I’ve been trying to keep ultimate out of this blog because it isn’t that interesting for most people to read, but let’s face it – it’s an enormous part of my life, and it’s going to creep in from time to time. We went to Santa Cruz this weekend for Sean Ryan. We were seeded 10th out of 12 teams, last in our pool behind Cal (Berkeley), Santa Barbara, and Cal Poly SLO. To preface this story, let me just say that we were pretty terrible last year. We came in 8th at SoCal Sectionals, and 9th or 10th at Southwest Regionals. We had no system, no team cohesion, only one captain (me) and almost no seniors or juniors.
But back to the story. We’ve been practicing hard for about three weeks. We’ve been disciplined and focused, and really come together as a team. Anyway, on Saturday, we showed up half an hour before game time, warmed up, and proceeded to beat Black Tide (Santa Barbara) 13-11. We beat them for the first time freshman year (twice), and should have beaten them last year (we were up 11-8, game to 12), but they always have a strong team, and they’re one of the powerhouses in our region. Next we played Cal, a perennial Nationals team, and beat them for the first time in team history, 13-10. Finally we beat Cal Poly SLO, a team that beat us a couple of times last year, 13-6 to win our pool.
We got kicked out of our hotel as soon as we got back to it (we had 20 people staying in two rooms), and had to find another hotel, which took most of the afternoon. After showering and watching “Horton Hears a Who” on HBO, we passed out around 9pm. Sunday we warmed up and came out a little slow against Humboldt, but rallied to beat them 13-6. The bracket put us against Cal in the semi’s, but we swapped opponents to play UC San Diego, another regional team that went to Nationals last year. It was the toughest game of the tournament. We traded points for most of it, but ended up pulling away to lead 11-9 game to 12. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t close, and they came back to win on universe point. Out of the finals, we played Cal in the 3/4 game, this time beating them 13-6.
It was an amazing tournament. Our team is so much fun, all on the same page this year, and fucking good. There are a lot of reasons we’re better this year than we were last, but no matter the factors involved, it feels like a vindication of my captainship. Last year I was just struggling to hold the team together, but this year, with stronger leadership and more dedicated players, it feels like everything I was trying so hard to implement last year is finally coming together. If we keep this up, we’ll be fucking good. Fuck yeah, Brains.