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2014 Eastside Frost: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

December 9, 2014

(featured image: Keegan Bursaw)

The 2015 Frost was, above all else, a tourney of experiments. First, how a 5 man bench tourney would go down in the ol’ Eastside region (I think this was the first). Second, whether you could introduce a crease rule and have it stick (which certainly has been experimented with in other tourneys), and third, whether you can create a tent village to keep people dry enough to play.

Well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

In all truth, and I’ll say this now to spare you all the suspense, the Frost was an enormous amount of fun for a variety of reasons, which brings us to the first part of my over used title:

The Good

2014-12-06 09.58.35The Frost’s format, five player bench, is just so much fun. As Horse said perfectly on our way back to Lancaster, it’s a bench where instead of feeling like you should play everyone, it’s one where you need to play everyone. The 2 people who are sitting on your bench when a game is happening are actively involved in coaching, are ready to jump in, and don’t feel (at least in my case) like an appendix in an otherwise useful body.

The games were also 30 minutes long, which seemed just a touch too short–which is perfect. I left games feeling relatively good, and not at all over-worked. One could certainly chalk that up to my general laziness on the court, but let’s say that it’s more of a signifier of how solid the length of the games were instead. Yeah. Let’s do that.

Even with all the metarequirements of a tourney (lodging, eating, palling around), having 5 people instead of 9 really worked out well.

I guess when it comes down to it, I’d probably travel further for a 5 person bench tourney than I would for a three person tourney.

The Frost organizers also did a bang-up job on creature comforts. Yes, Saturday was probably the worst conditions I’ve ever played a tourney in, but we had a shanty town and outdoor heaters, and that went a long way to make me comfortable. Okay. I wasn’t comfortable at all, really. BUT I really appreciated the effort and WTF ever, rain. I don’t even care ’bout you. Continue Reading…

Tournaments

Thoughts on Turducken and 2v2: Great, but No Thanks

November 19, 2014

Turducken was a blast. Truly. I couldn’t have asked for better teammates than Carter and Ransom, and we went further along (I think tied for 7th/8th? I don’t know) than I imagined possible. All in all, I’m deeming it as a success. The hosts were very hosty, I ate more tacos in 2 days than I normally eat in 2 weeks–yes, I eat tacos every week–and the hotel only had one toilet that didn’t work (thanks, Alias, for letting me use yours).

The tourney was also my first ever 2v2 tourney. The rule for this was very simple: you play 2v2, and you have to switch out one of your players with your third each game. While I had played 2v2 at pickup when we can’t get numbers, I never did it at a tourney and, to be honest, I was disappointed when I learned that this tourney wouldn’t be 3v3.

The first day was difficult: I kept expecting to have a third person on my team, and I quickly learned that a tourney of 2v2 counts on a few things:

1. The other team messing up

2. Passing

3. Getting the other team out of position

If you manage two of those 3, you’ll win your games (or at least not look horrible in losing).

I’m going to be honestfrank with you and say that my playing on the first day was horrible. For one thing, my heart was going nuts and that made me not necessarily care how I was playing (as dying is something I’d like to avoid), but I also just wasn’t carrying my weight on the team. Carter and Eric were clearly the strong 2 of we 3, though they were both very kind to me in my uselessness.

The other teams seemed to have the same difficulties we had (save for a few slayers, of course, who could probably play with 1 and 1/4th of a player and still do well). The games weren’t slow, as I was expecting, though the pacing was certainly different. There wasn’t necessarily constant movement, but rather a ebb and flow of movement that dictated how a play either was (or was not) going to work. I found that I had more open breakaways, obviously, but I also felt like every action I took had a much more profound impact on the game than I would if it were 3v3.

I think that’s what the most valuable lesson was that weekend, outside of learning about the Turducken Taco from Cultured Swine, was that new sort of court awareness. I was keenly aware of helping the ball carrier rather than just trying to become the ball carrier. I either worked towards getting the 2nd player out of the play, or in getting my own guy to a good position.

That being said, I found that my leftyness came into play in an enormous way, as did my slow-game-ball-control nonsense that I do so enjoy. Furthermore, tricks became somehow more important (tricks, in my book, include dribbling the ball around other players in the air, weird shots, etc.).

The second day was a much better showing in my case, and I believe I managed to help Carter win every game we played together. I had a stronger understanding of what my role should be and managed to remind myself of that understanding whenever I got in the heat of a match.

Even so: as I left the tourney without saying goodbye to most, and drove my little truck the 7 hours it took to get home (thanks, traffic), I knew that I wouldn’t want to play a 2v2 tourney again. It was great fun, but it didn’t really scratch that itch I look to get scratched at a tourney. Or, maybe I should refine that: I don’t see myself playing in another 2v2 tourney unless it’s happening within 1 hour of driving distance. With Turducken Tacos, maybe 2 hours.

Tournaments, Video

2014 Hallowmeme Footage

November 10, 2014
hallowmeme2ss

There are two things that the Midwest knows how to do well:

  1. Throw bike polo tournaments.
  2. Party.

This video from the Hallowmeme tournament held in Grand Rapids, MI last month proves my point exactly. Enjoy the video and head to a tournament in the Midwest as soon as possible!

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