Thursday, September 17, 2009

UPA Sectionals Preview- Canadian Teams- UPDATED Sept 18th


Canadian Teams competing in UPA Sectionals this weekend.

2009 Upstate NY Club Open Sectionals

Number of Bids to Regionals: To Be Determined TBD
Canadian Teams: 8
  • GOAT (Toronto)
  • Phoenix(Ottawa)
  • Medicare (Waterloo)
  • Black Ace (Ottawa)
  • Firebird (Ottawa)
  • Torontula (Toronto)
  • University of Western Ontario (London)
  • Ravens (Ottawa)
The Skinny: Likely a minimum of three teams will get to move on to regionals. This is the first year I look at the team list in this region and wonder why the tournament is not held on the Canadian side, at least for this division.

GOAT will start their UPA finals run here with little difficulty. They will welcome Derek Alexander to their o line for the first time since 2005.

Phoenix comes off their 2nd place finish at CUC 2oo9 and will try to overcome the absence of Kielan Way with several new exciting rookiers (Karl Loiseau and Leon Forest-Nault).

Medicare pulls in the best men's players from the Kitchener-Waterloo players, including those from strong coed team Liquid. Black Ace is Ottawa masters team and CUC Masters champ GLUM. Firebird will be a skeleton crew of junior players and other newcomers.

The final three teams are university open teams that are major contenders for this year's national title. These teams are using sectionals as a valuable tool to get ready for University regionals and nationals.

Outside of a surprise from the Cornell team, expect Canadian teams to grab all spots from this section.

2009 Upstate NY Club Womens Sectionals
Number of Bids to Regionals: 2
Number of Canadian Teams: 2

  • Capitals (Ottawa/Toronto)
  • Starkist (Waterloo/Etc)

The Skinny: The Capitals will breeze through sectionals barring a miracle, much like GOAT. However, Capitals will not entertain the quantity or quality of competition that the open side will give GOAT.

The Capitals are a combo team of the best players from both finalists of CUC 2009. The team got off to an excellent start at Chesapeake Open, winning the tourney and beating some strong competition.

The big question right now is: Who's better right now... Traffic in Vancouver or Capitals in Ontario?

Starkist a mix of the ladies from Liquid as well as some pickups from PPF and the Kdub area. (Hat Tip Gorski)

Expect both Canadian teams to head to regionals.

2009 Upstate NY Club Mixed Sectionals

Number of Bids to Regionals: 4
Canadian Teams: 3
  • Monster (Toronto)
  • Bytown Flatball Club (Ottawa)
  • Tundra (Toronto)
The Skinny: Should be an easy ride to sectionals for the four Canadian Teams. Outside of Kung Fu Grip, the American teams are inexperienced and unknown.

Monster has added some depth for their UPA run (including Jamie Boss of Stella) to help out an already talented roster. Tundra is equally skilled and building off a strong summer season.

Bytown Flatball Club has undergone a roster shakeup in the hopes of reversing a negative trend- BFC has failed to beat any club team ranked above them since May.

Expect the Canadian teams to hold seed and for all three to advance to regionals.

2009 Wash/BC Open Sectionals

Number of Bids: Estimate is 6
Number of Canadian Teams: 4

  • Furious George (Vancouver)
  • BeefShark (Vancouver)
  • Flatline (Vancouver)
  • Blackfish (Vancouver)
The Skinny: Furious George should very easily advance from this section, knowing full well their real challenge will come at the toughest regionals in the country.

Beefshark is comprised of coed team TFP males and others. They have some serious talent and will get to test it versus the Monkey and Sockeye.

Flatline was the C team from Vancouver who skipped out of nationals this year. Little surprised to see them ranked higher than B team Blackfish.

Expect Furious and BeefShark to make it out of regionals. Darkhorse is Blackfish to challenge for the last spot.

2009 Wash/BC Club Womens Sectionals

Number of Bids: 5
Number of Canadian Teams: 2
  • Traffic (Vancouver)
  • SFU Clam (Burnaby/Vancouver)
The Skinny: Everybody advances... five teams, five spots..

Traffic comes off a 2nd place finish at the Labour Day Classic. That's no small feat. Have they been able to attract Ottawa star Anne Mercier this year, or will she return to Capitals this year?

SFU Clam will get an excellent experience playing Traffic and Riot and will advance to regionals. Hopefully, we will see this program at university tourneys this fall and spring. It's weird to see SFU but not UBC at this event.

2009 East New England Club Mixed Sectionals
Number of Bids:6
Number Canadian Teams:1

The Skinny: Red Circus from Halifax competes in a section full of regional bids and stiff competition.

While holding seed and garnering a regionals bid is likely, Red Circus must be very wary of the college teams (Brown, Tufts, Bowdoin) that will be very likely difficult to deal with. Also expect 8th seed Slingshot to be a tougher opponent than rankings would indicate.

2009 West New England Club Mixed Sectionals
Number of Bids: 3
Number of Canadian Teams: 2

RIP (Montreal)
GECKO (Sherbrooke)

The Skinny: Once again, the chances of all Canadian teams in the section advancing to regions is good.

RIP and Gecko both have the talent to make some noise at regionals. Hopefully the wins over TFP at nationals is the mental edge needed to face tougher opponents that they will eventually face in Devens.

Unlike me, these two teams can't overlook their sectional opponents. Diaster and Enough Monkeys might be formidable foes.

2009 West New England Club Womens Sectionals
Number of Bids: 3
Number of Canadian Teams: 2
  • Storm (Montreal)
  • Enigma (Sherbrooke)
The Skinny: Storm looks to be the class of the section. Enigma is a new team from Sherbrooke, and has a real possibility of beating seed and getting a spot to regionals.

2009 West New England Club Open Sectionals
Number of Bids: ?
Number of Canadian Teams: 4

  • Mephisto (Montreal)
  • Demon (Montreal)
  • Magma (Montreal)
  • Crimson (Montreal)
The Skinny: The tourney page finally reveals teams and schedule. The three major squads from Montreal will be participating, and a pick up team from Montreal will also be attending.

Most likely, only CUC 2009 champion will be advancing to regionals.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Talking with Trainor- Kenny Dobyns


As teams compete in the annual UPA fall series, I sought an interview with one of the greatest players in UPA history.

At the urging of current players and great players of the past three decades, I made efforts to contact one Kenny Dobyns. One of the greatest players ever to play the sport, His career is best described with the following numbers:

Number of UPA titles- 6 Open, 1 Mixed
Number of World Titles - 4 Open, 1 Mixed

Ken Dobyns- 1991 Worlds

In ultimate's humble beginnings of the 1980's and 1990's, he was a rare charismatic star, one that continues to be discussed to this day. At a modest height of 5'7, he dominated taller opponents for years and lead NYNY with undisputed leadership and passion for the game. Many say he is one of the greatest players of all time, of any size or era.

Given his own ability to write, his separation from the game, and his new passions that keep him busy (see below for the scoop on the Tiki Foundation), I was very pleased to get such prompt and honest answers from Dobyns.

This interview speaks to all players chasing the plastic dream. Most importantly, it may speak to the very best players in the game, who balance the hero worship they get in the sport with everyday reality.

What's your greatest Ultimate accomplishment?

I'm not sure it qualifies as an accomplishment, but being fortunate enough to be an integral part of NYNY and through that association to grow as a player, teammate and leader.

What's your worst moment in Ultimate?

Blowing my knee out in the semifinals of Nationals 1985.

Favorite tournament city?

We used to have an awful lot of fun at Tempe, Arizona, but that was really because of the hotel, The Buttes. Overall I guess I'd have to say Boulder, Colorado, but Leuven, Belgium is a close second.

Favorite Opponent? (Team/Individual)

Easily Windy City. Great players who came together as an even better team, and played the game with a sincerity and commitment to competition that was exhilarating. Individually, I think the most fun I ever had was matching up with Bob Lobel.

Favorite Opponent or Team from Canada?

Andrew Lugsdin. I was honored that a guy with that kind of skill set and size would cover a little guy like me, and like all great players, he plays physically both ways, and understands what it is to be an intensely competitive sportsman.

Who's the best player in the game today (If you follow)?

I don't follow.

Who's the best ever?

Pat King, and it's not close.

What's better- Vertical or Horizontal Stack?

It's all the same to me. At its core it's a very simple game. All the strategy gives you something to talk about at practice and in the huddles, but when the game is on the line and all that shit breaks down, the best players on the team with the coolest heads only have to do two things: throw and catch.

What made NYNY tick?

Talent, intelligence, commitment, will, drive, and a collective value system that placed team accomplishment above personal fulfillment.

What made you step away from the game- Life, Injury or Pride?

It was time.

How does it feel to be a "legend" in a sport?

It doesn't feel like anything.

A documentary featuring you and your team was spoofed by ESPN. Compliment or shameful on them?

ESPN ran the documentary originally, and I give them credit for treating us like the committed, competitive, and highly skilled athletes we were. Cheap Seats spoofed the documentary 10+ years later, and I give them credit for treating me like the self-impressed, self-obsessed, egotistical blowhard I was. Not to mention making me laugh. We all need to laugh at ourselves a little more, me more so than most.

Should Canada get to compete in the UPAs?

Hell yeah

What did/do you love the most about the game?

The open architecture of it. The transience of it. An ultimate field is a perpetually blank canvas on which the most creative, daring players routinely create single point works of athletic art that are wiped away with the next pull.

What was/is the most aggravating thing about the game?

The fact that we had to share the field with finger-painting dullards.

Any final thoughts about the game itself or your experiences?

I think as the years go by I'm struck by how oblivious I was to what a special time my ultimate years were. Looking back, I wish I had a little more awareness. That or it was all a colossal waste of time. I can't decide.

Tell us about a little about your current endeavor.. Tiki Recreation. How did it come to be?

After teaching high school English in North Carolina for five years I was ready for a change. I had previously had a somewhat lucrative career in the business world, but I loved working with children and didn't want to give that up. I was hoping to find some way to keep working with children but make a decent living at it. At the same time, I knew that the current generation of children is sorely lacking in physical fitness and generally healthful well-being as compared to previous generations, and that the "hot topic" nature of that fact would provide fertile soil for a business endeavor if I could come up with one.

I went to NY to visit a friend (and former ultimate player) who was involved with Tiki Barber in an affordable housing venture, and came upon the idea of designing fitness oriented playgrounds to be installed in affordable housing complexes and underserved urban communities. Tiki liked the idea and we became partners.

Perhaps the best thing about the venture is that in Tiki I found a kindred spirit. We share a passion for improving communities and the lives of the children in those communities, but we also share a background as highly competitive athletes who walked away from our respective sports because we knew there had to be more out there. We work closely together, get along well, rarely disagree, and share a vision of how business should be run: focus on doing the right thing and success will follow, but never put the dollar before the deed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

This Week's Posts


Flying back to Ottawa today.. here's what is coming in the next 24 hours

-Talking with Trainor post
-UPA Sectionals Preview

Looking to do a thorough preview of CEUUC to be held in London this weekend. If you have a report for any of the teams involved, please send them to me.