2013 End of Year AwardsDec 31st, 2013 | By AndyBandit | Category: Awards
The Skyin’ Hawaiian. Kaily came over from the tropical paradise about two years ago, and became known pretty well at the Rose Bowl pick-up game in 2012, but in 2013 she showed everybody a big improvement over the course of the year. She didn’t earn a spot on 7 Figures initially, only making it as a practice player, and eventually became a replacement halfway through the year. But once she established her place on the team, by the time the series came around, she was a big factor, and then used what she learned to dominate for Special Wobble in Beach League. From practice player to star within one year. Pretty impressive.
I don’t know TweaK personally, nor have I ever seen him play as far as I know, but he was the consensus pick amongst players I asked. A leader on UCLA Smaug, he basically put the team on his back this year, and took a huge step up on Renegade, becoming a starting D line player, and can use his speed to get D’s under, can sky players, and is also great at marking handlers. And from what I’m told, he’s very spirited even when he doesn’t have to be (see Fight of the Year below.)
This was the year they were most questionable to make Nationals. With the Southwest scaling back from 5 bids to 3, and with the re-emergence of Mischief to go along with previous champs Polar Bears and Blackbird, it looked like the 2-time Nationals team would just miss the mark in 2013. They had a very uneven regular season, and at times lost to inferior squads. But a funny thing happened on the way to Texas. They hit their stride at exactly the right time, including a huge upset win over defending champ Blackbird, and squeaked into Natties with that precious third bid. For the club!
It wasn’t quite a repeat of 2012 when they were the D-3 Nationals Champs. But a 3rd place finish ain’t so bad. Led by red jersey winner Julia Raney, Claremont made it into semis against eventual champion Bowdoin Chaos Theory who went 30-0 in the regular season. It was a surprising 15-6 loss, but apparently that Bowdoin team is pretty good. With many players returning for 2014 it promises to be another exciting season for the Greenshirts.
What happens when you take the best team and then you put arguably the best player of the last 10 years on it? Pretty much exactly what you’d expect. With AJ jumping to three-time champion ShamWOW, from the only team to beat them in finals the last 4 years, the results were not surprising. The Shammies went onto an undefeated 14-0 season, with the first ever +100 point differential in LA league history (unless Quake did it back in the days before the internet kept track of such things.) With a 13-11 win over Dinosaurs in finals, they became the first 4-time champ in Beach League, breaking the tie with She Sells Sea Shells.
This is pretty amazing, because SportsCenter actually won the B Division Team of the Year award a couple years ago. But when the trend seems to be B teams who don’t want to move up to the next level after winning, SC broke the mold. They made it to Semis in 2012, so it shouldn’t have been surprising to see them in the finals the following year. But there were certainly quite a few shocked expressions around to see this team from Long Beach, who had already proved themselves in LA by winning Winter League in 2012, make it to the finals of a huge national-level tournament. And then they won. With Jacob Baumer in particular putting on an incredible show. It should be noted that although the Bay Area continues to dominate Fall series in California, the last four (and 6 of the last 7) winners of Lei Out have come from SoCal.
I gave Retro a lot of flack in 2012 when they handily beat up on other B Division teams en route to an easy tourney win, and then refused to move up to A the following season. But I’ve gotta be honest, they were right to stay where they were. 2013 did not look to be their year. They not only finished 4-3 in the regular season, two of the losses were bad. So they entered the tourney as the 6 seed, and had to go through the 3, 2 and 1 seeds in order to win the thing. In fact, facing Top Shelf in finals was a re-match of their worst loss of the season, a 15-8 thrashing. But some teams pick it up come tournament time, and Retro definitely did that, taking their 2nd B title in a row. Coming into 2014 I hear there’s a few defections to Elite division teams, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can pull off the 3-peat.
There’s apparently three factors that make a champion season. Youth. Lots of nicknames. And a drop in class. Gatsby entered Beach League in the A Division in 2012, and quickly learned that it might not be their speed. They went completely winless for the season, and must’ve been a little humbled, because they made the decision to try their wares in B Division this year. Things definitely went a lot better, and they finished 10-4 and in 4th place. But a Cinderella team is one not expected to win. And even with the drop in divisions, and the much better record, the votes did not go their way when I put out the poll right before the tourney about who you thought would win B. Gatsby got only 5 votes. In the pre-season poll, they got only one vote. And yet, at the end of the day, this rags to riches team was standing on the top of the heap. Do they go back to A in 2014? We shall see.
I know this is a broken record now, but the truth is as long as it continues to grow by incredible leaps and bounds every year, it will keep winning this award. Look at this factoid. From 2006 to 2008, Lei Out had exactly the same number of teams every year, 72. And then, inexpicably, it began to grow and would not stop. In 2009, 90 teams. In 2010, 104. In 2011, 118. Then an incredible jump to 163 in 2012. That should’ve been it. But no, 185 teams signed up in 2013. I walked from one end of the tournament to the other end with a cell phone tracking how far I was walking, and it was astoundingly one mile in length. (I verified this by Google mapping two addresses at opposite ends.) This year, by the way, do you think the tide has finally ebbed? Nope. Try 218 teams!!! Sick.
When Entanglement dropped out of Winter League shockingly following their 2012 Championship, a new team had to pick up the slack, and that was Ninja Squirtles. Ninja brought in some players from the retired Entanglement, but mostly filled their roster with players from several other teams, and proved that their athleticism was their biggest strength. Also, tapping players from Santa Barbara helped too, including Polar Bears’ Lisa Pitcaithly, who from the best of my knowledge never even made it out to one game. But Arbiter definitely did, the SB Condors player who came to enough games to qualify for the tournament, and then dazzled everyone with several huge plays to give the Squirtles the title. There were many good choices in this category, but Arby won with the most votes, and deservedly so.
What a difference a venue makes. Right? Monsoon was cool, but Lei Out grew too big for it, and it resulted in long lines, spillover bars, and a 2012 mid-party shut down. Enter L3 at Santa Monica Place, a space large enough to put a major retail store. It made for an enormous party area with plenty of room to spare. Be immersed in the crowd if you want, or chill in the back and just watch it all happen. There was enough space left over to play a full beach field size game if you wanted to. And many took the opportunity to play all sorts of games, from frisbee Jedi to card games to separate dance areas. The party had it all.
Do you know how hard it is to run one tournament? Well try two, in back-to-back months. What I love about Spike is almost as soon as he got here in LA, he was offering suggestions and asking what he could do to help out. But that’s not surprising because in Austin, Texas he was already doing that stuff. And he brought a new exciting spark to our town including being a huge part of the creation of Goaltimate League. Although I ran it the first year, he was instrumental in its start, and did a great job taking over. Then he added St. Pat’s Hat this year, and his enthusiasm and excitement in running both events was felt by everyone.
It’s pretty awesome when you ask to see plays of the year and you get a series of videos to go through. Well, ironically enough, the best play I saw came from the Renegade Sectionals highlight video, but it wasn’t made by a Renegade player. And it was a complete accident that it was even caught on film at all. During a pull, the camera operator was following the disc when he happened to catch the action one field over where Gridlock was playing. And at that moment, he caught a spectacular lay out D by UpgrayeDD in the end zone to prevent a score. The combination of how amazing the play was and how lucky it was caught on video has to give this the play of the year.
Sometimes it’s just your year, and this year belongs to Kaily. In addition to picking up the Break-out Award above, she also had what was the best play many people saw in the pick-up arena. She’s not the Skyin’ Hawaiian for nothin’. (Actually, noone calls her that, but I’m gonna try and make it a thing.) At Rose Bowl Sunday pick-up early in the year, Kaily had a game for the ages. First she skied a guy in the back of the end zone on a huck. Which is fine, but we’ve seen lots of women sky men. NBD. But then they threw her another huck on the very next point, and this time she was covered by two dudes, two relatively tall and athletic dudes, flanking her on both sides. It was pretty much expected to be D’d, but Kaily shot up like a rocket, right between the two of them and pulled it down. Everyone shouted. It was amazing. (Note, the picture here is not from that day, but she is skying at least one guy here, so… you know… just a typical day for the Skyin’ Hawaiian.)
There were two women’s combines this year, but it was the first one that garnered the most attention, and the greater turn-out, mostly because it was during the club season, and because it didn’t rain that morning. Copti was still living here in LA at the time, and was expected to be a favorite in a couple categories. But the one that surprised a few people (but not Joe Forbes, who it should be mentioned did predict this before it happened) was in the long distance throwing competition. It’s not just that Copti threw the equivalent of an end-zone-to-end-zone huck with room to spare (76 yards, to be precise). It’s by how much she beat the rest of the field. Only 3 other women reached at least 60 yards, with Eileen Wang finishing in 2nd at 63.
I know I say this every year, but it bears repeating because for some reason 2013 felt like a year in which important players to our community moved away in greater numbers than ever before. And big names too. On the guy side in particular, the losses of veteran stalwarts like Ben Potash, Rob Severson, Alex David and Ivan Seto left a big hole. I mean, Alex started Summer League, which is pretty huge. But when deciding who was the biggest loss of all, we had to go to someone who has done much to support the Open club scene in LA recently. Simon has been a strong club player for many years, but he stepped up in a big way with the creation of Renegade, bringing back high level Men’s ultimate at a time when it felt like there was no consistency in the teams since Monster’s top players left for the Condors. Simon captained the team, and helped run the Men’s hat tournament. Big responsibility. Big loss for L.A.
BIGGEST FEMALE LOSS OF THE YEAR – Sarah Bullock
Criqet did so much for the LA community, it’s really hard to encapsulate it all here. She was one of the people who helped put together the USC Women’s program, and even after she graduated, she helped coach them as they made it all the way to Nationals. She’s always been one of the most loved of the Hellions of Troy, but she also helped significantly with LAOUT, running the St. Pat’s Hat tournament numerous times, and creating the Beach Benefit tournament that still runs after she’s left. She’s captained, coached, thrown parties, hosted players, she’s pretty much done it all. And on a personal note, she’s always been a big support for me when I needed someone to help out, or even just to get an important opinion. You’ll be missed incredibly Criqet.
This photo probably needs a little explaining. This is one of only 2 photos we could find of Alex’s brace on his right knee after he tore his ACL at Cal States this year. I’m giving this award to the injury that I felt was the toughest. Certainly many club players get injured during the season, and some worse than this, but this was Alex’s first year playing competitive club (I’m not counting Fork in the Road), and he injures himself in the very first club tournament he played, knocking him out for the entire season, in which 7 Figures made it to Nationals. That hurts literally and spirimotionally. Then of course he came back too early (as young players often do) and hurt himself again.
Oh, this was one of my favorite pieces of news of the entire year. Longtime rivals Frankie and Korb spent years battling eachother as coaches of UCLA Blu and USC Hot respectively. So to find out that they would be taking the reigns of Viva and Renegade was so mouth-wateringly exciting, I could barely contain myself. Now, okay, I understand that they’re coaching different divisions and Viva will never actually play Renegade, unless it’s a non-ultimate competition, and then I really want to watch, but don’t for a second think there isn’t a personal pride war going on to see who can get their team to Nationals first.
Blurred Lines was initially put together by Brian Calle for Fall Series. But when you have a really fun team, and an even more fun theme song, then sometimes you gotta keep the dance party going. So they started up a Beach League team in A Division. But that didn’t last very long. Despite having the largest roster in the division (by quite a bit) they couldn’t get those players out to the beach often enough, (probably due to the large number of out of towners on the roster) and decided to quit the season about halfway through. That’s not really the controversial part though. The real sticking point was their desire to come back for the tournament, and TD Goat’s decision to allow them to do that. I saw some emails going back and forth with unhappy captains expressing their displeasure with that call. Ultimately though, whether it was Goat changing his mind, or Blurred Lines changing theirs, they didn’t make it into the tourney after all and peace was restored to the land.
As previously mentioned above, when you put the best player on the best team, you win championships and get a +100 point diff. But kudos to ShamWOW for the coup of getting AJ to leave his current team Good Vibrations, the only team to beat ShamWOW in finals the last four years keeping them from what would be a five-peat. Once they got him on board, the sand began to crumble underneath Good Vibes’ sand socks, and that team disbanded, removing at least one obstacle from another title run.
The best trade in Summer League history went down this year. It was a three-team trade in Men’s Division. What made it so shocking though was the players involved. Military Academy Black Knights initiated a trade to move Evan Valdes and Simon Margolis, their first and second round picks, to the Wisconsin Whitewater Warhawks. Their intention was to get college players they were more familiar with, going with the theory that familiarity and comeradery lead to success more than pure talent I guess. All I know is that trade was the talk of the town for how crazy it was that Black traded those guys away. Black got the first laugh however when they surprised everyone by taking down White in their regular season matchup. Maybe they knew what they were doing. Well, White would extract their revenge in semi-finals of the tournament, defeating a Black team that was missing some key players and had to get replacements. No telling what might have happened if both teams were at full strength, but certainly the fact that White ended up winning the tournament made this the questionable decision of the year.
Doesn’t Goat even look a little crazy in this photo? Like a mad genius who’s pulling off his master stroke. Goat definitely had a crazy idea when he tried to put together a beach pick-up game on a weeknight in August. Oh, that’s not the crazy part. The kicker is the game would start at 6. AM. When you have an unusual work schedule, you’ve gotta hope there’s others out there like you. Well, turns out there were a few. Only a few. As in four. They did technically get a game underway, but it was 2 on 2. And I can’t imagine it lasted very long. He says he may try it again. I mean, they called Einstein crazy once too.
Point diff. Who knew it mattered that much? Certainly doesn’t have much effect in Summer League. But when you’re talking about one division getting an extra bid to Nationals over another, one point apparently can make all the difference. Even when it’s changed almost a month later! That’s exactly what happened in the Southwest Open Division where a 13-6 loss by Rhino to Doublewide in Semis of Colorado Cup was changed to 13-7 just before the final regular season standings were determined. You see, in the complex USAU algorithm, San Diego Streetgang held a 3rd bid for the SW as the overall 16th seed, literally one point over NW’s Rhino. But someone on Rhino suddenly decided to take a magnifying glass to all their scores over the season and found a mistake. They proved to USAU that the score really was 13-7 (with some convincing evidence I guess) and that change sent the computers crunching out a new total for Rhino, now two points ahead of Streetgang, and moving that extra bid to the NW. Now, Renegade didn’t finish 3rd anyway, but who knows how things might have been different (certainly the bracketing would’ve changed to accommodate 3 bids), so this goes down as a major disappointment, and kind of scandalous too.
It’s tough to top playing for USA in the 2012 World Junior Ultimate Championships in Ireland. Nils would have to settle for Nationals in 2013. The versatile Smaug player proved himself a top college competitor all year and then made it onto 7 Figures where he added a club National title to his resume.
There were a lot of good choices to pick from this year in the women’s category, but it’s hard to go away from a BLU player, and Apollo got the most votes. In addition to helping UCLA to a 3rd place finish at Regionals, missing Nationals in the game-to-go, she earned a spot on Viva, becoming one of their best receivers and defenders, and finished her year with a B Division win in Beach League with the Greatest Gatsby.
And we danced. And we cried. And we laughed. And had a really really really good time. Yeah, there was something special that happened after the completion of Lei Out this year, and if you were lucky enough to be a part of it, you won’t soon forget it. Sudden dance parties are not uncommon. They pretty much happen at most beach tournaments, and many of the more fun grass tourneys. But the sheer volume of people involved, and the raucous excitement felt by everyone after the finals at Lei Out somehow felt a little bit grander. And the partying ended up going until well after the sun went down, much later than usually happens at Lei Out. For a video of the event, go HERE.
I guess last year’s Crossfit trend wasn’t hard core enough for some people. Why not add in the element of life threatening danger? I first heard about this during Winter League. I remember it, because they were asking if I wanted to go, and I decided that for me the shortest distance between two points involved stairs or a helicopter. But all through the year, this was the thing I kept hearing more and more people doing, and it got more and more confusing when they talked about it, cause the vocabulary is totally different, and there’s some sort of numbers thing involved. I really don’t know anything about it. Anyway, if you have a daredevil mentality, and moving horizontally isn’t working for you, you might want to pick this up.
For me, my favorite poll I did all year, partly because it was the closest result of the year, was on July 4th when I asked “If you lost your dominant hand from an exploded fire cracker, do you think you’d ever learn to throw as well with your other hand?” 65 people responded, and it came down to the wire with 32 people picking “Yes, I’m sure given enough time and practice, I could get there.” and 31 selecting “I doubt it. I’d try hard, but it seems unlikely I could match how well I can throw with my dominant hand.” Only 2 people picked “No, because I’d probably stop playing after something like that.” I was surprised it was that close. I thought for sure “I doubt it” would win in a landslide, but you guys are confident in your off-handed abilities. If that’s the case, we should all be learning to throw the same with both hands. Right?
On July 9th in the Co-ed division, 3-1 Duke Blue Devils faced the 4-1 Lake Forest College Foresters in what was supposed to be a good game, but the final score didn’t show that. Blue won 17-11. That’s not the end of the story. Hardly. Because then came the recaps. It basically started with Alex Carey’s recap where he called out at least one blue player for being a little overly aggressive. Then Maggie Griffin responded to it in the comment section. 41 comments later we had a new record for most comments on a recap. Actually shattered the previous record (although some of the comments were purely placed to break the record, a little bit of cheating). Interestingly, the new Like/Dislike buttons were added specifically because of the comment battle going on.
Speaking of the like and dislike buttons, how about a shout out for the stupidest idea I had this year, to add a dislike button along with a like button to the comment section. I’ve seen them in other forums before, so I just figured why not have one of each? Little did I know how much you guys would take to that dislike button like Miley Cyrus to a bad decision. By far, the dislike button was used way more. We’ll see if people are a little more cheerful in 2014.
I did hear another fight that involved a punch thrown, and that’s always good stuff for fight of the year. But somehow I liked this one a little more. One of the interesting story lines of the year was Greg “Hollywood” Husak making a return to the Condors after several years off. I mean, he played on the Nationals winning Condors teams, so he’s gotta be around 40, right? And what a dramatic way to return, facing Renegade at Sectionals. I didn’t see this, so I’m going off what I’m told. It sounds like TweaK might’ve been playing a little physical, and Hollywood objected to this by grabbing TweaK by his head and flinging him to the ground. Alex Carey thought he body slammed him, which probably didn’t happen, but is funny to consider. TweaK got right back up to play defense, no comment or anything.
Ladies of Viva and 7 Figures got together this year and put on one of the most fun events of the year by having a women’s combine in April. It was the perfect time to do one as it was during tryout season, and although everyone wasn’t in mid-season form, they certainly had to at least be in serious shape to try out for all the various teams in the Southwest. The combine had seven categories that focused on fitness, speed, leaping ability and throwing ability. Somewhere around 60 women competed, making it a very intense and competitive event. And the results showed very few players succeeding in multiple categories. In fact, Teresa Feng was the only person to finish in the top 10 in all seven. The second combine happened early in December, but due to poor weather, it wasn’t as well attended. Still, I’m pretty sure this will become a highly anticipated annual event.
To be or not to be gay. That is the question. Or at least, that’s the poll question Renegade guys were asked about eachother, which already is questionably gay in itself, but why not? Safari can’t be the only gay team in SoCal. So after all the votes were tabulated, the guys that were considered to be a little curious made it onto one squad, and the butch macho frat boys went to the other. (For the record, yes, Trevor was the captain of the Renefurious side.) I’m sure they must’ve played an intra-squad scrimmage. Anyone have the results of that?
I really love this category. After George Van Pelt left and Chad Woodard stopped playing leagues, I was wondering if anyone would keep up the tradition of crazy hair. Thank goodness for Robin. It’s actually best when you see it with a head band after a day of playing. It’s like his hair is in a constant battle with the head band and the hair is always winning. I tried to find a great FB pic of it, but this was the best I could come up with. Robin competed in the kiss competition at the Summer League party, but had the hair relatively in control that day, and I think that might’ve cost him the win.
I always like to give this award to the player who moves to LA, and then suddenly they’re at every big party, they’re on all the fun teams, and they just make a huge splash to the community. I think I’m also resigned to the fact I’m never gonna give this award to a guy. But anyway, Erin was the winner this year. She did live in LA in 2012, but made her presence very known this year. And when you’re willing to give body shots at a moments notice, wear crazy outfits, get involved in joint showers, and all the other wacky stuff she did this year, I can’t think of a more deserving person.
This is great. Thanks to another fantastic Crissy Vega idea, Bacon is wearing a bacon costume. C’mon, that’s awesome? Don’t you think there needs to be a day when everyone with a nickname has to dress up as something representative of their nickname? Peaches dressing up as a peach, for example. AFO and the Greatest Gatsby teams alone would be fun to watch. Hmmm, now I have to think of a silly tournament to make this happen.
With respect to Ben Parrell and Katy Stanton, who are definitely cute in their own right, and the other new cute couples I didn’t know about happening this year, I have to give this award to Jazzy and Bobo. They are adorable together, and also I told them I was gonna give them the award, and I hate to go back on my word. 🙂 Andrew himself is pretty new to the Ultimate world, having only played a couple years from what I hear, so it’s especially cool to see a relative newbie enter the scene and snatch up a gem like Jasmine. Well done sir.
This was such an excellent choice. I put it out there to people to ask their opinion, and Wendy was the favorite. And with good reason. Wendy just brings an incredibly upbeat and positive attitude to every team and every game she plays. Maybe it’s that friendly Southern attitude. All I know is I’ve had the pleasure to play with her on a few teams, and I can say she always helps make it a good time for everyone. I mean, even when I’ve seen someone be kinda mean to her for no reason at all, she lets it roll off her back, and then doesn’t even remember it happening. How do you beat that?
Alice stepped up this year to be a very important person in the women’s scene in a way that most people weren’t aware of. Maybe you already knew she co-captained Viva and was largely responsible for the Women’s Combine. But she also helped with the Women’s League, helped organize women’s pick-up games, created women’s polls for the website and probably other things I don’t even know about. Not since Nicole Belle Isle I think has someone taken this large an overall role in the women’s game. And this from someone who’s been shuttling between San Diego and Los Angeles the last few years.
A lot of people wrote recaps this year, which was amazing. I’m always really appreciative that people take their time to put in the effort to give stories about what happened in their games. And I read every single one, and I love them. But for my money, the best of the year was Colin, who captained a winless Rooks team with a group of newbie ultimate players, and every week, no matter how bad the loss, he did an excellent job chronicling the improvement of his team. They were well written and ridiculously upbeat considering the circumstances. Made you want to root for them, and I certainly will be looking forward to how they do in 2014.
Lu just moved here kind of recently, so only had a chance to play in Beach League, but you kinda gotta give props to a 2nd team all region player who was also in the AUDL. I first met Lu in a Tuesday night pick-up game, so this wasn’t exactly against the highest level of competition and therefore it was easy for him to stand out, but he’ll get a great test this Winter as he’ll be joining Marshall. Yeah, sometimes I make smart moves.
We don’t get a lot of players coming from the Milwaukee area, but when they do, they make an immediate impact apparently. Katy played on the co-ed team Noise out of Madison after playing on her women’s college team where I’m told she may even have captained. (What do you want, hardcore research?) By the start of the year, she was already on Retro winning B Division W.L. and turned a lot of heads during Goaltimate and Women’s Leagues. And then came Viva, where she established herself as one of the better players. Oh, you betcha!
This category is by far the hardest to pick. I got sent a highlight reel of great photos from Alex Carey, and I also spent a couple hours on Facebook pouring through all the photos I could find from LA events during the year. For the record, there are a shit load. In the end, I chose this photo of Trevor getting up high during the Winter League finals, partly because the game itself was so good, but I don’t know, this one just appeals to me because it looks like an impossible disc to get to and even though I don’t remember whether or not he actually caught this, I choose to have faith that he did. I mean, c’mon, it’s Trevor. Please.
Some people sent me some really cool videos to look at. Mostly highlight reels, which are definitely amazing. But for my money, I like produced videos a little bit more. I mean, highlight reels are sometimes produced too, but you can tell Goat put in a lot of work on his video to get people excited for Beach League in 2013. And so many of you are in the video, that’s also what helps make it a clear winner in my opinion. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the link.
SVW, always an inspiration. Did anyone go from newbie to baller in less time? This hard working mom was relatively new to the sport when she found her way to Nationals and Beach Worlds. But despite her accolades on the field, she has been more incredible off it. And in particular, for the last several years she lived in Israel and helped out first hand with Ultimate Peace. And now she faces her biggest challenge battling cancer. But her perseverance, strength and her perpetually positive attitude have shined through greater than ever before. Sarah, you are loved and cherished, and I’m so honored to be able to give you this award.
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that this is a no-brainer because not only was this clearly the best finals of the year, it might be the greatest finals we’ve ever seen in any LA league ever. Forget the incredible highlight reel plays. And there were many. But every finals has that. No, this game never saw a team lead by more than a point the entire game until it finally, exhaustingly, ended 15-13 Ninja. And that’s about as far as it was gonna go because the game got hard capped at 15. So yes, only a 15-14 win would’ve been better. But because of how close it was, and the constant lead changes, it was so insatiably watchable that even the drunkest of sideline hecklers had to stay quiet and give their respect.
There’s definitely an argument to say 7 Figures’ win over the two-time defending champion Blackbird in Regionals, knocking them out of a spot to Natties, was the biggest upset. But 7 had beaten Blackbird before. Viva/Revolution had never beaten Safari, unless it was in a scrimmage I wasn’t aware of. In fact, I checked the USAU website, and I can’t find any LA women’s team beating Safari since there was a Safari. So that’s what makes Viva’s win, to take the Sectionals title, so impressive. The game was played in crazy wind, and ended with only a 7-5 final score, but a win in the wind is a win. That’s the victory you build on for next year.
It was surprising enough that Balboa let us play the night after a big rain, but what happened on the field eclipsed even that. In B Division in January, Fresh Pots took on first year team Bad Mojo Jojo. BMJ jumped out to a 10-2 lead in a game to 15. Normally that ends with a huge blowout loss. Not today though. Incredibly, the Pots went on an 11-3 run, a complete turnaround, and tied the score at 13’s. But they weren’t done, taking 3 of the final 4 points, ultimately a 14-4 run, and somehow won in overtime 16-14. That’s unbelievable. From 8 points down. For the full story, click here.
This tournament doesn’t happen in LA. It’s a Las Vegas tournament. But yours truly was intending to make it happen this year again, after the Vegas guys failed to put it on the last three years. And how it went from sure thing to disaster is a sad tale. I had fields booked for a weekend in November. All I needed was to ask Eric Wolf, who used to run the tourney, if I could take the name Lucky 7’s. He was fine with it, and that should’ve been that. But then…. he contacted a group of Vegas players who said I couldn’t use the name because they were planning to bring Lucky 7’s back themselves. Their grand plan was to make the tournament larger, and on a 3-day weekend in October, the weekend before Nationals. That was problem #1. I won’t bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that poor advertising, bad response time and confusion amongst all the people running it eventually killed the thing. Know how many teams signed up? Three. Yes, 3. And none, by the way, were Vegas teams. It was especially frustrating because I bought into their hype and cancelled my fields when I heard about their plan, which was only weeks away from my date, and thus I didn’t think my tournament could compete. Mark my words though. I will be doing my own thing in Vegas in 2014 regardless of whatever they plan. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…. um… well, you can’t fool me twice.
I tried to find a long-lasting team that saw it’s final year in 2013, but there really wasn’t any I could think of. So instead, we’ll give this award to the end of Scott’s house with the pool, that Holden Bonwit and Meagan Sutton had moved out of previously. So many great parties went down there. So many freakin’ awesome times. And it just made me think about the many huge party locations that aren’t around anymore. So I put it out to you LAOUT world. Who’s picking up the slack for the huge party house?
Stig and Punky were just shy of winning cutest couple last year. This year we’re just focusing on their game, which was strong. Stunky Strong. Finals performances in Winter League with AFO and Beach League with Dinosaurs. Punky was the captain of Viva and helped take them to a Sectionals victory. Stig is one of the top Renegade players. Together, they’re probably the strongest couple out there, and they certainly proved it with the year they had.
To me, the player of the year award has to take into account two important factors. 1) The performance of the teams you played on for the year. And 2) The individual player’s roll on those teams. I’m saying this because I heard strong arguments for Punky in this spot, and honestly, she would be very deserving here. She could well be the best female on all the teams she played on, and that certainly counts for all the teams I mentioned above in Power Couple. But partly because I gave her the Power Couple Award. And partly because Remy’s year was SO good, I feel Remy is the better choice here. She played alongside Punky on those Viva and AFO teams. Maybe didn’t have as much impact on those teams as Punky did, but when you add in a Summer League win on a team she drafted, a Beach Benefit Tournament win, a finals appearance in Women’s League and a win in the Accuracy Contest at the Women’s Combine, Remy just had one hell of a year.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a back-to-back winner. Peaches has won this award for the 2nd straight year, and there’s no doubt he deserves it. When Trevor Smith won Lei-Out and Winter League to start the year, he was the one to beat. But Peaches overcame that with wins in Beach League and the Huck It Long Beach tourney to go along with finals appearances in Summer League and Winter League. And add to that captaining 7 Figures to Nationals. Wherever Peaches goes, his teams win. That’s a fact.
So there you go. I hope you all enjoyed them. You’re welcome to argue with me in the comment section, or just simply give someone who won an award a much deserved “Great Job!” Thanks to those who helped me out in the award selections. It was a great 2013, and I’m looking forward to another fun year!