We traveled down to our Rival’s (yes, capital R. There is legitimate animosity.) field on Monday for a rematch. It was a rainy afternoon, but the rain wasn’t at the level where everyone’s like, “Hell yeah, I’m going to be manly and play in the rain and get all the layouts.” It was, “Ugh, it’s kind of raining. Do we really want to play this game?” sort of rain. Mother Nature herself seemed indecisive about this rain.
We came out with a strong showing, scoring the first point fairly easily. And then I guess the kids decided to go home and not tell me. We got outscored 6-0 to reach halftime. Writing that is not cathartic – it is just sad. The second half was 100% better, in that we scored two points instead of one.
When situations suck (like being down so much you know the other team is wondering about a mercy rule), it often doesn’t matter what the coaches are saying. I never received my Hogwarts letter (one of the most disappointing events of my life), so I lack the ability to stop the rain or cast a confundus charm on the other team (does magic violate SotG?). Nor can I or another coach suit up and play without the other team noticing (usually).
What does help is having an I Got This player. This is the person who comes into the came and automatically inspires confidence on his or her side while causing the opponents’ knees to shake, palms to sweat, and worse. And it’s not just confidence or fear, either.
The IGT makes their teammates better, whether it’s by placing perfect throws, smooth defensive help, or just having the defense key in on them so much it makes everyone else’s lives a little easier. They shoulder extra responsibility, allowing their team to loosen up and play. Think Jordan, LeBron, Phelps (relays are team sports!), Brady, and Rivera. You’d want these guys making the play at the end of the game.
Our IGT is The Tornado. He has the respect of the team, and the ability to quarterback an offense if that’s what we need. Maybe most importantly, he has the endurance to run the show against the opponent’s best defender, and still play smart, hustling defense. I mean, we’ve faced teams that run a Zone and 1 exclusively when he’s on the field. That’s a lot of responsibility for a sophomore to handle, but he literally has not complained once.
Unfortunately, he was grounded last week (something I didn’t realize I’d have to worry about at the youth level), and therefore had to miss the game. Without anyone filling that hole, it was nearly impossible to rebuild our confidence during the 7-0 run, let alone after halftime. There were efforts by The Cog and Master Chief*, but it wasn’t enough.
*Although holy cow those two may reach IGT status next year. It’ll be like having a personal cheat code.
Final Score: 11 – 3
The weekend was better. In lieu of States, we joined a few other teams for a slate of one hour round-robin games. I placed very little stock in these games, approaching them just as something fun to do instead – except that one of the four teams was the defending state champions (School E) and I wanted to scout the hell out of them.
We were short on numbers throughout the day, and so to further put an asterisk on these games, myself and another coach actually did suit up and play some points. As for our game against School E – we won on universe point. Like I said, there are a bunch of asterisks, but none of that changes the fact that School E looked beatable. It was a huge confidence builder, completely repairing the damage from Monday’s loss (especially because we did this one without The Tornado). I’m excited.
The Matriarch – The JV captain, our very first female player, and probably the reason we have any girls at all. She started as our team manager last spring, but we convinced her to play by the fall. The Matriarch is also a straight up wizard at the wing position. The girl is always open, and doesn’t drop anything. And not just against absent-minded 16 year olds – we’ve played adult teams that just cannot stop her. It is a wonderful thing.
The Bear – He was the only one of our six regular handlers to play on Sunday. This meant not only moving to a more primary role (if not the primary role), but he also had to work with people not used to being handlers. This resulted in the disc moving quickly, The Bear suddenly making all the right dump cuts, swinging the disc to the breakside early and often, and keeping all his throws right on target. It was the best play I’ve seen from him.
The Ninja – The Ninja was one of our replacement handlers over the weekend, along with Master Chief. As someone who is usually volunteering himself for things like the cup, chasing, or anything else that involves way more running than throwing, I was not sure how this would turn out.
Of course he nailed it. He played great off the disc, and exhibited sound decision making with it. When he returned to cutting, he had perfect timing on all the break side continuations. I’m looking forward to seeing this open our offense up in the future.
Quotes of the Week
“No one here wants to give The Tornado the satisfaction that we lost without him” – Master Chief, trying to rally the troops from Monday’s game.
Play of the Week
We went against our Rivals, hoping it would work well with the rain and force mistakes. Teddy Roosevelt (remember, he usually plays for our Rival) attempted a crossfield flick to the far wing. It’s the throw we want to force, but I did not expect him to actually throw it well. It looked like an easy catch and I began yelling at our team to back up and get the zone back in place.
Master Chief does not give up so easily. He began racing the disc as soon as it went up because he is a hunter. The hunter does not care about silly things like positions – he only cares about the hunt. I tried to wave him off, but I should have known better than to bet against someone who has literally outrun a bear.
He leapt up and smashed the disc out of bounds inches in front of the suddenly confused receiver. Satisfied, the wildness in Chief’s eyes quieted before he joined the stack and await a new pursuit.