Fouls of any kind rarely get called in youth ultimate. There are several reasons for this: kids are used to refs/umps/parents calling games, they don’t want to be ‘that guy’ who is nitpicking rules, they don’t know the rules, or they’re just too nice (yes, I’m still talking about teenagers).
Teaching rules is zero fun. Another coach and I recently spent 10-15 minutes demonstrating the more common and important ones, and within 30 seconds everyone stopped caring. Kids want to play. So after pushing through the examples and involving as many kids as possible to keep them awake, we played a game I learned about during the USAU coaching clinic.
That game is called Foul Monster. It’s a normal scrimmage (or mini), but you designate 1-2 players to be the Foul Monster. Those players then proceed to commit fouls so egregious they *have* to be called. The goal is to remove the stigma of calling fouls while also reviewing the rules in the process.
I think it works, but holy cow can it get out of hand. Everyone with a pulse wants to be the Foul Monster. And amongst friends, it quickly became a license to roughhouse a bit, to the point where The Cog’s shirt turned into a crop top with a cape. Also, it can be difficult to police a game when all the coaches are laughing at everything. All in all, it’s a great drill but I’ll definitely be restricting who can be the Foul Monster in the future.
We had our last night game for a couple weeks against School M. They were the very first team we played against last spring, and our first loss. We also played them in the fall and got beat up pretty badly as well. We may see them at States, but this was our last definitive chance to redeem ourselves.
This was our opening statement:
- The Tornado pulls.
- The Ninja apparates downfield and gets a D on the 12 yard line. He does not stop running, he does not look back.
- Megaman picks up the disc and throws a dangerously low backhand into the endzone
- The Ninja completes his glory with a tumbling layout that carries him right back to his feet. There is no smile, no cheering, no J.R. Smith. Ninjas do not celebrate. He simply stares down the whole damn field before returning to the line.
This took literally 10 seconds. Our opponent wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the game. We rattled off another three breaks before they finally got on the scoreboard. To their credit, they battled hard and never seemed disheartened. But my kids played with so much energy that momentum was on our side the entire game (even after a callahan by School M). This was our best game of the season so far.
Toward the end of the game, it was decided we would play until the final buzzer, provided neither team reached 13– when you have a scoreboard with an airhorn linked to a timer, you do these things. Luck would have it that entering the final minutes of the game, we were sitting at 12 with a lead of several points, giving us more flexibility to have some fun.
The Tornado wanted to throw that final point, and he wanted it to be a buzzer beater. So in he goes. I felt a little guilty subbing in my best player with the game well in hand, but who am I to deprive a kid of his desire to be Peter Prial?
The Crusher of Dreams (née The Cog) took care of that himself. A poorly timed turn gave the disc to School M with about 30 seconds left. We somehow got it back 20 seconds later. The Cog picks up the disc, glances at the clock and seeing time running down, and in a very un-Cog-like move, blatantly looks off the easy throw to The Tornado and sends a soaring flick into the endzone himself.
On video, it looks like he was aiming for The Trash Collector or Teddy Roosevelt. But live, it was impossible to see anything but Master Chief streaking towards the back corner. He wanted that disc, and he sacrificed The Trash Collector’s dignity catching it (Roosevelt smartly backed off).
Alas, it was not a true buzzer beater. But given that the buzzer sounded as Master Chief ran off the field in exuberance, I’d count it anyway.
Final Score: 13 – 7
Varsity was at a YCC combine this weekend, so there was only a JV game. Apparently everyone expended their energy during the week, because we had a grand total of 3 players at this game. Fortunately– I guess?– one of the four scheduled teams failed to show up at all, so we ended up merging with another team and then playing our scheduled opponent.
My team consisted of Pisces, The Spanish Inquisition, and Inspector Gadget, a sophomore that looks like he went through the taffy pulling machine at the Willy Wonka factory. Our new teammates (generically referred to as Big Blue), were comprised mostly of big dudes who looked like they came from football or basketball practice and complimented us nicely. Our go to play was Inspector Gadget throwing flick bombs to Big Blue, and the other team just couldn’t stop it.
The game falls into a grey area because of the members, but I’m chalking it up as JV’s first win.
Final Score: 11 – 5
The Magician – He was one of those players we rented for our last tournament. Well, this week he was playing for his real team. Which was unfortunate for us, because like Pyat Pree, he was effing everywhere. We had at least two points erased because of out of nowhere heroic layouts by The Magician. Unfortunately, his excellent Superman impression only lasts in the air, and a bad landing took him out the rest of the game (and season, as I later learned). It sucks, but man, what a way to go.
Inspector Gadget – He’s a really interesting player. Has no problem throwing flick bombs from a standstill, but every backhand less than 10 yards is a one way ticket to Turnover Town. Gadget is also incredibly unaware of how tall and lanky he is. He sort of lopes down the field, like a man getting used to stilts. But my favorite thing about him is when he realizes he has extend-o-arms.
Scenario: Gadget’s guy is going deep. Gadget is a couple steps behind, and the throw goes up. It looks like an easy catch. Someone yells, causing Gadget to look up and see a disc 30 feet above his head. Immediately, an arm just shoots upward and smacks down the disc before retracting back into his mechanically impossible body. This has happened more times than I can count.
The Ninja – Besides making the hustle play of the season? He’s just one of our most reliable players, period. He’s always in the right spot on defense, is a great cutter, solid decision making abilities, and isn’t afraid to get dirty. We’ll definitely miss him next year.
Quotes of the Week
“Wait, are we guarding or catching?” – Q.B.I.T (Queen Bee In Training). She’s brand new to the sport (joined us for the first time this week), and needed clarification on the words ‘offense’ and ‘defense’. What she does not need clarification on is how to be sassy. It’s good sass though. I like her.
“It’s sexy, but not slutty. I like it.” – The Cog, on his shirt-cape. He did not learn those words from me.
“Oh yeah, I was chased by a bear once. Last year, actually.” – Master Chief. We were sharing camping stories when this fact came out. I’m still trying to wrap my head around this. But yeah, before he was old enough to drive, Master Chief had raced a bear and won.
Plays of the Week
Come on, you know it’s The Ninja’s stuff-and-score. It was probably the Play of the Month, and is definitely in the running for Play of the Season.