Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Potlatch

I've always been ambivalent about Potlatch. It's fun, sure, and silly and ridiculous but all too often the ultimate is frustrating and unpleasant. So it was with great dread that I traveled up to Seattle with the family to hang out while Mizu played Muck-a-muck. (If there is one thing that is certainly true - Potlatch is awful if you're not playing. Don't do it.) Here's what I learned:

Potlatch is a great tournament for kids.
Unlike a college tournament or Regionals or ECC, there are a zillion adults looking to tap into their inner kid. I can't count the number of people my daughters suckered into playing one ridiculous game after another. Add in costumes, props and giant blow-up toys and you have Disney-land without the $250 a day price tag. I spent two days supervising, but not entertaining. Big thanks especially to Trish, Nij and Captain Crunch.

Until Tom Crawford goes to Potlatch and Poultry Days, he won't understand ultimate.
Ultimate has always had two faces: absurd and serious. This contradiction is built into the very fabric of the sport. Don't believe it? Take a half step back and watch a man spend all his disposable income to scream like a blood-encrusted Viking beserker about touching a round little piece of plastic.
Crawford and Deaver are working as hard as they can to move ultimate away from its ridiculous, silly, hippie roots. I don't always agree with what they are doing, but at least in Deaver's case I know he understands what he is doing. Crawford? No. Until he has tried to throw a forehand while wearing a cardboard box decorated like a box of Wheaties or catch a breath on the Smoke Field, I won't trust him.

People need to step up.
An ongoing complaint of mine is that people don't bring it like they should. A potlatch is about over-the-top and wasteful extravagance. A trip to Value Village and Archie McFee's doesn't cut it. Get real costumes. Get some sweet props. Build a giant structure. Here are some unused themes:
Cars. Build a couple (or more) wheeled cars to push around the field. I'm not really sure how this would work, but imagine a having vehicles to race or joust on or throw water balloons from and all it takes is a couple sets of knobby wheels and plywood.
Tricycle velodrome. The name says it all. Just keep Damien Scott and Mike Grant away from it.
The Duelists. Wrestling. Foam swords. Paint ball guns. You don't like my foul call? I want satisfaction.

Success in Muckamuck depended on your shirts.
CUT had spray-painted tees. Texas had ugly tie-dyes. UW and Oregon had mismatched old jerseys. Ho-dangs and the Tweeties? Full uniforms. On the women's side, the robotically identical Stanford beat Carleton in the final. While Mizu Kinney and Kate Clark played valiantly for Syzygy, their plain white t-shirts didn't match and ruined the Northfielders' chances.

Congrats to Frankus.
Frankus Flores of Downtown Brown made it 20 straight Potlatches this year. That's all but the first two. Nice work!

1 comment:

  1. Did our Magic School Bus get the job done? I mean I know our costumes fell apart along with our bus, but does the effort count? I fully agree with your perspective though.
    -Shy

    ReplyDelete