2021 December – 2 weeks before Christmas. Aaron Jacobs asked me if we have a winter league team. “I don’t know- isn’t it core plus draft?” We weren’t supposed to be here. We only half jokingly put every Marshall player on “contract” till 2020. Can’t leave us till then. 21 years in winter league ought to be enough. I didn’t think we’d come back. But in the end, who else would we want to play with? Maybe retire to the B league??? Sail away to play retro in the finals?
One week later. Greg is in, Aaron Jacobs is in, Connie and Gary are in, MER is in. Hill, Valdes, PVP, Feeney are in, but hurt. Maybe we can play B league? Grab Cam and Lankey.
First week January 2022. Winter league was already supposed to started. Marshall only has two women. Skipper generously sends out a letter on our behalf to rampage. We grab our third woman, Taylor. Also manage to grab Cam and Erick Lankey. A few days later, Connie grabs Crunch to make it four. Winter league is delayed.
Mid January, We pick up Erika. That brings us to 5. We also do an injury count. Three bad knees. Two bad hips that are waiting on MRI’s. One chronic Achilles. One pulled hamstring. One damaged left shoulder. Four players in trail running shoes or sneakers. Grab Corey and Casey. Winter league is delayed. The A or B league discussion continues.
Connie goes to Astra tryouts. Grabs Aero. We’ve got a team. Ask Dan to put us in the A league.
Flashback. 2020. Pocket monsters beats us in the regular season by two points. Two days later in the tourney we return the favor with a little interest. First game of 2022 is going to be LIT.
2022 one day before our game. Sunday pickup. T-Tom with a HUGE lay out D on Lankey. Greg Preston sees it. “Ohhh, that’s what it means to play in A”. It’s been 2 years since we’ve played full speed. He’s a little worried. I am too.
2022 – Marshall vs. Pocket monsters. First point of winter league. Marshall on O. Good pull by Monsters (something Marshall has never mastered in 22 years). Greg centers the disc to AJ. Run through D. Monsters score. (Internal monologue- we may be fucked) That would be Greg’s only turnover. If I knew that, I would have loved our chances.
Pocket Monsters force backhand most of the game. Preston is too chastened to throw his thumbers. Good to stop the break mark hammers. It’s a good call, but that also lets us really work the deep game. Historically our backhand hucks are not too shabby.
Flashback 2006. Marshall vs. Thumper. Tex is throws a huge forehand hucks for marshall.. They switch the mark to backhand. Matt Mihm fires a full field backhand beauty for a score. Followed by an AJ huck for a score. They go back to forehand.
Flashback 2014- Winter league finals. Connie shoots the winning score to Kieran. a really nice backhand.
Flashback 2020- Scoober divers. They force backhand, dare us to shoot deep. We shoot deep on the first point. Feeney runs it down with Corey on his back. Score. Feeney will sit out the rest of the season recovering.
2022- Against pocket monsters our deep game opens up. Also, Connie decides to take control of the game. People may not remember that backhand huck to Kieran in 2014 the finals. But I remember. Connie remembers. She knows how to get the disc, when to swing the disc, and most importantly when to shoot the disc. And she’s going to shoot. She’s fearless. Meanwhile Erick Lankey is doing the work on D. Our women are reasonably containing Chrome, Fuse and Hoover- which is more than one can hope for. Our deep game is looking good. Knight remembers he can huck. Evan can’t stand not playing. He’s coming in with one arm. As the game goes on, Casey grabs a few deep shots. Then a few more. Connie is carrying us. Give her the ball. Dirty break mark to Gary for the score. She can’t be stopped. Deep shot to Cam. Foul-contest. Comes back. She shoots it again. All Cam.
Pocket monsters gets theirs. They have played together for years. I’m sure there’s a whole level to their game that I’m not privy to. Zubair breaks the mark. Chelsea shoots. Leo poaches lanes. We know some of what is coming and we adjust as best we can. Tonight it worked just well enough. 15-12 Marshall.
Things Marshall is proud of. That we have enough players to take the field. That people still want to play with us. That synergy is an amazing thing. That pocket monsters is filled with skilled and wonderful people who we love and respect. That we still go out for drinks after every game.
It’s pretty special to play with friends old and new. This year, we’ve picked up more new players than ever before. And if we can make them feel included and welcome- get them feeling comfortable, this will be another amazing year. The year we weren’t supposed to get.