There and Black Again, a Player's Tale (Part 2)
Semifinals Game 2
Blue (Oliphants) vs Green (Second Breakfast)
The fog of war lifts from here on out as these were games I was actually present for. Green team had a strong record this season, losing only to Black on universe point a few weeks prior. Green was hungry to finish semifinals quickly and move on to finals. The Oliphants had other plans however, and saw to it that a swift victory for Second Breakfast wasn’t on the menu.
Blue struck early and broke Green in the thirdish point of the game. I believe Chris Que (might have been Carlo, who really knows) got a nice block on a risky throw through the zone from yours truly. Chris had an incredible first league season and was instrumental in executing the handler weave with Carlo and Courtney. Second Breakfast had no answer for this small, yet incredibly powerful handler trio.
Adding to this, Hank Bass played absolutely lights out for the Oliphants and was seemingly always open on his cuts. Sladies players Emma Kyes, Megan Randell and Elena Merino all improved steadily throughout the season with Blue and proved worthy matchups for Green’s ladies. Oscar Patterson also played remarkably well and gets a nod for most improved for the year. Whenever he finally decides to start his USAU eligibility this kid is gonna be an absolute monster.
Throughout the game a booming voice could be heard from the sideline, providing timely strategic help and encouragement to the Oliphants. It was none other than league bard, Michael Benjamin Green! With Michael’s emotional support, the Oliphants would hold the lead and take half 8-7.
But Second Breakfast wasn’t full just yet. Rookie Paul Miller turned out to be one of the fastest league players this season and played excellent defense against Blue’s finest. All of Green’s ladies stepped up big time (more on that later). Michael Cortez had a nice grab in the endzone just inches past a bidding Carlo, after which Blue captain Courtney Read was heard yelling “that’s alright Blue, let them have their hold). Spicey.
Maybe there was a change in the wind. Maybe we were just tired of getting roasted by Carlo, Courtney and Chris. Either way, something made Natalie and I decide to switch from man defense to zone. And that proved to be a wise choice.
Zone defense turned out to be the secret ingredient Second Breakfast was looking for. The Oliphants struggled HARD to work through the minefield of Green defenders. Blue cutter Oscar Patterson told me later “I felt useless once you guys went zone”. Hey thanks, Oscar. Green seized the opportunity and struck back. Andrew Cherepon snagged an easy callahan. Natalie Wilson toed the line for a quick break. Dalton swung it to Cherepon who ran down the game winner a few moments later. Just when Blue thought they could dine and dash to the finals, Second Breakfast opens up an all-you-can-break buffet and takes the cake. Barely.
Green squeaks out a win 13-11 over Blue. In my opinion, this was the game of the season. Well fought, Blue, well fought.
Second Breakfast invites Oliphants to brunch at Waffle House, Blue team is never seen or heard from again.
(Hot take: IHOP > actual trash > Waffle House)
Green (Second Breakfast) vs Black (Nazgoals)
The table was set and reservations were made for two. With the fate of the one championship ring hanging in the balance, Second Breakfast and the Nazgoals prepared for battle one last time. Black barely pulled off a universe point win over Green a few weeks earlier (thanks to crazy poach layout D by Cameron Paul). This finals matchup was sure to be close.
From the start it was clear this would be an uphill battle for Green. Still winded from their surprisingly tough semifinal game against Blue, Green’s men struggled especially hard. A misplaced huck by Brian, an uncharacteristic drop from Andrew, a frustrated turf from Dalton, the mistakes began to add up for Second Breakfast. And Black capitalized. Kody and Scott Stagg provided efficient, level-headed handler movement to help Black convert for clean offensive points. Scotty Moore and Cameron both went up HUGE for defensive blocks (both over me, haha neat..). Daniel Scott chugged an entire jar of vegemite and then ran around the field with seemingly limitless energy. While the Green dudes struggled, Black’s men played solid.
But the real story is the ladies. I cannot emphasize enough how well the ladies from both teams played this game and all season long. Especially the newbies. Players like Potato, Natalie Wilson, Plants and Rachel Pruitt should all be household names at this point. They are good and I could sing their praises for pages. BUT THEN throw in new players like Brianna Coia into the mix for Green. Remember getting beat deep by a speedy new Green lady last season? It was probably Coia. She used to play field hockey and is quite comfortable with fast breaks.
Rebecca Hendeson and Lily Gullett were another two big additions for Green. Rebecca picked up the game remarkably fast and was already schooling Dalton (her bae) in the stat sheet. I saw her running laps around the IM fields AFTER league on multiple occasions, which is nuts. She’s also never watched LOTR so...here’s this?
Jeep Club President Lily Gullett is one of the most enthusiastic people I've ever played frisbee with. I’ve never seen someone get as excited after catching a score as Lilly. Her high fives may knock you to the ground but her infectious enthusiasm will lift your entire team up. She’s been playing with Sladies this season and her hard work definitely showed in the finals.
Black’s women were just as impressive. Potato and Plants crushed as usual, but so did Hailey Amundson and league newbie Katelyn Mckey. During finals, I remember seeing Nazgoals put up multiple hucks to these ladies and thinking to myself, “sweet, that’s overthrown...wait...no way they catch that...crap.” I’m going to attribute Hailey’s speed to the fact that she bikes everywhere and probably has the league’s strongest quads (I’ve never seen her arrive/leave league in a car).
Katelyn is also hella fast and has very sticky hands. It’s no surprise she’s so good at catching considering her dope rock climbing skills (she free solo’d Mt. Doom. Twice). If Lauren Bosche had been healthy AND played for this team instead of sailing away with the elves to the white shores of Colorado, I probably would have quit.
Halftime came a bit sooner than expected for Second breakfast. Black put on the jets and took half something like 8-4. Oof.
(I don’t know what bet means but it felt right)
Alright. If it’s not obvious I really liked last season’s theme. So I prepared a speech. Or rather, I made some minor changes to a speech from the LOTR movies. Keep in mind, my team’s name was Second Breakfast. If you were within earshot of me screaming at the top of my lungs during halftime of a recreational ultimate frisbee league finals, this is what you heard:
And eat we did. With the troops rallied, our appetites rekindled, Second Breakfast bellied up to the table for one last push. Natalie Wilson barely edged out Potato on a hotly contested under cut. Paul Miller used his ridiculous speed to block some fools. Lilly went deep for a glorious deep shot from Natalie. The momentum started to shift back as Second Breakfast quickly closed the gap from 10-5 to 11-9. Cue the comeback montage.
Alas, this celebration would not last long. Green fought the good fight but they were simply outmatched. The strong team chemistry that Black had been building all season long paid dividends in the finals. In the end, the Acro Yoga proved to be too strong.
Black held a commanding lead as one by one the Green team fell prone to muscle cramps or other ailments. Those left standing on Second Breakfast could not repel the lightning fast Nazgoal attack. The smart, reliable offensive movement from players like Plants, Kody and Scott Stagg paired with the explosive playmaking ability of Potato, Scotty, Katelyn and Cam was just too much. As the clock expires, Natalie Wilson falls to her knees in dismay and a single tear rolls down Dalton’s cheek. Black wins.
The dust settles and Nazgoal captains Potato and Kody snatch the one championship ring from the clutches of Second Breakfast. A vast shadow falls over middle earth. Now nothing stands between Black team and total domination of League for centuries to come. Potato extends her hand to dawn the one championship ring and wield its awesome power. She closes her eyes, slips the ring over her finger and waits for the surge of power and…..and…
Confused, Potato looks around frantically. From a distance faint laughter floats across the land. It’s none other than league trickster Andreas Maji (Drew Magee)!! Turns out that Drew Magee swapped out the one championship ring for a decoy when no one was looking. Sources claim they saw Drew giving away a ring to a lucky lady during a wedding a few months ago. Thanks Drew! While you may have saved League from total domination by Black team, we will never be safe from your trickery. Congrats on getting married!
(No one told Gandalf not to wear white to the wedding)
Bewildered, Black team collectively shrugs their shoulders and League lives on happily ever after to the end of it’s days because this write up is already too. dam. long.
In all seriousness, congratulations Nazgoals! You guys were a hell of a team and really fun to play against. I think the most impressive thing about this team was what happened after the season ended. I was told that the Black team Facebook group remained active for months after Fall League finished (and is possibly still active?). Many of Blacks teammates are still friends and hang out pretty regularly outside of League to this day. I liked to rag on Black team as the heavy favorites this season, but skill alone does not produce those sorts of bonds. That’s something special and deserves to be recognized. Well done!
Great season everyone! Fall League was the most fun I've had playing frisbee in a while. I hope you guys enjoyed my ramblings, looking forward to the next one!
“It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of universe point losses and dangerous throws they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end score. Because how could the end be happy? How could the League go back to the way it was when so many breaks had happened?
But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new season will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
That there's some good in this League, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for.“