Thursday, June 4, 2009

Coed's Big Weekend- Gender Blender Madness and Boston Mixed Easterns


Hat tip to elstagio about two major coed tourneys taking place this weekend on the coed circuit.

Gender Blender takes place in Fergus, Ontario this weekend and claims to be the wildest coed tourney on the North American circuit. Outdoor camping, Karaoke Idol, Best/Worst Drink Team Competitions, Fastest Woman, Fastest Man, Throw Run Catch competitions, All star Game, Cups competition... it's amazing that they pull it off every year and leave every team so happy.
Throw a Massive Log on the Field? Why Not? It's Blender!

For the more serious co-ed club team, there is the Boston Mixed Easterns tournament this weekend as well. Canada is well represented by the following teams
  • Bytown Flatball Club- Ottawa's A team finished 3rd at their 1st tourney of the season and will look to build on that
  • ONYX- (Quebec City) Last year's CUC silver medalists begin their road to nationals as the second seed in the tournament
  • Gecko- (Sherbrooke) Experienced team were a dissapointing 10th at CUC 2008 but before that had a strong 2008 touring season.
  • Monster- Toronto's A coed team used to be a push over. Now they do the pushing. Actually, they're way too spirited to push, but they are very good at ultimate. Still a little enigmatic with results (CUC 2008 was a dissapointment).
  • RIP- Like Monster, they weren't always the A team in their city. Now, they are. 4th at Nationals last year, 2nd at TUF 2009.
  • Polatouches- Another Sherbrooke team
  • SPAWN- Fredericton New Brunswick's finest intend to return to nationals in Winnipeg.
It's really a toss up to pick who finishes on top of the Canadian teams, but RIP/Monster/ONYX are favorites based on past results.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

CUT 2009 Preview


First major open tourney on the Eastern Seaboard takes place this weekend in Cazenovia, New York. Tournament Director Darren Kupinsky has done a great job once again this year.

Cazenovia is a sleepy little college town that has been attracting big teams for many years. One funny story from a trip there involved walking down the city streets and seeing an older couple on a picturesque front porch. Noting there was a huge american flag on the flagpole for the house (as with every other house on the street), I remarked to teammates that we should "look for the pies cooling." At that moment, we saw said pies on the windowsill and just assumed we were on a hollywood set. 1950's America in a nutshell.

I digress my boring story!

Here is the schedule for CUT , and here is the breakdown:

PowerPool A

This is a doozy of a pool. Ironside has emerged as a UPA force to be reckoned with. Teams that played them last year remarked at the teams overall depth and balance. Different d-lines had different strategy and confused opponents. Their offense executed break throws to space with ease.

PoNY is truly becoming the Pride of New York. Invited to the ECC this year, the team seems to be building on previous years successes.

Forge from Pittsburgh may proved to be the sleeper of this tourney. Long a city with three splintered open squads, it is reported that all the big players are on the same team and looking for big results in 2009.

Ottawa's Phoenix had a great summer in 2008, earning their way into quaterfinals in CUT, Boston, and winning No Borders. Phoenix has added a number of younger players who formerly played with Firebird, who is on hiatus for the summer.

Power Pool B

GOAT carries high expectations into the 2009 season, and they should. A very deep team with UPA experience and excellent UPA Finals results, the team is looking to challenge for their first UPA Finals title this year. (That's me talking, not them) :)

Bodhi was the shocker of 2008. It was a frustrating experience playing against their zone last year at White Mountain Open, and they proved their mettle all summer. Barring a player overhaul, this team should look to be in the semi finals of all the major east tournaments this summer, trying to pick off the top teams when possible.

Mephisto made some tough roster changes in 2008 and inserted a B team into the program. If they are willing to stick with this system for the next couple of years, they may become a team that can legitimately beat Boston and Toronto . 2009 will likely see a stronger squad, lead by Eric St Amant. Amant is at his best leading this team, and he has lots of good teammates to help him.

Sons of Liberty is, as I understand, Ironside's B Team. Last year's team had a decent squad of height, throws, and athleticism. If they have added the right players that can help the team be more efficient with their chances, they might be in store for a pleasant summer tour beating up unsuspecting teams.

Pool C

Pike is out of the power pools because of results last year. It's one of the tough parts about ultimate seeding. Early in the season, you're being judge on last year's results and last years players. Hopefully, they will get the chance to have a cross over for quaters, and we can see how they match up with the power teams this summer.

Wiretap is from DC and should be an excellent matchup for Pike. Philly Love was an great team to play against at Boston last year and hopefully will bring a full squad to CUT. Space Jam describes itself as a young talent team from Longmeadow MA that's going to bring sideline noise and intensity to their games. Their opponents should really try to get the early lead... as this type of team gets tougher the longer you leave them in the game.

Pool D

Medicine Men has long been one of my favorite US teams because of their annual participation at No Borders. (Shameless). Watching them play last year, I saw a lot of good things about the team and how they play.

Colt .45 was a very fun team to play at White Mountain Open and Boston Invite last year. They have one particular player who serves as a very talented deep threat on offence and defence. Like many of the teams just below the elite of the east, efficiency is one major area that they could improve on.

Brooklyn is an off shoot of the Red Hook team that toured last summer. It's probably an improved squad, and will give all three opponents in this pool a tough match-up.

Too Bad is a relic team, loosely formed with different players every tournament. However, there are several constants that make the team work. Greg Lang has a cannon for a huck. Too Bad added some excellent Zebra Muscles/Upstate New York players that really complimented the squad for open play. Not worried about this team scoring. Defending might be a bigger issue.


I'm calling Ironside and Goat in the finals. I'll be a homer and say GOAT in an early season warm up.

Monday, June 1, 2009

PPV for Streaming Ultimate? I say No way! (right now)


Another great post from Jeters asking people about whether or not they are willing to pay to watch ultimate content live via web streaming.
Photo Source:

Clearly, Jeters and the majority of his readers have a different take on the issue than I do. I really don't think the game is ready for pay per view streaming for a number of reasons.

  • I don't think Ulti Village has the quality/reach of product, and it is not ready for pay per view streaming.
  • I don't think the market is as big as people think. Not only do ultimate players make up such a small percentage of the population, but the number of elite players and those that follow touring ultimate is even smaller. If touring players take that painful step back into the real world, they realize this.
  • I think we need a lot of work organizing how TV/web rights before we move forward. Who has the rights and how are they bid on? How long can the footage be used? How are the funds distribute among partners (national body, host org, company)
First let, me say how much I enjoy UV clips and the tournament dvds that have been produced. By the way, I'm looking for the CUC 2007 finals for stat analysis. If you have the open/womens/masters/coed finals in full... I will gladly go through each game and post on the findings.

You know how much I want to see video in the sport. I promote the idea of ultimate based companies and for all of us to dream big on ideas. But, I feel the need to speak up when I see bad ideas rolling forward. I tried showing streaming video on a HDTV of Worlds 2008 and CUC 2008 to non ultimate people and it was a grainy, slow failure (CUC had some terrible commentators too...).

I don't have any amateur data to share, but I can point to the local NHL team as an example of a sensitive pay per view market. Several seasons ago, the team went with 10 pay per view games. They marketed the heck out of it, talked about great HD viewing and special segments to make it worth their while. The market flat out rejected the concept. Instead of expanding the PPV games to 17 (as the Vancouver Canucks had done) the Sens drastically cut back on PPV. The market would not bear.

Pay per view via Ulti Village TV? It's not ready for prime time. It's certainly not ready for asking people to pay. The market still needs to be developed and grown, not harvested. Maybe the market needs to be rethought and repackaged.

Is Ultimate Ready for a College Signing Day?


Was refereed to an interesting high school ultimate site called Play Ultimate. They have developed some site buzz by having an annual College Signing Day announcement for high school ultimate players.

According to the site:

"For the past three years (2008, 2007, 2006) PlayUltimate has compiled a list of high school seniors and their college choices. It has grown into the National College Ultimate Signing Day. Now everyone will be able to see which colleges have the best recruiting classes and maybe even begin to look into the crystal ball a bit."

Naturally, the process has many holes, and given the infancy of the game and its propensity to see players parachute into the game after high school, this signing day barometer is not as accurate as the scout and professional division football, baseball, basketball and hockey signing day machines.

However, The signing day announcement idea (seen here) has a lot going for it. Attempts to create exposure for young rising stars in the game is good. Discussing these teams and which college teams they will play for is fun. And maybe this kind of interest will create more interest in the decisions being for junior teams and national junior team squads. I'm shocked at the amount of players from Kobe Bryant's high school (Lower Merion HS)

I think this might be easier for Canada to do. Thus, if you're running a juniors team this summer with players moving on to university this fall, you can feel free to send me the info and I will make all the prospects part of our fall Canadian university coverage.