CUJO – Day 3 of Play

Heading into day 3, CUJO sat with a 2-4 record and was battling for 9th place. Our goal at the beginning of the tournament was to make quarters so we wanted to finish at least top 8. However, because we went 1-2 on Friday, that meant we dropped into the bottom bracket and the best we could do was 9th. Based on the schedule, we were going to face the 13th, 14th and 15th place teams – not a schedule we wanted since it meant we were going to play X2 again and because it meant that we weren’t going to be challenged at all.
But, we decided to use this opportunity to work on a few things – namely 3 things: winning, playing clean offense and playing scary (later modified to terrifying) defense.

Our first game was against Kerozen, a juniors team from Quebec. We had a very clean game, rolling points very quickly since we threw on a zone defense pretty much the whole game and ended up with a 15-2 win. The best part about the game was that some of our guys who normally don’t huck did just that – they put up some great hucks! It was so awesome and our whole team rushed the endzone when they scored.

Our second game was against Green Monsters, another Quebec team. Matching our zone d with some huge pulls, we jumped out to a very quick start, taking half 8-2. The other team couldn’t keep up with us but there was a few disagreements. One of the girls on the other team caught the disc in a slide layout near the sideline. It looked out from the other side of the field and one of our players on the field called it out. Their whole team on the field and a few of their players on the sideline were debating it. A few of our sideline players shouted “just let them have it” (we were up 11-3) and so after much confusion, they got to keep the disc on the sideline. HOWEVER, Leah and I adamantly said “the disc goes back” to our players on the sideline. We don’t care if we’re down by 10 or up by 10, a call is a call…I think it’s bad spirit to not play by the rules and there should be no bending of the rules. There was a bit of frustration since a few of our on field players felt that we didn’t support them but we told them that it’s their call and that they need to stick by their call (that and they need to know the rules!). The other team wasn’t very good at the rules (and as it turns out, the scorekeeper actually told me that we should just let them take it since we were up 11-3 – she just happened to be cheering for the other team). Now, I get playing by the rules and having fun and being fair – but bending the rules is none of those. I think it’s bullshit when a team gives you a lower spirit score for a situation like that – they totally disrepect us and because we argue their call, we get bad spirit? On top of that, we’re building a competitive team in CUJO, and we just so happen to at the NATIONAL championships. It’s not a league game. Our players paid hundreds of dollars to be here and I want them to play their best – and that means playing smart, playing by the rules and playing with fire and a competitive spirit. Just because our opponents don’t share that competitiveness doesn’t mean that we have to tone it down. Anyway, rant over.

In between our 2nd and 3rd game, I headed over to the main fields to check out the Moondoggies/General Strike and Phoenix/Mephisto semi final games. Alex and Tierney (two ex Calgary juniors and two guys I’ve played with for 4 years) were playing on Moondoggies. It was great to see them out (my favourite part about ultimate tournaments – seeing old friends and teammates from all across Canada). I’m excited to see Moondoggies vs Mephisto in tomorrow’s Open final – it should be a great game and will be awesome for my juniors to see such high level ultimate. I’m also really looking forward to the women’s final so my girls can see just what top women can do on the field. The weather is supposed to be nice so it should be a great day :)

Finally, our third game was against X2, a team we had played last on our first day (beating them something like 15-2). This game turned out to be more frustrating than I had anticipated, but we ended up winning 15-4. The frustration was due to a few incidents:
1. X2 called a timeout in the 2nd half but instead of gathering on the field, they went to a group of trees 60 yards from the field and were hanging out there. We cheered and got on the line, signalling that we were ready to pull – a bit after that, X2 basically ran from the trees onto the field in a mad dash of them screaming and yelling. However, they got on the field late, it was a bit ridiculous that they were wasting time and I felt that it was disrespectful.
2. After we turned the disc, one of their handlers bent down to tie his shoe in the endzone – one of our guys tapped the disc and started counting the disc down as a delay of game warning. However, when their guy was done tying his shoe, he picked the disc up and walked it to the front of the endzone line and didn’t even acknowledge our guy had started counting.

There was a few other things but overall I just find that it’s not really fun playing against the lower tiered teams. Mainly because they don’t know the rules and their perception of the game suffers (we got a 2.7/5 spirit ranking). Since they don’t know the rules, what we bring to the game as a competitive spirit, they interpret as us being too aggressive and not fun to play…well we’re at Nationals…they should be here to improve and play well – hoping we don’t really apply the rules and that we don’t play hard is silly.

Overall, I think CUC2010 was awesome. Our kids had a great time, we won 5 games and lost 4 (and hopefully will end up 9th), and this is a huge step forward towards building a juniors scene in Calgary. However, it’s tough to play against the bottom teams. Obviously it can’t always be avoided (and the top teams like Reign and Misfits probably call us a bottom team) but I feel like there should be some sort of tiered schedule perhaps so teams will have closer games, will play new teams and can enjoy the games more than just having blowouts on the last day.

Props to Danny, Wax, Flash, Tushar, the TD, Adriana (for selling Ultimate Rob dvd’s at the VC booth), Leah for co coaching CUJO with me, Tim for organizing the team and being the reason we are here, all of the parents who came to support their kids and for helping with the management of the team and most importantly, to the players of CUJO. It’s unbelievably rewarding to be a part of such a great team – I love how open the kids are with me (whether it’s telling me that they weren’t happy with their play time, or if they’re telling me about the shirt and disc they just bought). The kids are awesome. I cannot wait until next year!!

Cheers,
Rob McLeod
Ultimate Rob