Tiina’s Take: Sarasota From Z To A

Tiina Booth gives final thoughts on her experience at Club Nationals.

I was slightly irked when I saw that Patrick Stegemoeller was assigned a Sarasota A-Z listicle last week. I thought I had cornered the market on fluff journalism for Club Nats, so, in a fit of pique, I am offering my final observations of my time in Sarasota. Backwards.

Zone – I didn’t see a lot of it in the games I watched, which I guess I understand if you have elite throwers and no wind. But this tournament only had one of those so I would have expected more zone or junk, even for just a point or two. And some teams need some serious reps on their zone offense. “No zone” is not the answer, Patrick. (And Z for Zoodisc too, obviously.)

You can write anything you want, Tiina,” Charlie said to me when I first started writing for Ultiworld and again this weekend. One of my favorite sentences ever.

Tiina and Xtehn.

Xtehn Titcomb invited me to tape an episode in the Five Ultimate tent called “Between Two Palms.” I guess it is a take-off on something that I have not seen. It was kind of silly, unsurprisingly. And thanks to the Titcombs for giving weird names to their children so I didn‘t have to use Xylophone for this one.

#whatcoloristhesky This hashtag was used on the last two days of play, as an introduction to the new film project called “The Sky is Red.” The teaser was released a half hour before the women’s final. I have been asked to offer some Skype sessions as rewards so stay tuned for more info.

Very frustrated with taking notes on my phone while driving. No matter how carefully I pronounce it, Ultiworld comes out as Multiworld, Altaworld (yikes), and my favorite, Algaeworld.

Ugly uniforms were few and far between. I’m not a big fan of the Revolver yellow but certainly admire the discipline and level of prep they brought to this tournament. I guess ugly uniforms are still part of the domain of high school and college teams. Less is more.

Tip well the people who serve your food or clean up after you. Don’t make a mess at the table or at the condo or at the beach. Privileged folks running amok is not a good look for our sport. College teams, do you hear me?

Sieve List is what I have in addition to a Bucket List. It’s for events or experiences that I am going let just pass me by. #1 from this weekend: coaching any conglomeration of an Ultiworld team.

Me: I want you to run a trap zone into the wind for this point.
Any of them: Actually, Team X did that in somecity in someyear which led to three straight breaks and they ended up losing in prequarters.
Me: …

Retweets galore since I returned home. This is such a clear sign that many players want to extend their Sarasota bubble via Twitter or other social media. I feel the same way and I was only there as a fan.

Courtney Moores and Jason Adams

Queen City Tune Up. Yup. I’m already thinking about the college season. This will most likely be our first tournament in 2018. Can’t wait!

Pad Timmons is one of my favorite people in the ultimate world. He is Mr. Discraft. Did you know that there are 46 companies that make golf discs now? He also confided that he is still deeply grieving the loss of his friend Gail McColl, 62, one of the owners of this company. She passed quickly due to complications from Lyme disease and he thinks of reaching out to her every day. I feel the same way about those in my family and “family” who are no longer around.

Of course, visiting with friends was a major focus at Nats. I hung out with Jason Adams, head coach, and Courtney Moores, awesome player, from Siege. (Jason is also coaching the U20 girls team with Deanna Ball and Alyssa Weatherford. I was his assistant coach this season.) The plan was to be in Sarasota with the entire team of Siege, which probably would have been too much fun to bear. I hear San Diego is cool too…

Nick Kazmarek, Ultiworld’s College Coach of the Year, once said that many championship-level games are played throughout a tournament to crown one champion. He was referring to the UMass quarterfinal vs Pitt this year. I think he was right then, and this is also true for some of the games in Sarasota.

The Korbers.

Many rumors are flying through groupmes and team listservs right now. Who is legit retiring and who is making idle threats? Which teams will combine? Who is moving where? Which teams needs new leadership? My one piece of advice: don’t make any rash decisions until you have done your laundry, paid all your bills, and healed all your hipbone scrapes.

Lots of love and respect for the players in the three best games I watched: Molly Brown vs. Scandal, Amp vs. Mixtape, and Brute Squad vs. Fury. Spectacular teamwork as well as individual plays.

Korber family was on the last leg of my journey back to western Massachusetts. Left to right are John of Metro North, Jayden, Mason, Nate and Amy. It was great to hear how much fun they all had in Sarasota. Although I’m not so sure about Mason.

Jesse Shofner gets a clutch block on Sandy Jorgensen.

Jesse Shofner. The end.

I offer #2 on my Sieve List: kayaking next to alligators. I was assured by one of the local photographers that the locals pay them no mind. I am committed, however, to remaining irrationally fearful.

Highlight for me was presenting Amber Sinicrope with the Kathy Pufahl award after one of the women‘s semis. I played and shared a house with Kathy and I have known Amber for years, since she was in middle school. They would have loved each other.

German friends old and new. We already miss Nico Muller as he makes his way back to Germany after seven months in Amherst. I also visited with Stefan Rekitt, coach of the German national team, as well as two friends he brought with him. Left to right, Michael Remy, captain of the Munich club team; Ralf Simon, who is in charge of training German coaches; and Stefan.
We have respect for the German program and thanks again for sending all those players to NUTC.

Michael Remy, Ralf Simon, and Stefan Rekitt.

Fastest-out-of-here award goes to Tom Crawford and Andy Lee. They were golfcarting through the back gate, ripping down banners before Fury and Brute were done shaking hands. Not a criticism but an acknowledgement that staying in the moment is only a luxury for athletes at these events. Coaches, parents and organizers are always planning on how to make the road ahead easier. And driving a rental truck back to Colorado Springs full of USAU gear can’t be fun. Sure hope the truck doesn’t break down again, Byron.

Equity o’ Gender has improved since the last time I wrote these columns. And that’s all I’m writing about that for now.

Dolphins were not part of my wildlife sightings, alas. I was hoping for a chorus line of them chattering and waving good-bye to me as I drove over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. No Disneyesque ending, but it was still a magical time.

Coaching rule that still holds true no matter what level: If the team does well, the coach had nothing to do with it. If the team plays poorly, it is the coach’s fault. We coaches do a lot of that to ourselves also.

Beware of the many narratives that are currently bouncing around our small world. It is certainly human nature to want to tell stories and I am not immune. But not all stories are true and not all stories are helpful. You need to look carefully at the narrator before you embrace their words about you or your team.

And, finally, I salute Dig for a grand showing at Nats. I wanted them to go further, of course, but mostly because I wanted to write another article about them and use this closing line: “That’ll do, Dig. That’ll do.”

  1. Tiina Booth
    Tiina Booth

    Tiina Booth is the founder and director of the National Ultimate Training Camp, as well as an assistant coach for the University of Massachusetts women. 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 running sports psychology seminars for coaches and players, mainly through the Global Ultimate Training School, which she founded in 2020. More info can be found at www.NUTC.net.Tiina was inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame in October 2018.


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