Ultimate Frisbee Nut Buster VII Results

The second of March - elephants congregated on a brisk Friday afternoon at their usual stomping grounds: Erickson desert. Practice was held as normal, ending in a gritty bout of zone versus zone as the rain picked up (surely an omen for what awaited in the misty crags of Penn). We turned in early to recoup from the cold and returned mere hours later for a lengthy drive to Indiana Pennsylvania for IUP’s Nut Buster VII.

Our caravan included drivers Lorenzo, Atom, Paul, and Thomas; each taking a varied route to their collective destination. B. Dong made a pitstop in Frederick, Maryland at Jerry’s home (Frederick is also home to the good Bradley and Greg) to retrieve air mattresses for our sleeping arrangements. Thomas missed his exit several times. PJ’s journey was probably quiet and uneventful. Atom’s troupe paused for Thai food (where he met a man who recalled Baltimore as a “dark place”) as well as other festive doodads. On their trip, the group birthed the concept of challenge flags (a moment which will forever live in infamy). In spite of heavy, demon-concealing fog (and stealth mode), each car made it to our host’s house safely. Our host, Joe Bowers was kind and generous, completely opening his home to strangers (but forewarning us of his volatile “roommate”, Taz). Our first night in Indiana was calm and peaceful.

Booya woke the following morning, greeted by the frigid Pennsylvania air, not in any way made better by a thermostat set to 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Slowly, we geared for the cold and left for the fields at Saylor Park. As usual, we were one of the last teams to arrive. Greg went to a meeting of captains, only to sit and wait for the TD who never showed up. The captains took their food bags and dispersed.

Game one pit Booya against Shippensburg B. The frozen elephants made it a goal to come out with blazing spirit and vigor and managed just that. With man-coverage by both teams, Booya took half. Ted made a bid along the left sideline to maintain possession. Patrick didn’t fake once, still getting many hucks through unwary defenders. ISO plays are run, successful on many accounts. Booya kept the ball rolling after the half, taking the game at 15-6.

Our next game took place on the same, awful field. Our opponents were a spirited group of 7 from Canisius College. Though they had the fight, Booya steamrolled to a 13-2 win. Canisius was a friendly group, and our teams bade farewell with nothing but respect and admiration for one another.

At this point, Booya hunkered down against the piercing winds, attempting to keep some warmth for our inevitable third game that afternoon. the tournament director, however, had rearranged the field space (the fields were set up amidst a snow cover, and the light of day revealed a patch of concrete on one of them), which altered the schedule. Altered in what way, our director could not say, so his best reply was, “I’ll come by and let you know.”

Booya sat idle for a period of 3 hours. Time was passed in various ways - eating snacks, frolicking on the playground adjacent our field, and foremost above all: heckling other games. Loafing about on the sidelines, Booya folk made friends with other teams- watching, cheering, and providing color-commentary.

After a disturbingly long break, Booya finally began their game against the host school, IUP’s Fighting Squirrels, with a cold start. With home field advantage, the Squirrels were able to bring their entire A-squad, effectively doubling the man-power that UMBC is able to bring. This did not discourage the scrappy troupe; Booya made the game hard fought and close. IUP had more bodies at their disposal, which made their zone coverage much harder to break, with fresh legs bearing down on our handlers each point. The cup defense became overwhelming at times, and Booya faultered, giving away two Callahan points to IUP’s aggressive defense. After a grueling first half, UMBC picked up the pace. Poppers Brad, Lorenzo, Jerry, and Fightmaster began to find openings, slowly working the disc downfield. Handlers Greg, PJ, Patrick, Window, and yes - even Ronnie the Bear break apart the cup - over, under and straight through. IUP switched to man coverage after their zone started to fail. Athletic plays abounded, as Bradley Scott made defensive bid after bid, successful or not. Lorenzo threw to the back right corner cone for Joel Wheatley, who made a spectacular layout catch right onto an unfortunate bed of concrete (he was fine, eventually). Booya fought, but the slow start and disadvantage of numbers took their toll; the Fighting Squirrels win the game for first seed at 15-13.
Day two, Booya awoke again at Mr. Bower’s abode. Everyone cleared their peepers of the sleepies, but Bradley Scott suffers enormous pain in his own eyeball, after borrowing contact solution from our own Mr. Daniel Dresser. Apparently, Brad didn’t know how to use it correctly, resulting in intense, acidic horribleness. And so, Booya suffered a casualty before even setting foot on the fields. With so few members to begin with, the loss was a hard one.

The elephants arrived to an even worse field than had been played on the day prior, with more hills, divots, and rocks. The first game was against UPJ’s Flood, who managed to show up even later than our good guys. Consequently Booya was able to start with some greater intensity, with Atom getting a point block and immediate layout Callahan for their second point. Atom later sustains a hand injury, taking him out of play for some time. Despite their slow start, the Flood made its inevitable crescendo, ultimately taking the game 15-10.

The last game of the day, Booya faced the SUNY-Brockport Chupacabras. The opponents relied heavily on handler movement and deep throws, which Booya slowly began to understand. Defenders Greg, Pat, Joel and Lorenzo are set upon their handlers, which slows down Brockport’s game tremendously. Their zone defense was especially effective in the gusting wind and cold. Despite the numbing tundra, Pat’s pulls were dead-on. One particular pull pinned the Chupacabras in the very back middle of their own endzone. Realizing the pressure, the rest of the elephants stampeded down field, eager to convert. Lorenzo marked their captain, who looked helplessly to his cutters - not one open throw. Desperate, he wound up for a backhand punt, but Lorenzo read the throw and leaped over, receiving the disc directly in the chest. After a moment of, “ouch that really hurt”, Lorenzo resumed play, and Booya converted the turnover. With the same intensity, Dan skied his man for a point, and Ronald T. Bear got bookends. Pat threads the cup with a tricky inside backhand break, centering to PJ, who can’t help but smile. Booya started to throw their own four man zone as the wind grew stronger. As Brockport neared game point, the snow started rolling in, and in an epic zone versus zone fight, the Chupacabras closed the game at 15-11. As if on cue, the snow haulted with the end of the game, and Booya left Pennsylvania with a record of 2-4 (our consolation game was forfeit in order to make a timely return home).

The Nut Buster VII was a hearkening back to Booya’s past - a heritage wrought with the most adverse of circumstances - back when twelve men (and women, in many cases) was considered a large squad. This cold March weekend, the rookies Dan, Jerry, Ronnie, Chris, and Ted felt a little of what it used to be like, when subs were few and far between, but you had to keep playing. Through the cold and fatigue and hard losses, Booya fights on.

 

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