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Club Championships

Recaps, Tournaments

UltiPhotos: Thursday Open Preview -- 2012 Club Championships &emdash; USA Ultimate Club Championships 2012: Thursday Pool Play

Shit, We Did It Again.

For the most competitive clubs, the ultimate season can represent a daunting investment of time of effort.  Most Furious players attended some seventy-five 3-hour team practices this year, on top of team conditioning, personal conditioning,  throwing sessions, and whatever other supplementary efforts tossed in for good measure.  The last tournament of the season, the USA Ultimate Club Championships, unavoidably represents a symbolic evaluation of those efforts, their quality and quantity.  Only one team can win it all, but everyone is seeking some sense of reward for all that work — an outcome they can point to and say, “we did it right, and it paid off.”

Everyone wants some kind of validation. What no one wants is to uncover a new weakness.  But I think that is our lot this time, yet again.

For notes on the games and roster themselves, click here.  For some broader thoughts, read on.

UltiPhotos: Thursday Open Preview -- 2012 Club Championships &emdash; USA Ultimate Club Championships 2012: Thursday Pool Play

In 2010, returning to Sarasota after a two-year hiatus, our fitness betrayed us.  We were an older team, with a number of players on the verge of retirement playing in key offensive positions, and we lacked the speed endurance to  keep up Thursday’s performance into Friday and Saturday.  Final position: 11th.

In 2011, after a strong season and a powerful coup at NW Regionals, Furious arrived in Sarasota seeded 3rd.  Our older players had retired and our roster had been thoroughly conditioned to a new standard of stamina.  But we were inadequately prepared for the tournament itself and a string of losses to lower-seeded teams put us in the bottom bracket.  Even with a 4-3 record, we finished 13th.

UltiPhotos: Furious George v. Boost Mobile: Thursday Round 1 &emdash; 2012 USA Ultimate Club Championships Thursday

In 2012, we were fit and we were well prepared.  Every room in Sarasota was even issued its own binder full of scouting reports to review before each day’s games.  Despite short numbers, there was no doubt in my mind we were fit enough and capable of making quarters with the personnel we had.  But then there was the wind: the most intense that tournament has seen in the last five years. We were not able to adapt to a wind of that magnitude.

UltiPhotos: Thursday Open Preview -- 2012 Club Championships &emdash; USA Ultimate Club Championships 2012: Thursday Pool Play

I wish I had had a wind gauge, because in my recollection, there was a sharp threshold that divided the wind in which we could compete from the wind in which we slipped.  The wind was always strong, but if it surged above some unreasonable limit, any lead we had accumulated immediately evaporated.  It was a watershed, and one side of it, our throws, our reads, our defense, and our overall strategy all dramatically eroded.

I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking strategy in the wind is not rocket science.  It should be simple.

UltiPhotos: Saturday Open Preview -- 2012 Club Championships &emdash; 2012 Club Championships

It should be, but it depends on the skill sets your team possesses and automatically executes.  Our offensive playbook, for instance, typically relies on setting up sequential hucking and in-cutting options.  When our ability to connect hucks stumbles, those plays fail because one of the threats has a low chance of success.  We needed more plays taking advantage of concurrent break-side and open-side threats, maybe some more shameless isolation plays (which Doublewide combines with a strong hucking game for considerable success).

Defensively, we are accustomed to using and playing against zones with outspread walls instead of tight ones.  We are accustomed to beating tight walls through hammers instead of handler movement, which hurt us badly for obvious reasons.  This is hardly an exhaustive list.  I daresay that our every instinct, bred and refined in comparatively calm, rainy Vancouver, misled us last weekend.  Vancouver sees rain by the bucketload.  Furious excels in the rain.  But in the realm of gale-force gusts we have comparatively less experience.

UltiPhotos: Thursday Open Preview -- 2012 Club Championships &emdash; USA Ultimate Club Championships 2012: Thursday Pool Play


It aches to see this outcome.  But there’s nothing to do but to accept this lesson and to return the grindstone.  If you’re looking for me this winter, I’ll be at Jericho Beach, throwing in the seaside winds.

UltiPhotos: Thursday Open Preview -- 2012 Club Championships &emdash; usau_thursday_rd10269_jb

Alex Davis

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