1995 Arizona State Flying Disc Championships

December 11-12, Vista Del Camino Park, Scottsdale

Last year's AZ states featured one of the more unusual semifinals rounds in recent DDC history. Normally you wouldn't think that a team could lose two out of three games in a round-robin format with four teams, and still make the finals. I didn't either, but then I hadn't ever sat down with pencil and paper to see if it could be done. That Saturday afternoon, I was saved the effort.

The four teams to make the semis were, in order of seeding:

  1. Jon and I, defending state champions, not known for consistency.
  2. Harvey and Robbie, defending world champions, known for consistency.
  3. Danny and Al, tons of experience and offensive firepower.
  4. Tom and Bobby, fairly new, not expected to contend.

Prognosticators gave Harvey and Robbie one of the two spots in the finals, with the other going to the winner of the game between Danny/Al and Jon/Conrad. They jumped out to a big lead of 8-1 in a game to fifteen. We fought back, but there was too much ground to make up and Danny and Al won 15-12.

After beating a pesky Tom/Bobby 15-11, Jon and I figured we needed to beat Harvey and Robbie by a fair amount to maintain any hope of making the finals. Well, we didn't beat them. And it wasn't close. Unfocused and uninspired, we lost 15-4. I went to go help run accuracy as Jon considered retirement.

As I signed players up for accuracy, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that there was a pretty good game going on between Al/Danny and Tom/Bobby. They switched sides at 15-15, with the win-by-two rule in effect. Bobby, a young new player from San Diego, had found his way into "the zone". He was a catching machine playing front (including a soak of a potential game-winner by Al that Bobby caught after it had passed his head) and throwing some major heat. With a 19-18 lead, Tom/Bobby doubled Al/Danny to win 21-18.

Here's where it gets interesting. Harvey/Robbie go 3-0, so they're in. But all three of the other teams are 1-2.

First tiebreaker: Head-to-head record among tied teams. Among the three of us, we were all 1-1.

Second tiebreaker: Point differential.

Tom/Bobby: +3, -4 for -1.
Danny/Al: +3, -3 for 0.
Jon/Conrad: +4, -3 for +1.

Jon and Conrad go to the finals. Tom and Bobby are awarded third place due to their head-to-head victory over the other tied team. An interesting point about the tiebreakers is that Danny/Al, had they known exactly what was going on, could have intentionally served out when down 18-19 to only lose by two, in which case they would have gone to the finals (how is left as an exercise for the reader).

After losing to Harvey/Robbie so badly in the semis, all I was hoping for in the finals was some good DDC. So I wasn't too disappointed when we lost the first game in the best-of-three match 15-13. Jon had found his focus, which helped my game also, and we won the next game 15-12.

The third game was definitely exciting. Both teams were escaping well, and with the great weather there were few unforced errors. Jon and I had match point at 14-12 and I can remember thinking "Just play smart and throw in until one of them makes a mistake." That didn't happen - you can wait a long time for Harvey or Robbie to make a mistake, and they tied the score at 14-14. I ended the next rally with a slow wrist-flop burn that was good, and the rally after that with one that was short.

We switched at 15-15, and Harvey/Robbie got the next point. Trailing 15-16 with the match on the line, Jon threw an offside two-finger that triggered bad memories of the finals in Aspen when the same shot slid out by inches to end the finals there. This one stayed, and we were back in the match. We got the next point and the situation was reversed. During the next rally, they came at us with an attack that had started working for them: Harvey's nose-up scoober lead shot followed by Robbie's two-finger dump. I jumped to tip Harvey's lead and struggled a bit to catch it because both my calves had cramped. Wondering where Jon's off was, I turned around and found out that Robbie's dump had rolled out the back, and I was greeted by a very happy Jon.

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