Tuesday, February 28, 2017

On This Day: Innova Pulsar Chosen as MLU Official Disc

On this day (February 28) in 2013, Major League Ultimate named the Innova Pulsar as the official disc of the MLU. The inaugural MLU season started on April 20, 2013.
Using a different brand for the essential equipment piece is commonplace. Here are two examples:

NCAA / Men's College Basketball
 In college basketball's big conferences, there were 7 different brands of basketballs in 2015. Shoe and apparel contracts often dictate what basketballs are in stock at a school. The most popular basketball is Nike followed by Wilson, Adidas, Under Armour and Spalding (the official ball for the NBA). The differing basketballs give a "distinct advantage" for the home team.
Chart via Fay Observer

Soccer
In the Premier League, the official 2016-17 ball is Nike Ordem 4; Major League Soccer's official match ball is Adidas NATVIO.

-------------

MLU's business decision to go with Pulsar seemed justified. MLU would benefit from having a new flying disc product to entice plastic addicts, plus have an established partner to advertise and promote the league.

USA Ultimate approved the Pulsar disc at the General Level. Though, the Innova Pulsar as an ultimate disc was generally not a popular decision in the ultimate community.

The initial Pulsar customer reviews were so-so; the reviews on Amazon are better, The Pulsar's 175-gram design was different than Discraft, so a learning curve was to be expected.  Interestingly, a survey of MLU players showed that just over half "liked the Pulsar better or saw no difference." Not quite a ringing endorsement for a pass-happy sports league.


The Innova Pulsar remained the official disc of all four seasons of Major League Ultimate.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Breakdown of DC Breeze 2017 Roster by Club Team

Even before the tryouts begin for the Breeze, the D.C. AUDL team already has enough for a gameday active roster. Twenty players have been signed for the AUDL 2017 season, and 75% (15) of the current 20-player roster was on the Truck Stop roster in the USA Ultimate 2016 club season. A total of 24 players were on the 2016 Truck Stop roster.
So far, the Washington, D.C. Truck Stop-D.C. Breeze partnership is operating smoothly.

Breeze tryouts are less than a week away - Sunday, March 5th at Dunbar High School. The AUDL season starts on April 1.


Friday, February 24, 2017

Evaluation of American Ultimate Disc League 2016 Jerseys

Eli Neugeboren [@enoogshttp://enoogs.tumblr.com] was recruited to critique American Ultimate Disc League team jerseys from the 2016 AUDL season.

Intro: Having worn and played in a Boon jersey I can say that they are silky smooth, lightweight (though not breathable enough for a 95 degree humid Brooklyn day - what is, really?), and the sizing seems great and consistent with other North American jerseys. I say that because, having worn early jerseys from Gaia, VC, 5, etc., there have been some startling inconsistencies in sizing and cut. None of those problems with the Boon jerseys. The sublimation (printing) results in bright and rich colors, and the assembling is consistent across seams.

AUDL teams with fully developed brand identities are able to take advantage of having a system of type, logos, and color to work with really stand out compared to teams that only have a single logo and/or wordmark that cannot be broken up. I'd like to see these teams take advantage of the one simple jersey design tradition that most professional sports teams use is to have the team name on the home jerseys and the city name on the away jerseys. Too many of these designs include both city and team name on both jerseys which leaves them cluttered and confusing visually.

Reviews: Teams that have simply reversed their light/dark options will just get one writeup rather than two. It would be redundant otherwise. Teams are ranked, within each division, from best (at top) to worst (at bottom) jerseys.  A previous AUDL jersey review was conducted in 2014.

=====================

EAST DIVISION

Montreal Royal
DARK: Classic conservative almost preppy look for these. I’d like to see them with a little mini collar like some soccer kits get. Nice color balance and the shield logo stands out thanks to solid design of the shield itself and the nice bracketing on the orange sash.

LIGHT: Similar to the dark jersey from Montreal only this has a bit more pizzazz: the large type logo used instead of the shield, still breaking the sash, only this logo is centered across the chest not on the left breast. The word Montreal knocks into the cut sash in an awkward way, and I wonder if bringing the cut up level with the bottom rule under the city name so they lined up would help resolve that? I also like the bird logo on the side but think that could be a bit smaller to give more space between it and the sash.

D.C. Breeze

DARK/LIGHT: While I am still not a fan of the B logo (the disc flying against the type is very awkward) but...this is a well-designed jersey. It takes advantage of all-over printing by including a duotone star pattern in the background. The vertical stripes and stars on the right side break the color up and balance the logo on the front left side. The number does not seem lined up with the logo and I would worry about jersey numbers being so low - I think they might get lost and not be visible to spectators and commentators when a player is cutting and throwing.

New York Empire

DARK: Simple. Minimal. But each element is well-designed and perfectly placed.

LIGHT: Classic pinstripes. Not much has changed since 2014. Home/away reversal for team and city names. New York is making smart design decisions.

Philadelphia Phoenix

DARK/LIGHT: Great overall design and use of color. The sunburst is a nice way to work the background though it works better in monochrome on the dark than the harshly contrasting red/white on the light jersey. The cityscape at the bottom reminds me of one of my all-time favorite unis, the FelipĆ© Lopez St. Johns jerseys that had the NYC skyline on them with the Empire State building going up one side. The skyline should not repeat above the team-and-city-name logotype.

Toronto Rush


DARK: The orange lines give a nice energetic feel to this jersey and also remind of the flight paths a disc will take during a game. The Rush logo is too large (and too busy) but that's another story from another review. If you make the logo 30% smaller it would allow the jersey to really shine. Same for the size of the number on the back, just make it a bit smaller. And remove the black stroke from player name to be consistent with the numbers.

LIGHT: The checkerboard pattern lacks the thematic consistency that the lines on the dark jerseys have and are a tad confusing visually. Otherwise the jersey is perfectly okay.

Ottawa Outlaws

DARK: So busy and inconsistent. The pixel pattern seems to be there just as space filler. All the type and logo elements are crashing into each other and the result is a jumbled mess.

LIGHT: Ottawa's light jersey feels slightly less busy than the dark version, but it is not much better.

================

MIDWEST DIVISION

Pittsburgh Thunderbirds

DARK/LIGHT: Strong work with the lightning bolt that turns into the accent sleeve. The Thunderbird is a bit too big across the chest with the potential of the beak getting lost in a few armpits. The team name is totally lost down low on the side hip.

Chicago Wildfire

DARK/LIGHT: Nice balance through contrast here: vertical type and horizontal numbers with a nice swath of negative space in between. The city name gets buried in these images and could get obscured during gameplay, but the team name is bold and legible. The orange lasers shooting out of the E and on the shoulder are meant to be Willis (nee Sears) Tower antennas - similar to Chicago Machine jerseys. Seems like a missed opportunity to add some sort of ...I don't know...a fire graphic maybe? The Chicago flag stars on the sleeve and jersey tail are nice accents.

Detroit Mechanix

DARK/LIGHT: The only real differences between light and dark Detroit jerseys are the background stripes and the color of the logo. The team name of "Motor City" is a great typographic homage the old metal car names that were used to be emblazoned on Chevy's and Ford's back in the day. The problem is that it is not very legible, even up close, and definitely not from afar. It will either blend into the background or just smooth out into a horizontal line. Plus, it's a shame the "r" in 'motor' looks like an "n." The red sleeve rings and stripes down the side are good accents on the whites.

Madison Radicals

DARK/LIGHT: The ombre fade from blue to green is a nice touch but I think they should have started it a bit lower. The lightning bolt that turns into an accent sleeve is also really strong. The logo is the right size and nicely centered on the chest. Dicals, though… Dicals?

Minnesota Wind Chill
DARK: This is way too busy - there are three design elements that are all roughly the same visual weight. Two are crowding each other on the left and they ultimately cancel each other out by turning into visual mush. Not helping things is the fact that they are accenting white number with light gray stripes.

LIGHT: This is 99.9% better than the dark jersey. The
M' is clearly defined and all of the other elements in the design move your eye to it, so even though it is small it is emphasized. I'm not sure what the design accents are supposed to represent. They do not necessarily make me think about cold things or windy things or cold windy things.

Cincinnati Revolution
DARK: Great use of sublimation to have the fleur-de-lis wrapping around the side and going up onto the sleeve. It is recognizable as a symbol and balances well with the type even with the overlap. See the opening statement about breaking up the team/city names to help alleviate visual clutter.

LIGHT: The bold black stroke surround the team name is totally unnecessary and really gums the whole thing up here. Did they do this because of the white stroke around the team name? Why not just change that stroke to black or remove it completely? Doesn't seem very well thought out.

Indianapolis Alley Cats
DARK: The Indianapolis logo feels like a beer-league softball logo and these two jerseys are right in line with that aesthetic; it is not terribly drawn but it is terribly designed. What is that circle around the cat's head? Why are all these elements completely inextricable?

LIGHT: I do like the monochrome cat on the back of the light jersey. However, the light jersey reinforces the beer-league softball teams with its raglan style collar + sleeves.

================

SOUTH DIVISION

Austin Sol

DARK: The best. Looks and feels so professional as to almost not feel like an ultimate sport jersey. There's nothing hokey or jokey going on here, no inside jokes (although there is a ton of symbolism in the logo). The diagonal flag pattern in the background takes full advantage of the sublimation technology in a way that not enough AUDL jerseys seem to do.

LIGHT: It's nice to see a fully contrasting jersey design for the lights and darks, as compared with many teams who just reverse the color from light to dark while keeping the design exactly the same. This is one more benefit of having a fully comprehensive brand identity as compared with a low budget online logo design contest and some badly designed type. They have a system to work with and it shows up professionally. The logo will look great up close and across the line or from the stands. The accent sleeves are nice as well.

Dallas Roughnecks
DARK: While I like this jersey on some levels there is just way too much going on and it is not balanced: we have a logo, logotype (city and team name!), an oil derrick, split-color, silhouette of the state of Texas, stars, sponsor logos … and all of these things are roughly the same size and competing for space and our attention. My first advice would be to get rid of the hard hat-wearing frisbee-throwing Roughneck, and only use the city word. Dallas large across the middle of the jersey with everything else remaining the same would be an improvement.

LIGHT: As with the dark jersey, I think this would benefit from removing the city name. The Roughneck mascot has problems I've enumerated elsewhere, but it could stand to be separated from the logotype - this is not a masthead, it's a shirt. The oil derrick on the front-right side is not competing but also not completely lost. It is recognizable and iconic. The split-color accent sleeve that flows into a flag of sorts on the back of the jersey is a very lyrical touch and gives a real sense of movement.

Nashville NightWatch
DARK: Really enjoy the monochrome sublimation happening on both the lights and the darks. The team's logo positively pops with the background design when worn.

LIGHT: Keeping it simple and minimal, yet every element - team name, numbers, logo on the tail - is well placed. Nice distinctive switch-up from the dark so they're not just inverted designs.

Jacksonville Cannons
DARK: Another instance where the whole design process is limited because the city/team/logo are all permanently mashed together. The additional "JAX" disc sponsor logo helps but is almost an afterthought as it is squeezed up into the corner. The acid-wash pattern - a Google Earth map image of Jacksonville, Florida - to the background is at odds with the clean cartoon-y feel of the logo and type. Less is more.

LIGHT: This feels like a classic ultimate jersey. Everything all together, centered.

Charlotte Express
DARK/LIGHT: Another example of same design with the color reverse. There are a few tiny details that differ from light and dark but it is unfortunate that a team with a great brand identity doesn't use all that they have to their best advantage. Where is the train logo?!? The two crowns that peek over the shoulder and around the side are okay but don't really do much visually or thematically, and they lose their visual meaning by being broken up and rotated: they don't read as crowns anymore.

Atlanta Hustle

DARK/LIGHT: Both light and dark Atlanta Jerseys are a bit bland. There's nothing bad about them or their design but there also isn't anything particularly interesting. The oversized numbers on the back seem unnecessary and clash with the horizontal stripe. The beveled, dimensional design of the Hustle logo on the sleeve is at odds with how flat the jersey design is.

[NOTE: Atlanta earned some major jersey points with their 2016 sunset alternate jersey.]

Raleigh Flyers

DARK/LIGHT: I think the designer missed an opportunity to add more flight-themed elements to these jersey by opting to go with the skyline. I don't think of an iconic skyline when I think Raleigh and this element does nothing to change my mind. Both light and dark are simple and straightforward, nothing too striking but also nothing offensive. (Something else about their logo - when using an italicized font you don't need to put the type on an angle, that's already taken care of. It throws the whole balance off of the logo.)

================

WEST DIVISION

San Francisco FlameThrowers
DARK/LIGHT: Here is an abstract graphic pattern that works well with the overall design and is conceptually linked to the team name because it is reminiscent of a flickering flame. The font choice for the numbers goes well with this pattern but both of these don't really feel like they are from the same world as the excellent shield logo. Composition of elements is balanced and the horizontal cutoff at collarbone level is a fine choice.

San Jose Spiders

DARK/LIGHT: Feels like an FC-type jersey with the stripe but it is balanced and cohesive.  This "simple and solid" jersey has stayed pretty (much the same) since 2014.

Seattle Cascades

DARK/LIGHT: The lightning bolt shapes, even though they are pulled directly from the Sasquatch design, have a 90's tribal tattoo feel to them and don't really add anything to the design, which means they are taking away by distracting. What do they represent and why are they there? The jerseys are already split-toned so what are these doing but adding visual noise to an already balanced layout. Nice work using different elements - city & team name and city & logo - for home and away.

Vancouver Riptide
DARK: There are a few too many things going on, though the design is very balanced and the scale of each element is well contrasted to the others; so, compositionally it works. Why is the word "Riptide" twice so close to each other? Does there need to be an "R" on the sleeve on top of the wave elements that are already there? If the waves were closer in color to the background it might not be as distracting. The lattice is a nice design element and conceptually links itself to the force of a riptide.

LIGHT: Similar to the dark version there are just a few too many things going on here: get rid of the wave/wing element at the bottom and make the waves on the sleeve darker to they don't stand out so much. The lattice is such a visually complex design element the jersey gets a bit too busy when you add more stuff around it.


San Diego Growlers

DARK/LIGHT: Muddy color combination and uninspired graphics. San Diego's tops are pretty basic besides the peculiar font choice for the numbers, which I like. The white jersey does pair well with the dark Growler shorts.

Los Angeles Aviators

DARK: Happy to see the team and city names are separated, but flip them on the light and dark! There is a really nice vertical takeoff feel to the background graphics and the grey does not compete or clash with the red or the letters and numbers the way the red does on the light jersey.

LIGHT: There is something very jarring about the red sash and white stroke where the 'ELE' type goes over it. Viewed from the front, the red sash looks like a seat belt (especially when tucked in). Rather, if the angled sash is half of the letter "A" on the front and the other half of the "A" on the back, then That's Not A-Okay.

[NOTE: Props to LA's cool stealth alternate jersey, but the overall jersey design still doesn't quite fly.]

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Purchase AUDL replica jerseys at AUDL's Online Store.

[IMAGES SOURCE: AUDL / Boon] 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Map: Where Has @being_ulti Been?

Being Ulti is a social media experiment attempting to show the personalities and livelihoods of those that play ultimate. Once a week since the summer of 2016, a new player has taken over the @being_ulti Twitter account.

Since its launch in June 2016, 35 different ultimate players have been given control of the account. The majority of takeovers have been from the United States where 16 states + D.C. have been represented - some multiple times; see below.





Interested in running the being Ulti account for a week? Email your name and location to beingulti at gmail dot com.



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

AUDL Franchises Represented in 'Best Places To Live'

Ten of the top-20 "Best Places to Live in America for 2017" (according to U.S. News & World Report) have an AUDL team. Five of their top-10 "best places" have an AUDL team.
The U.S. News list took into account several factors, including affordability, job prospects and quality of life. Here's how AUDL-y the top-20 places are:

* = current AUDL team
+ = AUDL expansion location
> = Former AUDL team

*1. Austin, Texas
Sol

+2. Denver, Colorado

*3. San Jose, California
Spiders

*4. Washington, D.C.
Breeze

5. Fayetteville, Arkansas

*6. Seattle, Washington
Cascades

*7. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina
Flyers

+8. Boston, Massachusetts

9. Des Moines, Iowa

>10. Salt Lake City, Utah
Lions

11. Colorado Springs, Colorado

12. Boise, Idaho

*13. Nashville, Tennessee
NightWatch

>14. Charlotte, North Carolina
Express

*15. Dallas, Texas
Roughnecks

*16. San Francisco, California
FlameThrowers

*17. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Wind Chill

*18. Madison, Wisconsin
Radicals

19. Grand Rapids, Michigan

20. Houston, Texas


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Brodie Smith Signs with Jacksonville Cannons

After one AUDL season in Dallas, Brodie Smith returns to his home state of Florida to sign with Jacksonville Cannons for the 2017 AUDL season.

Brodie started his AUDL career with Indianapolis in 2012, was on the Chicago Wildfire roster for 3 seasons (2013-2015), and with the Roughnecks in 2016. Jacksonville will be Smith's 4th AUDL team. Jax tried unsuccessfully to lure Brodie to Florida back in December 2015.


Over a year later - on February 17, 2017 - Jacksonville announced the signing of Brodie Smith, who is listed as living in Fairview, Texas.


Friday, February 17, 2017

How To Fix A Warped Ultimate Disc

Ever want to repair a taco'd disc?

USA Ultimate included some basic instructions which was shared on Twitter.

"Should a disc arrive warped and you feel it needs some adjustment..., put it in your oven at about 100 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour and then remove it and place it on a flat surface overnight."

This assumes 1) that an ultimate player knows how to use their oven, and 2) the temperature of the recommended overnight surface is not 100-degrees.

[h/t Jimmy Mickle]


Thursday, February 16, 2017

DC Truck Stop and DC Breeze To Partner in 2017 Seasons

D.C. Truck Stop is officially partnering with the D.C. Breeze.  In 2016, D.C. Breeze finished second in the East Division; Truck Stop tied for 5th place overall in USA Ultimate's Triple Crown Tour club season.
According to Truck's announcement, the partnership with the AUDL's D.C. team for the 2017 season is to "better streamline energy" for players who play for both teams. In the 2016 seasons, there were 14 Truck Stop players who were also on the Breeze roster.

How will the partnership benefit?
This is mostly about consolidating leadership and tryouts. The two teams will use similar strategies, systems, and philosophies.

Examples:
Darryl Stanley, the new head coach of the Breeze, will be the head coach of Truck Stop in 2017. Plus, all three of Truck Stop's captains - Nate Castine, David Cranston, and Jonathan Neeley - are returning to play for the Breeze.

What's next?
Truck Stop's open tryout will be the same as the Breeze's open tryout - on Sunday, March 5th. Anyone who makes the Breeze roster will be eligible to make Truck's final roster, which will set in early June 2017.

What about USA Ultimate's club season?
All players on the Breeze's 32-player extended roster will have a fair chance at making Truck's 28-player final roster that will be set in June.

Once Truck sets its USA Ultimate roster and the Breeze sets its final AUDL roster, players who are Truck-only and Breeze-only will overlap. All Truck players (and non-Breeze players) will be invited to practice with the Breeze, and all Breeze players–even those not on the playoff roster–will still be expected to practice and travel with the team.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Summit on Gender Equity in the DC Ultimate Community - February 15

WAFC is hosting a summit on gender equity in the ultimate community tonight. The meeting is for women and men interested in discussing gender equity in the ultimate community, and particularly how WAFC can support equity in its leagues and events.


WHEN: Wednesday, February 15; 6:45p to 8:30p.
WHERE: Shaw Neighborhood Library (1630 7th St NW, Washington, DC 20001)

All WAFC members are encouraged to attend this grass-roots event. After introductions and some initial framing conversation, there will be a number of small group discussions around specific topics, followed by a larger group dialogue with opportunities for feedback and new ideas. There will be a lot to cover on the agenda, so please arrive at least ten minutes early so we can get the meeting started on time!



Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I LOVE U,LTIMATE

Another day to expression the obvious.


Awww, how sweet!


Monday, February 13, 2017

Interview with Luke Ryan ex-MLU Stats Guru

Luke Ryan worked for Major League Ultimate as their Statistical Research and Analysis Coordinator before MLU abruptly shutdown its operations in late December 2016.  Luke talks about successes at the startup semi-professional sports league and claims to have watched more ultimate games than anyone in the world. Luke has a background in statistical analytics and database management. His first project at MLU was to build a t-shirt cannon; he would go on to successfully develop a statistical database for the league.


SLUDGE: How did you first hear about the news regarding MLU operations?
Luke Ryan: I first heard the news a day after it had been broken to [Executive VP and Founder] Nic [Darling]. He sent an office wide meeting invite for Wednesday, which was strange since we normally held those types of meetings on Mondays.

SLUDGE: What was your first reaction about the MLU news?
Luke: Fuck, I shouldn't have bought that new pair of cleats.

SLUDGE: Speak to the timing of the investors decision to shutdown the MLU. Were there any signs regarding the decision to shutdown?
Luke: Of course there were signs at the end of the 2016 season that a shut down was a possibility. Just like years past we didn't hit 100% of our numbers but felt we had done enough in some areas that we would be able to make a case for another year. The shutdown came as a slap in the face for number of reasons. The most glaring one was that about a month prior we had been sat down and given a green light for 2017, with the backing and new budget set for the new year we moved into a new office, hired a handful of new full time employees and started an overhaul of our ticketing system.  If the plan all along was to pull the plug on us I don't really see the reasoning in telling us that we're funded and allowing us to move into a new office space.

SLUDGE: After the 4th (2016) season of the MLU, did the office still feel like a startup?
Luke: We were still VERY much so a start up. The leagues presentation and public image did wonders in terms of people thinking we had massive amounts of money at our disposal. Behind the scenes, everyone was doing the work of around 5-10 people to make this thing happen.

SLUDGE: In terms of preparing for the 2017 season, how far along were you as of December 2016?
Luke: Personally, I was around 2 weeks away from reaching out to previous years stat keepers and seeing if they were going to be on board again. Small updates and changes to the website were an ongoing project that we were implementing every few weeks. Outside of waiting on a few operational things I was ready for the new season.

SLUDGE: You presided over the MLU stats behemoth. What made the MLU stats system so good?
Luke: I think what made the system so successful was the fact that we built it from the ground up. My pitch when I first walked through the doors at MLU was that we could build something, in house, that was better than any stat tracking app on the market at the time. If only because all of those apps were built to accommodate single teams on the club level, not advanced tracking of an entire league. With the basic capture and storage down the possibilities of what we were able to do were almost limitless, the fantasy leagues, the live boxscores, the records pages, the score ticker.

"[Major League Ultimate was] able to be the first ones to give our fans the type of statistical coverage that normal sports fans have taken for granted from football, baseball, and basketball from sites like ESPN."

We were able to be the first ones to give our fans the type of statistical coverage that normal sports fans have taken for granted from football, baseball, and basketball from sites like ESPN. In the end that was the most rewarding part of being apart of this project. The way I saw it, if ultimate wanted to be taken seriously as a sport, there needed to be the type of statistical coverage that every other major sport in the world had. The goal was always to have people going on our website and saying "Oh, there's the link to the live boxscore.", instead of "Oh man, I can't believe they have a live boxscore!." People shouldn't be surprised when a professional sports league provides the bare minimum, they should be asking for more.

"...if ultimate wanted to be taken seriously as a sport, there needed to be the type of statistical coverage that every other major sport in the world had."

We just wanted to set a standard and I think we accomplished that.

SLUDGE: What do you hope will be seen as your legacy with the MLU?
Luke: Just as someone who helped make ultimate stats something consumable. Having numbers and figures to point to when comparing teams and players. A uniform language that every ultimate player and fan could understand and speak with.

SLUDGE: How do you think the MLU will be remembered in 10 years?
Luke: I hope once the dust settles and people see past their biases (MLU vs AUDL, Pro vs Club) they can appreciate what we did for ultimate. The exposure we were able to generate. Our branding and web presence. Actually being able to sell our sport to the general public. Building a foundation for actual statistics. There are too many things to list.

SLUDGE: I know there were specific paid stats keepers at each MLU game. What system did they use to collect and input game stats? 
Luke: A handful of the teams used the interface that we used ourselves to transcribe game flow. The input application was still very much a working beta that people who were comfortable enough to use, used, since they knew the little bugs and how to avoid them. If the stat keepers didn't feel comfortable they used a Google spreadsheet to easily follow the action in key strokes which was easily transcribed in real time by us in Philly.

SLUDGE: Is it true your re-watched every single game to confirm collected stats?
Luke: Every. Single. Game.

I honestly don't know if there is anyone else in the world who has seen more ultimate than Tim [Brubaker] and I have over the last 3 year. Some times games were perfect, others there might have been a throw or two missing. Then the basic corrections of blocks that were first recorded as throw aways and so on.

SLUDGE: What's the best application by an MLU team of collected stats? Any examples you can give where MLU teams used stats for game strategy?
Luke: I left the door open to all coaches and league staff to reach out to me if they wanted specific stats. The only league employee who regularly used me as a resource was Dusty [Rhodes], for his weekly pieces.

SLUDGE: So, who owns the ultimate stats program now?
Luke: I honestly don't know who the IP belongs to now. I have all of the source code on my personal computer and cloud accounts though.

SLUDGE: Is there any unfinished business that you hope some other entity else will pick up post-MLU?
Luke: We were in the middle of a major overhaul of our fantasy platform for the new year. It was only about 30% complete when we shut down. Really thought people would've enjoyed it. Other than that I just hope the AUDL or USAU make some sort of effort to pick up what we've started here with regards to statistics.

SLUDGE: What would it take for another league to implement your stats system?
Luke: If another league would want to implement this sort of system they would need a dedicated and centrally run department. There are too many moving parts for it to be a team by team free for all. The hosting fees would also need to be taken care of on top of however long the backend development process would take.

##


Friday, February 10, 2017

DC Breeze 2017 AUDL Schedule

This will be the 4th season out of 5 where the Breeze open their season against Toronto Rush. The 2017 season will have the Breeze hosting 7 home games and going on 6* road trips; currently*, only one of their road trips will be back-to-back games in mid-June.

Breeze Games by Month
April: 3 games (2 home, 1 away)
May: 4 games* (2 home, 2 away)
June: 5 games (2 home, 3 away)
July: 2 games (1 home, 1 away)

# Games Versus...
Raleigh = 1 (away)
Montreal = 2 (1 home, 1 away)
Ottawa = 2 (1 home, 1 away)
Philadelphia = 3 (1 home, 2 away)
Toronto = 3 (2 home, 1 away)
New York = 3 (2 home, 1 away)

All Breeze home games are played at Galludet University in Washington, D.C. Buy tix.

*The 5/27 game may move to 6/4 which would give the Breeze 5 road trips and 6 games in June.


Thursday, February 09, 2017

Catch Resemblance: Sean Murray (Spinners) vs Julian Edelman (Patriots)

Different stakes - one from Major League Ultimate, the other in Super Bowl - yet same result for these two acrobatic catches; both catches were inches away from an incompletion.

Sean Murray's catch (MLU 2013 Regular Season)


Julian Edelman's catch (Super Bowl 2017)


Wednesday, February 08, 2017

DC Regional Youth Ultimate Planning Meeting - February 9

The Washington Area Frisbee Club (WAFC) is hosting a Regional Youth Ultimate Planning meeting for 2017. Thursday's meeting, which will be led by a meeting facilitator, seeks to establish a road map for the planning process and what to expect in 2017.

WHEN: Thursday, February 9; 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

WHERE: Tenley-Friendship Library (4450 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016)

AGENDA:
2017 youth ultimate updates
Youth ultimate goal planning process - Group discussion on what we want to accomplish in the planning process over the next year
Youth ultimate inventory - Collect information on all youth ultimate activities that are currently happening in our local community


Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Five Burning Questions about new DC Breeze Head Coach

"Not certain" is how Evan Leper described the coaching situation for the D.C. Breeze in January 2017. Yesterday, the Breeze announced Darryl Stanley would be DC's new head coach for the 2017 American Ultimate Disc League season.  Stanley last coached the Philadelphia Spinners (MLU) to the 2016 Major League Ultimate Championship.

Stanley will be tasked with taking over a team from Alex Ghesquiere who is coaching the USA team at 2017 The World Games this summer. The new Breeze coach will be leading a team that is coming off its best performance last season -- (10-4) regular season record, beat Toronto, posting the franchise's first postseason win, and advancing to the division championship game.

Here are five burning questions about the D.C. Breeze's next head coach:

1. Can a coach from Philadelphia be trusted?
Washington, DC sports fans don't exactly like Philadelphia....sports teams.

The coaching strategy of the MLU Coach of the Year (2016) seems sound, though. From a November 2015 MLU article, Stanley said: "My style as a coach is to always start from the bottom up, ensuring the team agrees on a foundational set of skills, patterns and language. We then work towards combining those foundational skills into team-wide tactics. I try to have my players understand the game as much as possible, and to be as prepared for as many different playing styles as possible and to be tactically aware enough to shift between those styles when the situation demands."

2. Will this hiring sway any Philadelphia Spinner to tryout for the Breeze ?
Darryl Stanley was extremely successful in 2016 with the Spinners; hitting the trifecta by winning the Eastern Conference regular season crown, the Eastern Conference Championship and the 2016 MLU Championship.

For those former MLU players from Philly not seeking to play for the Phoenix consider rejoining their former coach?...in the AUDL??...in DC???

The Breeze tryout is March 5th, so Philadelphia/Spinners players have less than a month to make that decision.

3. Will this turnoff any players who were wishing to play for Ghesquiere?
Alex Ghesquiere is a coaching legend with club and WDF championships. Last year, a few out of towners who participated in the Breeze tryouts made the team in 2016 (a WUGC year).

The Breeze look to be targeting only DC-area playersfor the 2017 season.

4. Can Darryl Stanley beat Toronto Rush?
In their 11th meeting, the Breeze finally won a game against Toronto Rush. Since that historic win, the Breeze are (0-1) versus the Rush - a postseason loss in the AUDL 2016 East Division Championship.

5. Will Darryl Stanley continue to coach Philadelphia Citywide Special , the developmental club team of Philadelphia Patrol (2 Philly teams in the same region as D.C. Truck Stop)?
The AUDL season starts April 1 and ends in late August. The USA Ultimate club ultimate season starts in early June. Pro and club season will have some crossover.

Mike LoPresti was the Truck Stop Coach and DC Breeze Assistant Coach in 2016. His return in 2017 has not been announced. DC Truck Stop beat Citywide in their only meeting in 2016 by the score of 13-3 at Mid-Atlantic Men's Regionals.  If LoPresti returns, will this be awkward?

[UPDATE: Stanley will also coach Truck Stop in 2017.]




Monday, February 06, 2017

Madison Radicals Offer Support to Atlanta Falcons

After Atlanta Falcons blew an 18-point lead at halftime and a 25-point lead in the 3rd quarter to lose Super Bowl LI on Sunday, the AUDL team in Madison quickly offered their support to Atlanta's NFL team.



As you might recall, Madison Radicals (14-0 regular season; 1-0 post season) lost in the AUDL semifinal game at home in August 2016.  The Radicals entered the home game, which was held on Madison Radicals Day, with a 31 home game winning streak and had never lost a home playoff game at home. The loss was Madison's only blemish to a perfect regular season (14-0) and winning the Midwest Division championship.

Madison held a 5-point lead at half, but lost by 1 goal in regulation to Seattle Cascades.


Watch the Madison vs Seattle semifinal


Sunday, February 05, 2017

Super Bowl? More like a Super Cup

A frisbee could be a Super Bowl, though it's really more of a super cup.  An ultimate disc can hold a whole lot of liquid.


[image lifted from The Greatest Sport Ever Invented By Man]


Saturday, February 04, 2017

Trent Dillon, Conscientious Rejector of Pro Ultimate

Trent Dillon recently shared this principled rationale for not seeking to play in the semi-professional ultimate league. Trent played for Philadelphia Spinners (MLU) in 2014, won the 2016 Callahan Award with Pitt, and, most recently, won a World Championship at WUGC 2016 and played with Seattle Sockeye in USA Ultimate's 2016 club season.


Below is text of Trent's email to Seattle Cascades' invitation to tryout for the AUDL 2017 season:

"I want to let you [know] that I will not be trying out for the Cascades this year and why.

I have not played in either pro league since 2014. My rationale for abstaining has been consistent and singular over the last few years, but have done a poor job of communicating this rationale to the pro league owners and managers in my cities - hence this email. I'm fearful that pro league (and now just the AUDL) are leading the sport down a path that will result in  the loss of important cultural/social values in ultimate. Self-officiation and equal opportunity for men and women have been bleakly represented in the AUDL's current product, and I'm worried that if the AUDL continues to match economic projections without these values, the league's investors will only support a product that looks like what it was built upon—all men, refereed, on a wide field.

I understand that I'm totally preaching [to] the choir here. Although I'm not familiar with what happens behind closed doors-I'm thrilled that you and your siblings have been working for these changes from within the league. However, I just don't see how my efforts as a player can help in this regard. In fact, I think the best (and perhaps only) way to encourage AUDL reform is if men's players abstain from playing and voice their concerns publicly  and also directly to their owners. It seems like AUDL is still dependent on the ultimate community for revenue; if the community can manage to negatively impact the league's bottom line in the name of gender equity and self officiation, it would inspire the league's executives to rethink their dismissal of our community's values in their product.

If the AUDL were to clearly provide a plan or intention to incorporate self-officiation and equal opportunity for women into their league, I would support the league wholeheartedly. However, after five years of the same product, AUDL has done little to show me that they are interested in actually making changes to the league that reflect the preferences and values of the community..."




Play Ultimate (Super Bowl 2017 Edition)

Play ulti(mate) frisbee.

Friday, February 03, 2017

WIRED Recommends Ultimate Frisbee Instead of Football

WIRED magazine - a fan of the Frisbee - published a parenting guide in its July 2016 issue. Jim Gaffigan, W. Kamau Bell and Kelly McEvers are some of the contributors lending parenting advice. The sports advice from Luke Whelan caught my eye.

Produce an Alt-Athlete
Nerdlets aren't built for football (and there's that concussion thing). But they shouldn't Minecraft all day long - they need to master teamwork! Spatial relationships IRL! The possibility of obscure scholarships! These combos will give you most of the benefits of big-name team sports without the bone-jarring jocktitude.


According to this sports calculation: combining crew + chess + ultimate Frisbee would equate to football.

In addition to throwing spinning things long distances, ultimate is a field sport with players who possess speed, agility, endurance, and requires both hand-eye and analytic aptitude - just like in American football.