July 2, 2013 by Charlie Eisenhood in Preview with 9 comments
Take a moment and reflect on the resume of San Francisco Revolver: Two consecutive USA Ultimate Club Championship titles. Four straight finals appearances. A World title. Multiple individual and team spirit awards. And all of that since 2006, the year that the team was founded.
But much of the core of the team that collected those trophies is leaving the team this year. Some of the club game’s biggest names — Bart Watson, Robbie Cahill, Martin Cochran, and Mark Sherwood — are not on this year’s roster. Sherwood and Cahill were founding members of the team.
“Bart, Robbie, Martin – you can’t just go out and expect to replace those guys,” said Revolver captain Nick Schlag. “They are all phenomenal players and we certainly have our work cut out for us.”
This is the cycle of club ultimate. Players become stars, reach the highest levels, and eventually move on, often because life gets in the way. New players are asked to step into bigger roles, and they become the new stars.
We have already seen a preview of that new blood. Evan Boucher and Lucas Dallman — both players on Major League Ultimate’s San Francisco Dogfish — join the 2013 Revolver roster. Both have been outstanding in the MLU. That made it easier for the 14 players from Revolver 2012 on the Dogfish roster to evaluate them and other new talent.
There is a lot of youth joining the team this year as well — Jordan Marcy (Stanford), Marcelo Sanchez (UC Davis), and Nathan White (UC Davis) are notable.
“The Revolver program has really from its inception been founded on the strength of the college programs in the area,” said Schlag.
However, this season will prove to be quite a challenge. This is the most turnover (eight players) in the team’s history — and a lot of Championship experience is out the door. They still have some strong, experienced talent in players like Beau Kittredge, Cassidy Rasmussen, and Ashlin Joye. But the team now just has two remaining players from its inaugural season: Jon Levy and Josh Wiseman. Schlag said their veteran leadership will be critical to teaching the young team.
When I asked Schlag if this was a rebuilding year for the team, he paused for ten seconds.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a rebuilding year, but it’s a refocusing year,” he said. “I think we’ll have to refocus on the core values.”
Those core values — intensity, humility, and discipline — have been a part of the team’s mission since its inception. They dedicate a page on the team website to explaining their system and focus. You can’t argue with the results — they have easily been the most successful Men’s team in the country over the past decade — but their framework will get put to the test this year.
They begin their season at the US Open this week. They will send around 20 players and “bring everything [they] have” to the competition.
“It’s our first tournament as a team,” said Schlag. “So we don’t expect to come out of the gates with the kind of intensity that we hope to have by the end of the year.”
As usual, they are looking forward to competing with teams like Ironside (who they defeated in the finals of the 2011 Club Championships last year) and Doublewide (who defeated them in the finals last year). They are also looking forward to playing the international teams in the bracket. “It’s always fun to play against teams that have grown up playing different styles,” said Schlag.
But, more than an opportunity to test the team against high-level competition, this tournament will be the first chance for the team to test itself: who will fill the holes left behind by Watson, Cahill, and others?
This is a new Revolver team, and we will all get to be front and center for its first appearance.
You can watch Revolver play on the Ultiworld livestream from the US Open.