Midterms versus practice was the mantra in the weeks leading up to the Stanford Invite. The Hodags were feeling good and relatively fast, but still struggling to find a clear team identity. Needless to say, but during an ultimate season the injuries and bruises certainly begin to take their toll on the starters. Mardi Gras hadn't been particularly easy either and Trouble in Vegas showed the lowest possibility of the valleys. But Hodags are confident and all the veterans knew the expectation of winning well. After 3 straight hard workouts, Wisconsin relaxed for a moment to enjoy a pasta dinner at the disc house. The Badgers were rocking Minnesota and during the commercials Antonia Banderas showed off the finer points of murdering your enemies in a stunning over-the-top Desperado. The topic of rule changes sprang up as Jake argued the merits of Carleton and Florida no longer being able to call "Travel." The Refzervers were calling active up/down, travel calls, and most notably, putting the disc into play at stoppages with a 3, 2, 1 whistle. This would lead to countless faulty violation calls throughout the weekend as the disc was tapped in before the referee was in position to call it. Either way, these were big time changes for the speed of the game. Stanford was always a fun trip because it was a chance to see beautiful southern California. Riding through the airport on a wheelchair was exhausting as Murda demanded to sit on Muffin's lap. The plane ride was over sooo quickly... "And then you won a third national championship and made the world's team..." was the wonderful dream Morfin was experiencing before being woken up by the stewardess to a simple question, "Would you like a muffin?" To a sleepy grin, "Yes, yes Muffin would love a muffin."
Soon Wiseman and Muffnuts were waiting for Murray to get a minivan in the airport lobby. Immediately music (osman mirza's selection) was being tapped into over the interwebs until Murda's debit card got rejected. Muffnuts crutched clumsily to counter past at least 20 waiting patrons, and begins to haggle over the price of the car. "Well it's an extra $25 per day if the driver is under 25," with a stern stare. Murder pounds the counter in disgust but Muffin responds, "Good thing I'm 26." “Oh great, here's your total then,” with a warm smile. Wiseman then proceeded to steal the wrong car, which had to be unpacked and repacked again. As Tomacide winds through traffic, several bums are pushed into the street, fighting with construction workers, and openly begin peeing into oncoming traffic. Minivan Ganges was the leading contender of living it up in SoCal, going hiking and disc golfing - running into Kablanza, Big Jim S, and a couple of terrible looking Jam players. As it turns out, Hollywood Feldman doesn't quite get the mechanics of disc golf, such as hurling an object as opposed to low release air bounce super IO loopers popping straight up and nailing trees at 10 yards. This was followed up by 4 giant meals, not to mention a sushi hut in which a wasabi eating contest turned south. Morfin taps the server, "Is this going to be okay to eat?" The server's eyes widen and exclaims, "Oh, that is crazy!" But the bet is on and Muffin strategically plops the egg roll laden with wasabi into his mouth. Meanwhile Alter attempts to con the parking attendant who tracks him down at dinner. During the 4th meal, the Madison Lids guy sauntered in to examine his handywork as J-Fo and Jake argued over who would hit on their high school tropthy wife hot friend more. This couldn't even top the closing moments of the 1.5 hour car ride to Ripon, until Gaynah began crying to a moving serenade from the Armageddon soundtrack. Upon arriving at Hotel Erotica, complete with celebrating Oregon honey’s rushing to the pool looking for a Hodag stud to give them a late night tuck in. But Wisconsin was sleepy falling fast asleep... until the middle of the night when Manny tripped over Jake Smart into the TV, almost murdering the slumbering Muffnuts.
Stanford is first into the breakfast room and unusually lively for this early in the morning. SuperFly decided it was time play flower-finger-trap game, apparently given just that morning as a buddy gift. The game progressed loudly as Murda slapped down his waffle. Meanwhile the girl talk chatter was growing, “1-2-3-4 – pick a color… R-E-D.” The tumultuous uproar of whatever was read drowned out all sound and jolted all those in the breakfast room immediately aware as the moderately paced room was thrust into an orgasm of silliness and screeching girls as it turned into an amazing show of female combradiery. The rest of breakfast would be a blur.
Wisconsin was confident per usual, but already down to 20 players as they departed from the La Quinta and traipsed to the cars. It was a chilly 38 degrees out, very dewy and wet. Wisconsin's sideline looked very sparse during warm-ups as Doughyu missed his flight and Simmons was too sick to finish a single warm-up lap. A multitude of Hodags were at the trainer's tent getting taped and lubbed up. Wisconsin did manage to ascertain an entire field and tried to build some stream in warm-ups, but it was slow going as the first round started at 8:30am. The Hodags squared off with the UC-Santa Cruz Banana Slugs first. Darth Klane and John Bergen were the only two Hodags ready to throw down immediately, transitioning on backfield turns for easy floater goals 2-1. Jazzy Jizzler ripped the first break of the day to Diablo Donovan for the sky break 3-1. Madison sneaks a Zone set and immediately breaks downwind to lead 4-1 as T-Murda finds Feldner beating his man to the cone. Santa Cruz calls a timeout and regroups - scoring and breaking back to tighten the game to 4-3. Darth Lazer must have been feeling the Valley Fever as he sliced and diced for the next 2 assists putting Wisconsin up 6-4. The Hodags could not finish on D for half as Feldman on mack D's the disc and Santa Cruz snatches the upwind swill 6-5. Madison settled for 7-5 as Adam Drews hit Jimmy Foster for sky. Soon enough, Lil' Jimmy rolls up the sideline, along with the Foster's! The Hodags rejoiced for the moral support, but couldn't pound in the break out of half, now just 7-6. Zach Alter rips a big flick to Drews as Wisconsin responds to 8-6. The Brodags now turn up the pressure as Cupcakes Mannywood has already played 12 points. The Banana Slugs turf a disc to a diving receiver who spikes the disc into the air angerily, only for Janet to clap catch the disc and pop a quick breakside goal to Matt Crumb for the immediate score 9-6. Wisconsin struggled to slam the door and UCSC broke back to 9-8, keeping the game close and the sidelines tense. Adam Drews burns for his 4th goal of the game, now 10-8 and Santa Cruz keeps pace 10-9. The soft cap horn blows and Foster punches in another score to put Wisconsin up 11-9 in a game to 13. The Hodags stack the line and immediately break as Feldner floats a flick up to Diablo for the sky spike 12-9. Santa Cruz hucks upwind and Hollywood gets into good position, but again mack D's the disc into a waiting Banana Slug now 12-10. Jimmy Foster finishes the game with a nasty huck to the waiting Gaynor 13-10 Hodags. Murray and Animal paced the Hodags on defense as both collected two blocks during the contest. Wisconsin is not especially happy with their team wide intensity and vow to play at least a little bit better, considering that UCSC hung with Wisco the whole game despite only having a couple of ballers. The junk was struggling against the vertical sets and the general inexperience was shining through.
The second game was against the Sockeye stud Nate Castine laced Western Washington DIRT. The Hodags were still auspiciously without fire and anger, desperately needing a firestarting spark! Billiam Lokke called in the conference call, urging Wisconsin pwn on this knickny-knacky bullshit. Castine was ready to carry DIRT from the start, pulling huge, playing tight D on Foster deep as Bergen tossed up a stall 9 huck, at a normal stall 6 count. The refzesers were also flexing their muscles early on, calling half a dozen early travels and offsides calls - keeping both teams honest and concerned about this new presence. Overall, their effect on the game was positive after the player's adjusted to the new style of game flow. In the pre-game huddle, Old Man Crumb asks, "Do they have whistles then?" Anyway, Castine rips a 65 yard upwind flick for the brutal sky and eventually Wisconsin pushes the disc back a couple yards, again to Nate. Castine tries the open side under only for Straight Drooze to get a nasty layout D and putting the Wisconsin sideline into a frenzy! However, fast counts and stealthy poaches were hurting Wisco as DIRT broke 0-1 to start. Zach Alter scores to Darth Lazer 1-1 and the Hodags needed to set the tone and play our game. Western Washington is playing inspired disc, taking deep shots and easy unders to set the pace 4-3. Captains Lazer and J-Fo are pacing the offense with steady upwind Offense to tie the game 4-4. Wisconsin finally lucks out and finishes one of the countless opportunities to break as Jizzler pops a high release to Dan Park for the break 5-4. DIRT responds and scores a marathon point hammer to stay in the game 5-5 and then quickly breaks to steal the lead 5-6. Cupcakes Mannywood decides it is time to make plays as Manny bombs a 50 yard upwind flick for a T-Murda sky 6-6! Wisconsin screams Boom Headshot, but fails to steal half as WW takes it 6-7. Wisconsin is now pissed. Old Man Crumb screams about setting the bar higher and running this bitches into the ground! The Hodags are feeling the hate and proceed to immediately hit the kill switch, letting the beat build! Foster and Muffin bet on how best to get the D and score it, both agreeing to disagree. Madison stacks the line out of half and gets a deep turnover. Mannywood brings the disc to the cone and rips a Muffinesque 75 yard upwind bomb for a Hollywood sky and spike goal 7-7. Even Julie Foster comments, "That's nice," as the screaming bridge immediately ensues. The Hodags roar, retch, and rampage into a ravenous riptide! Jerry gets into the game and proceeds to get an under layout D on the isolation set, sparking ridiculousness!! Feldman pops a 55 yard downwind flick to the lumbering giant Diablo for the clap spike now 8-7. DIRT burns a timeout, but the damage has been done; the Hodags have hit the kill switch! Matt Crumb completely takes over and bids over the shoulder to tip a fluttering disc, which is unbelievably caught by WW. The sweet catcher swings the disc and proceeds O2 only for Crumb to spring up, chase him down, and then layout D him against with a hip thrust celebration. Wisconsin is on fire and Old Man Young cashes in the break on the open side with a two handed catch now 9-7, taking full revenge on for Castine's earlier layout bid which brutally table-topped Dr. Crumb onto his neck. Wisconsin opens the lines and WW scores to make it 9-8. Zach Alterzone hucks a terrible floaty flick upwind, but J-Fo is able to toe sky the line for the hold 10-8. Crispy Pearce scores a deep goal from Alter as Wisconsin pulls to 11-9. Animal throws a nasty invert huck to Masler who finishes to Murray now 12-9. Darth Klane finishes to the workhorse Gaynah for the finishing touches 13-10 Wisconsin. The sun is now fully blinding as Madison thanks the refzesers and relaxes for their bye round - waiting to play Wash U and Carleton in the following rounds. To this juncture, Adam Drews and Gaynor are playing really solid and burning all over the field as Simmons is forced to sullenly watches from the sidelines – claiming to be ailing too severely to run hard. As King MuffinPuff stalks to the minivan to some more sunscreen Muffnuts spikes a minivan crowded with boys mesmerized and slowly passing around a penthouse. That didn’t even compare with the free burrito Skipp was graciously donating to the hungry noise in Morfin and Crospy’s stomachs as they sensually shared the delicious burrito. The field complex was actually very nice – despite the lavish dosage of Valley Fever – and the huge sloping hills gave a perfect sight to the many high profile games happening everywhere as California stormed back and took down Colorado.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin was warming up in several end zone’s, to which games were still happening – but not the field with Wash U of St. Louis who was battling Humbuldt State to the depths of insanity. The Buds came away smiling and even made Cowboy Hat Jerome grin a bit. The Hodags took a calculated approach to the madness warming up again, running DragonShit simultaneously with the Gaynor pumping out deep hammers. As the game commenced, it became clear that the Hodags were playing dominate D and utilizing masterful deep looks. Wash U was under prepared for the assault the Hodags levied – as run through D after huck after sky after ruthless juke put the score out of reach. Wisconsin was sure to finish the game strong – flexing for the first time all weekend and clearly looking forward to playing Carleton.
The Hodags reached the next field with over 35 minutes to game time, resting for a moment and even fighting over food as the legs cooled. The CUT was playing with only 13 kids and as the day wore on they arrived looking perfectly dogged. Their jerseys were shabby and the Refs maneuvered the flip and opening statements. “Lets have a good clean game gentlemen.” Jerome and CK flashed fierce looks, while rustling their hair and smearing their eye black. Foster was unimpressed and quickly told the Ref’s not to take any of Jerome’s bullshit antics. The sidelines filled in and even the Hill Trolls made a note to attend this showcase game. Wisconsin scores on a very intense first point, spiking the disc directly into CUT’s face for the 1-0 lead. Carleton’s other 4 players then entered the game and it was a heated game immediately. Fat Kanner was ripping breakside hucks lazer deep and Fast Pants Lindsley was running down space with rampant authority. Florida began cheering and pointing as Jerome had raced onto the field, tackling and overpowering one of the refzervers while creating overall havoc and mayhem. It was only when Jerome wildly kicked out Muffin’s crutch did the crowd audibly gasp as Morfin subsequently wrestled Jerome to the ground in a mess of body parts. CK was budy turning the disc over as Dave Wiseman skied a pile of players, including Murda for the huge deep D. Crumb was not impressed and began hurting on CUT, getting layout D’s all over faces and dominating his match up.