunkeah (who has been a star in ultimate since his Cal days) and Marques Brownlee (who is still coming into his own on the national stage). What resistance will their new opponents provide? Which old tricks will work on new prey?

Who Blinks First?

The battle for the East commences this weekend in Boston between the Spinners and the Whitecaps. My expectation is that the teams will be difficult to stop on offense, and hard pressed to score on defense. So, the game may well come down to which offense blinks and grants the opposition extra opportunities early on. Look to the handler sets for both teams to see how the game will play out. Philadelphia, last week, was missing Panna and Hirannet and, while it did not cost them the game, it did cause some disorder in their backfield motion.

For this weekend, Boston is missing a host of players and will need to adjust accordingly. If they are successful, the ‘Caps will keep rolling on offense. If they fail, the Spinners will be gifted the first steps on the way to a victory.

The Place to Be

Personally, I’ll be…
Philly, Boston. Boston, Philly.
Boston, Philly. Philly, Boston.

This is the matchup in the East. There is no better place to be, save maybe traveling to the yay area (thanks E-40), to see what happens when two sides of the continent collide.  Stop Plate Tectonics, kids.  I’m going to the great northeast to see who wants to stand up and be counted among the early leaders. I’ll be on the color call with Mr. Poster as the play-by-play. Looking forward to it, but not so much the bus ride back to Philly with the Spinners. Not because of the  Spinners, but because of the bus. And possibly the ride.

Anyway. Point is: The game in the East will either give Philly the season series or will tie both teams at 5-1, only awaiting the rubber match June 4 in Philly to determine the winner.

About The Author

Dusty played college ultimate for New York University from 1998-2002, captaining for his final three years. From 2003-2009 he filled various roles for New Jersey's Pike from deepest bench to O-line cutter, D-line handler, O-line handler, and captain before concluding his club career with an opportunity in 2010 to represent New York City on PoNY's D-line. While never qualifying for college regionals, Rhodes played at six Club Nationals in the Open Division (finishing from dead last to tied for third) and coached Drew University to a fifth place college regional finish in 2005. Dusty earned a degree in English and American Literature from NYU and spent all of his remaining energy playing pickup basketball and writing for NYU's Washington Square News.

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