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Labor Day Review

Recaps, Tournaments

Aaron Loach makes a focused catch under duress
One Step at a Time
In a previous post, I hinted that our goal for the weekend was to earn a strength bid for the NW, and to therewith smooth out the road to Florida. By that measure, we accomplished our mission. But something was still missing, and it bugs me like an itch I cannot scratch.

After every tournament, I spend time reflecting on the story of the weekend. People can find the results anywhere, so presumably, they come here to read some additional perspective behind those results. I stared at these numbers for a long time, and just felt hollow.

Boost Mobile [W] (13-4)
Mad Cow [W] (13-8)
Johnny Bravo [L] (8-13)
Machine [L] (9-13)
Sockeye [L] (11-13)
Ring [W] (15-13)
Rhino [L] (7-13)

Dre Gailits lays out for the camera

According to the latest rankings, Furious, Rhino, and Sockeye all lie safely in a position to bring home strength bids. We are on course. We beat the teams we needed to beat. We performed well enough. But when I reflect on that, I still feel as though I am looking at a “C” on a report card. It’s satisfactory, but we expect more from ourselves. This time, well enough does not feel like — well — enough.

Here’s the rub. Furious built up very respectable starting leads on both Machine and Sockeye, but failed to hold onto them in both cases. They adjusted, but we did not answer in kind. Against both Bravo and Rhino, we outright haemorrhaged breaks. We were dressed like Furious George, but the Furious George we know and love was visibly absent from the premises.

Lately, we have not been demonstrating the kind of resilience, coordination, and efficiency an elite team should expect of itself. The technical reasons vary, and we will address them, of course, but sometimes, a team just needs to summon a certain mixture of stubborness and astuteness. When things aren’t working, find a way — through gumption, resolve, and a little bit of angry monkey ingenuity. Make it simple. Find a way, and fight — tooth and claw.

So when you face a drought in that element, how do you address it? What can you say (or yell)? What do you practice? Like writer’s block, it is an especially frustrating obstacle when it presents itself. If you could just summon the muse and move on, you would.

One way or another, we have to rediscover that resilience and desire in the next few weeks. And I say rediscover meaningfully, because that is Furious George’s true identity. Win or lose, the fierceness within has always been the Angry Monkey’s mainstay. We will find our muse. I know this, because I know the rivalry that invigorates us like no other is just around the corner. Next up: Washington-BC Sectionals, where the Monkey and the Fish will meet once again.

Nick Menzies saves a pass going out the back

Ed. Note: Menzies woke me up at three in the morning to give me a flower.  He insisted I deserved it.  The Labor Day after-party does strange things to people.

Alex Davis

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