2009 End of Year AwardsDec 28th, 2009 | By AndyBandit | Category: Articles, Awards
I started looking back on the year in LAOUT, and there were a lot of great memories. So many that I felt compelled to write a sort of Year-In-Review article. But I do love awards, so rather than an overview, here are one man’s picks for the BEST OF 2009. Keep in mind, although I did ask for help on 1 or 2 of these, they’re mostly just my silly opinion. I didn’t see everything that happened throughout the year obviously. So please feel free to comment if there’s something you disagree with, or something I just blatantly left out. I welcome your reaction.
Just like the Oscars, let’s start out with two dynamic awards right off the bat.
BREAKOUT FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Nicole Copti, Occidental College
She was probably mired in obscurity by playing on a college program that very few people kept tabs on, but she proved this year she’s a Nationals level player with her speed, throwing ability and eye-popping defense. I expect this year she’ll get picked up by a strong club team looking for a young impact player. Plus, she got really hot and bothered about the full-size naughty Jenga in Vegas, and you have to give points for that.
BREAKOUT MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Jack “Linux” Moxon, UCLA
I remember prior to the Summer League draft this year, his name came up as a sneak mid-level pick for a few captains. But within a few days, it was apparent you couldn’t sneak him in a lower round. UCLA is a good program, so people in the college circuit knew about him, but he took the next step this year making it onto Strike-Slip in a big role. AND he looks like your classic hot L.A. surfer dude. That’s just unfair.
CLUB TEAM OF THE YEAR – Metro, Mixed Division
L.A. sent two teams to Nationals this year, but the best was Metro, finishing second at Regionals, and making their first trip to Natties. This team proved camaraderie was a key component to their success. They not only created their own website, but they also had a Prom (or Formal, or whatever it was called.)
COLLEGE TEAM OF THE YEAR – UCLA Bruin Ladies Ultimate, Women’s Division
Hard to argue with yet another great finish for BLU. They won Sectionals, finished 3rd at Regionals, and finished tied for 5th at Nationals. A particularly impressive job by coach Alex Korb this year after many of their key players have left in the last two years. But they keep on rolling.
LEAGUE TEAM OF THE YEAR – ShamWow!, Beach League
There were a few good choices this year. Empire went undefeated in Winter League. But their schedule wasn’t terribly strong this year, and they had to fight back from a big deficit to win finals. Bad Bad Leroy Brown had an impressive 10-1 record in Summer League, and won the tournament despite losing their #1 draft pick to injury. But for my money, ShamWow! was the best of the best. They finished 11-0 in regular season, beating all the best teams, and cruised to an easy finals victory, their first in league history.
TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR – Lei-Out
Say what you will about Brian Calle, but he has nearly doubled this tournament in size since taking it over, and at 90 teams, this year it was the largest 3-2 format beach tournament in the country (and it’s already hit 100 for 2010). And arguably THE hardest beach tournament to win in the world. Plus, tons of sponsors line-up to give free stuff, and the tourney party was terrific this year at Monsoon’s.
TOURNAMENT FINALS PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – Mike “Diesel” Weil, Summer League
You could argue that this might have been the best performance in a losing cause in L.A. finals history for any local tournament. Admittedly because our memories of past tourney finals are shady at best. My favorite part though was asking all the UCLA alumni on the sideline if Diesel was this good in college, and they all unanimously said no way. That’s brotherly love right there.
AMAZING PLAY OF THE YEAR – Yama “Knuckles” Afshar & Nick Sakamoto, Summer League
With respect to Linux’s amazing catch that won Sectionals for Strike-Slip, which obviously carried more significance, the best play I saw all year happened in a regular season game in Men’s League this summer. Mean Joe Greene played a nail biter against Deep Purple that ended 20-18 for Green. The back and forth battle was probably the best individual game I saw, and the signature play happened around 17-17 when Green’s Jeff Chai sent a deep huck to Knuckles that clearly looked to fall out of his reach. Let’s just say, you would’ve been forgiven for calling Ding on that throw. But Knuckles shifted into some ungodly gear generally reserved for athletes named Secretariat, and Purple’s Nick Sakamoto somehow kept with him stride for stride. The two both went into full extension lay-outs, one over the other, and Knuckles held onto the disc despite the appearance of both of them grabbing it simultaneously. That Nick got hurt on the play only seemed to add to the drama of what was the sickest play I witnessed this year.
TOURNAMENT PARTY OF THE YEAR – Lucky 7’s at Bally’s
Certainly the Lei-Out party was the biggest, the Summer League party probably had the best food and included the dance-off, and although the St. Pat’s Hat party was the smallest, it did have the endless amusement of the stripper pole. But how can you compete with a party that ends in eviction? Normally I wouldn’t count a tournament that happens outside of L.A., but this party was run by L.A. players, so it gets the nod. It included beer pong, life-size naughty Jenga, Twister on a King-Size bed, the shot-ski, and lots of the usual craziness that defines a killer party. Getting evicted from the hotel was just the icing on the top.
QUOTE OF THE YEAR – Jeff Chai, Uncoverable
Could there be any other winner? When Jeff Chai boldly stated “No player in L.A. can cover me” during a Summer League game, he couldn’t possibly have predicted the whirlwind of comments that claim produced. It immediately found it’s way onto the LAOUT website, and then onto rec.sport.disc, and the term “Uncoverable” became part of the L.A. ultimate lexicon. It’s hard to imagine Jeff in any future tournament not getting that heckle at least once. It’s good to be known for something.
HECKLE OF THE YEAR – The Beards of Beach League
What makes a great heckle isn’t just how funny it is, but it’s lasting power, and how many other people get in the act. When thinking back over this year, nothing was a bigger running joke during a finals than the amount of facial hair on the participants of the Beach League finals. It not only got the entire side-line involved, but also the opposite side-line. And that’s pretty impressive. But then, so was the number of players with full beards in that game.
NEW NICKNAME OF THE YEAR – Nick “OJ” Demarais
The 20 year old UCLA player is the spitting image of a smaller Orin Moore, and the nickname “Orin Junior” was born from that. Shortening it to OJ only gave it a funnier twist, because it’s not immediately obvious what it stands for. If you haven’t seen him yet, you’re in for a treat.
OFF THE FIELD PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – Chris Thomas and Joy Park, Summer League party
A big shout out to the winners of the Summer League party dance-off. They bested a field of 6 couples and overwhelmingly won by audience applause.
RUMOR OF THE YEAR – Sam Regnier, Frosty’s Mid-Lat Implants
Started during Winter League, Sam for some kooky reason decided to start the rumor that Chris Frost had gotten surgically enhanced implants for his mid-lats. I couldn’t even point out where your mid-lats are before I heard this rumor, and I think that’s part of what made it sound somewhat believable. The rumor lasted well into the year, cause I heard people still talking about it by Beach League. But rest assured, Frosty’s mid-lats are his own. (Not that I’ve done any testing.)
SCANDAL OF THE YEAR – Condors / Strike-Slip
Last year saw the controversial merging of the Santa Barbara Condors and L.A. Monster. For years S.B. had been taking L.A.’s best players, but this time they took half of our best TEAM. The result got them to Nationals, if not very far. But this year the marriage fell apart when the Santa Barbara players decided practicing locally – and keeping the team mostly full of local players – was more important than fielding the strongest team possible. So they kicked off all the L.A. players, which led to the creation of Strike-Slip. As one would imagine, neither team made it to Nationals this year, but it did create a superb grudge match at Regionals that Strike-Slip won 14-12.
CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE OF THE YEAR – Brian Calle
He’s getting close to turning this into a life-time achievement award. Noone in the entire L.A. community is more polarizing than this man. This year he took over the Huck-It Long Beach tournament, and the discussion thread on rec.sport.disc afterwards lasted for weeks. But then again, every time he touches a tournament, there’s controversy. And maybe that’s how he likes it. As they say in the film business, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.
OUT OF NOWHERE AWARD – Chris Suazo, St. Pat’s Hat
I’m giving this to the most unknown player to do something quite impressing. And at this year’s St. Pat Hat tournament, Chris bested Matthew “Goat” Colchamiro for the title of Accuracy Champion. It’s always a difficult award to get because of the strong winds that routinely hit us in March. But Chris put on a great performance, and took home the prize.Maybe now you’ll remember his name.
UBIQUITOUS AWARD – Pui Lee
Another special category award. Pui had started playing ultimate only a few months before she became the “it” girl in the L.A. community. Suddenly, by the time we hit spring, she was everywhere. She seemed to know everyone, was at every party, knew all the gossip on people, and by the end of Potlatch, she was dating another ultimate player. Quite a feat to go from obscurity to prominence in such a short period of time.
FILL-IN TD AWARD – Jeff Landesman, Winter League
When Sarah Davis-Weyman got violently ill during the Winter League tournament this year, Jeff Landesman stepped up and assumed the role of Interim TD, and did a terrific job considering what he was up against. There were some scheduling problems, some field space issues, and we almost got our permit revoked for alcohol consumption. But still, someone had to take the reigns on this problem-filled day, and Jeff was totally the man.
FIGHT OF THE YEAR – Dave Adelson and Brian Kuhn, beach pick-up
Yes, I kid you not. The best fight this year happened during a pick-up game in Venice. I wasn’t there to witness it, but I heard the very animated story from Joel Uejio at a bar later that evening. Apparently Joel threw a disc to Brian, covered by Dave, and there was enough contact on the play to knock them both to the ground. Brian took offense to the tackling, and threw the disc at Dave, who then took at swing at Brian. And immediately, the surrounding players converged on both of them before it got further out of hand. I’m told no punches connected, but if there was a better fight than that all year, I don’t know about it.
LUCKY STIFFS OF THE YEAR – BCBC, Regionals
Consider yourself fortunate enough when your division gets three bids to Nationals in any year. But this year in the Mixed Division, BCBC got yet another stroke of luck when they finished in 4th place at Regionals, and suddenly found themselves going to Florida because the 3rd place team Cougars from Colorado decided not to go, and forfeit their spot. However, they made the most of it, because…..
HOOK-UP OF THE YEAR – BCBC, Nationals
Every year there’s always some juicy ultimate hook-ups. And I have to admit, I love to know whenever it happens. But this year, despite some really scandalous stuff happening (most of which I can’t print here), I have to give this award to a full team. Sadly I wasn’t around to witness it with my own virgin eyes, but I heard that the level of make-out sessions in BCBC’s hotel room reached near orgy-esque proportions. I’m so glad to know that debauchery is still alive and well in the ultimate community. It warms my heart (and other places.)
For Marshall’s team at the Santa Barbara classic this year, we all went as villains. There were some great costumes, but none better than Cheyanne Sammons’ Doctor Octopus get-up, complete with six additional arms that fanned out under her own, making for a complicated mark for throwers to get around. And I have to mention Eric Brach’s similarly designed costume at Nationals. I only heard about it, but if you imagine each arm ending with a hand-molded dildo, you can get the idea of how Dr. Cocktopus must’ve looked.
BIGGEST PLAYER LOSS OF THE YEAR – Nicole Peill
This was a tough competition, because this year we lost several important players to the L.A. community. The runner-up in the category is Brian Zid, not only a great player, but an epic party-thrower, and quite possibly the craziest player we’ve had in years. The Zid stories are legendary. But honestly, Nicole has to be the biggest loss to L.A. because she was our field coordinator for the last decade, and her job was in my opinion the least appreciated for how much she did. Ask anyone who has ever tried to get a field for any event, and you’ll quickly understand how impressive a job Nicole did. Much like an umpire does his best work when you don’t notice him, that’s how I would describe how good Nicole was, because I bet most of you didn’t even know she did this behind-the-scenes for so many years.
CRAZY SIGN OF THE YEAR – Four Energy Drink, Lei-Out
How insane is it that you have a tournament of 1000 players, which draws enough attention as it is, and you’re not allowed to drink alcohol on the beach, and there’s a giant sign that says, in bold letters, “10% alcohol by volume” (which is more than double the amount in most beer) that they’re giving out in the hundreds, and players are openly drinking this stuff in public? That, my friends, is comic irony.
PATRIOTIC MOMENT OF THE YEAR – National Anthem, Huck-It Long Beach
Credit here is given to the entire tournament, for acknowledging the stars and stripes before the finals began. Touching. Poignant. Beautifully ridiculous.
CONFESSION OF THE YEAR – Andy Kennett, Potlatch
In a variant of Never Have I Ever, two teams stand around a large circular…. well, it looks like a parachute. And when something is called out that you’ve done, you have to run underneath this thing, take a shot of whatever is on the ground in the center, and get back to the other side. The best moment happened when someone yelled “Who has had sex at Potlatch?” and Andy Kennett ran underneath. The funny part is, his wife Jinha did NOT run underneath. So not only did we all learn a little something that day, so did she. Priceless.
POTENTIAL BABY NAME OF THE YEAR – Samtainio Regnier
During the Super Bowl party this year at AJ’s place, Sam needed Pittsburgh to score one more touchdown to win the betting pool. And he loudly declared, “if the Steelers score, I will name my first child Santonio” (after Pittsburgh receiver Santonio Holmes). Sure enough, who catches the winning touchdown, clinching the victory for both parties? You guessed it. So now we’re holding Sam to his word. But in a much funnier version of the name, in order to get both Sam and Tai’s names in there, Samtainio Regnier will hopefully be born somewhere around 2011 or 2012. I can’t wait!
BAR OF THE YEAR – The Robin Hood
Everybody knows that. (Goat, when you start writing your own articles, you can get to say things like this.)
FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Sarah VanWagenen
This is a very difficult vote.There’s a lot that goes into it, and I even had to ask a few other players for their advice before making my final selection.You have to consider how well their teams did during the year, and the impact they had on those teams.After narrowing the field to a few finalists, I chose Sarah, mostly on the strength of a great season despite the adversity of a major injury.She won Summer League and then went to Nationals with Metro.And there’s no doubt she played like a beast on every team she was on this year, evidenced by leading her team in goals scored at Sectionals.
MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Keegan Uhl
It was also a hard call on the Men’s side, but when considering who had the best overall year, Keegan’s name definitely rose to the top. He almost single-handedly won the 1st half of winter league finals with Kong (before almost single-handedly losing the 2nd half), won beach league with ShamWow!, captained Metro to Nationals, and even won the Men’s hat tournament in Long Beach.It was a damn strong year for the man, and there’s no doubt he was a huge factor on all those teams.
So there you have it.That’s my L.A. awards for 2009.Feel free to disagree.I’m sure I threw out a few questionable calls.But debate rocks.So comment away.And thanks everyone for a spectacular year, and I look forward to more shenanigans in 2010!!!!