FNoF 2011 Continued…
Hat Tournament – Back for More Punishment
Those of us who signed up for another night of Ultimate arrived back at the fields the same time we had been there the night before, which turned out to be an hour earlier than we needed to. We didn’t read the info too clearly, whoops. Anyway, we all signed in, got our discs and wondered what to do next. Some of my SC teammates plopped in front of the TV to watch football, but I was still really stiff from the night before so I decided to jog and stretch as much as I could to attempt to loosen up. About a half hour, the fields began to fill up. I noticed a lot of new faces, which meant that I’d be matching up against fresh legs. I was partly hoping that there would be a few players out there that were just as sore as I was. No such luck.
I will confess that my original plan was to play a few rounds until I didn’t have anything left and call it a night. Luckily the excitement and level of competition took over, compelling me to stay all night. Parts of my body were not happy with that decision, and my knees are still healing from the turf burn (three weeks later), but I am really happy I stayed. I played some great Ultimate and met some really amazing players.
Game 1 – M <8> vs O <9>
I made my way over to Field 5 about 15 minutes before the round started. The field was in the far, right corner of the dome and was a little dark. I dropped my stuff at the sideline and began to say hi to the other players milling about. Team O began to form, but right before our game was to start we learned that we didn’t have a captain. We were also short a few players. Lucky for us, Joel stepped up to get us organized and found us additional teammates.
We talked it up about positions and we seemed to have a fairly balanced team. I was really psyched to just be a cutter all night. My handling is alright, but I am much more comfortable as a cutter. On SC I bounce around a lot from Handler to Cutter to Deep, which is great for developing as an all around player, but still it is sometimes more fun to be able to play your game. During the Hat that is what I got to do.
It took the team a few points to start to get a feel for each other. We didn’t make any majors errors, but not everything was text-book clean. We competitively matched points right up to the blast of the air horn. Being tied 8 to 8 we went into overtime to decide the winner. Thanks to some great movement and excellent passing we took the win.
Game 2 – N <7> vs O <12>
We went right into our second game, which helped us stay warm and to continue to improve our cohesion. The game stayed close for the first few points, but then we began to pull away. As the lead grew we took more control over the game by slowing down our plays and not forcing anything in. In essence we were running down the clock, but we were also playing cautiously. Though, later in the tournament the clock would be run down against us, so I guess we experienced a little retributive karma. Team N still worked hard and made it a great game.
Game 3 – O <17> vs C <6>
In this game we found a perfect rhythm. We also exploited some miss-matches of height and skill. And our ladies made a number of great offensive and defensive plays; they were awesome.
We also picked up another girl for our team, but only half of the game. She ended up switching to our opponents because there was a collision between one of our players and a female on their team. The injured played ended up going to the hospital to play it safe, but she was up walking around after the play, so it hopefully wasn’t anything major.
Game 4 – Us <11> vs Them <7>
This game went well enough for us, but personally I was a little disappointed with my play. I had two layouts in the end zone and missed them both. I was extremely frustrated. I also had a foul called on me when I really think it was a clean D-block. Thankfully, our captain had a great way of keeping us in great spirits, and I was back out on the field with a smile on my face.
Game 5 – Us <12> vs Them <11>
Again this was a game where we traded points back and forth. Both teams would get it right up to the end zone and the other team would make a great defensive block or interception, and the play was going back the other way. This was a really close game right up to the last second. Thanks to some great patience, we scored a point to take the lead during the final 2 minutes, and then made a great D to regain possession of the disc when the final horn sounded, calling an end to the game and our advancement to the Semi Finals!
Game 6 – Us <10> vs Them <11> …Semi Final
We finally moved off of field 5 to field 2 for the Semi Final game. After spending most of the night staring into the lights every other point it was nice to be able to always see the disc.
This game was epic; we really pushed through the exhaustion, aches and pains to compete. Players were making huge grabs, coming up with layout Ds and Os, and tossing perfectly placed passes. We had a good rhythm and everyone was playing well, but by the end of it we made some errors that the other team was able to turn into scores. A couple calls were disputed, which put us into a little of a funk, but that is what happens. And this where the clock started to get run down on us. After each score a team has 45 seconds until they have to pull off. Our opponents were using every second once the 2 minute horn was sounded.
Even though we lost, It was still a close game and a lot of fun.
Game 7 – Us <6> vs Them <4> …Third Place
After our first loss of the night we were pretty tired, but wanted to play our last game to see what we would get for our final standings. It took a little coercing to get the other team on the field, but we did get them to agree to play a game to 6 points. We were matching point for point, but then pulled ahead and took the win.
We ended the tournament with third place out of 18 teams, which was AWESOME. I was really happy with how we all played and psyched with how well we gelled. I’m hoping to play with the guys and girls that made up team O again, or run into them in future tournaments. Thanks to Facebook it will probably happen.
Reflections on the Sleepless Weekend
I had a blast and look forward to next year’s event. Though, I will make sure to wear under armor pants under my crazy socks. I will also wear the right sized cleats, but that is a story I am not going to talk about here. The Hat was well organized and very well attended. The TD was even able to add some last minute waitlisters, which great for one of my SC teammates. The level of play was fairly competitive and drew from all levels and groups (College, Club, High School).
I would like to thank my SC and hat teammates JP, Rothman, Adam and Adam, Goldberg, Dom, Joey, James, Serbin, Michaelangelo, Kiera, Petra, Corina, Sam, Ali, Jen, Erin, Kate, Dima, Colin, Drew, Ducky, Hilary, Joel and all the cool people I met during the weekend; you made it a great experience!
If you loved this tournament or missed out and want to experience some of the craziness of this tournament’s format, there are a few others with overnight formats. I’ve learned about the following that take place in the northeast: Nocturnal Decisions, the annual Cure for Insomnia Hat Tourney and Huck All Night (or Midnight Madness).
Thanks for reading, and please feel free to post comments, recount your own stories from the weekend, or offer feedback!