By Griffin Muckley
I promised I would get this up before the next tournament, and here it is: a brief summary of our winter season, including a recap of Arctic Vogue.
Second semester started off with us jumping back into small groups full force. Every group approached it a little differently, but every group put in the group time and individual time it takes to get our asses into spring-season shape. We got a little help from Fitocracy. This is an awesome tool, which tracks your daily workouts, credits you points, and let’s you watch your virtual self level and and acquire achievements. Not only did this turn our lives into videogames, but it spurred the competitive edge in all of us; no one wants to be the loser stuck on level 3. It put a whole new meaning to “get on my level.” Lastly, I have to shout out to the stair workouts Billy prepared every Sunday. These grueling routines not only transcended the small group divisions by getting all of us – well, some of us – out of bed on those Sunday mornings, ready to leave it all in the stairwell. And by all, I mean the mixture of Star Grill and malt liquor left over in my stomach from the night before.
Of course, workouts can only get a team so far. To truly prepare for the upcoming spring season, we decided to squeeze in one frigidly cold tournament: Arctic Vogue.
Just like that Saturday morning, I’ll say this once and be done: DAMN IT WAS COLD. The 30 degree weather mixed with ankle deep mud puddles and sharp wind was enough to break down the most stalwart of men. There, now I’m done.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a score reporter page for this tournament, so I’m going to recap as much as I can by memory. We started the weekend by playing a pick-up team from Kentucky. For a team of 10 players, all under the age of 20, they were extremely spirited and fun to play. While we hold them to only 2 points, they were able to beat us deep and force our handlers to turn way more times than we should have let them. Honestly, our play was remarkably lackluster, except for Danny’s successful hammer to the back corner of the endzone. The fact that a successful hammer was the most memorable part of that game, however, is sad. We let this lackluster play spill into our next half against Eastern Michigan. They were admittedly an athletic team, but I can confidently say our team should have been able to hold them to a closer game. Their will to win came through in the first half, in which the outscored us 7 to 2. This was wake up call. If we didn’t want to get walked on this weekend, we were going to have to sack up, get the blood in our hands and feet, and play like we wanted to be outside that day. We did. The score of the second half was much closer, but, in classic Darkwing fashion, we were unable to crawl back from the first-half deficit.
Next up was Xavier, but before the game an angel was sent to us from the heavens: Quest’s mom. She came with enough supplies to keep our entire team warm, happy, and willing to play another game. In addition to a propane space heater, she also came with almost 100 hand warmers and a stack of hand-knitted face masks (not to mention Girl-Scout cookies). As expected, this was a highly competitive, yet fun and spirited game. From what I remember, our handlers found themselves struggling along the end zone line on more than one occasion, but cutters like Broadway and Will were able to break away from their defenders and come up with some clutch catches. We ended up winning by a sizable gap, but not without struggling.
Our last round was against a team I can’t quite remember to be honest. I do remember looking around and noticing we were one of the only teams left on the fields. We made it 5 points into this for-fun/for-experience exhibition game before both teams agreed to get the hell out of the cold.
After peeling ourselves clean of mud, we got back into the cars and made our way back to the Kmutis household, who so graciously put us up for the weekend. After showering, drinking some hot tea/coffee, and doing a little yoga, the 14 of us lounged about in the living room watching various cooking shows while B-Murph enlightened us with his unending knowledge of food. The night continued with a homemade meal, college basketball, Indiana Jones, and a few competitive board and card games. I just want to thank the Kmutis family for all of their hospitality. They went above and beyond what we ever imagined. By letting us into their house, take over their living room and basement, providing us food, and even doing our nasty laundry, they made this tournament one of the best opportunities for team bonding I’ve experienced in a long time. Thank you.
The next day brought fresh fields and fresh snow. After extensive warmups, we faced off with Darkhorse from Western Michigan, who we met at Regionals the previous year. Their cup made our entire team – handlers, poppers, and rails – work harder than we had all weekend. To our dismay, our hard cuts and timed throws weren’t enough. We went into halftime scoreless, I believe. It gave us time to regroup, take a deep breath, and visualize what we wanted to do this next half. We knew we needed wider swings, more rail action, and we couldn’t let our men behind us anymore. For the most part, we were successful; plus it helped that our coach that weekend, Hans, gave us the go-ahead to throw the cup. We came out and scored four points in a row that half, but yet again it was not enough. After running Santa Clara (Santa Barbara? Santa Fe? Santa Domingo? Santa Clause?) for almost 20 minutes, we learned that the schedule (in reality is was just posterboard on the TD’s windshield with sharpie scribbles) hadn’t really been updated, and we had no opponent. We set up a game with Ohio State B, but we would have to wait until the next round to play.
Once again, Kmutis family to the rescue! They came prepared with hot chocolate and coffee for the by round.
The Ohio State game rolled pretty smoothly for us. Their inexperienced team allowed us to work on swinging the disc sideline to sideline. We also looked a lot smoother in the horizontal stack, considering the gigantic mud puddle that took up the entire center of the field.
We packed our mud-caked clothes into trash bags and piled back into the cars. Of course, we couldn’t begin our trek home without stopping at Cincinnati’s specialty: Skyline Chili.
This was overall a great tournament on and off the field. It was especially nice to give rookies as much playing time as they wanted, and the a little more. Next week, we’ll be kicking off our spring season with an almost-full roster at High Tide. In addition to small groups, we even had a successful 2 1/2 hour chalk talk in Dumbach Hall, complete with Ultivids. We’ve been able to practice as a whole team for about three weeks now, so we should get to see if that has been enough time to gel, or if we still have some massive kinks to work out. Either way, I’m looking forward to some Chic-fil-a and hard core in-and-out box. See you on the beach.