My weekend in Sarasota
Flew into Tampa late Friday night. Since it seemed I was the only one without other peeps from my team/city/etc, I was fortunate enough to slide into a "Slow White" car. We coeders stick together. After waiting for a bag that never arrived by someone else in the car (first thought: sweet, this guy will never make the team...), we were out of TPA around 11.
The usual nite of barely sleeping/thinking too much. Off to the continental breakfast where of course I ran into several ultimate players. Off to the fields and the usual Sarasota in October whether. Nice and sunny and windy. BUT we played on the other side of the road. Crazy. I did not know that even existed.
Anyway, after the usual throwing around, we get an intro to Coach and then active warmup from a member of the selection committee Mr. Wilmington. Split into 4 teams, then right into our first drill, a version of "Superstriker" if you ever played on Michigan/Sub Zero with me. The difference, there was no need for motivation. The focus and intensity was there from everyone right from the first throw. No need to worry about laziness, b/c if you were lazy, it would stuck out.
Next up, the "stations". 3 conditioning/agility/speed type things along with one stop with the coach to discuss briefly what he wanted to see. First up, a triangle of cones where you say "Stalling One Up" shuffle to the next cone say "Stalling One Up" shuffle to the 3rd cone and say "Stalling One Up" then shuffle back to the first cone say "stalling one up" and then back around the cones in reverse order. Do that twice. Not too bad.
Station 2, the "tennis ball cone drill". A cool agility drill that I feel many more club teams will be doing this summer and fall. It is a bit hard to describe in words, but basically 2 rows of 3 cones ~3 yards apart. 5 small cones have a tennis ball on them. One of the middle ones does not. Bascially, you moved a tennis ball from one cone to one that does not have one. Such that each cone does not have a tennis ball at one point. A lot of shuffling and running backwards. Apparently, I am very bad at putting a tennis ball down on a cone with my left hand while running backwards.
Station 3, talk to coach. He laughs at how I finished 2nd to his team at Mars like 3 years in a row. And then tells me to try and be a cutter and create from downfield. Advice that I tried to follow, but would handle a bunch over the weekend (but I still feel I created downfield :))
Station 4, 70 yard timed sprints. 2 of them. I supposedly ran 8.0. I will take it, but not sure I buy it. THe fastest was something like 7.3ish. Not sure if anyone was THAT fast there, but relatively, there were people there easily half a second faster than me. Gut check, what am I doing here?
After that, I believe we began playing. A couple of games to 3. One of them went longer. My team was pretty darn good, mainly because we got in a comfort zone together very fast. Moved the disc quickly. And well, we had a bunch of talent to. I felt I did alright, it was good for me as I played with the one guy that I had played with before (Mr. Former Teammate). That was definitely part of the reason that I handled a little bit, because he and I play the exact same way. And it was ez to handle and move the disc. And we had plenty of really good cutters, so I just wanted to distribute. I am not sure if we lost any of our 3 games, one of the games was tight, the others we controlled them. A good sign.
After that, lunch.
After sitting with Mr. Other Cross COuntry Runner, we decided that half a panera sandwich was the best call. And I think it was.
Now, during our last game, I got in a bit of collison going for a dump and my ankle rolled a bit. During the warmup after lunch, my ankle was super tender. And here is where doubt creeps in. The worst possible thing, injury during tryouts. So, I run over to the trainer and get a quick tape job. This had to work, I kept telling myself. I have pretty good ankles, so I was hoping to just shake it off. After a couple of 2-[4-(2-methylpropyl)phenyl]propanoic acid's, I went into our first post lunch drill, the triangle of death.
Basically, one thrower runs back and forth getting swing from a stationary thrower and then thrower to in cuts then out cuts. A great drill.
I went first because I wanted to test my ankle and get it out of the way. And I was horrible. Definitely thinking too much about the ankle. Near the end, I did a little better as exhuastion from the drill crept in and I stopped thinking about the ankle.
At the end of my throwing, I remember walking back to the line going "Oh Fu$k" and then remembering that I am a pretty good player. And that this was my chance to play for Team USA. I can take the easy way out and let the injury take over. OR, I can fight through it. Basically, the Ibuprofen kicked in and my ankle felt alright the rest of the day. I am one to really try and make my pain the worst if there is going to be pain. So I tried to always plant on my left ankle, just to test. I wanted to prove to myself it would be ok. Of course, it was not bad. It never swelled up. And tryouts continued on.
After that drill, we did another scrimmage where the rule was you had to throw a pass to the opposite gender. A very ineresting concept. We tweaked what we did on O a bit and well, it did not slow us down. This first team I was on played very well together. Good times. The only time this was ever really was an issue for us was after a huck from a girl to a guy, only the 4 guys were downfield. Basically, "Ummm, ladies, one of you has to get down here"
AFter that scrimmage, some more drills. First, a marking drill with 3 other people. Basically, straight up mark with the thrower trying to hit a stationary target. That target then swings it to the third member of the triangle. The marker moves to that person. Repeat. For a minute. Everyone did it twice. First time, no arms. The wind was getting a bit more difficult, so just as hard for the thrower in some directions.
Second drill was another marking drill, but with cutters moving from the middle to the break side. Pretty typical that every team does. I was marked against Mr. Youngest Guy there. Of course, I am the last person throwing. And of course another group is watching me. Of course, I get point blocked on an invert. So, what is the solution? I nutmeg him on the next attempt. It was completed too. I am not sure if that is Team USA material, but it felt good. And now no one remembered that I was pointblocked!
Then we switched to new teams. This team, although still a lot of good players, did not gel right away. The other team did. They won. We struggled.
Ended up with some sprints.
Then finished off my sandwich (smartest decision of the day). Went home, showered, ate at Carabas, hot-tubbed, watch coach play the piano. Went to bed.
I was tired for sure, but not dead. I felt a little more like college when I played ~80% of the points as opposed to zero/flycoons when I played mainly one side of the frisbee and therefore not nearly as much. I was comforted by my thought that I knew I would be fine physcially and fitness wise on Sunday. Now if I was good enough...
I felt I played pretty well. Saturday was definitely my turnover day. I was 1-4 on deeper throws. 2 horrific backhands, that I needed to throw much better in the wind. Instead the wind carried them out too much. My other turn, I threw it just like I wanted, just too far. I missed Ms. Studd, by about half a yard. I was bummed about that. I did not have an "easy" drops, but missed a disc that was rising over my head on an in cut. I thought I had, but could feel my fingers slip off the disc. And I threw a disc a bit too high to someone and she basically did the same thing that I did on my drop. I was bummed about that turn as I totally made a big pump fake to force the d to guard the deep and hear Ms. Speedy came down the middle perfect. It could have been caught, but I could have thrown a much better throw. Oh well...
I was happy with my o for the most part. I did not think I had terrible decisions, just some bad throws. I played ok on D. I got a foot block and I believe a help deep d. I stopped some in cuts. I helped out on some deep cuts. And I got beat back to the disc a couple of times. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nor did I feel overmatch (and I did not feel like anyone was overmatched by me...).
So my feeling for Saturday was, I presented what I can do. I can be a primary offensive guy. I can also be a secondary option that creates space, is patient, and works the break side/continuation very well. I felt that was what I was doing the best, breaking the mark. Continuation cuts. And keeping the disc moving from side to side. I was able to help the thrower whenever he/she was in trouble. And continually gave my team options. But I never dominated. I think by the end of the day, I was looking to fill the role as #5 or 6 on the field, not necessarily #1. ALthough that attitude did kick in occasionally.
ON Sunday, the weather was not so nice. Definitely the threat of rain. And then it started to rain and it was supposed to be bad. It never got horrible. Good news for us.
The ankle was wrapped again, but no longer a problem. I was bummed that I let myself stress out about it so much when it happened.
Anyway, active warmup. A drill or 2. And then more playing. New teams again. I think I lost both scrimmages on Sunday, but I felt I played much better. One should have been a turn as I tried to throw a forehand, upline, upwind, around a defender. Instead, I hit the defender, but the bounce was caught by a different teammate. One miscommunication defender, where I thought the dump was going upline and well, he didn't. But besides that, I felt I played pretty well.
Oh I forgot a cool defensive cutting drill we did. Both on Saturday and in between scrimmages on Sunday. O and D start in the middle of the field. 2 5 x 5 boxes on the front corner of each endzone. The O could cut to either box. Instead of the cut being either an in cut (to one cone) or a deep cut (to the other cone), there were throwers stationed about 15 yards from each box. So basically, cutting either way would be an in cut. A little confusing to write about, but a ton of fun to watch. Well, maybe not watch me do this, as I did not have the recovery speed of some of the guys. Particularly 2 guys, Mr. I Got Nutmegged by Tim and Mr. Tall and Skinny and Fast. These 2 guys put on a defensive clinic. So much so, that I made sure to watch anytime there were playing defense. I got close twice, never hit the disc, but on both times I was close, the O did not catch the disc. I will take what I can get.
The 2nd scrimmage on Sunday went well too. We lost it, but it was a tight game. We played a 1-3-3 and I was the chase. Great move by me. Remember when you play against a team with really good throws to not be the chase in 1-3-3. I think they threw 40 plus throws. I almost got the last one on a layout. I believe the receiver bobbled it. But it was still fun. I look marking in the zone. FUn stuff.
We ended with a MTF with minis and then another sprinting drill that was also a race with the other half of the men...
All in all, an unbelieveable weekend of frisbee. I was super psyched to be apart of it. Got to play with a ton of fun, awesome frisbee players. SOme that I have wanted to play with for a long time. Others that by the end of the weekend, I wanted a shot to play with.
As for myself, I am happy how I played. I could have turned it over less. I could have gotted more ds. But I did not play terrible. I did not make horrible decisions. I never felt like I got totally burned on d. So yeah, ok.
I definitely went for the angle of good teammate, solid decisions, keep the disc moving, match-up against anyone and not lose the battle (or at least beat him more than he beats me). I was vocal on the line, off the line, on the field, etc. Basically, i was me. There were a lot of alpha dogs/primary cutters/etc. And probably better suited for that than me, but I felt what I can add is someone to create space, keep the disc moving, and play solid team d.
So if they want that out of me, I showed it to them. If not, I completely understand. There are so many teams that they could create out of these 2 weekends. I feel I could add a lot to many of those teams. But there are even more teams that could be created that does not involve me. And I understand that. I have tried out 2 other times for teams. Once with Truck in 97 and I felt that I knew I was going to make it. And Zero in 01. And I felt like I knew I was going to make it.
This is different. I would love to be a part of this team, but am I really one of the best options? I don't know. I think I am. But after this week, there are like 34 other guys who could say that too. This team is going to be awesome.
As far as others, I will not comment specifically, but I would say there is one woman there that NEEDS to be on the team. And really thinking about it, I would definitely choose 2 girls and 1 guy (besides me :)) from this camp. Not to say, that the team would be horrible without those 3. But those 3 left the biggest impression on me from the camp.
We'll find out soon.
SOOOOO that is the frisbee portion of the story, stay reading for how I got back to Brevard.
After we get done playing, I check my cell. My flight has been cancelled. Uh oh. Evenutally get to TPA in enough time to wait in line for 2 and a half hours to see what the deal is. I was flying through ATL and well there was snow. Luckily, Mr. Oldest Guy at the Tryout also had a Delta flight through ATL. So I let him cut and we hung out. When it was our turn (~ 5pm), we find out there is no way to leave TPA until Tuesday.... All flights on Monday are completely booked. Supposedly, every seat is filled.
So we decide, how about flying out of ATL? He can make it to his destination and well I can drive from there. So, he gets an early Mon morning flight and we decide to rent a car. Road trip!
We start to find a rental car. First, $300. We talk them down to $200. Then a quick call to my sister who pricleines a car for $100. Interestingly enough, we got Budget who earlier claimed not to have a rental office in Asheville. But they did. While we are crossing the Ts, I see Ms. Stanford at an adjacent rental car place trying to get a car. SHe was going to Orlando, I ask her to join us, why not? It is not that far out of the way. She excepts the offer. And By 6:30 we are out of the airport.
Unfortunately, Mr. Oldest Guy at Tryouts had left his cell phone in Sarasota, so we drive down there, pick it up and then hit Orlando.
The rest of the trip was uneventful. We both took turns sleeping and hanging out. We were in ATL by 4:30ish.
At this point, I knew Brevard was ~3 hours away. I wanted to get out of ATL before any sort of rush hour. And I knew I would have to take at least one nap break. So I took off and got just short of the SC border. The roads were fine and was excied to be getting back to see my fam, but also I knew I had to work on Monday. I stopped at a Denny's took a quick snooze. And then, got started again. Now the worst part of the trip. Hands down. ON the stretch of I-85 in SC that I drove, I saw no less than 8 accidents. One with a SUV on fire. Another with a semi jack-knifed across all 3 lanes. Another with 2 semis just stopped in the middle of the freeway. And at least 50 cars on the side on the road. Not good times. The roads were slick at times, but man, this was ridiculous. Needless to say, it took over 4 hours to get the last 100 miles... I was home at noon. After hoping to get home ~8:30...
Ugh, but I made it home. I am still really glad I went. And I glad that I road-tripped back home. It definitely had a college feel to it.