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FIRST NIGHTS OF FLIGHT 2011

I got back late on Sunday (9 Jan) at 10:30PM, ate some food and went to bed. I played it lazy all day Monday and had to go back to work Tuesday, so I started to work on this entry a few days after the event. I wanted to get it up sooner, but I ended up working on two other entries, a book review and one about a documentary, so this post has been a bit delayed. Oh, well… Reminisce (for those of you who went) and Enjoy!

Blue Sky with Jet Blue

The FlightI’m Going Jetting

Fri Jan 07 3:00 p.m. 4:44 p.m. New York City, NY (JFK) to Pittsburgh, PA (PIT) 1053
Sun Jan 09 5:25 p.m. 7:11 p.m. Pittsburgh, PA (PIT) to New York City, NY (JFK) 1056

Six of us decided to pass on the 7 to 8 hour drive and instead flew to Pittsburgh. The cost of the flight was under $150 round trip, so I feel it was money well spent. I’ve flown Jet Blue before, so this in itself wasn’t anything special, but the coolness factor of flying to an Ultimate Tournament did add to the experience. The only other tournament I flew to was in high school when my ultimate team went to Georgia for the UPA Junior Nationals. So, I felt pretty cool, almost pro-like, getting on a plane to toss disc with my teammates again.

We did have a close call at the gate, though. Originally, the flight was scheduled for 3PM, but because of the snow and winds it was delayed, or, rather, put on standby till 5PM. So being the-make-the-best-of-a-bad-situation people we are, we decided to get something to eat and have a drink to kill the time. Midway into our meal an inaudible message came over the speakers, “mah mah mah 1053 mah mah Pitts-mah final boarding”. Thankfully one of us could understand Grown-up Peanuts talk and made out that our plane was boarding on time, and if we didn’t hurry, we would miss it. We downed our drinks and all rushed to the gate. However, one of our teammates hadn’t arrived yet, so we stalled once we got up to the check-in counter. At the last possible minute she came running up the isle, bags in tow, and we all cheered. Well, maybe not the flight crew.

The flight home did get delayed almost two hours due to high winds in NYC, but we had a fun time hanging out in a TGI Fridays. And, for those who know him, Dom will forever be known as the BIG spoon!

The HotelFairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott

The Fairfield Inn & Suites is a great Hotel for this venue. The team had stayed there the previous year and had nothing but good things to say about it. The staff were friendly and helpful, the rooms were clean and the breakfast was perfect for when we returned to the hotel at 6:45AM. Oh, and the hot tub, though small, helped with the aches and pains.

Discussing Tactics

FNoF 2011Let the Games Begin!

For those of you that are not familiar with First Nights of Flight format, here is the quick and dirty explanation:

  • 18 Teams
  • Coed 5 v 5
  • Stall count of 5
  • Six Games Scheduled
  • Games played to time limit
  • Two Tournaments – Fri-Sat Team ; Sat-Sun Hat
  • Starting time of 8:30PM ; Ending time of about 6:30AM

You can check out my previous blog entry or their website for more details.

Team Tournament8:00PM…  to an Ungodly AM Hour.

I’m going to talk about the different games and give props to those of our team who scored points and those who made those points possible with well placed assists.

Smile

Just Smile

Game 1 – Pup ‘N Suds vs SuperCocks

Scores: Serbin (1) Corina (2)  Juan (1) Danny (1)
Assists: Danny (2) Joey (1) Jen (1) Juan (1)

Comments: We had been training with a shorter stall count, but were still a little ill-prepared for just how it would affect our play. We reacted by throwing the disc too quickly. Yes, you want to make short, quick passes in Ultimate, but if your receivers are not in motion as soon as the disc is tapped in then you will be over-throwing or over-leading them, which is what we tended to do.  The team started to get our dump and swing fluid enough to keep resetting the stall count and avoid a dangerous turnover near the end zone. Joey’s smile says it all – still having fun, but a little annoyed with our play.

Game 2 – Team Thorne vs SC

Scores: Corina (1) Adam (1) Michaelangelo (1)
Assists: Juan (1) Jen (1) Adam (1)

Comments: This was our worst game of the night. The team we were playing had height, speed and a lot of very skilled players. Not to say that our team didn’t have any of these, but when you add teammate cohesion to the mix it is hard to compete. Our team hadn’t practiced as an entire unit before coming to First Nights, so during the first two games we were finding each other, and our opponents capitalized on it. We were also tweaking our line pools. Our captain and some senior players worked out a pool system that aimed to keep a balanced level of skill and positions on the field at all times.  Though, we only got a couple scores in we started to develop flow, but just couldn’t seal the deal on a couple plays.

Great Running Catch

Game 3 – Kitten Mittons vs SC

Scores: David (2) Adam (1) James (1)
Assists: Joey (2) Keira (1) Dom (1)

Comments: During this game we realized again that Ultimate is supposed to be fun. The first two games really beat us up… I guess we just needed a team of “local business owners and cat enthusiasts” to show us a fun time. The points we scored were well executed and something to be proud of. We also got some great D-Blocks.

At this stage in the night we started having fun and to celebrate we started to do cheers for the other teams. We ended up reciting some of the lines from Always Sunny, which got a bit a of a laugh.

Game 4 – Warriors of Thundera vs SC

Scores: Corina (2) Danny (2) Jen (1) Michael S. (1) Joey (2) Adam (1) Juan (1) David R. (1)
Assists: Joey (1) Danny (3) Ali (2) Adam (1) David G. (1) Juan (2) Corina (1)

Comments: During this game we were finally playing as a team. The sidelines were loud and the energy was up. We were up at one point, but then slipped behind. We tried putting in a starting line, but it really wasn’t our style and didn’t work. However, we proved to ourselves that we could compete with the other teams in the tournament. For this team we did a ThunderCats cheer, which brought our team to laughter.

Game 5 – Wacko Warner’s Lamaze Class vs SC

Scores: David R (3) Corina (2) Adam (1) Dom (1) Keira (1) Danny (1) James (1)
Assists: Jen (2) Michaelangelo (1) Michael S. (2) Juan (2) Danny (1) Joey (1) Adam (1)

Comments: We did a great job keeping the score close throughout this game and continued to put solid lines on the field. This was another one that came down to a few points, which made everyone proud of how they played. Our cheer consisted of some heavy breathing, pushing and birthing an Ultimate player. We’re doing it for the Kids.

Gorilla Point Ultimate

Game 6 – Hammers in the Dark vs SC

Forfeit to Us

Comments: Hammers in the Dark, sadly, never showed up; it is the nature of the consolation bracket. Teams get tired, injured or something and decide to give up on playing games for last-ish place. SC has found itself in this situation before, but this doesn’t mean we were any less bummed. However, the night did not end on such a down note. A team of fun filled, jersey wearing super Ultimate players — dubbed Avoid Confusion — showed up to play us during their buy round. What commenced was all out foolery.

We started things off with a T-Rex point and then moved on to a Hammer and Thumber point.

TeamWork TeamWork TeamWork

Because those weren’t ridiculous enough we did a Speed Walker point followed by a Tea Cup/Cigar in Hand (or called Gentleman/ Ladies) point. To prove that we were all Ultimate, we did a Dive point, which was absolutely sick, dangerous, but sick. Then because we were all complete goofs we did an Airplane point (with sounds). An adaptation was added where instead of standing still while marking, you would have to spin like a helicopter. Dizziness = Funny.

We decided to see which team could display the best teamwork with a “Rough Rider” (piggy back) point. We then opted for a deadly Blade point. Some of our team weren’t really throwing blades so we had to do a second round of it. Many hands and heads were lost to the razor sharp edges of the disc. The gorilla point happened somewhere in there, which exhausted everyone on the field. To get us all laughing again our opponents suggested a “hands in the pants” point. The pictures are just too x-rated to show here. We ended the game with an “All Team” point. This one consisted of everyone (our entire team on the field at one time) having to touch the disc before we scored. After you passed the disc you had to sit down. If there was a turn-over everyone had to get up and do it again. AWESOME GAME!

Side Line Nap Time

A little Down time – 6:45 AM

Between the two tournaments, the team grabbed some food from the spread that was put out by the hotel, took a dip in the pool and slept (this is not to say sleeping didn’t happen on the sidelines from time-to-time as you can see from the photographic evidence, but we all craved a real bed). The continental breakfast was AWESOME! It had the usual fare: bagels, cereal, beverages, but also included eggs, sausages, Belgium waffles, muffins and so much more. All delicious! We did have to compete with a youth hockey team for dibs on the food, but everyone got plenty to eat.

After eating my fill, I called it a morning/night and went to bed till about 2:30PM when a car full of us hit up a small sandwich place in Pittsburgh. The guys manning the grill were great. We arrived about 10 minutes before they were closing, but they still let us sit down and enjoy our fries and grinders while they cleaned up!

To Be Continued – Part two, the Hat

So the Post is well overdue and I want to get it up, so I will make this entry a two-parter. My reflections on the Hat will be up in a few days so check back soon!

Also, be sure to check out aVoceBehindtheLens for more shots from tournament and Sam’s article about going the distance for Ultimate!

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