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Florida Warm Up 2017: The Back Pages

Ultimate is weird. Even at the elite college level. Whenever he saw or heard something noteworthy, Tad Wissel wrote it at the end of his notebook. These are the back pages.

Feel like a rim spike? Do what you feel! No observers at Warm Up! It’s the wild west! Pittsburgh’s Jack Slevin does a mean thing to an innocent disc that never hurt a fly. Photo: Brian Whittier

Editor’s Note: This article contains NSFW language.

While Warm Up is three days of fun in the sun, getting a good look at some of the best teams in the country, it’s also about 30 total hours of hanging out at a field site watching college players interact. There is no shortage of weird nonsense.

Overheard At Warm Up: Act I

“So I quit playing ultimate — because ultimate’s fucking stupid — and I went back to my first sport, which is futsal. Brazilian indoor soccer.” – An anonymous coach

Dinner Theater With TUFF And UCF

At one point during Texas and Central Florida’s showcase game Friday evening, Michael Fairley calls a foul on Dillon Larberg, who sort of laid out to the side for a point block. Larberg was beside himself. “No! No way.” As he scans the sideline for reactions and/or empathy, he spots a random cameraman about 15 yards away. “Do you have a picture of that?” The camera guy was clearly not ready to be tested like that and just ignores his question. Half joking but half serious, Larberg asks again, “Do you? Do you have a picture?” A thousand-yard stare straight ahead from the camera guy. He doesn’t laugh. He doesn’t pretend to look for it. The camera is now at his hip. So Fairley gets the disc back and UCF scores. He and Larberg chat after the point near the brick mark and do some reenacting (which, for anyone reading this that does not play ultimate, is the backbone of our prestigious sport). After 30 seconds or so, they slap each other five and go their separate ways. As Larberg walks off the field he asks the cameraman one last time, “Hey, Ultiphotos — did you get a picture of that?” With ice water in his veins and the nerves of a gunfighter who has lived to see the other side of 50, the cameraman ignores Dillon Larberg a final time.

***

A little later during UCF vs TUFF, a couple dudes on the sideline were bullshitting and this conversation happened.

“Did you vote for Trump?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh right. You’re from the panhandle.”

Fin.

Scenes From In Between Games

While walking between fields, I passed the Wisconsin tent. All the Hodags were out on the field throwing except for one guy who was taking a drink of water from a gallon jug. He finishes up, caps the jug, and, in the process of haphazardly tossing the bottle to the ground, executes a huge bottle flip. He suddenly stops swishing the warm water around in his mouth and looks up at me. We lock eyes. “I saw it. Alright. Alriiiiight.”

***

There was a really sweet flipping interaction between Carleton coach and alumnus (and 2016 US Men’s National Team player) Nick Stuart and injured Minnesota captain Tristan Van de Moortele. Grey Duck was super late getting over to the fields to play CUT, so as soon as Van de Moortele showed up, Stuart jumped him to flip. CUT won the flip and Stuart told him what side his team wanted to start on. Then he says something like, “And we’re going to go white.” Van de Moortele is like, “Uhh… we could flip for color I gue—” Stuart, who is already walking away, cuts him off along the lines of “You’re way late. We’re starting in three minutes.” At which point Van de Moortele mumbles something about already wearing dark and just concedes. CUT would go on to win 13-10, probably due to Nick Stuart setting the goddamn tone.

Who Wore It Best?

Sweet socks from DUF. Photo: Tad Wissel

This one young dude wearing The Flash socks. Okay. Okay. That’s what’s up. Hey, I played my entire sophomore year in a Panera Bread visor. What do I know?

Elliott Mawby of Carleton wearing a topical, homemade Ultiworld FAKE NEWS! shirt.

There was this dude from Cornell and his smoking hot mullet. God damn beautiful.

Aforementioned mullet. Photo: Cornell Ultimate

The Buds were also kind enough to provide this uplifting encounter with local law enforcement:

“When he was having his mullet cut in Florida he was complimented by a racist cop who also told him that ‘With a mullet like that, you should be playing a nice white boy sport like hockey.'”

2:51 PM on Friday, Warm Up hits absolute rock bottom, as Auburn plays Green Day’s Time of Your Life on their speaker. And, yeah, everyone eventually sang along, but that’s not the point.

A Crime Most Foul At The Airbnb

When we got back to the Airbnb Friday night, I asked Charlie if I could use his toothpaste. As I walked into the bathroom he said it was in one of those thin, single serving units. Perfect. I don’t need much. So, I grab the packet and smear some paste on the brush, and just as I’m about to put the brush in my mouth I turn the toothpaste over in my hand an discover it’s actually fucking anti-itch cream with full poison control instructions on the back in case of accidental ingestion. The home owner had just left it sitting out on the sink. Charlie laughs in my face as I throw my toothbrush away and says, “Put that shit in your back pages.” Not cool, Chuck.

Overheard At Warm Up: Act II

“That dude almost singlehandedly brought Auburn back.” – Charlie Eisenhood, pointing to Auburn’s trombonist and positive energy hypeman Hank Womble after Auburn rallied back from down 8-1 to tie the game at 10s with BYU.

Womble — who really made a name for himself at 2016 college nationals — continues to kill it as Auburn’s purveyor of positivity on the sideline. As Aetos was making the come back against Brigham Young, Womble put the Dora The Explorer theme song on heavy rotation to get his team focused. I’m not a sports psychologist, but this strategy likely serves two purposes: make the game dreamlike and lighthearted for Auburn and annoy the ever-living piss out of BYU.

Father Knows Best

I spent two games following Texas and had some great interactions with a TUFF player’s dad. Aside from being a cool dude and a proud father, this guy was a story factory. Here are some of the highlights…

He mentioned that he lived in Tyler, TX for a while, which is where Heisman Trophy winner and punishing running back Earl Campbell hails from.

“I played high school football with Earl Campbell. He was a year younger than me. I tackled him once, he ran me over twice.”

An opposing player made a call against Texas the dad did not agree with.

“Hmm. I wish [ultimate] weren’t self officiated. But that’s life.”

We talked briefly about Ultiworld and the college video subscription package.

“Yeah. I’ve gotta subscribe again, but I don’t want to see any of that other shit. I wanna see my son play.”

Worthy Of Applause

Minnesota’s Ben Jagt scored a goal but there was a stoppage of some kind, so Jagt lagged the disc back to the thrower. This caused a mesmerized Texas A&M player on the sidelines to turn to his teammate and say, in full fanboy mode, “Dude. Ben Jagt is such a G, bro.”

Again, Ben Jagt stood still and threw a frisbee like 15 yards back to the guy that threw it to him. That’s how legit Jagt’s brand is right now.

***

A dude on Wisconsin caught an in-cut and was trapped on the home sideline where all his team’s shit was. The stall is getting high, so he tries a hammer which is instantly blocked back into his face by the mark. He bobbles the disc and ends up trapping the disc against his own skull and maintaining possession with a fresh set of stalls.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching since that moment and still haven’t figured out if it’s better to be the mark or the thrower in that situation.1

***

Central Florida’s Cole Friedes (formerly of Florida State) came up with a ridiculous sky over two CUT defenders for an important break at 3-3. Dogs of War coach Andrew Roca tipped his cap to Friedes’ roots by starting a “DUF TRAIN! ROLL!” cheer, which pumped up UCF players responded to appropriately. Cool moment.

Overheard At Warm Up: Act III

“If we play a team that can complete passes against no defense, we’re fucked.” – An anonymous coach

“Our team sucks. Nobody is hurt, so I might have to tweet or film or something.” – An anonymous coach

“I gotta go find my wallet because SOMEONE left it in the bathroom of a taco truck last night. I’ve been following it on my phone. It’s driving around Tampa.” – An anonymous coach

A Check-in With Timmy: Texas A&M’s 2020 Callahan Nominee

I wrote about this guy a little bit last year when he was a rookie and I first saw the vast, limitless potential in this young buck. Timmy is a year older, a year wiser, and has been hitting the weights. He’s getting those sophomore D points that are going to pay off in a big way — like in two or three years when he inverts the asshole of college ultimate. Although he did have a backhand huck turnover in quarters against Florida (the kind of turn where teammates say stuff like, “Timmy…” then audibly sigh — but still), in the semifinals against Pitt, Timmy made a deep up-line cut and caught a layout clap catch for Dozen’s first break of the game. For those of you out there that keep wanting to sleep on Timmy, that’s fine — but don’t expect there to be much room left on the bandwagon when you wake the fuck up.

Slamball

TUFF was celebrating breaks and other big plays by dunking on a mini basketball hoop — which was awesome — but, constructively, could have been slightly better if they went full Bills fans and dunked on dudes on the other team. Again, no observers.

Deep Thoughts

As I crammed all my stuff into my bag at the fields and said a few goodbyes, someone told me to make sure to write that Arkansas all took Ubers instead of renting vans. So this is me doing that.

***

When I got back to the Pittsburgh International Airport Sunday night, there were a bunch of Pitt baseball bros milling around wearing suits and wearing headphones. I debated trying to interview one of them like, “Did you know Pitt’s frisbee team just beat Minnesota in the finals of Florida Warm Up?” but I’d had a few beers and after reviewing a few worst case scenarios, decided not to. I started to wonder; is Pitt ultimate currently the university’s best sports program? Which begs the obvious followup, are my grandparents glad they’re dead?

Overheard At Warm Up: Act IV, Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And…

“It sucks to be Florida and be wanting observers.” – Florida’s Tanner Repasky


  1. Thank god there’s video of this

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