by Jim Parinella (2007)
1995 Club Nationals Semis
Here are some criteria for determining BGE:
1. Well played game.
2. Big plays.
3. Close game.
4. Emotional game (helps if there is history between the teams).
6. Significant game.
7. Some back and forth nature.
8. Uniqueness or memorability.
1. True. There were some mistakes, of course, but both teams scored on over half their possessions (well, NY on half, us on 21/35).
2. Yes, yes, yes. We completed a huge number of hucks (9?). One in particular stands out to me, and you may have heard this one. Just before Nationals, Mooney declared that he needed to take the pulls instead of Alex, so he took every one all tournament. At about 13-13, Mooney gets sent out of the game with a concussion, so Al starts taking the pull. At about 16-15, Cribber blades a pull that five-holes Alex and rolls out the back corner, much to the delight of the increasingly large crowd. I'm the Man, and as he walks it up, it looks like they're going to be forcing his backhand to the middle. A very fast Tully Beatty is covering me. I line up about 15-20 yards away, fake in, and then break deep and get a good jump on Tully. Al launches it, but the pass is more crossfield than upfield, and the disc crosses the opposite sideline maybe 30 yards from where he threw it. However, it doesn't go much further than that, and I continue running downfield. Despite my head start, Tully has as good of an angle on it because of the trajectory, and the two of us are running as fast as any two ultimate players have ever run (really, since no one gets to top speed until about 40 yards, and it's rare that you have a 40 yard sprint). The frisbee continues going upfield while hugging the line. Finally, at about two yards outside the endzone, the two of us arrive. I get there a little sooner, and toe the line as I reach OB to grab the disc while Tully flies by the disc trying to block it. I stagger back inbounds, wobble off a forehand to Cork for the goal, and then become suddenly aware of the huge crowd noise.
3. 21-17, half 11-8, one point game as late as 16-15.
4. Very much so. I had trouble speaking afterwards. In addition to the 10 years of matchups, that year was particularly notable. DoG won 1994, looked washup up going into 1995, while NY again had an attitude. They beat us most of the year, including a 17-6 win at Regionals, and went into Nationals seeded 1st.
5. Yessir. In addition to all the big throws and catches from us, NY had their share. Dick also made Bob Deman have a terrible game.
6. Semis at Nats.
7. NY went up 1-0, DoG 4-1, up to 10-6, then 11-8 at half. Tied at 11 and 12, NY (Cojones) takes lead 13-12. DoG has only two turnovers the rest of the game. 14-13 DoG, 16-15, 17-15, trade until a turnover at game point. Coop takes an injury sub after running into Bob on a block in the endzone. Mooney comes back in for the final possession.
8. The matchup wasn't unique, as NY and Boston had faced off at Nats in an elimination match in 1989, 1990, 1992-1994 (1991 they met in pool play). But only the previous year was the game close at the end. And both teams had new looks from the NY dynasty years. And DoG was the defending champ who had been beaten throughout the year, as NY had been in 1992-1993.
by Toad Leber (2007)
I have seen some pretty good games in my day, some of them are ones I've actually played in. But when I think of the best game I ever watched I would have to say that the 1996 NUA All-Star Showcase game, held at UNCW’s College Easterns spring tournament, would be the “Best Ever.” The game pitted top club players from the east coast from Boston to Miami featuring such Ultimate legends as Ken Dobyns, John Barr, Stu Downs and Tully Beatty. Of course this was no ordinary game; this was the first time that the game of Ultimate had featured a fully active 6-man referee crew. There was much excitement and anticipation from the players as they had gathered together that afternoon and ran a practice game with the new rules. Equally there was some skepticism from the fans. My parents happen to attend and were sitting amongst a crew of naysayers. Well, as the game rolled along the fans became pleasantly surprised at the high level of entertainment and continuity that the referee enhancement enabled. The game stayed tight as the two-point line allowed for quick comebacks. The stopped timed periods (three of them at ten minutes long) allowed for strategic time outs and last second hucks as fans counted down,...three,...two,...one. In the end the northern all-stars beat the southern all-stars 21 to 18. The fans walked away from the game with a sense of satisfaction and the players and organizers with a sense of pride. The thing that was the most crucial in this game being the best ever is that it didn’t showcase any particular players or team and there was not a trace of any festive, dogmatic, recreational socialism. Ultimate, as a pure sport, was showcased on that day in a way that has not occurred since.
by Cam (Jan. 2009)
Being a young player (19 yrs old) I have not been around to see pretty much any of it. I must say however, I had an incredible chance to play for my Canada at Worlds in Vancouver this past summer and with this came a chance to see 2 incredible games. Both being finals games, USA and Canada in both open and mixed finals. But I must say, the open game was AMAZING! By far the best game I have EVER seen, on film, live, anything (which like I said isn't as much as you guys). But if you were able to be there, it was incredible. It had everything, almost a full game of good spirit, great athletes at their best on both sides. A nail biter, coming down to the end. Unexpected heroes (Mark Roberts specifically) and some of the most wild plays and most beautiful throws you can have in such a cluch game, and all of it being played in the rain making the skill and the plays that much better. Not to mention how electric a full Thunderbird Stadium was. This game should definitely be considered one of the best game, at least of the new millenium.
Ten Most Exciting Games I've Ever Seen
by Sholom (Eric) Simon (2007)
There are many components that make a game exciting. Certainly a close score, maybe even overtime. The lead actually changing hands is good, as opposed to simply trading goals. The ultimate would be each team having possession of the disc when they are at "point game." Throw in some diving blocks, and some hanging bombs that may not have been the best throw, but caught by some spectacular skying. Add in some real drama, no "prelim games" here, but semis and finals of important tournaments. To heighten the drama, add some good historical notes and personal stories; stories of opportunities seized or missed. Maybe a rematch of a game, sometimes from a year earlier which left a stinging memory.
I've been to a lot of tournaments (every UPA Nationals, and most of the UPA College Nationals, for example), but, of course, there are many more which I've never seen. I only see one Fall Regionals per year, and I've read about some great games from Regionals other than the Mid-Atlantic.
Nevertheless, here's my list. It's sure to bring back great memories for those who have witnessed them, and those who were lucky enough to play in them. For most, I hope that this conveys some of the excitement that I felt as an avid sports fan watching these games.
1. Santa Barbara vs. Stanford. Finals, UPA College Nationals, Wilmington, N.C., May 28, 1989.
This game marked the end of an era; the era of college teams being led by older, experienced players who were getting graduate degrees. Indeed, both these teams were lead by players whose eligibility would have expired years before had the "5-year" rule been in effect. In any event, some observers thought that this game would settle the question of "who was the dominant college team in the 1980's." No team had ever won two Nationals, but here were two teams that had each won one, and so the winner would make history.
Stanford, who had been tainted by winning the Western Regional with an ineligible player, had the added incentive of trying to prove they were the best team without the extra player. Santa Barbara, in the meantime, was the defending champion, and wanted to repeat.
This four hour game was the most exciting I've ever seen. In the second half alone there were six lead changes. Instead of trading goals, the teams seemed to trade two goals at a time. And every time a team would score two to take the lead and threaten to run away, the other team would score two. Both teams had many chances to win with possession of the disc. The score finally reached 21 all, and Santa Barbara scored to lead 22-21. Stanford, in possession of the disc threw a 50 yard pass that was incomplete. The defender immediately picked up the disc, threw a 10 foot outlet pass to another player, who quickly threw a bomb to a player sprinting to the end zone. Santa Barbara finally won 23-21.
2. Knights of Nee vs. Glassboro. Finals, Mid-Atlantic Regionals, Washington, D.C., November 8, 1981.
Some day in the future, when games are played in stadiums and have official scorekeepers, I hope that timed games are brought back. The biggest reason is that the games are more exciting. Sure, it's tough to beat the excitement in a game where the game is tied at 20-20 and capped at 21. But how about a game tied at 20 with a minute and a half left? The team not only has to score, but must do it under a time limit. And if they score too quickly, the other team might have a chance to tie it back up. Can anything match being behind by one with less than ten seconds left and only ten yards away from the end zone? This game had all that, and more.
Glassboro State College, in southern New Jersey was "the little school that could." Rutgers, another New Jersey school, years earlier had invented the zone defense, but Glassboro perfected it. Their zone carried them to the first ever UPA National Championship in the Spring of 1979. Few thought that they could repeat in 1980, especially when the nationals were moved to the Fall. This move was thought to put the college teams at a severe disadvantage.
The Nee were no slouches either. In fact most of them had graduated from "the mighty 'Boro," and, although their zone was not quite what the 'Boro's zone was, they had a great offense. But during the fall of 1981, 'Boro was undefeated against the Nee, beating them the week before in the New Jersey SSectionals. Some people believe that the 1981 Glassboro team was the best team in the Nation that year.
The day was warm and the air calm as the teams began the game; but, of course, both zones were effective. blah blah blah.
The Nee was down 13-12 with about 3:00 left, but Glassboro had the disc. All they needed to do was run out the clock, and they were excellent at it. Indeed, in the finals of the 1979 UPA Nationals, they ran out the clock passing the disc back and forth in their own end zone as Santa Barbara frantically tried to get a block. 'Boro won that game 14-13. The Nee, in order to force the turnover, had to switch to a man-to-man defense. Finally, a miscommunicated cut combined with a not-to-good throw to cause the tournover the Knights needed. They took possession and were patient against the zone, eating up almost all of the clock at they marched towards Glassboro's end zone. With about 30 seconds left they stood at 10 yards from the goal line, swing the disc back and forth looking for an opening. Finally with eight seconds left, Nee's Frank Bono from the left side line, floated a back hand up the line and towards the back of the end zone. The disc was actually about a foot out the back of the end zone when a Kevin "Igor" Harper of Nee grabbed the disc, twisted, and landed with his toes just inches inside the line for the tying score. Harper, a Glassboro graduate, had started the Knights of Nee, but had graduated early enough that he had never played in the UPA Nationals. Bono, on the other hand, was awarded the MVP at the 1980 Nationals for his sterling "middle-middle" defensive play for the 'Boro.
In the overtime, neither team threw an incomplete pass as both teams scored one, and the Nee had the disc, again with about 40 seconds left and about 10 yards from the end zone. Again they swung the disc back and forth looking for an opening. Finally, with about 15 seconds left the disc was swung to the left, and Glassboro's wing on the defense was a bit slow to cover the line. The reciever of the swing pass zipped the disc to Kenny Duva, standing in the front corner of the end zone for the winning score. With seconds left, the Nee threw-off, and Boro forced to bomb the disc, did so. The pass was blocked, the only incomplete of the entire overtime. The Nee went on to the Nationals, where they took a solid lead over Santa Barbara into the second half of the finals before losing. They came back to New Jersey stunned. The former two-time champs from Glassboro knew how they felt.
3. Fisheads vs. Spinsters. Finals, UPA Nationals, New Orleans, November 27, 1983.
To this day I believe that the best Fishead team was the one they had in 1982. They had an incredible meltdown in the 1982 UPA Finals, and were soundly trounced by Zulu. A few players had left after that season, and for many, 1983 would be their last year with the Fisheads. They were inspired, determined to make the mark in history that they felt they should have made the year before.
The Spinsters, who had players from both previous women's champions (B.L.U., and Zulu), held a two-goal lead in the second half when an incredible cold front whipped through New Orleans. In the space of about 10 seconds, the weather changed from a balmy day of about seventy to the mid-forties, rain, and extreme wind. It was a great stroke of luck for the Spinsters, because, suddenly, they had a two-goal lead and the wind. They closed out the half scoring down-wind to take a 8-5 lead, and began the second half with the knowledge that the Fisheads would have to score two more up-wind goals than they in order two win.
In the second half, teams traded down-wind goals to make it 9-6. At 10-7, when the Fisheads scored down-wind to make it 10-8, the cap went on the game, making it a game to 12. The Spinsters scored quickly down-wind to make it 11-8, and the Fisheads did the same to make it 11-9. The Fisheads now faced point game and a stiff wind in their faces. A wind against which neither team had scored. The Fisheads did the near impossible; they scored up wind, and then got the following down winder to tie the game at 11. After a few turnovers, the Fishies worked the disc up wind to about 10 yards from the goal line. The wind started to die down, and a completed pass into the end zone brought a moment of stunned silence to both teams. The Spinsters couldn't believe they had lost, and a few of the Fisheads hesitated before they realized they had won.
4. Windy City-Titanic. Semifinals; UPA Nationals, Miami, November 29, 1987.
This game produced the first overtime semifinal game in nationals history. Titanic, as they had done all tournament long, fell behind early. In pool play they had gone 5-0, each time rallying to win. One of those victories was an 18-17 time-capped game against the L.A. Drivers. In another game they fell behind the top seed in the West, Tsunami, 7-3, and then rolled to a 19-14 victory. In this game, Windy City led at the half 11-8. Windy City took a 14-10 lead before Titanic came storming back to tie 14-14. Titanic then took the lead, and had the advantage when the teams started trading goals as they approached 21. Although Titanic played a more wide-open game than anyone else in the tourney, Windy City was probably the only other team that seemed to depend on the bomb. With Titanic up 21-20, the teams played an incredibly long but very exciting point. There was a diving attempt at the would-be winning goal by Titanic. Windy City marched back down and was about to tie but a diving block in the end zone gave Titanic the disc back. The tension mounted. More turnovers occurred, most of them with diving bodies in the end zone. Finally, Windy City tied the game at 21. The point seemed to have lasted 15 to 20 minutes. And then just like that, it was over. Titanic had two drops, the last one in their own end zone on an outlet pass against a zone, and Windy City converted each one quickly to win 23-21.
5. Zephyrs-Cool Mama Seven, Finals, Mid-Atlantic Regionals, Raleigh, N.C., November 9, 1986.
The Zephyrs were defending regional champs, but had only brought nine players to the tournament. CMS had a full squad, many of them inexperienced players. The resulting match up made it the most exciting and the best women's regional finals I've ever witnessed. The quality of play was excellent. There were a surprising number of crucial diving catches in the end zone, as well an crucial diving blocks. Both teams switched defenses effectively. The teams virtually traded goals for the entire first half and CMS took a 9-8 lead going into half-time.
In the second half of this final game to 17 (cap 19), the Zephyrs scored a few, and were leading 12-11 when they scored three straight to make it 15-11. The Zephyrs then actually completed a pass into the end zone for what should have been a 16-11 lead, but before a goal was called, it was played into a turnover. Two quick bombs and CMS scored to make it 15-12. The Zephyrs let down a bit as CMS came back to 15-14. The Philadelphians were exhausted, but they always seemed to have one more goal in them. The Zephyrs scored to make it 16-14. It was "one goal to Nationals", but CMS again scored three straight to take the lead 17-16. CMS pulled off, got the turnover and marched right to the Zephyr goal line, but a great interception stopped CMS. The Zephyrs tied the game at 17. During the next point, each team made a goal saving block before CMS scored. CMS scored again and won 19-17.
6. Windy City-Titanic. Semifinals; UPA Nationals, San Diego, November 27, 1988.
The same teams that produced the first ever overtime semifinal game in UPA Nationals history were matched a year later in the semis. Titanic's history of being denied by Windy City was longer than the overtime loss the year before. In 1985, Titanic's first year, both teams were in the same pool. Windy City's 19-18 victory had denied Titanic the chance to make the semis.
The game began almost as a repeat of the year before. Windy City took the lead in the first half, and began to extend it the second half. Titanic caught up took a lead and Windy City tied it at 21 all. Who knows how much deja vu the players were feeling as the only other overtime game in UPA Nationals semifinal history was being played out.
7. Kansas U.-U.C. Davis, Finals, College Nationals, Penn State, May 25, 1987.
This game was the finals to the first ever women's division at College Nationals. Seven teams competed, and the format was a round-robin, followed by semis and finals. The team from Kansas, Betty, actually finished fourth in the round-robin, then beat the pool-winner, Humboldt, 15-13 in the semis. The Davis Cats, finished third, losing two two-point games. They had only brought nine players, so it was quite a surprise that they came out so strong on the third day, beating U. Mass' Zulu 15-9 in the other semi.
So it was a Betty-Davis final (couldn't resist that one), a game to 17. The first half was well-played, each team struggling for a lead and neither willing to relinquish it. The teams traded goals to 3. Davis led 5-3, but Betty tied it again at 6 and at 7. At the end of the half Davis scored two to lead 9-7. The second half was incredibly exciting. Davis led 13-10, then 14-12; things started to look grim for Betty, who, at that point, still had never led in the game. But then, using several well-thrown huck-to-the-end zone plays, Betty scored four straight to lead 16-14. But Davis refused to die, and scored three to take the lead 17-16. (During that time, a cap had become effective, and game was to 18). Betty tied it at 17, and the teams found themselves, after three grueling days of play, in a game to 1 for the first ever Women's National Collegiate title. Each team turned the disc over. Betty threw to the end zone; a Davis player leaped and deflected the disc past the intended receiver, but another Betty player caught it for the victory in the first ever overtime finals in UPA Nationals history, college or open.
8. Flying Circus-Kaboom, Finals, UPA Nationals, Washington D.C., October 27, 1985.
I don't think any team in history fit the description of "score only when needed" better than the Kaboom squad of the Fall of 1985. This team actually finished in second in their UPA Sectional! At the Northeast Regionals, a game-ending rally enabled them to escape with a one-point time-capped win to take second place (where only two teams qualified). The trend continued at Nationals where they won each prelim game by a score of 19-16, except a 19-15 victory over the winless COGZ.
On to the semis, and Kaboom fell behind Windy City 9-6 before tying the game at 11. The cap was placed on at 15 all, and Kaboom scored the last two to win 17-15. Their opponents in the Finals was Flying Circus. They had had two close games in the prelims, but won handily in their others, including a 19-11 semifinal victory over the Tunas.
So Kaboom and Flying Circus faced off in the finals. Unfortunately for Kaboom, their captain, Kenny Dobbyns, had been badly injured in the semis. He did manage to play a couple of points in the finals, but two days later he was having knee surgery. Circus jumped off to a quick lead, 4-2, and extended their lead to 11-7 right before the half. The opening point of the second half was a long one; Circus finally scored to make it 12-7. Goals were traded to 15-9 and Kaboom seemed to be put away. But Kaboom pulled themselves back in the game with tough defense and flawless offense as they scored five to bring the game to 15-14. But so often a tough comeback like that will wear a team out. Flying Circus answered back with four of their own. With the game to 21, their 19-14 lead seemed very secure, but Kaboom came back with three more: 19-17. Circus scored one, but Kaboom scored two and the score was 20-19. Every pass was contested, nearly every play exciting. The stadium crowd was literally on its feet with excitement for the last two points. The next point was a long and deliberate one, and it needed both of Circus' remaining time-outs. Flying Circus finally scored, winning 21-19 in one of the more exciting final games in UPA Nationals history.
Honorable Mention: Rutgers vs. Hampshire, Finals, National Championships, Amherst, Mass., April 25, 1976.
This game, and it's history, probably bear little resemblance to ultimate today. Wham-O's 165's had yet to be invented (teams used the new G-Series Master). Games were timed, 24 minute halves, and tournaments were single elimination. This tournament was the first to be called the "National Championships" although it was generally considered to be the second such tournament; the year before teams had competed at the "Intercollegiate Championships."
Sixteen teams showed up, a record for any tournament to that date. Rutgers was the defending champion, and possessors of "the streak." They had not lost a game in over two years, and went into the finals with an incredible 44 consecutive wins. Hampshire College was the runner up the year before. Sunday morning began a time-honored tradition: rain for the finals. Several hundred spectators lined the field, most of them rooting for the home-town underdogs. The game started off very close, as the scored was tied at 5, then again at 6 and 7. Hampshire then scored three to take the lead 10-7, and Rutgers called a time-out. Hampshire continued to pour it on, and took a 12-8 lead. At 12-9 Rutgers abandoned their zone defense. This was quite a turn of events. Rutgers had invented the zone, and they had played it every minute of every game that year. Could they deal with playing an essentially new defense in the finals of the championships? Rutgers tied it at 13 as time ran out on the first half.
Hampshire scored first in the second half; soon the score was 15-14. That was the last lead Hampshire held. Rutgers scored two to take the lead 16-15. At 18-16 Hampshire just ran out of gas. Rutgers poured it on, making it 22-18, and then scored the last five of six goals to win 27-19. Rutgers extended their win streak to 45 games, and won their second national championships.
Zephyrs vs Grits, October ?? 1990, Loser's bracket finals, Mid-Atlantic Regionals.
The stage was set - Zephyrs and Grits for the last spot at Nationals. All the other games, open and women, were over, and the fans settled down on the hill to watch. It was a very tough game, with hard fought points, but the Zephyrs seemed to be the only team converting. The Zephyrs ended the half up 8-3. The teams traded two more points to 10-5. The Grits scored, and scored again. Suddenly, after these long points, it was the Zephyrs that couldn't convert. The Grits tied the game, went ahead, and then scored another one. In all the Grits scored 7 straight points to take the lead 12-10. The Zephyrs scored one, then the Grits scored 3 more to win 15-11, scoring the last 10 of 11 points of the game in an incredible comeback. North Carolina women's ultimate has come a long way. Ultimate started there a few years after other areas in the Region, and it seemed they just couldn't catch up. This year, though, they put it together, qualifying for Nationals for the first time.