After Nationals concluded and several year long goals extinguished, we felt unfamiliar. It was the feeling at the end of a season, of loss; it was that your 23 best friends were no longer playing college ultimate together. This remarkable team of top to bottom studs will never again have the chance to play together and all be focused on the same single goal, a national championship. It has taken almost a full month to really be able to reflect on the whole experience, without doing it an injustice. For the extent of the finals loss was overwhelming, a devastating blow and hardly a day passed in the next four weeks that many of us did not think about playing Florida at least twice a day. However, some will get another chance next year, but we might have missed our best one.
The UPA College Championships is really the pinnacle of college ultimate. It does not matter if you won every game all season because it was all a warm up for the Series, when your season could end at any moment. Nationals are the most important stage and to not perform at this point in the season would be to choke under the pressure. In
The Wisconsin Hodags had a breakout year. No one on the team would have predicted we would be a giant among boys. But
The last weeks after school ended and when the Nationals date loomed closer than ever, the May rain came in waves. Several of our last workouts were canceled and moved to different locations attributed to the rain. But with summer upon us, the Hodags made Frisbee a number one priority spending over 3 hours a night at practice when we got the chance, playing well into the darkness. Even more time was spent with the team with video watching, team meetings, and pasta eating, making time very scarce. Packing was always left for the absolute last minute and all of the team had left
On Friday morning we arrived at the fields an hour and a half early, having already practiced the pre-game routine the day before. The best throwers made sure to thoroughly warm up both their forehand and backhand deep throws, knowing precision laced deep shots would not come easily. As the clouds loomed, the pullers especially tried to find their range going upwind. Early on
Right from the start, Hodags began to assert their dominance. Rodrigo Valdivia, eager to be a difference maker whenever on the field, found his deep game early hucking to Jim Foster for a score. Other 5th year cutter Ted Tripoli was getting open at will and caught a break-mark goal to put
At this point
We have a team meeting that evening and together resolve to extend our season one more day. Our course was set and we know we need two wins to land ourselves in the finals of Nationals.
As we arrived and moved to the showcase fields for Saturday’s games, the greatest feeling of excitement and focus ran through the team’s veins. The Hodags wanted every throw to be perfect, their defense to be destructive, and the deep throws to be the best out there. This Saturday morning was no different and we wanted to endure the anticipation and calm the nerves before game time. We lost the flip and began on offense. It was sunny, hot, and calm as the offense looked extremely jacked up. With every O line cutter looking to make the play, we had 2 hucks miss within the first several passes. However,
As we thanked our alumni and families who filled our home sideline, we meandered to the other quarterfinals game between
Rodrigo, who showered minutes before, fixing his hair and grabbing a fresh jersey, was in absolute prime position to murder, seeing how he just finished his 9 week course in Acceleration and is running about 37 miles per hour (22 real time). Well with that kind of leg work, Rodrigo chases the disc well into the end zone and launches himself forward, clapping the disc at waist high, putting in another break to lead 6-1. (CSTV highlight clip of the tournament!) Well Jojah can not handle and calls a timeout to regroup. After an off side call,
The feeling of busting through to finals was amazing. It was like conquering the world and defeating every foe imaginable. We ate a late team dinner (thus missing the tournament party), saw pictures of ourselves dominating
We had watched the finals game from the stands the last two years at college nationals. It looked so exciting and simple to play in a stadium full of hundreds of cheering rivals. However, from the sideline you never can appreciate the on field atmosphere with observers and cameramen. Now these dudes with cameras have never played ultimate so they have no concept as to what space is and where it is. So during drills, during points, after scores and before pulls they will be right in your face with the camera, like inches away. It was a little distracting, but it was nothing compared to the noise the crowd could make. If you listened you could hear every jeer, heckle and cheer, although we shut out some of these.
The final can be viewed for free on the CSTV website under ultimate, www.cstv.com . Scoreomatic updates can be found here: You want proof the sickness that is the Wisconsin Hodags, check out the pictures.