Tonight is a big night. It’s the first ever Replacement Draft. That’s exciting.
It’s an attempt to continue to fine tune the replacement process. When I first starting captaining teams, the replacement process was over the place. Players seemed to get randomly put on teams, and often times really good players wound up on the TD’s team without them even losing anyone. Although that problem was not restricted just to Summer League. A St. Pat’s Hat TD, one who I respect and admire, shockingly admitted to me “if you’re a TD, and you’re not stacking your own team, you’re doing something wrong.” That was eye opening.
Many times teams didn’t replace players. You just played with whoever was still with you by the tournament, even if that meant going nearly savage.
In 2005, my second year of captaining, I lost my 1st, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th rounders for the tournament. And my 2nd rounder was so injured that he walked the entire tournament. And for all that I got one replacement.
So yeah, things needed to change. And so when I took over Summer League, I looked to reform how replacements was done, to make it fairer, and more equitable.
Have I made mistakes along the way? Abso-freakin’-lutely. Last year alone made it to Controversy of the Year. So in an attempt to further correct mistakes, this Replacement Draft has been born.
Although even with this, there’s still going to be arguments and debates. This person or that person is ranked too low. It’s hard to make a perfect system. But I’m always open to hearing suggestions for change.
Okay, and with all my blabbering out of the way, let’s get to the game. Doug McLaughlin provided the recap, so here we go:
Sports are organized in different ways.
Some sports are event based. Baseball, golf, and tennis are prime examples of event-based sports. Outs/innings, holes, and sets are the events that provide the organizing structure of these sports.
Some sports are time based. Basketball, football, and soccer are prime examples of time-based sports that rely on the clock for its organizing structure.
Putting too much emphasis on either organizing structure is problematic. If there are not enough events per time, then rules are implemented to keep the ratio of events per time optimal. Play clocks and shot clocks were implemented in time-based sports to force the action so that more events happened. MLB is working on multiple ways to reduce the amount of time per out (batters stay in batter’s box, limit trips to the mound, and there may soon be a pitch clock).
Ultimate is primarily thought of as an event-based sport (game to X). The AUDL plays a time-based version of the game. But most of us are familiar with time constraints. Tournaments have time caps. Our Summer League has lights out (Lights Out! is the new Ultimate horror film coming soon to a theater near you.). Lunch time pick-up games are somewhat time based. How many of us have yelled “Lights” in the middle of the day waiting for the other side to pull? Yet even lunch time pick-up games often end with a game to 3 or 5 or 7 to satiate our craving for event-based competition.
This time-event dichotomy leaves out a third organizing structure: achievement. Boxing (and MMA) are interesting because they have timed rounds (a time-event hybrid), but also have the knockout (and submission). When one side shows superiority/dominance to such an extent, then the contest is over.
Remember Odell Beckham Jr.’s “jaw-dropping one-handed touchdown catch” against the Dallas Cowboys in 2014? It is considered one of the greatest (football) catches of all time. It put the Giants up 14-3 in the 2nd quarter. I was watching that game and right after the catch I thought incredulously that “The Giants are going to lose this game.” And the Giants did lose 31-28. Recently talking to some friends, they all thought that not only did the Giants win but that it was a playoff game. The catch was so great that it distorts our memory of the contest. Beckham’s catch should have been a knockout. The catch was so great, the game should have been called, Giants win. The Giants and Cowboys can play pick-up until the clock runs out.
This all is a lead up to a catch from last night’s Puss N Boots vs. Princess Unikitty. Puss N Boots James Renfroe cut deep. The disc goes up. The defender slows up because there is no way that the disc will be caught. Players on the sideline turn their attention to the other game or to help teammates set up after the turn. But James continues to chase after the disc that is too far out in front, is going too fast, and is dropping even faster. James’s arm-extended dive is bound to be the Ultimate equivalent of Willie Mays Hayes’s slide into second base. But no, James gets his fingertips under the disc just before it hits the turf.
Sometimes on plays like this the drama builds. “He won’t catch it, he won’t catch it, he won’t catch it… he caught it!” This roughly translates to “It is highly improbable that he’ll catch it, it is improbable but he may catch it, I think he’ll make a play on it… oh wow, he caught it!” But Renfroe’s catch, like Beckham’s catch, was “He won’t get that” which roughly translates to “Impossible, no way, not happening, period.” Your attention was already moving on to the next thing when it gets ripped back to this action that was previously thought impossible. It is so exciting because it was not lucky but the result of skill and effort that expands your notion of how great this game can be. That should have been a knockout catch, game over: Puss N Boots wins. Teams can play pick-up until the lights go out.
Alas, Princess Unikitty won 15-12.
*Perhaps instead of superpowers, the knockout could be used in future summer leagues. Not to end games, but perhaps to knockout a defender for a few points after a great catch or a receiver for a few points after a great D.
Interesting points Doug, thanks. One note that you wrote:
“This time-event dichotomy leaves out a third organizing structure: achievement. Boxing (and MMA) are interesting because they have timed rounds (a time-event hybrid), but also have the knockout (and submission). When one side shows superiority/dominance to such an extent, then the contest is over.”
Is that really the determining factor? Showing superiority/dominance? Isn’t it simply a case of concern over major injury/health risk? Boxing matches will get called if someone is bleeding too much and it can’t be stopped, not because they’re necessarily dominating. I could be wrong though. I don’t watch a lot of boxing or MMA.
And could you imagine a rule where if you’re scored on by a great play, you wouldn’t get to play the next few points? Wouldn’t you rather just get the disc spiked on you? That sounds much better than having to essentially go to the penalty box for a few points.
BTW, there will be no final chapter to Il Gatto Con Gli Stivali, for those who were anxious to hear the finale. Nate couldn’t get inspired after the tough loss, which I totally get. It’s tough to write recaps after you lose, and I’m always amazed and inspired by those who do.