Friday, May 09, 2008

Westerns: Weather Concerns

I'm here in Chicago's O'hare Airport enjoying the brisk and sunny
morning as I wait for my flight to Kansas City. With some time to
kill, I realized I never looked at the weather report foe the weekend;
something I always checked and paid careful attention to in my
preparations as either a coach, captian, or simply a player. But this
time around, I simply forgot. And wow... The weather report currently
available off of is going to frustrate nearly every team
this weekend!

80% chance of rain
65 degrees
15mph winds from the NW

The temperature is going to be nice, but the later afternoon rain that
is nearly guaranteed is going to be annoying for teams not prepared
for the moisture. I suspect the west coast teams will be completely
comfortable with this, but any time you get the disc wet it means two
things: first, it is another factor that helps equalize teams and
bring better parity. Some argue the opposite, but those people that do
are often club or elite college players. I tended to see the
equalizing factor much more in the high school scene. The second
factor is the increased tendacy for some sloppy ultimate that can also
be much more exciting to watch as players are more comfortable bidding
and discs tend to go places not originally intended.

But it will be the wind that I believe will most effect games (or is
it affect, cause I never learned that). At 15mph and more than likely
not being that fast at the first rounds mean that teams will have a
chance to adapt as the afternoon develops. I suspect teams that play a
lot of zone D will be thrilled, and teams that dread playing against
the cup will already be one step closer to defeat.

20% chance of rain
62 degrees
25mph winds from the SE

You will immediatly notice the spike in wind speed, and this is going
to be something that will give the edge to the most experienced teams.
The first team to get the break up wind is nearly guaranteed the W.
After playing this last fall at a college tournament in the Midwest
with gusts between 25-32mph, I hated ultimate for a good week or
so... The teams with the most solid set, and I repeat set, of
handlers will be in the finals come Sunday afternoon. Wind forces
teams to grit out a frustrating experiences as a team effort more than
without wind. Mental focus, patience, and positive attitude are a must.

So, in conclusion, my predictions for this weekend are going to be way
off. I suspect low scoring games on the ladies aide of things due to
near exclusive zone d. I suspect if the lady hale continues with their
4 person cup, they will be the team to beat. But, one cannot forget
how well the Churchill girl zone dominated last years westerns. That
year allowed those teams to more easily convert the turn though with
only 5-10mph winds. That said, I do not want to count out the other
ladies who could have been preparing for this wind. Not sure the
weather at the Hopkins hustle, but I'd venture to guess there was some
wind to get those Minnesota teams ready.

On the boys side, I suspect the team who will relish in the wind is
south eugene if they are at all like last year. It was their junk zone
that frustrated team after team that propelled them to the finals over
the very powerful Churchill squad. And I'm sure there will be a few
teams on the bottom who force an upset or two with the confidence of
their frustrating zone defense. Nothing at this point is guaranteed
and there will be more games going to cap and decided by less than 3
point than those that are not.