Tiina’s Take: Nationals Day One

A fun first day at Nationals.

Molly Brown’s Crocs

Whew! A long day at the fields but not a boring one. It felt a little strange to me to be there as a spectator and not as a coach. I haven’t done that in three years, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t connected to a team. Dig is composed of UMass and ARHS players, NUTC counselors, and players I have been following since they first played in high school. First round, I watched them come back on Truck Stop and then I went over to the showcase field for their game vs Bravo. Dig started poorly and, stunningly to me, I left at half to watch some other games and socialize. A weird kind of freedom.

I found Peter Montgomery-Baecher-Butler-Baecher-Montgomery getting his diaper changed by grandma Linda in one of the tents at Tournament Central. I showed some restraint in not taking his picture and I expect to be thanked by him in about 13 years.

John and Caroline Stubbs

I also ran into this couple: the Honorable John and Caroline Stubbs from Atlanta. I am fairly certain that they have the most children playing at this tournament: George on Revolver, John on Ironside, and India on Ozone. I didn’t check all the scores yet but I bet all three had a pretty darn good day.

Let’s see. I saw some Molly Brown friends, sporting their new Crocs (seen above). Supposedly, Zoo Disc was promised a set of gray Crocs last year but our contact in the company eventually stopped answering our emails. They must have heard about our Spirit Scores.

Tiina and Manuela Cardenas.

I am afraid my exuberance on meeting Manuela Cardenas may have been slightly scary for her. I look like I have her in a death grip. I apologize, Manuela. I was overcome and I bet I wasn’t the only one.

The conditions were challenging for sure. Windy and hot and, dang, the fields were spread out. USAU couldn’t do anything about the weather, but they did manage to find some guy to shuttle fans around. The extra effort was much appreciated.

So how did the teams deal with the wind? Of the 6-7 games I watched, I think most players did well. They consciously put crisp edges on their throws and I saw fewer pop-ups than I expected. Brute, in particular, used their sweet IO backhands to score upwind on Ozone. Of course, there were some hilarious throwing choices everywhere, but those would’ve happened no matter what.

I eventually returned to Dig for the last half of the last round, after watching Brute and Ironside take care of business.

Marie Perivier and Ryan Dinger.

Someone asked on Twitter who the youngest players at the tournament were and I think they are Marie Perivier on Ozone and Ryan Dinger on Ironside. They are 17 and 18, respectively. At Nationals. Club Nationals.

By now everyone knows how the Dig/Condors game ended up. Another stupendous comeback. It was a crazy scene, with Bravo and Truck on the next field, and everyone chattering about how the pool was going to shake out.

It shook out well for the boys of New England on Thursday. Other teams were not so lucky and the air of possibility from last night has dissipated for them. I can think of a hundred sports clichés that are supposed to give solace in times like these. The only one that has ever really worked for me is to ride, and embrace, the emotional pain. Acknowledging disappointment means that your team and your season really mattered. And there is nothing wrong with that.

  1. Tiina Booth
    Tiina Booth

    Tiina Booth is the director of the National Ultimate Training Camp and a co-coach of the University of Massachusetts men. She founded the Amherst Invitational in 1992 and co-founded Junior Nationals in 1998. In 2006, she published a book about ultimate with Michael Baccarini, entitled Essential Ultimate. She has coached teams to numerous national and international titles. Her ongoing passion is sports psychology, and she offers clinics to coaches of ultimate and other sports. Tiina will be inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame at USAU Club Nationals in October of 2018.

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