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 Post subject: Dallas Challenge 2016
PostPosted: Tue Aug 23, 2016 11:36 pm 
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Best of the best.

Remembering what happened in year 1:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGdWRsoSutc

there was more than a little soul searching afterwards, and a little trepidation about what would happen this time.

We spent a year cleaning up our game, playing hard. But would it matter against very strong Dallas opposition on their home court?

AWVP Seal Teams Alpha and Bravo decided to gear up and find out what would happen at Mansioncourt this time (the history buffs in the crew might get the analogy).

Alpha Team: The Big 4: Mikey, Ford, Dub Javi, who chose the other 2, after much secret deliberation--LJ, Jess;

Bravo Team: Scott, Dan, Monkey, Chief, and vet but new traveling squad member Navy, with rotating player from A

I must admit I was a little confused when we arrived not only on time, but early on Day 1 of Dallas Challenge. I mean, that's a miracle in Panda Land. Ultra organized Dallas was somewhat unready--court not set up, late arriving to the dance, short a player. So we loaned them Attorney Scott, one of our best, which was actually a smart move, both because of mix it up ethos and because that gave them an A team what was pretty much as strong as the last one we faced.

Weather was cold (like 72-75), but at least no rain. Day 1 was glorious:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7YeVXxCWHLQ

Game film will tell for sure, and Dan has total coverage, but 2 Austin teams faced one Dallas team often + Scott, which looked pretty A to me, for about 3 hours. Austin A beat Dallas A 15-5, and team Bravo managed to beat them as well. Overall, Austin won more than Dallas on this day. Quite a turnaround from last year.

Darth Nowell, who inexplicably was not there on day 1, called this a "near tie." I'll humbly say he was either in deNowell, or was deNowellifying the results.

So I kind of figured Dallas Sith would gather reinforcements and strike back on Sunday. Sho nuf.

The sun graced us with it's presence (I guess, because even at 85 it's freaking hot in that valley obstacle) on Day 2--tournament day, apparently. As I was in the dark through the whole trip, in that no light was shined on what was going on from the get go.

OK, so now we fight for real. Darth Nowell sure as shit makes the trains run on time up there. Austin B was fed into the meat grinder with 3 straight games to start the tourney. Lost them all. Austin A underperformed compared to day 1. This time around Dallas brought 2 full teams. Mostly familiar faces from last year. But this time around, their B team was a lot better and scrappier. Clearly there was a Vets vs Grizzlies style grudge match a brewin here.

And guess what? Last year's Dallas B took the tourney! Congrats to them. It looks to me from an outsider's perspective that they'd been trying to snatch the crown for a long time.

Then LJ lipped in. Now that the "tournament" is over, why not bracket. With noting on the line, Austin B "nerds" team, with only a couple of tall guys, beat * the tournament winners.

* is that Dan probably "lifted" and didn't call it. I only saw it out of the corner of my eye, but it looked pretty lifty from Dallas standards. Oops. If it turns out to be true, I expect Dan will put LIFT in giant red letters on the video.

But these things happen...

I think it was a mistake for Austin A to retreat to the poolhouse on Sunday after losing, rather than watching what's going on in the court. Minus the Dan miss on a self call, we're very self conscious about what we do up there. As an outside observer, with Navy as a second outsider who can corroborate, sometimes I saw some things that the locals decided not to call when they were fighting each other. Just sayin...

We do the same things, and they are basically us in terms of experience. All you had to do is listen to David (guy in the white hat on Dallas B, I mean tournament winning team) who was also there last year, describing what happens when they deign to descend on the public pool--the Village:

Mayhem, boobery, and slaughter ensues. A lotta young bloods want to get in and impress their girlfriends, and instead end up not even rotating, and being shocked that the game is over already. But hey, you gotta go find fresh blood who might be able to play, right?

Sound familiar???

So, there are the similarities, here's the differences: Dallas is an older, more technically proficient, forward driving dominate the net on offense and defense minded game.

They are great fighters, but we fight great. Our unorthodox and improvisational style confuses them. Fighting an awkward fighter makes you look awkward. We have certain other game advantages that I won't give away on the public forum, but have been discussed within the traveling squad.

We also start slow and tight, but loosen up as games go on--I've always called that the playing pool better with a buzz on factor, and that we often play for 6 hours or so 2 days a week, so we have a bit more endurance.

Darth Nowell's commentary on the tourney that Dallas technically won, with Dallas playing Dallas, was amusing: "If the results keep going the way they're going, we may have to suspend this tournament." That's a great deal of respect, for both Dallas B that won the tourney and AWVP Austin, which is rapidly approaching parity, even though we are much shorter.

I've put this on the chat list before, but I might as well share it here as well--a private pool is both a blessing and a curse. White hat David said the same thing--if all you do year after year is play each other, you'll get good games, but not anything new. And so far, social media is only sporadically getting any of us something new...

At a big public pool, there will be players, some of them living players (h/t Mikey/Simpsons). And, at least for me, both the haters and the worshipers that you physically run into keep my love of the game warm.

My favorite line this year was from Megan, who apparently has both buns and sense:

"You guys dominate the court, as you should. But do you realize that everyone out here is watching you, and want to be like you?"

That IS something, actually!

But I digress.

I won't go much into game analysis. That's for game film viewing. But I will say this: as much as it pains me, because he was kind of on the bubble, was a controversial pick for several reasons, LJ put in an above average performance--for a change! So he's the Dennis Rodman of this league--doesn't show up very often, but can play big in big games. Fair enough. Good job.

We all played way better than we did last year. But there is still much room for improvement. Agreed?

For future contests, I recommend more transparency, preparation, and unity. I understand the Big 4 are used to playing big, but not making big decisions about who starts A and who plays B. This will become even more difficult when we start thinking about including sanders like Baker, Bumble Bee, Georgie, and Land/Sand Jesus in the mix. My suggestion is this: put your egos aside. Darth Nowell has a certain point to his instructions: bring your best teams and best game, put the pedal to the metal and win big.

Austin B very nearly beat Austin A in Dallas. And it's not like getting even mo better players and mo of them will make our chances of winning, A or B, in Dallas any worse.

In future communications, I propose we refer to our opponents as "AWVP Dallas" and that we play twice a year.

Good times. Good times. Thank you generous hosts!


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:19 am 
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thanks chief great writeup. agreed on all points really. lots of pros and cons to think about, and lots of lessons to learn. i do also agree on watching/supporting the other team. teh natural inclination is to sulk a bit - but instead we need to rally and give support. some of my input

- creeps did lift. it was a two hand under lift that needed to be called. outside of that play the B team was great and should be damn proud of that match.

- they come out disciplined and ready to go. we come out slow, as you say chief. i will say this - that comes to teamwork and coaching. the austin A team was actually only aligned in one game! the one we beat D1 in 15.4. The first three games had me, LJ and Jess ready to go, while Javi, W, and Ford were slow to wake up. then later in the day Javi and W kicked ass. that comes down to teamwork.

- as to A or B team. its a comfy issue in that pool. if austin A and B played for weeks on end the separation of teams would be more pronounced. we just need to get more technically sound so we can mute that needed uptime. both teams.

- as to my A team friends:

- W is our best player and needed to play at 100% for us to have a chance. when he is slow we lose. his serving and hitting was unstoppable once he unhungover himselv

- Javi - sir, i have played 100 games with you and you have dominated one of them. i don't know where your 'on' switch is but i would ask you to find it more often. you absolutely dominated a game out there hitting about 100% on them. before that you complained about teh sun like 20 times and were completely absent for a few games! javi on switch ACTIVATE MAN

- ford/mikie - we both had hitting problems - you long me getting blocked. Ford has the needed elevation whereas i lost my legs mid day sunday. getting old sucks. fords balls (no homo) cleared but went out. i hit 100% with my left hand (all kills) but got blocked 4 times in a row with my right. probably lots of variables there to consider. biggest issue is a long windup for the both of us. some coaching here from others would be good

- LJ played his ass off. near perfect in his role. damn proud of him and happy to fight with him any day. glad he decided to be awake (with me) for the first few games because the two of us combined we confused for a bit there!!!

- Jess played excellent. he was consistent all day(s) long. good passing and fielding. he was a great point forward and a difference maker in every game played. really great play.

austin2 was great. props to navy and dan for great digs and great sets. scott got the most play across teh board!!! he was on 3 of the different teams i believe.

anyway. good times. if we add more talent - i will vote for equal draw teams. i think we learned teamwork AND skills are needed, not just talent.

much love

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 24, 2016 11:40 pm 
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Adding to Mikey's comments:

I don't think it's so much that there were a few roster switches on A team in Dallas that messed with the rhythm once we got there (at least we eschewed 7s! And B did OK having a rotating 6th player as part of the roster). It's that there was no effort before the tourney to get that that team on the court, any court, to practice together.

This could have been done via noon ball, WW, BT, or just selling the project on any given weekend that a Super Team beating the crap out of you for 3 games is a good thing. It's not like it hasn't happened before... : )

Some players being awake and some being asleep is something we deal with on a regular basis. But not having played once as a team in recent history doesn't improve cohesion. We had a whole year to prepare, and, in true Panda Corps fashion, made game time decisions right before game time! That doesn't help in terms of who's doing what, and when. At the minimum, Austin A and B could've sparred. Didn't happen. Rain and chemicals didn't help, but let me reiterate, we had a whole year to prepare...

When you have a team full of hitters, who is passing? Because asking that question can be the split second difference between doing something right, doing something late, or the ball just splashing. This goes to the switch on/switch off comment.

Javi is king of the nerds, because there is very little question who the hitter should be, which means his switch is ON. The key I think is making sure everyone's switch is on at all times in every role. That would be an advantage of ours that needs to be more developed.

I think there was improvement in hitters being passers from last year, but still more room for improvement.

The things that made me sad on Sunday were: all the service errors on A in terms of out or net. In theory, there shouldn't be any. But if you get like 5 in a game, that's your ass, and you know it.

Also, our opponents are really good at identifying setters and hitters on the opposite side--hence where the play is gonna go before it goes. There were a couple of times I pointed out from the sidelines where the play didn't have to go to the strongest hitter we had on the front line because you know they are gonna double block, and the opposite side front row had a mismatch.

Also, gotta not only hit hard, but in. Especially on a short court. There were times where peeps were catching the bottom of the ball, me included!. Advantage is very much to the hitter up there with their wall rules, so dial it in.

I discussed many of these issues with A team point guard. And I expect he will weigh in soon on this. The other addition, if memory serves, based on that conversation is "better first pass" Make it easy. Go where you can.

Because I've never exactly been a fan of designated passer, best explained in Crawfish's line "2 to Chief." That's a suggestion, not a rule! Especially in a big pool like Riata, demanding a play goes a certain way no matter what the serve looks like or where it goes makes me think, "Oh, crap. This is recipe for disaster."

Interchangeable parts is our goal.

Because bringing even more talent, when that talent doesn't know how to play together, is also a recipe for disaster.

For an analogy I will put forth the LA Lakers Super Team from days of yore that included Karl Malone and Gary Payton, who were hated opponents now seeking a ring. Didn't work out very well, did it?

I think bringing sander height, youth, and hitting power next time we roll is a great idea. But it's not a guarantee of victory. Gotta be able to play together, and as a team, so drawing names out of a hat ain't gonna work. Although undergunned B doesn't have too much of a problem with it : )

This involves thought, preparation, and discussion, Pandas. I know it's not our strong suit, but IMHO, it needs to be done if we want to win consistently up there.

In closing, bringing tons of talent that doesn't mesh is not the answer. No matter what comes out of those gates, we have to learn how to work together. If we work together we survive.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:42 pm 
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:51 pm 
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Nerd Team Victory - Day One



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:58 pm 
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Even though I'm on the Nerds team, I don't understand math.

Can someone tell me what the tourney score card means? Some of it makes sense to me in that I see the magic #15. Some of it doesn't.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:53 am 
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great action photos dan!!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:33 pm 
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Here is the score card. What are A, B, C, D?

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:22 am 
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Oh I see.

A = Dallas 2
B = Austin 2
C = Dallas 1
D = Austin 1

Win totals for B, C, and D teams are mixed up at the bottom of the sheet.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 8:35 pm 
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Still confused. What were the scores of each game?

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:52 am 
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Left column is the score. Right column is the number points the winning team won by.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:53 am 
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Last edited by Creepy on Mon Sep 26, 2016 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 10:23 pm 
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Yay game film!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2016 12:16 am 
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2016 1:37 am 
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Dan Rather of this league! Total coverage.

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