By: Jimmy Leppert
A look back at the weekend that was, by declaring some winners and declaring some losers. This time, President’s Day weekend. Typically a weekend reserved plainly for college ultimate, something else creeps into the winning columns.
- The AUDL: As mentioned, the newly released schedule is an improvement over year’s past. Word is trickling in more and more though that the league has secured a lot of the top USA Ultimate club talent in their various cities. As the ‘battle’ between the two semi-pro leagues drags further on, the fact that the established teams, players and strategists in the ‘contested’ cities and others are headed towards their league is a win.
- Northwest Region (Men’s): The finals of the President’s Day Invite? Oregon versus Washington. No Colorado. No Minnesota. No teams with California in their name. All Northwest. My guess is Washington vaults up various rankings this week, dodging a lot of the middle-of-the-pack teams from Warm Up.
- Pittsburgh, the state of Texas and the Southeast Region: Great weekends at Warm Up for Pittsburgh, the state of Texas and for that entire Southeast region. By all accounts, Central Florida will be a team to reckon with on Memorial Day Weekend. If Florida can sustain the bumps and bruises of an entire tournament, especially one as long as Nationals, they too will enter the conversation. Florida State and Pittsburgh though, the two finalists, what more is there to say? Pittsburgh especially, shaking off the jitters they showed to just dominate the final games of the tournament. The state of Texas is in good shape, with the only non-Southeast/Pittsburgh teams that gave them (Texas TUFF) trouble being a late game against Arizona State (who seemingly had a better than expected weekend themselves).
- No Doubt on Oregon: No losses. Held opponents under double-digits until meeting Stanford in the finals. As their region looks to be one of (if not the) toughest within the Women’s division again this season, erasing all doubts as to their dominance to start the season is huge.
- The State of California (Women’s): In the championship bracket of President’s Day? UCLA, Stanford, UC-SD, USC. Stanford and UCLA would both go onto the semi-finals, and Stanford would play a close game to Oregon in the finals. Overall, a great weekend for their Southwest region as each team will look – or hope – for a bid later this season.
- SNL 40th Special: I don’t care what anyone says, that was a great show. Most of the jokes they brought back were still funny, especially Wayne’s World and the Will Ferrel lead Jeopardy! show. They poked fun at some of the complaints with the show through all four decades, brought in great musical acts, and the running-bit on Jon Lovitz was just plain old funny. I thought the tribute to NYC, the city that makes Saturday Night Live the show that it is, was one of the most touching aspects; second only of course, to how they handled the remembrance of all of the dearly departed. Long live SNL.
- Also receiving consideration was the fans of college ultimate everywhere, as the up-coming tournaments look wide open and exciting, and just great across both divisions.
- Men’s North (of anything) Region: (except the Northwest) For the North Central, it wasn’t a bad weekend at Warm Up – CUT ended up 4th, Wisconsin 8th – though expectations were higher. Minnesota however… Grey Duck guys, do you need a sports psychologist visit (a la Rhino in Chasing Sarasota)? New England was not only getting the shittiest of weather over the weekend, but Tufts had a rough outing against the top teams at Warm Up, and both Brown and Vermont missed the bracket at President’s Day Invite. Metro East is the same old, lovable region. The Ohio Valley and Great Lakes regional teams (you know, besides Warm Up champion Pittsburgh) didn’t do much to help themselves enter the championship conversation either.
- Anyone hoping film on Pittsburgh helps them: Going out on a limb here (having not seen any film, and having only read/talked to people that were at Warm Up), but the early trouble that plagued Pitt’s offensive-line for the majority of the tournament… I’m not so sure much can be learned from that. Above all else, that’s extremely uncharacteristic of Pitt, of those players, and of what that team will expect of themselves going forward.
- NBA All-Star Festivities: Really though, my biggest complaint was the celeb-game. Win Butler was in this game. Win Butler. I’m a big Arcade Fire fan (you’re welcome Bryan Jones), but what does that even mean. Biggest complaint though? Mo’ne Davis tore up Kevin Hart and didn’t get the MVP Award. A shame.