2018-2019 Day 16

Long Live Sandy!!! The Sandy paddle gives Feeney the clean sweep. Here’s the scores from last night. We can now do the 4th round for the top 10 players. But everything else has to wait until the results of the matches between Bama, Tim, Clint and Garrett on Sunday, February 10. There’s still also a final 3rd round match between Brach, Spike, Liverpool and Yosh that has yet to be played.

Group S will be Brian, Feeney, Cody and Grant.

The games I’m trying to make sure they happen are Brian vs. Feeney, Feeney vs. Cody, and Cody vs. Grant. Ethan’s played everyone at the top here already. So there’s three original matches and three re-matches. But that’s common at the top.

Group T will be a sextet to make sure most of the matches are original. Ethan, Keegan, Cedar, Steve, Haynes and Corey will play with the final spots in A on the line.

And now, last night’s scores.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Feeney 22 16 21 21 3
Haynes 20 21 9 12 1
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Ethan 21 21 21 3
Matt 14 2 6 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Feeney 23 21 21 3
Matt 21 11 12 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Ethan 21 22 21 3
Haynes 11 20 16 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Ethan 13 14 8 0
Feeney 21 21 21 3
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Haynes 21 21 21 3
Matt 15 13 16 0

2018-2019 Day 15

No recap.  Just doing scores.  I wasn’t there.  All matches were straight set wins.  But there were two jumps in the standings.  Grant and Corey both moved up a few spots.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Keegan 21 21 21 3
Van 12 15 8 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Grant 21 21 21 3
Corey 8 14 14 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Keegan 7 14 16 0
Corey 21 21 21 3
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Grant 21 21 21 3
Van 16 15 17 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Corey 21 21 21 3
Van 18 11 16 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Keegan 10 11 14 0
Grant 21 21 21 3

2018-2019 Day 14

I wish I had the time to do a proper recap, cause there was a lot to write about. Two of the matches went 5. Only one was a sweep. There was a 25-23 game. And though there were no real upsets, there was almost an upset. But I simply don’t have the time to do a full recap, so here’s the scores and highlights.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Grant 18 21 21 19 21 3
Matt 21 14 16 21 13 2

At the main table, Grant vs. Matt was almost the one true upset. The best game was the 4th, when Matt came back from a 19-14 deficit to win the final 7 straight, with most of them hitting the net.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Feeney 21 21 18 21 3
Bama 17 18 21 15 1

Feeney brought this paddle and it was amazing. You can buy these for $5 a paddle. I love that’s it’s actually called Sandy. Like they’re doing nothing to hide how crappy it is. Is there anything below this? Do they make a paddle called Woody?

sandy

Feeney brought two of them and Bama decided to use it, in preparation for his match against Grant, to deaden the spin. But he’s now a convert.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Feeney 21 21 11 21 3
Matt 13 16 21 6 1

On the main table, the turnaround from 21-11 to 6-21 is one of the most dramatic in PPPL history. But the record will likely never be broken. In season 3, Erin’s work friends Zach and Kiel, in a showing of true Ping Pong Rebellion, played back-to-back games where Kiel won 21-1 and then Zach won 21-1.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Grant 21 21 21 3
Bama 15 16 18 0

Best thing about this cave match was Bama singing Sandy from Grease. The paddle has taken its hold.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Feeney 21 21 16 12 21 3
Grant 17 19 21 21 11 2

Great match-up on the main table. Grant, in typical fashion, dropped the first two and then tried to go for the three-game sweep. But even though this season the trend has been the winner of game four taking game five, that didn’t happen in either of the 5-set matches last night. There were some issues though adjusting to the new table orientation. One day we’ll pour concrete in their to even everything out. But until then, it’s an uphill downhill battle in there.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Matt 25 21 10 21 3
Bama 23 16 21 17 1

This one in the cave featured the only injury of the night. Bama showed blood. I don’t know what happened, I only know that the call of “BLOOD” was heard throughout the lands.

And now with the Matt-Bama match-up decided, we can finally do the last four groupings of the third round.

Ethan, Feeney, Haynes and Matt. And Bama, Clint, Garrett and Tim. We’ll start looking for potential dates once the Winter League schedule is out.

2018-2019 Day 13

No major recap, cause it’s awards season at Fox, and Lei-Out stuff is taking most of my time not devoted to awards season (or the transition from Fox to Disney, including the stress of being told Monday we were supposed to get the email telling us whether or not we’re being retained by Disney, and it’s now Wednesday and we still haven’t gotten the email. Merry Christmas Disney!)

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Andy 17 18 21 12 1
Alex 21 21 13 21 3

Alex had never beaten me in a league match. Until now. He was beating me in practices, but I thought once it was the real thing, that would change. Nope. He’s much better. He claims it’s because the of extra room he gets with the new alignment of the main table There’s truth in that he’s been arguing for years now that he plays better with more space. But the reality is he was beating me in practices when the table was aligned the other way also, so that’s not it alone. He’s just simply returning a higher percentage of shots, and my general practice of trying to soft toss shots over the net against him that usually gets me points wasn’t working. Kudos my friend.

Nothing to report in any of the other matches. There were no upsets, and they were all sweeps.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Dot 21 21 21 3
Thies 8 15 11 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Alex 21 21 21 3
Dot 12 9 18 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Andy 21 21 21 3
Thies 7 9 16 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Andy 21 21 21 3
Dot 18 19 12 0
Player 1 2 3 Sets
Alex 21 21 21 3
Thies 5 6 13 0

There’s still a path into B for me, but it means I’m going to have to beat Garrett in the final round of matches. And will likely have to sweep him. Garrett swept Alex, and I lost to Alex in 4. So if it comes down to the 3 of us vying for the final spot in B, I would probably need that sweep. BUT if Garrett wins any of his 3rd round matches against Clint, Tim or the loser of Matt vs. Bama on January 6, then I’m almost certainly in C regardless. Alex’s ticket to B depends largely on the results of the 3rd round match between Clint and Garrett. If Garrett beats Clint, then Alex could get in by beating Clint in the last rounds. So it’s interesting that Alex and my fates in B rest on that specific match. I need Clint to win, and Alex needs Garrett to win. The date of that match-up won’t even be set until the results of the Matt vs. Bama game on January 6, because the loser of that moves into the Tim, Garrett, Clint group, and the winner moves into the Ethan, Feeney, Haynes group.

There’s no other matches that will happen before the new year I don’t think.

Spike, Brach, Yosh and Liverpool were postponed from the game they were supposed to play tonight. And I don’t believe Grant, Keegan, Van and Corey found a date to play before the new year.

If that’s the case, have a Happy Holidays everyone, and we’ll return to action in January.

2018-2019 Day 12

No write up from Brian, except the following:
Cedar. brought. beer.
Happy f**king Holidays,
B
This is from Cody:

By the time I got there (8:30/2 hours late after coming straight from Malibu where I was shooting a music video the previous 2 days for the song “2 Months”, by upcoming singer/songwriter John the Blind @johntheblind #JohnTheBlind), they were on the last match of the night with just a couple games to go.

I didn’t know the game score between Ceder and Steve- because as I mentioned, I had only just arrived; but it seemed like a pretty good matchup.

While the 2 of them played, I switched my socks and shoes. I had been wearing the Adidas Supernova Riot boost in green and white all day. These are a really great trail / outdoor shoe. The boost material only covers the heel, but don’t let that scare you away. Really comfortable and very reasonably priced usually under $100.

I switched to my Adidas D Rose Lakeshore Ultras. This is the like the less expensive version of the dRose 7 – so the materials are a bit cheaper and there’s no boost at all- which is what I prefer for ping pong matches.

The vaporizer I use is a Storz and Bickel Mighty. In my opinion, it’s the best on the market. German engineered and manufactured. You pay for it, but it’s worth every penny.
I had a mix of what was supposedly Jack Herer and Sunset Sherbert strains, but the Jack flavor was way off. The SS was fine. SS’s usually a pretty basic OG taste, but sometimes I’ve found it to have a really great purple flavor. This one didn’t have that unfortunately. Recently, I’ve been trying to budget myself a little better, so the quality of the weed has suffered. Not like it’s ditch weed, but like midgrade indoor that probably has mold or chemicals you don’t wanna be inhaling into your body but you’ve been doing it your whole adult life and who can afford $80 eighths anyway so what’s another few ounces of black market weed gonna do right?

Anyway, I got sufficiently normalized and came back into Steve waiting for me. As you can see from the box score, it was an awesome match. 1-1-1-1-1! Looking back at the actual scores, it felt way closer than that to me on all the games. He had some trouble figuring out my serve, and that’s what probably helped me come out on top.

Ceder was next. He was cold and I was just warming up. Also I think he was trying to get out so he gave me a bunch of points. This should’ve been a closer match and probably will be next time.

Fucking Brian. I got the first one cuz he was cold and I was in the deep groove at that point. But I had a feeling that’s all I’d get, and mentioned it to everyone in the room. I was right. Self fulfilling prophecy? Perhaps. But if it is, I promised him I’d get 2 the next time… so we’ll see

I was completely wiped out by the end of all of that, but it was an awesome night and can’t wait for the next one

Match 1 Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5
Brian 21 20 21 21
Steve 12 22 12 13
Match 2 Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5
Brian 21 21 21
Cedar 17 17 18
Match 3 Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5
Steve 15 19 10
Cedar 21 21 21
Match 4 Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5
Steve 12 21 10 21 16
Cody 21 18 21 14 21
Match 5 Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5
Cedar 21 13 15 21
Cody 15 21 21 23
Match 6 Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4 Game 5
Brian 14 21 21 21
Cody 21 16 7 18

2018-2019 Day 11

Can’t spend much time on recaps because of work and Lei-Out stuff. So here’s just highlights.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Haynes 17 21 21 21 3
Van 21 12 19 16 1

Haynes completely changes his style after the game one loss. You could see it right in the first 5 points that he served. More aggressive for sure. Van also started slamming more later in the match. Barely did it at all in game one, and only a few times in game 2. These guys spent so much time warming up that the match in the cave was halfway through their 2nd game before they got going.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Steve 21 21 21 3
Garrett 14 18 6 0

Didn’t see any of it. All I did see was the yummy sourdough bread that Steve brought me as a gift.

sourdough

You may begin drooling.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Steve 23 18 17 14 1
Van 21 21 21 21 3

The upset of the night. This was a game of power meets power with both of them slamming it a lot at each other. The ball kept flying past players so much that they had to set up boxes in front of the door of the cave to keep all the balls out. (Because we kept the alignment from the day when it rained. So the main table is sideways. And thus, slams occasionally get hit into the cave.) But the garage is longer than it is wide, so there’s more room to step back behind the table. We might keep this alignment. We’ll see.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Haynes 21 21 22 3
Garrett 19 16 20 0

Garrett almost getting wins in these, but just falling short in the cave. In terms of overall point spread, this is tied for the closest three set loss of the year with the Alex/Yosh match. Last year I also lost to Haynes in 3 by the same total of 9 points. So I feel the frustration. What’s the record for lowest overall point diff in a 3-set match? The answer is 7. It happened twice. In 2014-2015 Alex beat Seth 21-18, 23-21 and 21-19. In 2015-2016 Peter beat Jeanine 23-21, 21-18 and 22-20.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Steve 21 19 21 21 3
Haynes 19 21 15 14 1

Two come from behind wins in the first two as Steve battled back twice from 11-14 and 17-19 deficits to win game 1. In game two Haynes was up 15-9 when Steve called Haynes out for serving out of bounds. With the extra space in the main room, Haynes was serving deep and wide of the table. After making Haynes serve closer, Steve went on a 7 point run to go up 16-15. But that was the last lead Steve had and Haynes went up 20-16 before Steve nearly forced OT. Steve then controlled the final two games.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Van 21 20 21 21 3
Garrett 12 22 13 16 1

Didn’t see this one in the cave, but kudos to Garrett for getting his first game win of the night.

The final match-ups of the second round won’t happen until January when Feeney gets back from vacation. But in the meantime we’ll be able to start on the bottom groupings for Round 3 since those won’t be impacted by the results of the Feeney/Grant/Bama/Matt group.

2018-2019 Day 10

I was not there last night. Well, I WAS there at the start of the night, but Erin’s plane flight to San Francisco was cancelled (fucking rain), and like a dutiful husband I went to go pick her up. (Note, I did not take her to the airport this morning for her new flight when she left at 6AM. You can only do so much in marriage. That’s why God invented Uber.)

So here’s Corey with the recap from last night. Note, Corey was doing this off the top of his head. I added the scores afterwards.

Round 1

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Cedar 21 21 21 3
Clint 14 14 11 0

Cedar beats Clint 3-0 on main stage, scores very consistent. The big news was due to rain, the table in the main room was rotated 90 degrees for flooding. Lighting was tough on side closer to the cave. That was also the wet side of the court so clearly one side seemed easier to play than the other.

frisbees
(I took a photo of the Frisbees used to prop up the table to make it level. Ingenuity people. – Andy)

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Corey 21 21 21 3
Spike 11 10 9 0

Corey beats Spike 3-0 in the cave. Highlight was me discussing during warm up (as I have with many of you) that bank shots in the cave should be legal. Fast forward to game point, set 2, and Spike hits a nice smash way out wide on my forehand side, it’s the winner he needs to extend the set. I futility lunge out with as far a reach & smash return as I’m capable, and somehow I hit a perfect racquetball/squash-style ricochet shot that goes off the wall and back onto the table for a clean beautiful winner (if banks were allowed). Spike, as he and I both laugh loudly, proclaims the shot to be good and gives me the game, I’m up 2-0 . Best bank shot ever hit in the cave!

Round 2

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Cedar 21 21 22 21 3
Spike 13 10 24 11 1

Spike “wins” what I would call the upset of the night by taking one game off Cedar in their 3-1 match. Cedar’s an A level playoffs guy (he is a former A league finalist, after all). Spike didn’t get out of the B quarters. He said in that one game he was hitting every shot.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Corey 21 21 21 3
Clint 16 18 18 0

Corey takes Clint 3-0. Despite the score in sets, this was a very evenly matched match. Big long rallies with heavy doses of smash and defense. First two probably tied around 16-16 and I got a few shots in a row to clinch each game. The last I was up a few and had to hang on against a furious comeback. We match up very evenly and it smelled a lot like a B bracket finals preview. Like I said, great rallies in this match, there were a ton of points with 10+ shots hit.

Round 3

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Clint 21 21 21 3
Spike 14 13 10 0

I think Clint won 3-0? They came into the main room to watch our match in the 3rd set, so I’m guessing they went 3-0. I never got any details.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Corey 14 15 22 12 1
Cedar 21 21 20 21 3

Cedar took me down 3-1. We have had a bunch of matches over the years and although I beat him the first 2 times we played, I am aware of the fact that he’s clearly better now. It’s been obvious ever since Cedar beat me in A semis (’15-’16). His game has gotten way better over the years. Mine is deteriorating. Last night was more proof of that trend. First two games were close for awhile, probably both were around 10s, but then Cedar would clamp down on D, hit his huge lefty spin lobs, and I would hit it long or into the net. His serve didn’t do the damage it’s done to me in past years, but nonetheless, he has a big variety of lefty serves from both sides of the court and he always has a special one when he needs it. I didn’t give up the mid-game breaks in Game 3 and ended up taking a lead, as I remember we had a little break at 14-10 me while Clint and Spike settled in to watch the end of our match. I held off the epic come back (I think it was 19-15 me, 20-19 Cedar, 22-20 me) and escaped to 2-1, hoping to have two straight pong sessions with a 0-2 comeback. Cedar was having none of it; he went up early in 4th game and put me away with ease.

2018-2019 Day 9

I don’t have much time to do recaps until the Lei-Out tournament is over. So they’re gonna be short for the next month and a half. Just the scores and quick highlights.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Andy 21 21 21 3
Brach 15 12 16 0

Brach and I played on the main table. The highlight was the slippery surface on the far side of the floor, near where it was wet from previous rain. Brach took a pretty serious fall on his side while trying to return a backhand. I’ve seen people slip before, but that might be the first time I remember such a hard fall. He was totally fine. But it looked bad when it happened. Thies had already suggested me putting down some padding, and this reinforces that idea for sure.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Tim 21 21 21 3
Dot 17 15 15 0

Saw literally none of this match in the cave. But it was pretty consistent results as you can see. This was their first time playing against each other.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Tim 21 21 25 3
Brach 12 7 23 0

Tim and Brach on the main table. Looked like a great third game, but I only caught the tail end of it. However, the key moment in this game was a bit of magic. Apparently Tim hit a shot that bounced off the back wall and produced TWO balls bouncing back. Yeah, I was confused when they told me about it too. I was like “you mean the ball split in half?” No. The ball became two balls.

???

Unless Harry Potter actually showed up with his wand, somehow a ball must’ve been lodged in the wall in such a way that nobody saw it, and it got jarred loose. But I’m not ruling out a haunting. Crazy times in the PPPL.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Andy 21 21 21 3
Dot 17 16 16 0

Another game of consistency for Dot. We faced off once before, in December 2016 and I won in 5 sets. He won games 3 and 4 by 2 points including a 27-25 win. Otherwise all the other times we’ve played have been scrimmages after his regularly scheduled games, and we’ve always had good battles. Apparently I was pretty drunk the last time we played, which is not surprising that I don’t remember it. This was our first time playing each other in the cave. Dot was literally bouncing off the walls, and that is not at all a metaphor. He was moving so aggressively whenever I hit the balls to each side that I figured I would take advantage and always hit the opposite way of wherever he landed. And so he would throw his body at full speed in the other direction and slam into the walls on either side. You had to see it. I couldn’t help from laughing a few times. It was like, I felt bad, but it was also kind of hilarious. If he doesn’t have bruises on both arms this morning I will be shocked.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Tim 21 21 21 3
Andy 17 18 10 0

Tim and I have met many times. Both in league play and even randomly, like at Dominic’s wedding in San Diego. Here’s the fully list of our official matches:

Season 2 – Tim wins in 5.
Season 3 – Tim wins in 5. Then sweeps me two months later. Worst match I played against him. 21-10, 21-14 and 21-5! But then in semi-finals, I surprisingly sweep him. Hitting nothing but shots to his backhand side.
Season 4 – Tim gets his revenge. Sweeps me again. More blowouts. 21-6, 21-10, 21-17.
Season 5 we didn’t play cause Tim was injured.

So now after another sweep, it means he’s beaten me 5 times in league matches. And the only win I got off him was in the tournament.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Brach 19 21 17 18 1
Dot 21 10 21 21 3

Didn’t see any of the match. Notable though because it was the first game win Brach has gotten in PPPL.

2018-2019 Day 8

 

The final Round 1 match-up. The one that was pushed back to the end because of Clint’s job. And then pushed back again when Clint got sick. And just to make it all about Clint, the three of us came in the carmine tops while Clint had to be different and showed up in the azure.

redblue

There’s no I in team. But there sure is in Isolation.

You guys spoke last week and I am listening. Although Liverpool was the only one I believe to openly say he wants to see recaps before scores, I got several personal emails from folks saying they like to see the scores first, and THEN the recaps. Fair enough. I’m all about mob rule. (When I put out the same poll for Ultimate, it was the same. People want to see scores first. Where’s the intrigue?)

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Clint 21 21 12 21 3
Andy 18 11 21 13 1

Clint and I are two of the four players to win titles in B. Clint did it last year. I did it in Year 2. The other two are PVP and Bama. We’ve never played each other before, and Clint says he hasn’t played since the tournament. You wouldn’t know it from the way he was warming up. He looked pretty damn fine to me. (His playing I mean, not that I’m saying he looks fines in THAT away, although let’s face it, he DOES in that way too. Erin doesn’t read these, right?) And I know he’s gotten the coaching from Brian, so I’m not underestimating him. But I did feel somewhat confident when I jumped out to a 6-1 lead in Game 1. Folly. Pure folly.

Clint came right back, mostly controlling the action, and he got me by playing the edges and keeping me from getting in good shots. It was tied at 18’s, but he took the last 3 which was gut wrenching cause I really thought I needed to start my season out with a win. I’m frail and need confidence boosters. I tried to adjust in Game 2, choosing to play much more aggressively, but that failed horribly as he won 21-11. Okay, let’s try something else. Since he was moving me back and forth, I figured if I’m gonna have any chance, I’m gonna have to do that to him, which is normally my game plan, but these days I’m trying to focus more on offense than defense, so Game 3 was about going back to basics. Let’s see how HE handles the constant movement.

sidetoside

It worked. I won 21-12 and that was after jumping out to a 9-0 lead. Moving him back and forth was the key. I mean, it was BOTH of our keys. Who could force the other one out of position?

But clearly Clint adjusted himself. I can’t say what it was he did that was so different, but I wasn’t able to get him moving as much as I wanted and he took the 4th pretty decisively.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Matt 21 21 13 21 3
Van 19 16 21 9 1

This was Van’s first time in the league. He showed up on the wrong night a couple weeks ago, and it’s worth heckling him one more time for that. He was placed in the cave all night for his virgin appearance, playing against his good buddy Matt who got back to their Oxy days. Other notable Oxy Ultimate players include Nicole Copti, Ben Potash, Lauren Hill, Mark Hartford and guy who played with Matt who was really fast, and his name is escaping me for some reason. Sorry guy who’s name I can’t remember. Maybe it’ll come back to me by the end of this recap. But if I haven’t changed this paragraph, then I guess it never did.

I didn’t see any of the game of course as I was playing, but when I saw the score of the first was 21-19 Matt, I started to think I could go 0-3 tonight. Van’s clearly capable of keeping up with Matt. Although historically Matt doesn’t usually get going until his second match. Which would be against me. Great. Matt did better in the 2nd, but Van took one in the third. Matt recovered from that loss to get one of the only two games on the night where the opponent was held to single digits. Just speaks to how close this group was in skill level.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Matt 21 21 17 17 23 2
Andy 11 18 21 21 25 3

thorninpaw

Do you know what that is? That, my friends, is a thorn in the paw. Well just start calling Matt the paw, and call me Mr. Thorn. (I’ll also accept Thorny.) Matt and I have been playing since Year 1. Since before Year 1 when the roots of this league began in the Neighborhood bar in Santa Barbara. (Now that I’m thinking about it, THAT would be awesome to play finals one year at the Neighborhood bar. Go back to where it all began. PPPL Road Trip!!!) Back then Matt almost always beat the rest of us. Almost. Occasionally I would sneak in a game against him. When league started though in 2013, Matt took me in straight sets the first time we played. We didn’t face off the next year, but in Year 3 he beat me 3-1. I got a game off him! (I was one of only 3 players seeded below Matt by tournament time to have won a game against him.) The next season, we played in the B tournament – the 2v7 – and again, he won but I took a game off him. But when I played him last year to open on the very first night of league, in the very first game, I beat him 3-1. It must’ve felt like a fluke. It kind of did to me too. I’ll admit it.

And when Matt took me 21-11 in game one, it looked like order was restored. He won again in game 2 21-18. But…. I started to feel like I could stay in this thing. Maybe. It’s rough being down 0-2. It feels like such a large hill to climb to win the match. Cause games to 21 are so long, even when you have early leads in games you still know that match victory is way off in the distance if at all. But my 21-17 win gave me some hope.

I’ll be honest, my strategy going in was the same as it always is against Matt. Only hit to his forehand side. Stay away from the slam. In fact, while we were warming up before game 1, I purposely only hit to his slam side so he wasn’t ready for the forehands when the game started. Oh yeah, that’s gamesmanship.

snap

But I completely went away from that strategy entirely. If I feel like I can’t handle his slam at all, then I’ll never win this thing. You can’t play scared. And I decided if I’m gonna win, it’s gonna have to be by taking chances, playing aggressively, and not worrying about the slam. I mean, grant you, his slam still owns me. I’m not saying I’ve mastered it or anything. Please.

Another win in game 4 by the same score sent it to the decisive 5th, and as I mentioned previously, players down 2-1 who win game 4 have won game 5 80% of the time this season. Well, now make that 82%. Matt started out with the early lead, but I kept it close enough that I had the chance to win at 20-19. Nope. Matt slammed a strong winner and then the battle royale was on! I knew Erin was getting nervous. She was shifting in her seat a lot. But she was very supportive and it helped getting the positive reinforcement. Thanks babe! We went to 23-23 where we each had chances to put it away. But I finally prevailed, beating Matt for the second straight year. I still can’t believe I came back from 0-2 on him. Wacky. Afterwards I had to take a huge swig of water. I was drained.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Clint 11 16 7 0
Van 21 21 21 3

Meanwhile in the cave, Van was establishing himself with the only straight set win of the night. That is the fewest straight set matches of any group so far this year. In 2016-2017, it didn’t happen at all that only one match finished in three. Unfortunately for me, once again I didn’t get to see Van play at all so I was completely clueless as to what he was gonna bring. But Clint’s a good player who as I mentioned won B last year. So this pretty dominating performance spoke volumes.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Matt 21 14 21 24 3
Clint 19 21 18 22 1

Matt once again found himself in a struggle on the main table. Clint kept it real close in all three losses including the game four decider. That’s three losses by a combined score of 7, which is what he won game 2 by. I only got to watch the tail end of this one when they were tied up in game 4. Clearly Matt needed to close that one out, as the numbers are really supporting the game 4 winner to take game 5.

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Andy 19 17 21 16 1
Van 21 21 12 21 3

Van, Van, Van. I just could not figure out that serve of his. So here’s the thing. Van’s two strong suits are a unique spin serve, and his ferocious slam. I think his closest counterpart is Keegan. Although Keegan’s slam lands more often. That’s Van’s issue. If he can control the slam, he’s an A player for sure. He’s gonna need that consistency against the top players though to make it into the conversation.

There is a lot of hand movement on his serve. It kind of reminded me of a magician doing a trick for the audience.

magician

The first time I saw it, it was jarring. Grant brings a lot of spin on his serve, but there’s very little hand movement. Van appears to be using his hands to disguise the spin. Or at last distract you from noticing it. In the first game, he got maybe 6-7 points against me just on the serve alone. I could not figure it out. Either I’d send it off the table to the right, or bury it into the net. Spin recognition is gonna have to become a thing for me, or I will never stand a chance. And right now Brian is salivating about the opportunity to teach another lesson to someone.

If I was able to get the serve back on the table, that’s where I had the advantage. I was winning most of the points that went beyond one hit and done. Van’s slams were not falling so he was relying on that serve. In fact, when I was explaining the rules to him, you could see he was super bummed when he heard the cross court serve rule. And I totally get it. It’s pretty powerful. Not as powerful as that slam though. Holy Jesus he hits it hard. In the cave, there is zero chance I’m returning that guided missile. Thank God he doesn’t land it as often as he wants.

The first two games were super close. I had leads in both. I was even leading 11-4 in the second before he pulled the huge comeback. But to Van’s credit, he fought through and edged me in both games. But I was down 0-2 to Matt and won, so I just kept that in my mind. I felt like by game 3 I was at least able to consistently get his serve back on the table. I just visualized the center line, and hit towards that no matter what. That center line was my life line. But I wasn’t putting any real force behind the shots so I was giving him some easy second shots.

In the end, he took me. He had a 20-10 lead in game four, and I brought it to 20-16 before an amazing sideline edger sunk me. I’d like to play him again. It was fun to play him, and I’m curious how we’d fare on the main table, or in the barn. Maybe we’ll get the chance to see.

2018-2019 Day 7

It’s too early to put up PPI. Some players like myself still haven’t even played yet. But I did it anyway, cause the results even this early on look a lot more logical than basing the standings on win loss record. What I like is, just two groups into the second round, and already the PPI has my expected top 7 at the end of the year. Not in exactly the order I expect, but pretty darn close. If it holds, it’s gonna make for a really exciting battle for that final spot in A. There’s a lot of players who could grab that spot, including Matt, Haynes, Corey, Tim and Cedar. Maybe Clint, Garrett, Bama and myself have an outside shot at it. And I haven’t seen Van play yet. He could be in this conversation as well. One way or another though, it’s gonna be the strongest B bracket we’ve ever had.

Last night we did some C bracket play. I was curious for a few things leading into tonight. Is this truly the year of the Thies resurgence? Where is Yosh in this whole thing? His match up against Alex was going to be telling. And would getting out of the cave be a benefit for Liverpool?

Alex has been in the league since Year 2, and he’s been right on that border of B / C for years, so he’s a good barometer of are players B or C? (This does not bode well for me of course since he beat me in straight sets in our practice match last night. Yikes!)

Alex’s tournament seeding history:
2014-15 #8 seed in B
2015-16 #8 seed in B
2016-17 Didn’t play the tournament due to injury. PPI that year would’ve put him right on that border when he dropped out.
2017-18 #5 seed in B, but last year 10 players went to A, so technically it was the equivalent of #7 seed in B.

So Alex is a legitimate B division player, but sitting right on that wall like Humpty Dumpty.

alexwall

First up was Alex and Liverpool, for Liverpool’s first romp outside the cave. Freedom! Tough game for Liverpool. Despite getting almost all the shots that just barely went over the net or just barely nicked off the side of the table, Alex still controlled the action and took the win.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Alex 21 21 21 3
Liverpool 11 15 13 0

Yosh was a bit distracted by being on-call the whole night. So in between almost every match, he had to take phone calls. I saw a few photos on his cell phone that looked to be legs, but I’m not really sure. I gotta imagine I wasn’t SUPPOSED to see that. But it could be anybody’s leg in the whole city so I don’t think any doctor – patient confidentiality was breached here. And that’s even assuming it WAS a leg. It could’ve been a cadaver for all I know. But I digress.

Thies pulled another game victory out of his bag of tricks. After falling far short in game one, he pulled the 21-18 win. But Yosh proved too good despite his mind being on someone else’s leg.

leg

Player 1 2 3 4 Sets
Yosh 21 18 21 21 3
Thies 10 21 15 18 1

At this point, I’d like to mention the difference between Brian’s recap strategy and mine. Brian puts the scores of the match first, and then recaps them. Whereas I recap the match and then put the scores after. I mean, we both include the scores within the recaps, but where we put the scoring summary is opposite.

This is a poll. And we’ll see how many of you actually read these by how many respond to this poll buried in the middle of this recap.

Which do you prefer?

A) Scores first, followed by recap.
B) Recap first, followed by scores.

Alex took on Thies on the main table. Despite each being in the league for their fifth season, this is only the 4th time they’ve played each other, including tournament play, and two of those came in back-to-back rounds last year. Alex has won every individual game, and it continued again as Alex won in straight sets. He used Lob City a little bit in this one, but that seemed more to entertain me than actually wanting to play that way.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Alex 21 21 21 3
Thies 13 5 7 0

Over in the cave, Yosh continued his night of playing a game, then phone call, then game, then phone call, then game. (Note Yosh, this is not at all criticism. It was totally fine. Just reporting facts.) It worked for him. He took this one in straight sets. This was only the second match so far this year between newbies. As Cody beat Yosh last round.

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Yosh 21 21 21 3
Liverpool 11 15 10 0

Thies beat Liverpool in the cave last round. They had the quick rematch this time on table 1. This match tied a couple things for Thies. The 4th time playing on the main table this year matched his previous high. And he won his 7th individual game, which also tied his PPPL record. And we’re just halfway through the season. A win in this match would also tie his most match wins in a season, but we’ll keep that result under wraps for the moment.

Liverpool stormed out to the early 21-12 win in game 1. Liverpool’s forehand slam is strong, and it’s effective, but I noticed his backhand is a little shaky, and he has a tendency more often than not to miss the table long on his backhands. But it looks like these are workable fixes. Just a couple sessions with Brian I’m sure would give him a significant upgrade. And Liverpool says he prefers his backhand, so if he gets falling more consistently, he’ll make the move up the ladder in the standings.

Thies has an interesting serve. Despite basically hitting the ball out of his hands, he has a lot of movement prior to hitting the ball. He goes down and then up again. It kind of looks like someone digging a grave.

digging

(I did not add that text. It was already on this gif.) But this is what it reminds me of. Thies’ serve is one of his strong suits, as he brings it in low and fast, like the jet flyby in Top Gun. (80’s reference that went over Erin’s head. Sorry hon.) Did you know they are making a Top Gun sequel by the way? What the F!!!! Leave some things alone people. Here’s a short list of sequels made 20 to 30 years later, and all of them sucked.

Independence Day: Resurgence – 30% on Rotten Tomatoes
Tron Legacy – 51%
The Predator – 33%
Rambo – 37%
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – 54%
Dumb and Dumber To – 29%

C’mon Hollywood. Just stop.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Thies and the digging. So he brings it back with consecutive 21-17 wins to take a 2-1 lead. At this point, he’s looking good for tying another personal best, but Liverpool jumped out to a huge lead in Game 4. Thies brought it back towards the end, but it was just too much of a deficit to overcome, tying it up and sending it to game 5. So far this season, in the 9 previous matches to go the distance, the winner of game 4 has won 7 of them. Thies definitely felt the pressure, but the game was tied multiple times early, at 2-2 and 4-4. And then the lead changed hands with Thies grabbing the first lead, but Liverpool going on a huge run to get to 16-9. That was a key point in the game as Thies messed up the score, accidentally calling it 15-10 because on that 25th point, the ball hit off Liverpool’s knuckle, and softly landed on Thies’ side twice after a high arc, but Thies was confused by the play and thought it hit on Liverpool’s side first. I felt he easily could’ve returned it, but he didn’t realize it was still live. That whole exchange, including saying the wrong score, could’ve just gotten into Thies’ head and sunk him right there. But it absolutely did not. Thies score 9 straight points to take the lead at 18-16. One of the best turnarounds of the year so far.

At 20-17, Thies just needed one more for the win, but couldn’t get it. Three straight by Liverpool sent it to OT, where Liverpool eventually won 23-21. And that made it now 8 of 10 matches in which the winner of game 4 went on win game 5. Proving that at least this year, if you go up 2-1, you better close it out in 4. Liverpool’s victory was his first for PPPL.

Player 1 2 3 4 5 Sets
Thies 12 21 21 17 21 2
Liverpool 21 17 17 21 23 3

That brings us to the last match of the night, which normally would be the featured game of the night on the main table, but I want to make sure each newbie has to go into the cave all night at least once, and it was Yosh’s turn. I predicted this one to go 5. Even though it didn’t, it very well could’ve. Combine the fact that it’s in the cave, with Yosh’s continued distractions of the phone calls. And also I really wanted to watch this one, so I stood in the doorway, and that seemed to really throw Yosh off a little. I moved to watch from the side window, but that just made him laugh.

kevin

The first two games were awesome. I got to see quite a bit more than I usually do on a cave match. It looked like it was fun, and Yosh even commented it was fun to play Alex. They traded back and forth a lot, with the scores staying close throughout, but chalk it up to Alex’s experience in the league that got him two 22-20 wins. Alex closed it out for the clean sweep. Could Alex be moving up in B division this year?

Player 1 2 3 Sets
Alex 22 22 21 3
Yosh 20 20 16 0

My obvious priorities while I’m at work.

1) Ping Pong recaps
2) Lei-Out planning
3) LAOUT stuff
4) Actual work

Throw in “Talking baseball with the guy in the office next to mine”. Put that between LAOUT and work. I really hope Disney is not stricter than Fox. But you know what, as long as you get your work done…..

Next up is the final last group of Round 1. Clint, Matt, Van and myself will go on Sunday. And then that will be it until after Thanksgiving. After Sunday, I’ll put out the final 4 groups in Round 2 and we’ll pick dates.