Toronto Discs

Bonnie and I spent last week in Toronto, and the week ended with a Frisbee theme. Though most of the trip was unplanned tourism, I did preview the area Ultimate offerings before leaving and found a Friday evening pick-up game that was only a 30 minute walk from the hotel.

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Here’s a pic of the game at Sir Winston Churchill Reservoir with the ever-present CN tower in the background. The game was recreational, which is good because my legs were a little out of sync from walking around the city all week.

By complete coincidence, our hotel was across from the home field of the Toronto Rush semi-pro Ultimate team and they had a play-off game that Saturday night. Here’s a pic from the hotel room of the team warming up for the game.

torontoultimaterush1I attended most of the game despite the steady light rain. The rules were a little different with active referees assessing yardage penalties for violations. Unfortunately the game was a little sloppy due to the rain, but there was still some nice play amplified by three on-field video cameras and a giant replay screen on the scoreboard.

The next day, we ran into a third disc connection: a full disc golf course on the tiny islands in Lake Ontario. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a disc golf warning sign.

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Not sure how active the community is. I saw this flyer for a tournament on the bulletin board and thought I might enter until I noticed the date.

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Volunteering at the Ultimate Frisbee US Open

I spent the long Independence Day week-end volunteering at the USA Ultimate US Open, held in Raleigh this year. My main job was scorekeeper, though I also did some field set-up. The hardest part was just standing in the sun all day, but that was better than rainstorms like we had before the tournament began. The volunteers kept the score and some basic stats like which players scored or made turnovers, but some teams had their own stat-keepers using iPad apps that tracked every throw.

The US Open is an invitation-only tournament of eight top team in three divisions, Women’s, Mixed and Men’s, including some international teams. Team Columbia was fun to watch but hardest to keep stats for since their uniform numbers were small and at the bottom of their shirts which were sometimes tucked in. I worked games in all three divisions. In my small sample, it seemed that play quality improved as I went from Women’s to Mixed to Men’s. That guess is born out by a look at turn-over to goal ratio from the US Open basic stats page.

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However, there is significant variation within divisions. All the teams:

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These stats are through pool play (before the semifinals), and interestingly none of the eventual winners (Revolver, Odyssée, and Fury) had the best TO/Goal ratios for their respective divisions.

Youtube has some highlights, including the winning catch of the Men’s finals.

 

Toss in the Moss 2005

Toss in the Moss 2005 at Forsythe Park

For the second week-end in a row, I played in an Ultimate tournament, but this was the first in about two years that I actually traveled to. Our (former) masters team, THOR, decided to try “one last tournament”. We added some young talent and trekked to Savannah for the popular Toss in the Moss tournament.

I don’t know why they keep holding this tournament in the heat of August, but this year wasn’t so bad as the temps stayed in the 80’s at the cost of some occasional downpours. Forsythe Park, shown in the photo, is the primo location for playing, having great fields and a heart-of-the-city location. Unfortunately, 40-plus teams is way too many for the park, and we ended up playing most of our games at satellite fields.

We finished 2-2 the first day to land in the B division for Sunday, where we lost in the semis to a very fast team from Columbia, South America. We older players appreciated a comment overheard from the college team we beat in the quarterfinals, “they’re just too fast for us,” even if it was directed at our younger players.

We didn’t come away empty-handed. We won the Saturday-morning opening parade by chanting a Viking verse as we marched with plastic swords, hammers and home-made Viking helments.

Masters Hat Tournament

Dwayne in action at masters tournamentWith a heat index of 109° this must have been the worst week-end of the year to hold a masters tournament, but that’s where I was from 10:30 to 5:30 on Saturday. Fortunately, we were blessed with an afternoon shower to cool things off for a while. I didn’t feel too wiped out at the end of the day (just hungry), but I am sore today and my skinned knee looks a little worse.

Mark in action at masters tournamentIt was a hat tournament organized by Dave Kaminski with teams assigned semi-randomly, and I ended up a on well-balanced team. We went 3-0 through pool play, and, after some minor re-balancing of teams, we kept rolling through the semifinals only to run out of poise in the finals. All of our suppressed mistakes manifested themselves in the second half of the finals where we didn’t score a single goal.

Between games at masters tournamentOne thing about masters players (33+) is that they come prepared. We had plenty of shade tents, watermelon, first-aid supplies, etc. Though the fields were in excellent condition, we had to supply our own shade, as seen in the sideline photo.

Slip and slide at masters tournamentIt was Rich’s first masters event, so perhaps that accounts for the slip-n-slide. He’s making a diving catch onto the slide in the photo. He even went to the trouble of lugging a cooler full of water out to the fields just for the slip-n-slide. The cooler turned out to be very popular for dunking one’s head in to cool down.

Spring League Ultimate Tournament

I’m still recovering from the first Hillsborough Spring League Tournament last week-end. I played on Yellow, which finished the regular season in a three-way tie for third place out of six teams and was a fun team with great captains. We made a strong showing in the tournament and were tied for first after the round robin play. That put us in the semifinals, where we lost to Red in a wind-dominated game. Red was also the only team we lost to in the round robin play.

I got scraped up on an unsuccessful layout on Saturday. The scabs are starting to heal, but my elbow and knee are still sore from the impact. My feet survived OK though. I often have problems with blisters when playing multiple games as normal measures like athletic tape and second skin tend to come loose after a couple of hours. This time I used a friction-reducing product called Body Glide that goes on like stick deoderant and work well (with one midday reapplication).

The tournament consisted of 4 games on Saturday and 1-3 on Sunday depending on how you did. My body can no longer take that much Ultimate in one week-end. My legs went dead after about 4 hours of play on Saturday and lasted less than half that long on Sunday.