A few things for which Pat Stegemoeller is wishing upon a star.
January 12, 2017 by Patrick Stegemoeller in News with 0 comments
New Year’s resolutions are easy. Well, maybe not easy per se, but they are generally under your control. You know what takes real courage? Fastening your hopes for happiness in the New Year to something that you have no ability to control whatsoever.
But I will do just that, because the things that I do have control over aren’t nearly important enough to really help the ultimate community where it matters most. So once again, I will bravely undertake that task of using up all my wishes on what may ultimately be the pursuit of a mere dream, because it’s a dream I believe in.
AUDL Defunct Team All-Star Game
There are a lot of things to put on a wishlist for the 2017 AUDL season.
- A Montreal Royal cinderella run to the semifinals to spice up Championship Weekend.
- For the livestreams to feature totally inexplicable B-roll, like this interview of Markham Shofner, who had evidently been interrupted by the interviewer while doing the totally normal thing of playing chess against himself with a conspicuously ornate chessboard.
- The Roughnecks to lose just, like, one time.
But because the new year smell of 2017 hasn’t worn off yet and the vapors still have me soaring, I’m going a little outside of the box.
One of the biggest successes of last season was the Championship Weekend, and I’ve been thinking of ways to make the event more of an event like the NBA All-Star Weekend, Comic Con, or Black Friday. Here’s my pitch: An “All Star” (apply quotes liberally) game of players from now defunct AUDL franchises. It would be held late on the Friday night before semifinal Saturday. It would serve as an aperitif for the crowd, giving them a reason to congregate and drink on the Friday night and entice fans to really make a weekend out of the proceedings.
Here’s how the game would work: At the start of the season, all players who were at some point rostered on a now defunct AUDL team can submit themselves into the player pool. This includes players currently playing on viable AUDL teams, as well as whatever busted old war horses were playing on teams that may or may not have ever existed, like the “Columbus Cranes” or the inscrutably named “Bluegrass Revolution.”
Then, halfway through the season, two captains will draft 20 man rosters schoolyard-style from the player pool. The captains could be celebrity/honorary captains, current players, fans who won a contest, products of nepotism, whoever. The possibilities are immense and mostly all good. The players would play in their old jerseys, with one team playing in colors and the other playing in whites, and all that would be at stake in the game would be honor, pride, and probably like $250 to Outback Steakhouse for the winning team.
It checks so many boxes for the AUDL: expanding the Championship Weekend, celebrating the history of the league, doing something goofy and not serious to ingratiate themselves to the goofy and not serious base of the ultimate community, and giving them another excuse to sell alcohol and food to spectators which is pretty much the most profitable thing in the entire world. Also, it acts as a subtle (or not so subtle) jab at the MLU. “Yeah we had a team in Salt Lake. Yeah we had a team named the ‘Constitution.’ They’re gone, just like you! But we’re still here.”
Would it be good ultimate? No, probably not. But would it be a compelling spectacle? Absolutely! And that’s good enough for me.
Harvard Men’s Team Doesn’t Make Nationals
Hear me out.
Right now the state of the Callahan award, at least on the Men’s side, is somewhat in flux. While billed as a single year award, it is increasingly becoming more of a career achievement and the parameters for who/what/where/when/why someone should win are unclear. Is it just the best player that season? Is it the best player on the best team? Is it the player who has been able to accumulate the most goodwill in the ultimate community during their time on campus? Is it for the best video?
The answer to this question, at least for this year, seems to be “the player who was the most prominent in the previous year on the college and club level and had a noteworthy performance on the national stage.” Which is to say, John Stubbs is going to win the 2017 Callahan award sort of like how Leo won the 2015 Oscar for The Revenant, but really he won it for Wolf of Wall Street, Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, Django Unchained, etc.1
Minnesota’s Ben Jagt could score 12 goals a game this year and Oregon’s Adam Rees could throw the assist that wins Regionals with his teeth, and it wouldn’t matter because last season John Stubbs had three goals and five assists in the first half of college semifinals, won a gold medal at Worlds, and won Club Nationals with Ironside. Just as in the rest of life, what happened in 2016 will hang over 2017.
Unless Harvard doesn’t make Nationals. Then, things could get interesting.
No one on the men’s side has won the Callahan without making Nationals since Keith Monohan won the very first award back in 1996, which in ultimate years is eons ago. Voters may find it harder to crown someone who couldn’t get their team to Nationals in the year that they are supposedly being rewarded for.
It’s totally plausible that Harvard won’t make it to the big dance this season, because outside of Stubbs, the team is losing its next four or five best players from a team that was already paper thin. If Stubbs is able to drag the remaining crew to Nationals, he’ll absolutely deserve the award. But if he can’t, then it leaves the window open.
Clearly Harvard failing to reach Nationals would make the Callahan award more interesting this season, but it would also serve as an referendum on what the award means. If Harvard doesn’t make it and Stubbs loses, then the award swings back to a place where it is about performance in the year of the award itself. If Harvard doesn’t make natties and Stubbs is less than his transcendent best, and he still wins the Callahan, then the award is firmly and forever in the career achievement camp.
Either way, Harvard not making Nationals makes 2017 more interesting for everyone.
Streamlined Jersey Trading Bazaar
Jersey swaps are a great part of ultimate culture, and like every other genuine, fun, organic thing that exists, we need to monetize, regulate, and exploit it into meaningless ubiquity. So let’s take one step closer towards removing all interpersonal relations from the world and move jersey swapping to the online space.
I’m aware that there are already some ad-hoc Facebook groups and threads on Reddit for this sort of thing, but they are all kind of sketchy, and could do with a little old fashioned regulation.
Here’s what I’m imagining: A site where you post pictures on your account of jerseys, shorts, hats, and general frisbee swag that you are open to trading. Additionally, you can post a value so that people can opt to just buy if they don’t have something to trade. Then, if someone wants to initiate a swap they put their offer up, and you get to swipe right each other and make magic happen.
Competent Music Direction At USAU Events
Let me set the stage…
You’ve done it. You’ve climbed the mountain. You’ve won the USA Ultimate National Championship and it feels amazing.
After years and years of bitter disappointment, it all pays off. After long nights spent staring at the ceiling thinking of what could have been, your dreams come true. Every lap of the track, every rep in the weight room, every drill at practice, every long drive to a far off tournament, every wedding you missed, it all finally culminates in one of the most thrilling wins ever. You are euphoric. This is your moment, when you finally shed the shackles of mortality and become a legend. The world is a pulsing bright light, your teammate’s tears and laughter sound like the bells of angels, you can feel yourself lifting off the gro…
Wait, what is that sound?
…looking pretty in a hotel bar…
There’s no way, right?
…hold me closer in the…
No. No. Not like this.
…tattoo on your shoulder, pull the sheets…
WE AIN’T EVER GETTTTIIIIIIINNNNNGGGG OLLLDDDEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAYYYYEEEERRRRAAAAYYYEEERRR
God dammit. It’s gone. You’re back on your feet. The moment has passed, and you want whoever put that least common denominator faux-wanderlust Instagram filter of a song on the stadium speakers to feel what it’s like to lose something they truly love.
This was a particularly egregious example, but in general, the music at big USAU events is pretty subpar and lacks a real sense of the environment. It’s not just during climactic moments like right after a championship game. For warmups and in-between rounds a lot of the time it just seems to be someone from USAU’s iPod holding down the aux as they crank out a lot of Pearl Jam and Bryan Adams. Not great.
What may have been even worse though was the live band they had at the US Open.
I don’t want to be too harsh on that band, but let’s just say that it was impossible to tell if they were playing together for the first time or if the “band” was actually some ill-conceived money laundering scheme.
Moving forward, let’s get a real DJ, at least for the big events. Someone that can get a read on the room. There are tons of pretentious hipsters in the ultimate community who would surely do it for free, because the self-satisfaction of someone thinking your music taste is cool is priceless. Let’s get on this.
New Summer League Rules for Attendance/Playoffs
Summer league can be great, but things tend to get kind of wacky from a competitiveness standpoint. As another year dawns and I find myself one step further down the path of biological obsolescence, a future of league play being the most competitive ultimate I’m involved with is looming larger and larger. So let’s make some changes to the way we do summer league now, for the future of all the weekend warriors who find purpose in life pursuing a plastic trophy that the league director bought for $6.99 a couple hours before the finals.
To bring more competitive balance and meaning to summer league, while also helping with attendance issues, here is a modest proposal:
In order to play in league playoffs, players must participate in at least half (rounding down) of their team’s regular season games. Anyone below that line is ineligible for the playoffs. Then, players from teams who didn’t make the playoffs who played in 75% of their team’s games during the regular season are drafted onto the playoff teams to fill roster holes in reverse order based on regular season record. Furthermore, at the draft, each team gets one designated player per gender that doesn’t have to meet the games played requirement.
This means that player attendance is incentivized, playoffs become more balanced with the studs of each eliminated team evening the playing field, good players stuck on bad teams get to play in the playoffs, and there is an additional layer of strategy at the draft because you have to decide how early you want to pick a stud who is injured or only available for the end of the year. These are all good things.
For the Next Ultiworld Bracket To Not Be A Miscarriage Of Justice
People just love brackets. It’s science.
It’s a way to make the subjective opinions we have appear objective. In some way, it gives them a higher meaning so that we can stave off the impending meaningless of our own existence by preserving our beliefs in some sort of timeless, objective true. Or something.
Let’s reel things back in; People love brackets. Lots of people voted in Ultiworld’s recent Catch of the Year bracket. Those people ultimately selected Himalaya Mehta’s catch as the winner of this bracket. They were so, so wrong.
The four best catches from 2016 were, in order, Cricket, Lozano, Matthews, and Froude. That’s your Mount Rushmore. And none of them even made the semis.
If 2016 taught us anything, and it’s a lesson that is reaching into 2017 like a grim specter, it’s that democracy just doesn’t work. When Mehta’s half-assed slide met Cricket’s superhuman snag in the first round, things played out just as the framers feared. The winner, a series of blundering mishaps that appeals only to the clickbaitiest2 of our instincts, defeated an industrious technocrat who possesses a proficiency that most of us can’t fathom. Sound familiar?
If you voted for Mehta, you’re certainly part of the problem, but your deplorable taste in highlight plays can’t really be argued against since there is no base of reasoning to be interacted with. Really, the blame for this debacle lays at the feet of those who knew Mehta’s catch was an affront to our core values and still neglected their civic duty by staying home and not voting. It’s too late to change what happened, and the results are on your shoulders. For 2017, I hope we can all learn from this. We can’t sit out voting in these brackets, and we’ll need everyone to fix this mess.
Callahan Video Set To Lip Gloss
This guy. This guy fucks.