2011 End of Year AwardsJan 2nd, 2012 | By AndyBandit | Category: Articles, Awards
This is the third year I’ve been giving out silly awards for stuff that happened during the year in L.A. Ultimate. It’s really no big deal. Nobody wins a trophy. No money exchanges hands. And I didn’t get a single handjob from any of the women (or men) that I’m giving awards to. This is mostly my own ideas. I mean, I got some help on a couple of these, but for the most part, it’s just me. I obviously didn’t see everything that happened all year. So it’s admittedly filtered through my tiny narrow prism. One man and a keyboard, and a lot of opinions. So without further ado, here are the LAOUT awards for 2011!!!
BREAKOUT FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Katie Killebrew
Punky’s been on the scene for years. But the quote I heard – that I completely agree with, was “Punky took the step this year from being a player on good teams, to being a key reason those teams are good.” Word to that. Last year Punky was a practice player on Metro. This year, had they come back, you know she would’ve had a spot. Other teams were like “we want you”, but instead she became the co-captain of Revolution. That was the highlight of a great year that started with people really noticing her increasing skill level on Winter League champions Kong, and culminating with being a force on the new Beach League semi-finalist Dinosaurs.
BREAKOUT MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Michael Tucker
This is an excellent example of a young, raw athlete who just needed to hone his skills at the club level. Tucker only started playing Ultimate like two years ago. What?? Yeah, nice jump from just starting playing to going to Nationals in year 2. But man, he earned it. He started to turn heads in 2010 Summer League with jaw dropping plays and disc dropping throws. But he took a big step this year, getting onto 7 Figures and making some highlight reel defensive stops against elite receivers. Watch out, he’s only gonna get better.
CLUB TEAM OF THE YEAR – 7 Figures
For the 2nd straight year, only one L.A. team made it to Nationals. Metro had owned this award the last couple years, but when they disbanded, it left the co-ed division as 7 Figures’ to lose. And the sophomore team didn’t disappoint, winning three nail-bitingly close games at Regionals to advance to the big show. They even got to display their skills publicly when they upset #1 seed The Ghosts of Boston on a live-streamed web broadcast from Natties. But then they were eliminated in a close game in pre-quarters against eventual champion Blackbird of the Bay Area that was also live-streamed. Yeah, that sucked.
COLLEGE TEAM OF THE YEAR – UCLA Bruins Ladies Ultimate
This year unfortunately didn’t feature an L.A. team at Nationals. On the Men’s side, Cal State Long Beach came into 2011 with high expectations after winning Sectionals in ’10, but after a 4th place finish at this year’s Sectionals, they collapsed at Regionals. The highest finish was UCLA in 5th place. On the women’s side, UCLA looked to make a return trip to Nationals where they finished tied for 9th last year. And things looked good after a 2nd place finish at Sectionals. But a heartbreaking 11-10 loss to Sonoma State in the back-door semis left them out of the Championships for the first time since 2005. Still, they were the best of L.A. this year and it’s good to award it to such a strong organization.
LEAGUE TEAM OF THE YEAR – Good Vibrations, Beach League
This was a really close one. The only league to have an undefeated team was the new Goaltimate League where Boobs and Balls went 3-0 in the regular season and won the tourney. But it’s hard to give that team the award when they play so few games. So it really came down to Good Vibrations and Summer League’s Ice Ice Baby as the favorites. Both went 10-1, finished in 1st place, and won their respective tourneys. It could really go either way. So for the tie-breaker, how about the road to finals? Ice Ice Baby had the easier road. They played three teams that pulled upsets: 8th seeded Maple in quarters, 13th seeded Honey in semis, and 3rd seeded White in finals. Good Vibrations on the other hand played #8 Special Wobble, #4 Dinosaurs and #2 ShamWow. So I give the slight nod to Good Vibrations, in their rookie season. Does that make Chuck Kindred…. captain of the year? Yikes.
TOURNAMENT TEAM OF THE YEAR – Uncle Sam’s Guns, Huck-It Long Beach
Okay, this one might be a little unfair. I mean, you’re talking members of the U.S. Beach World’s women’s and co-ed teams playing in a small tournament like Huck-It. And only a handful of the players are from LA. But I wanted to give some appreciation to the LA players who went to Italy to represent the U.S. And as they were expected to, they won Huck-It even though the road to win turned out to be a little harder than expected. A lot of teams gave them a great fight, and they almost lost one game. But in the end…. America, fuck yeah!
B DIVISION TEAM OF THE YEAR – Abominable Snowmen, Winter League
Technically, the Beach League team Mile High Club won more games, and had a better point diff than the Snowmen, but in this category, we’re talking about B Division teams. Not A teams that sandbagged themselves and then dominated B. (More on that later.) The Snowmen were in C in 2010 during the 3-division experiment, and finished in 2nd place in the regular season, but won the tourney. Then they played the last place team in B and lost (although some beer-in-hand points may have contributed.) So they were a legit C team. But they requested the bump up to B in 2011 before we decided to toss out the 3-division thing. They went onto an 8-0 season and won the tourney again, being the only team to win two divisions in one league. This year they’ll be in A, so we’ll see if they can pull off the trifecta.
CINDERELLA TEAM OF THE YEAR – Gesundheit, Winter League
At the beginning of the year, I put out a poll asking who you thought would win Winter League. Of all the respondents, Gesundheit got one vote. One measley vote. Good enough for last place. But then they finished the season 6-2, and snagged the #3 seed. And I put out this article about them. And I asked you again, how far do you think they’ll go in the tournament. 3/4 of the voters said they wouldn’t make it past Empire in Semis, and 10% said they wouldn’t even make it past Slow Children in Quarters. But the Long Beach based team defied the popular opinion and made it to finals, where they played a super tight game against Kong until the clock struck midnight and they finally succumbed. It was a fantastic ride, and lasted only one season. Gesundheit’s gone for 2012. They’re retooled and will come back as Entanglement.
TOURNAMENT OF THE YEAR – Lei-Out
At this point, I might have to start calling this the Lei-Out Tournament of the Year Award to give other tournaments a chance. Once again in 2011, Lei Out grew to new heights, jumping up to 120 teams. (And get ready for 2012 when we’re at an astounding 163!) This tourney has become a monster. But it’s not just the sheer size, because that in itself comes with issues, such as the two-hour long overflow lines at the party at Monsoon’s. It’s just that it’s very well run, there’s lots of sponsors and it’s got a party atmosphere while still being extremely competitive. Say what you want about Calle, and I know you will. But he has literally turned this tournament into a must-go event, and I can’t wait to go.
TOURNAMENT FINALS PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – Mark Miller, St. Pat’s Hat
What a way to open the year. Miller became the only player to win both Winter League and St. Pat’s Hat this year when his team dominated on the beach in March. It’s not surprising – they were a pretty stacked team with lots of height and talent. And they ran away with it in finals, jumping to a huge lead early, thanks in large part to Miller’s play. But of all the L.A. finals performances I remember this year (and I was lucky enough to take part in several of them) I’m giving Mark the nod because not only did he win, and play great, but during halftime of finals he also won the accuracy contest. It’s the first time I can remember somebody doing both in St. Pat’s Hat. And unless my math is wrong, winning two titles is better than one.
AMAZING PLAY OF THE YEAR – Alex Carey, Beach Warmup Benefit
If you want to read the whole story on this, go here. But if you just want the quick summary, basically Alex Carey did something I’ve never seen before, and likely won’t again. In the one-day Beach Warmup Benefit tourney in September, Alex outleapt the field four straight times during the same offensive point in an attempt to score a two-pointer that would tie the game. I contributed to this by throwing all four throws just short of the end zone in what could be considered the Saddest Performance of the Year. So Alex had to keep hucking it backwards so we could get the 2-pointer. On the 4th catch, he landed questionably in bounds, but close enough that the crowd who gathered to watch pleaded with the other team to give it to him. They did. And we went on to win the game and advance to finals. That’s why they call him the X-Factor.
TOURNAMENT PARTY OF THE YEAR – Summer League
Note to self: maybe putting a limit on the bar tab is a good thing. Maybe. OK, so this year Summer League got a big bump in revenue when St. Pat’s Hat moved to the beach, and we got reimbursed by Balboa. And 5 Ultimate screwed up the jerseys and gave us a big discount. And to me, all that just means more booze at the party. But when people are ordering top shelf liquor on the tab, and the bartender tells you he’s afraid they’re gonna run out of alcohol, and at least half a dozen people are seen passed out, including the TD… perhaps we might’ve spent too much. What I remember from the party was awesome, but I got destroyed pretty early in the night (and I know who to blame… wait for it.) I had to go back the next day to retrieve my car, and I saw three people hosing down all the vomit. That party was sick, literally.
OFF-THE-FIELD PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR – Marcial McDermed, Summer League
Let’s keep on the Summer League party, because one man was responsible for the destruction of many players that night. I had never heard the term “Bronie” until Marce decided it was his favorite thing in the world, and felt everyone needed a shot for it… or five. And thus, he became a tour de force in the world of alcohol distribution. Although, it was pretty much a day like any other for this man, who continues to pile up an impressive resume of mass libation.
OUT OF NOWHERE AWARD – Gay Ultimate Tournament
The last couple years, I’ve awarded this to a player who went above and beyond our expectations of them. But this time, the most fitting recipient is an entire tournament. Mostly because by the time LAOUT players heard that there even WAS a gay ultimate tournament in L.A., it was already happening. Yep, apparently I’m told they had 8 teams. So the biggest questions I heard that weekend were “who’s playing in that tournament?”, “Do we know anyone?” and “Are there really that many gay ultimate players in L.A.?” Well, I looked down the list of the 51 players who said yes and maybe, and other than Cyd Zeigler and Tiffany Wallace, I didn’t recognize a name, but they’re almost all local. Just when you think you know everything going on in LA Ultimate, boom, gay ultimate tournament. Didn’t see that coming.
BIGGEST PLAYER LOSS OF THE YEAR – Mike Tamada
It’s always sad to lose the players who move onto other cities. And LA certainly loses many every year. This year I felt like it was more than most. But I had to acknowledge the loss of Mike Tamada, who moved up north this year, ending a run of 25 years helping the Occidental Ultimate teams. It’s hard to think of anyone who’s been more associated with one college for as long, or has put in more effort to support their teams. Before Mike moved to L.A., he played at MIT where he had the opportunity to go to Nationals a couple of times. He came over to Oxy in the mid-80’s to teach economics and also joined the Office of Institutional Research. Upon arriving, there was some semblance of an Ultimate Frisbee Club. He quickly became the Faculty Liaison for the club, a position he maintained for the men’s club non-stop until last year. For most of that time he was also teaching a for-credit Ultimate Frisbee P.E. class at the college and coaching the club. Whenever the club would fade, Mike was always there to resurrect it. And he extended that to captaining the Oxy Winter League team for over a decade and organizing the annual alumni game. We’ll miss you Mike.
TD OF THE YEAR – Sarah Davis-Weyman, Winter League
I like to give it up for the people behind the scenes who make these tournaments happen. And a big shout out to SDW who hadn’t even played Ultimate in like two years at the time she ran Winter League in 2011. It’s a big commitment to run a league anyway, but imagine if you’re injured and can’t play. Most people wouldn’t want to devote their time to something they can’t even participate in. But Sarah didn’t bat an eyelash, and there were several problems that came up in Winter League this year beyond her control that she had to deal with. And she handled them gracefully the whole way. Sadly she couldn’t do it again this year, but since she’s planning her wedding, that was as understandable a reason as I’ve heard.
FILL-IN TD OF THE YEAR – Joel Uejio, Beach League
Sometimes you need the understudy to go on for you, and for a few weeks during Beach League while Goat was playing with tigers in Africa, Joel took the reigns. And naturally, he was immediately faced with a difficult decision when it poured all night and into the morning of one Sunday while we was on watch. But despite the weather report calling for more rain throughout the day, he made the decision to keep the games on, and wouldn’t you know it, the clouds broke just before the start of Game 1, and it was a beautiful day by Game 2. That how you TD.
CONTROVERSY OF THE YEAR – Mile High Club, Beach League
It feels almost strange nowadays to remember a time when there were no B Divisions in any L.A. leagues. It’s not even that long ago. It was clear the division was necessary, to eliminate all the ludicrous blow-outs. But it only works of course if teams are correctly seeded in the division they belong. Mile High Club was at worst a low-level A team requesting to play in B Division, and as a consequence, half their wins were blow-outs. And they won the tourney pretty easily. When I brought this up with captain Erick Cifuentes at the party, he told me I was one of many players giving him grief about this, and it led to his LAOUT article here. Of course, noone likes to lose. But beating up the lower division counts as a controversy in my book.
SCANDAL OF THE YEAR – Arson & Co., Winter League
This was a year light on scandal. There wasn’t really much on the tawdry side. So I went with a very tame scandal instead, which was the strange disappearance of Arson & Co., the Pepperdine college Winter League team who failed to score a single point in their first three games and then failed to show up to games at all. The first time it happened, they Sarah know, but the second time they claimed to get stuck in traffic on the 101 from an accident and informed the other captain at game time. The third time they just didn’t show up at all. Not one player. And no warning. And this is after Sarah offered to let them play with players from other WL teams. So they got kicked out of the league. The first team to have that happen since Smaug from UCLA was banned after the 2004 WL season.
DECISION OF THE YEAR – Special Wobble vs. Puszi Puszi, Beach League
As most of you know, that last week of Beach League was some brutal weather… for LA. Remember the All-Star game? Oh wait, there was no All-Star game. Cause it was a downpour and awful. But two teams didn’t even play their regularly scheduled game. Special Wobble and Puszi Puszi were both locked into their final standings position, so there really wasn’t much to play for. And who needs to pick up a cold when you can pick up a spare? So they decided instead to bowl for it. Great move by Special Wobble, many of whom were already in a local bowling league, and so it was no surprise when they won the game something like 2000-1400 (for a sick point diff!) Look, I’m not advocating to skip your scheduled games. I didn’t call this the Good Decision of the Year. I’m just saying, in such bad weather, I get it. (It reminds me of that old Chris Rock routine about OJ: “I’m not saying he shoulda killed her. But I understand.”)
DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR – Captain America, Summer League
Believe it or not, I’m not talking about the disappointment of the film. Oh, don’t get me wrong. That was disappointing too. But I’m riffing on Paramount Pictures’ ridiculously lame box of promo junk they sent me. I mean, when I spoke to the woman on the phone, she got me all jazzed up, saying that we’d be wearing Capt. America gear, throwing around discs that looked like shields, and a film crew was gonna shoot the whole thing during a Summer League game. As if. The gear turned out to be tiny little pins. The discs made Whammo look huge. And the film crew never showed. Instead they asked if we’d take pics ourself and send them to Paramount. HA! Nice try. The moral of the story is… you can’t trust the system.
CALL OF THE YEAR – Joe Forbes, Winter League
This, to me, was the call of the century so far. Let me explain it as best as I can, cause it was amazing. I don’t wanna leave anything out. Kong is up 8-7 on AFO in quarters. The hard cap blows. AFO calls a time-out, but noone knew if they actually had a time-out in hard cap. They argue for awhile, and finally decide that since noone knows for sure, the time-out stands, but now there’s no more time-outs. AFO scores to tie it at 8’s. On Kong’s possession, Mark Hartford calls a time-out. So it’s a clear turn-over, right? I mean they JUST talked about this. Yet somehow, they were arguing again whether it was a turnover or not. What??? Did we just go into bizarro world? But wait!!! While they’re discussing that situation, apparently two throws ago Joe Forbes called an injury. So it made the illegal time-out call a moot point. For awhile, there was some snarky sideline discussion that Joe made a phantom call, but Noriko and Peebs both swore they heard it. Keegan, on the other hand, who swore up and down he heard it later admitted he didn’t hear anything, which I told him I’d have to mention. Anyway, Kong retained possession, and scored to win, and then went on to win the tournament. So yeah, call of the year for sure.
MALE COLLEGE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Daniel “Uni” Davisson, Cal State Long Beach
I am going to be honest with you. I know nothing about the college scene these days, so I had to ask some people’s opinions, and I got several names. I chose to go with Uni, who in addition to the job he did captaining CSULB to their 2nd place finish at Sectionals, he also played on the Winter League finalists Gesundheit, and then was involved in a little controversy when he helped create Paradox rather than play for Renegade in Fall series.
FEMALE COLLEGE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Adrienne “Hawkins” Baker, UCLA
Again, going with a player I’m not familiar with because I don’t know enough about the college scene. I asked around, and I was told Hawkins was the one to pick. UCLA of course has been a dominant force in Women’s college for years, so it’s no shocker to have one of BLU’s players at the top slot.
QUOTE OF THE YEAR – Randy Sanchez
The best quote I heard all year was at Nationals, when one of the Ghosts players from Boston saw AJ do something typically amazing and said “When did THAT guy become the best player in the world?” And his teammate said “maybe he always was.” Awesome. But since that happened in Florida, I won’t count it. Instead, I’m going with a quote I didn’t even hear, but was told about later. At pick-up sometime this year, Randy Sanchez watched AJ throw away several long hucks in a row and exclaimed “Aaron Jacobs is the new Keegan.” I’m a big sucker for simple lines that say so much with so few words.
SIGN/BANNER OF THE YEAR – Puszi Puszi
I was thinking of giving this to Michael McConnell for creating the new LAOUT banner. But since it’s only been used once at a non-frisbee event, I’m just gonna give it honorable mention. The truly deserving banner of the year goes to Beach League and Lei-Out team Puszi Puszi. Those invitingly kissable lips with the overtly carnal name – that you can only get away with by misspelling – has become as much a Beach League staple as the Firehouse bar they go to after each week’s games. The team parties hard, and those banners are a fitting accoutrement.
DICK OF THE YEAR – Nicholas Mírsäyaňz
I’m purposely misspelling this guy’s name so it doesn’t come up in any Google searches. But he definitely qualifies for this award after threatening to sue the web provider that hosts LAOUT to get our website taken down. Yes, I kid you not. He played on a Summer League team several years ago, so his name was listed on a roster. And in an attempt to have us remove his name from that old roster, he threatened a lawsuit. And so of course we had his name removed. But there’s a nice way of doing things, and then there’s that way.
POLL OF THE YEAR – 7 Figures/The Ghosts vs. Chad Larson Experience/Bucket
I was intending to give this award to the best LAOUT poll of the year. And so I was going through all the year’s polls, and then I remembered there was this much better Nationals level poll that involved the LA club team 7 Figures. For the first time, USAU was letting people vote on the games they wanted to see live-streamed at Nationals, and the vote for the very first game on Thursday morning went down to the wire. So much down to the wire that after five days and 4500 votes, it was still tied with 5 minutes left. And amazingly, people who couldn’t care less about Ultimate were suddenly liking the USAU page and voting. In the last 15 minutes, with the 7 Figures game down around 50 votes, players who weren’t even on 7 Figures were running down the hallways of their offices getting co-workers to vote on a sport they knew nothing about, just to be part of the phenomenon. People were glued to their computer screens, hitting refresh every 30 seconds, watching the other games’ lead evaporate until as I mentioned, it was tied with 5 minutes to go. And then in a final climactic push, the 7 Figures game emerged victorious by about 50 votes. It was an exhausting but satisfying end, only made more special when 7 Figures won the game, defeating the #1 seed live on computer.
FIGHT OF THE YEAR – Red vs. Forest, Summer League
32 comments! Yep, that’s the number of back-and-forth on-line comments from the Summer League game of Red Hot Chili Peppers vs. Forrest Gump on August 15. I heard about the game from a phone call that night, and when I saw Chad Woodard’s recap, I had a feeling it would lead to some rebuttal commentary. But I couldn’t imagine it would go on as long as it did. Several players from both sides chimed in on what came down to basically one single play in which Sarah Woodard was knocked down by Andy Dunn on a floaty pass. You can go here to see the recap and all the comments that came after it. Pretty insane.
HISSY-FIT OF THE YEAR – BOFA, Goaltimate League
Okay, I just got shut out in a game of Goaltimate. Let’s go through the checklist. Throw my mouth guard on the ground. Check. Kick my mouth guard. Check. (Note: let’s not gloss over the fact there was a mouth guard in this equation.) Throw a chair against a fence. Check. Throw the chair over the fence. Check. Yes, I’m not making this up folks. Bofa lost it after a Goaltimate game and threw a chair over a fence in what might be the best post-game blow-up I’ve ever seen. And then he stormed off in his car. I think he might’ve left the mouth guard.
NEW NICKNAME OF THE YEAR – Jessica “Dirt” Felleman
She used to be Dirty. That was her original nickname, given to her by Crissy Vega, and it actually did involve dirt I’m told. So it was easy to drop the y when she proved at Potlatch this year she’s not quite a dirty girl. If you haven’t heard this story, let me summarize. Jessica, fka Dirty, was challenged to do a topless make-out with PODO’s Laura Markham, but staunchly refused. Poor Markham was splayed out topless like a snow angel on an inflatable bed screaming “will somebody please make out with me” to which Jesse Greenberg launched himself on top of her like a homing missile, getting all up in her grill for several hot steamy minutes until she came up for air shouting “who is this guy?” and then high-fiving everyone while continuing to lock tongues with him. It was art. I won’t soon forget that moment. But of course, the epilogue was that Dirty lost the y in her name, since Jesse had to step up for her.
PHOTO OF THE YEAR – Yama Afshar
I’m not gonna lie. I have no idea what tournament this photo comes from, so I don’t know if it happened in LA, or even if Knuckles was still living in LA at the time. All I know is Knuckles was a UCLA player, so I’m counting it, because when I first saw this posted in February, I immediately saved it, knowing it was going to win Photo of the Year. I mean, that is one of the sickest layout D’s. Who knows if he even got the D. Does it matter? That’s filthy.
VIDEO OF THE YEAR – The Most Interesting Team in the World
There’s three of these videos that Marshall did for Winter League. The one below was my favorite. Give Seth Gillum credit for coming up with the idea, and shooting the video for them. With no Milquetoast any longer – who were the kings of these videos – Marshall had to step up and fill the video void. Watch it at the link below.
INNOVATION OF THE YEAR – Goaltimate League
L.A. welcomed it’s fifth league into existence this year with the start of the East Side / West Side Goaltimate League in the Spring, running concurrently with Women’s League. The Goaltimate pick-up game was getting pretty popular, and the people were clamoring for a league, so it started this year with 8 teams over four weekends, and was won by Boobs and Balls. Although, it didn’t come without incident. The tourney almost fell apart when we were locked out of the field site for about an hour. This year, Spike takes over the TD duties, and I expect the league will be expanding in size after the success we had last year.
JERSEYS OF THE YEAR – Team Planet Express Ship
I am a big fan of these sublimation jerseys. They’re kinda blowing up right now and you’ll see ’em all over the place. They’re pricy as hell, but if you can stomach the cost, (and the explosion of color) they’re fun to look at. For my vote, I really dig these jerseys from one of the UCLA teams at Lei Out. I know I’ve seen them wear it at other tournaments, but January 2011 was the first I remember them. This is Maya Ziv sporting the sleak blue threads. Unfortunately, the jerseys far outperformed the team at Lei-Out. They fell to D Bracket (out of D) and lost both games. But as Fernando Lamas once put so eloquently, “it’s better to look good than to feel good.” Amen brother.
UBIQUITOUS AWARD – Samantha Treu
I gave this award a couple years and had to bring it back for 2011 because Sam Treu owned it this year. I am amazed by some people’s ability to move to a new city and within minutes suddenly know everyone, be at every party, play on all the good teams, and be “in the know” on everything happening in the community. When the Sam storm blew in last year, you couldn’t help but notice. Everywhere you went, there she was. And she’s so freakin’ friendly and enjoyable to be around, you get swept up in her presence very quickly. Sadly, she’s on L.A. hiatus for a little while for work. But I look forward to her return, as I’m sure many of you reading this do as well. Here’s a tall frosty one to the L.A. “IT” girl of 2011.
NEW CUTE COUPLE OF THE YEAR – Matt and Kara
I had several good choices to go to for this one. But there’s two things I think that give Matt and Kara the nod. One, they’re both gingers, and who doesn’t appeciate some good ginger love? And two, I love the fact that Matt pulled the TD card at St. Pat’s Hat. You see, when you run a hat tournament, one of the perks is you can put the cute girl you like on your team. Why not? Get drunk with power, young man. I support it. In a perfect world, that would’ve spawned their first date, but they had already gone out before the tourney. No matter. They’ve been together ever since, and that’s award-worthy in my book.
BEST NEW MALE PLAYER IN TOWN – James Herbert
On his Stanford University profile, it says “The most natural reading ability anyone has EVER seen.” Bold statement. But from what I’ve heard, he backed that up. He then went on to play for Jam and Revolver, so yeah, he’s got some skills. He came over to LA during Summer League and was a fill-in player on White Ford Bronco in Co-ed. Because of his background, he was replacing two top drafts picks White lost, and that was in spite of the fact he’s been slowed the last two years due to injuries and currently wears a back brace. But he helped White make it to finals. And then he played on champion Good Vibrations in Beach League, although again injuries kept him away from the field much of the season. When healthy again, he’ll be a fun player to watch and a great addition to LA.
BEST NEW FEMALE PLAYER IN TOWN – Connie Wang
Technically Connie moved here last year, but came late enough in the year that she qualifies for this year’s award. And she definitely made her presence known. After playing for Lady Godiva on the East coast, she moved to the Co-ed division with 7 Figures and became one of the most important offensive weapons on the team, consistently getting open on underneath cuts and getting big gainers all season. Leaguewise, she made it to Finals in Summer League with White Ford Bronco and was a semi-finalist with Empire in Winter League.
MOST SPIRITED PLAYER – Steve “Foca” McDonnell
Doesn’t he deserve something? I mean, Foca is just…. almost indescribable. But he’s always got a smile. He’s always trying to have fun. And he’s always trying to be a part of the action. And you gotta love that about him. I’ll tell you this much. You guys love to poke fun of him. When I put on the Summer League registration form the question, “what two people would you like to see hook up” Foca by far was mentioned in more answers than anyone. And my personal favorite was: “Foca and anyone who can live with regret.”
END OF AN ERA AWARD – Empire, Winter League
Empire was born in 2007 from the ashes of the former Pony Express, and quickly established themselves as THE team to beat in Winter League. In fact, they went undefeated for two years before losing their first game in the ’08 finals. Then another undefeated season in ’09 and their second championship. And they completed a 3-3 season in ’10 with their third title in four years. But it was announced that 2011 would be their final season, which culminated in a semi-finals loss to upstart Gesundheit, their worst finish in five years of existence. It’s hard to make a more indelible mark in such a short time. They were the gold standard of WL, and their famous cheer taken from a TV commercial for Empire Carpeting usually meant another victory.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR – Princess Leia, Women’s League
Who doesn’t love a good comeback? Just when you think all hope is lost, you pull out the miracle in the end. And when it happens in semi-finals, it rocks on a whole ‘nother level. Princess Leia was down 10-6 to the regular season winner, #1 seeded Wonder Woman as time was running out in a game to 13. But they scored 5 of 6 points in the final minutes to tie it 11-11 and force the game into universe point after hard cap. And then they forced another turnover and Morgan Poppe scored the winning goal to take it 12-11. A 6-1 run to win it. Unfortunately, they couldn’t take the momentum into finals, losing pretty handily to Buttercup. But taking down the 1 seed is always gratifying.
RE-CAPPER OF THE YEAR – Chad Woodard
For the second year in a row, Chad takes the cake for re-capping, and this year was a much bigger field than 2010. Way more people got into writing recaps this year for Winter League and Summer League, and it was so fun to read the very different styles and points of view. But Mr. Woodard is still the man. He doesn’t just recap the game. It sometimes comes in unusual ways like when he did a Mad Libs recap, and when he submitted a cartoon. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with this year.
UPSET OF THE YEAR – Killer Honey Bees, Summer League
Often times, the upsets that happen in Ultimate aren’t really that much of a shocker. Like, the 4 seed beats the 1 seed, and it’s stunning, but the 4 seed is still usually a really good team. So instead, how about Killer Honey Bees’ shocking ride to Semi-Finals in the Summer League tourney? They were a 2-9 regular season team, tied for last place in Co-ed. But they took down 4th seeded 9-2 Forrest Gump in the most surprising league upset in recent years. (I think you have to go back to Homer’s Disc’s early round upset over Damn in 2003 Winter League, preventing them from a 4-peat.) The Bees pulled another upset in Quarters, although not as big since it was the 12 seeded Peach, but it’s the only time a last place or next to last place team made it that far in an L.A. league. Watch out, they’ll sting you.
GAME OF THE YEAR – Renegade vs. The Condors, Club Open Sectionals
This was actually a pretty decent upset, considering Renegade’s record at the time they played this game. Renegade, the new L.A. club team, came into Sectionals 2-14 in previous tournament play. And that included a 15-4 shellacking at the hands of the Santa Barbara Condors at Cal States. The Condors were certainly far from the level of their past championship teams, and hadn’t been to Nationals since 2008. But this was still a big test for the rookie team, and most people thought it’d be a statement just to keep it close. When they fell down 4-6 early, it could’ve signaled trouble, but they reeled off three straight to take half 7-6, and then traded points until 11-11 universe point when captain Simon Margolis threw the winning score to cap the upset and put Renegade on the map. They followed it up the next day with a near upset over #1 seeded Streetgang. And if you wanna see video of this game, click the below link.
POWER COUPLE OF THE YEAR – Sam and Taiala Regnier
Um… jeez….what didn’t they do this year? Other than own it. They won Beach League. Won the first Goaltimate League. Won Huck-It Long Beach. Went undefeated in the Winter League regular season. Went to Nationals with 7 Figures. And here’s something that was fairly impressive – they were gold medal winners in Italy with the U.S. Beach World’s team. Pretty much, when they stepped on a field this year, they were winning. How’s that for your first full year of marriage?.
FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Taiala Regnier
Okay, so I went through the rosters of the champions from all five leagues, and whatever I could find on the local tournament winners, and I really didn’t want to give Tai the win on both Power Couple AND Female of the Year, because I wanted to spread out the awards. But honestly, noone else came even close to the year she had. And she was such an important factor on every team she played on, so it’s not just giving it to someone because their teams won. So basically just read everything I wrote above, and copy it in here with your mind..
MALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Matt Hennessy
There’s always so many deserving people for this award since about 70% of the ultimate population is dudes. But I can’t see anyone more deserving than Henny. Look, the man just did work this year in L.A. He won Winter League with Kong. Won Summer League with Ice Ice Baby. He even won that one-day Beach Warmup Benefit tournament. He went to finals in Goaltimate League. And he went to Nationals with 7 Figures. Oh, and he also ran the St. Pat’s Hat tournament. And to top it off, he snagged a cute gf. And that’s how you dominate a year. I mean, he was a force with every team he played on. I was fortunate enough to play alongside him on 7 Figures, so I got to see him put on a show almost weekly. And believe me, he did. And this award could not go to a better guy.
So there you go folks. Hope you enjoyed it. I certainly loved playing with all of you in 2011 and can’t wait to do it again next year.