Finals Write Up by Mr. Rogers
Well hello there neighbors. It’s that time of year again folks; Fall League Finals is upon us! With every team now in the position that they deserve to be in (arguably) it appears that we are in for one heck of show on the battlefield of the championship game. I’ll only be focusing on the finals game (sorry everyone else) because quite frankly I shouldn’t have even stopped my homework to write this article. Now I know I talked about White and Grey in my last article but this time I’ll be directly comparing them. Enjoy the read my friends.
Iron proved that they’re a tough team to beat last weekend by just squeezing their way into the championship by taking out Forest on universe. I don’t know much about the game besides the score but I do know that Iron will be rearing to go come the finals. And why shouldn’t they be? They’ve glided through the season losing only thrice with one loss coming from the top dog, Cardinal, and another coming from Tropic who made it all the way to the semis. Some people might point out that their other loss came from Navy who is in the C bracket but I’m willing to bet that those people were unaware that that was one of the few times Navy was actually fully staffed. The point I’m trying to make it this; Iron is a very solid team. They aren’t one of those teams that somehow managed to weasel their way into the playoffs (think Conrad’s Gold team from a couple leagues ago); no, Iron fought tooth and nail to get to where they are at and they plan on going all the way. But what makes this team so good? Let’s make a checklist shall we:
Handlers: Does this team have handlers? I don’t know does an elephant have a trunk? This team has arguable the most experienced handler core with the likes of DDP, Skool, and Lyle behind the disc. And let’s not forget that squirrely little bastard Dan Wilson. You’ve got the three old guys who can throw it back and forth all day around a zone as they slowly move their way down the field or you’ve got Wilson crashing the cup every 5 seconds to keep the disc moving. So one might think going man is the way to go right? Wrong. DDP is nearly impossible to shut down, Skool and Lyle are like freaking wizards and somehow managed to get open all the time (ninjas might have been a more appropriate comparison but honestly the picture of Lyle and Skool running around with Gandalf beards is too funny of a mental picture not to pass on), and then there’s oh-look-how-fast-I-am-I-can-do-whatever-I-want Dan Wilson who, as his nickname suggests, is just too fast to stop from getting the disc.
Cutters: At first you might see Chris Kirchman and Tommy Akin and think, “Wow this team has good cutters too!” But on further inspection you realize that the only competent cutter on their team is Jay and the word “good” is replaced with “ok”. Now don’t get me wrong, Kirchman is as reliable as you’re going to get in the pool of cutters at league and is underdrafted as a third rounder in my opinion so there aren’t many negative things you can say about him. Tommy on the other hand…well I think I’d rather have any of the other 5th rounders on my team with the exception of Humphries. Jay can be great at times and at other times you just want to replace his hands with catcher’s mitts so then he could catch the Frisbee and then not throw it. What really saves this team’s cutters is it’s handlers who can make almost any throw appear magically in their hands. That, and like I said, their handlers don’t even need the cutters to move the disc up the field.
Ladies: So I decided to give the ladies their own category because quite frankly they’re that important, at least in my book. Like Iron’s cutters when you first look at their ladies you might be misled. You might think that they aren’t that good and that because they’re older that they can’t get the job done. To these people I say, nothing, I’ll just let them sit in their ignorance. Ok so maybe the ladies aren’t as spry as they once were but with age comes wisdom not to mention that Jojo, Mama D, and Sockie aren’t afraid to layout if the occasion calls for it. On top of that both of these ladies know where they need to be in order to get open and are smart with the disc. Last, but in no way least, you’ve got Kelly Grogan who, while relatively new, is quickly learning what it means to be a good ultimate player and is improving rapidly. Overall I’d give Iron’s ladies a 7/10 because while yes, they aren’t by any means bad, they also aren’t able to run with the younger up and comers like Jaime, Reba, K-Bo, etc.
Chemistry: If I had to give this team’s chemistry a grade it would be an A-. The roles are pretty defined on this team; if you’re a cutter then you cut, if you’re a handler then you handle, plain and simple. Now in some cases that might be a weakness because there isn’t much flexibility in the roles but Iron is one of those teams who has found a system that works and plans to stick with it do or die.
Again I find myself having to write about this White team and again I can’t help but look at their regular season record of 5-6 and wonder how they got to the finals. Then I look at their roster and have no trouble believing that they’re there which begs the questions, “Why did they do so poorly in the regular season?” To anyone (including myself) who was there when their team faced off against White in the regular the answer is obvious; you never knew which White team you were going to be facing that week. One week there was a plethora of White jerseys on the sidelines and then the next you’d see Josh Layton hobbling on to the field to play because they could barely field seven without him. I want to make a statement about this team’s solidity like I did for Iron but I just can’t get behind any one answer because this team just hasn’t played as a unit the whole season; the finals could magical or tragic and while I’m sure we’d all loved to see Layton get the tar kicked out of him again in the finals (#suckitjosh) I feel I speak for everyone when I say we spectators want a real game to keep us entertained while we sit on the sidelines and drink our beer! Assuming everyone shows up, does this team even have all the right pieces to give Iron a challenge? Let’s go to the checklist and find out:
Handlers: Adam Carr, who is apparently a local Gainesvilian, has reemerged from the woodwork and is turning heads with his playing ability which includes his throws. Don’t get me wrong, he’s no Dustin Travagelini (probably butchered that sorry) but the guy can throw nonetheless and is probably one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Next we have Doug Terza. Oh Aidan and Josh, how you must be kicking yourselves for drafting him in the 3rd round. Has he ever shown up for you guys?? I know I’ve never seen him around. Let’s take a second to pretend that Doug actually showed up. IF Doug was a regular face on this team I have no doubt that they’d have finished in the top 3 in the regular season. Doug can be as yolo as they come as far as handlers are concerned but it’s his unique playing style that makes him such a good player not to mention that he’s similar to Dan Wilson in the fact that you’re going to have a bad time if you’re trying to stop him from getting the disc. Next on the list is Jeremy Brenner, who in my humble opinion is Jacksonville’s biggest contribution to Gainesville league skill-wise (sorry Corey!). This guy knows how to play some ultimate and it’s no doubt due to the fact that he’s been playing it for quite some time. Have you seen his high release flick? What the heck even is that thing?! I’ll tell you what it is, it’s any defenses worst nightmare, zone or man. Adding to the seemingly never ending list of handlers is Schimmel. Everyone knows Schimmel and his style of play. He’s someone who will sit behind the disc and make 90% of the throws in a point and have almost zero turnovers by the end of the game. He’s also the guy who will have no problem taking a point off if you need him to and will gladly give advice to any player, experienced or not, while on the sideline. Honestly, there aren’t many people I’d rather have on my team than Schimmel (maybe DDP and that’s it). That has to be all the handlers this team can have right? Right? Nope. Can’t forget Layton and Yanuck. Sure, neither of these guys pop into your head when the phrase “main handler” comes to mind but you’re fooling yourself if you think Yanuck can’t handle if need be. Layton appears to have gotten an ok flick and that allows him to pass as what league might consider a handler.
Cutters: Alright now I can be a little nicer to Josh. I doubt there is one person that reads this that doesn’t agree with me when I say that he is a pain in the ass to cover. If there’s one person I’d rather not guard instead of Dan Wilson, it’s Josh Layton. As previously mentioned Layton has been plagued by a groin injury since week one and it’s pretty obvious that he isn’t 100% but that doesn’t mean he isn’t still a royal pain. Next up we have the other captain of the White team Aidan Augustin. Aidan is a pretty cool guy who recently moved back to Gainesville and he’s making waves with not only the team he drafted but also by showing people what it means to “run your man into the ground”. The guy never stops running! I once saw him playing while looking like he was about to fall over and die! If that isn’t determination then I don’t know what is. Alex Oumantsev is pretty much Aidan just a rung down on the cutting ladder. However, unlike Aidan and like Jay, Alex has been known to randomly drop disc that are catchable. I think my absolute favorite thing about this team is that on top of the three I just named you can pretty much take every person I wrote about above and move their name down into this category as well except for maybe Schimmel. Talk about versatility!
Ladies: Now this team has a good looking group of ladies speaking solely about skills of course. Two-shots is the definition of “try-hard” and her tenacity is only rivaled by that of her BFF Jaime. With her now being one of the lead girls on FUEL she has no problem taking control on the field (honestly though that’s been happening long before now) and if my sources are correct, and I like to assume they are, she in the same boat as Layton fighting a persistent injury. But that doesn’t stop her from showing up every week and leading the other White ladies into battle. Speaking of the other White ladies, if there was ever a competent second rounder to follow up an opening act like Two-shots it would have to be Lisa Morris. Like Adam Carr, she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet but she isn’t afraid to leave everything out on the field either. With these first two ladies you’d think that their third rounder couldn’t be that impressive but sure enough Natalie Watt is sitting there in that 3rd round spot and what a steal she was for Aidan and Layton. Arguably Diesel’s best player (why aren’t you on FUEL??) Natalie is just an all-around awesome player and after watching her layout into a mud puddle earlier in the season she has forever earned my respect. White’s lower round ladies are definitely noteworthy as well. For one, Jennifer Andrews runs Iron Mans, I repeat, IRON MANS. Clearly she’s a natural Robert Downey Jr. and she brings that “don’t stop” attitude with her to the fields every week. Leigh Smadbeck isn’t a pushover either. While she may not run Iron Mans from what I’ve seen she isn’t afraid to get down and dirty by laying out for a catch or running through someone for a D and that’s damn impressive for someone who hasn’t played more than a couple leagues.
Chemistry: Ah now here’s the kicker. For the most part the things I’ve said about White have been positive but here I can’t ignore the fact that there isn’t much positivity to be stated. As I said earlier, this team just hasn’t played together as a cohesive unit the ENTIRE season. Who’s to say Doug doesn’t show up on Sunday and then crap hits the fan? Or maybe someone will be missing that’s been there the whole season like Yanuck or Schimmel and that throws them all out of whack? Whatever the case, I’m convinced that whatever happens come Sunday will be something that White came up with on the fly and hasn’t been developed over the course of the season, which is the complete opposite of Iron. White receives a C for chemistry.
Concluding thoughts: Both teams have their ups and downs, White with their lack of attendance and chemistry issues, and Iron with their lacking in the cutter and lady departments. However, after all is said and done I think I’d have to say that Iron is the better team, if only by a little. Regardless of my senseless projections of these teams one thing can be certain; come Sunday we’ll all have one hell of a show to watch. See you folks out there on Sunday!