Fanzine

Keep a diary of what you're hitting, what's frustrating you, and your goals.
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Fanzine

Post by C-Fan » 08 Jul 2004 16:24

This thread is going to be pretty free-form. I`m gonna try to have my entries fall into one of three categories:

1. My personal footbag history/reminiscences.
2. The Japanese scene.
3. My shred diary.

Feel free to post in here if you want.

Table of Contents

Posts:
466-524: Australia
529: Return to USA, in AZ
777: Santa Cruz Invitational
832: Return trip to Japan
880: Ithaca
1358: Leave Ithaca
1399: Moved to DC
1609: USO 2008 writeup
1970: Worlds 09 write up
2090: HD Video
2105: Worlds 10 write up
2123: Funtastiks 2010 write up
2149: NYJ 2010 writeup
2239: Green Cup 2011 writeup
2274: Euros 2011 writeup
2300: USO 2011 writeup
2440: USO 2012 writeup
2512: USO 2013 writeup
2668: NOLA Jam 2014 writeup
2777: East Coasts 2014 writeup
2931: Worlds 2015 writeup
3043: Podcast launches
3217: Worlds 2017 writeup

Unique records:

Beastly:
4: shooting down-whirligig-mullet-spender
Fearless: 14



Tripless: 29



Dropless Routines

1. NYFA 2008
2. Funtastiks 2008
3. East Coast Champs 2008
4. Worlds 2009
5. Funtastiks 2010
6. US Open 2011
7 & 8. East Coasts 2014 (both rounds)
9. Worlds 2015
10 & 11. Worlds 2020 (pre-recorded)

Best Routine Finishes Rough order

1. Worlds 2020: 3rd
2. USO 2013: 1st
3. Worlds 2015: 5th
4. Worlds 2017: 5th
5. Worlds 2013: 6th
6. East Coasts 2008, 2009, 2012, 2014: 1st
7. Midwest Regionals 2009: 1st
8. NYFA tournament 2008, 2009: 1st
9. USO 2011: 2nd
10. Euros 2011: 2nd
11. Green Cup 2011: 1st
12. Worlds 2012: T 9th
13. Worlds 2010: T 10th
14. Worlds 2003: T 11th
Last edited by C-Fan on 25 Aug 2020 10:25, edited 155 times in total.

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Post by C-Fan » 08 Jul 2004 16:45

OK, so I think a little self-intro would be a good way to kick off this thing.

I`ve been playing for around 6 years now. I guess 7 years if you count hacky slacking. I was pretty fortunate in that I discovered freestyle footbag pretty early on.

In easter of `96 I was on vacation with my family in the Florida Keys, and my dad locked the rental car with the keys still in it. Since it looked like we`d have a long wait, my sister bought a hackey sack, and we killed some time messing around with it. I remember trying desperately to get 5 consecutive kicks, and failing. I only used my right instep to kick. For a few months all I focussed on was getting consecutive kicks. I remember doing 60 consecs one day and feeling like I had achieved a milestone.

For the next year in high school, I played during lunch time, and slowly learned flying clippers and toe stalls. I was using some Vans skate shoes at the time, which had a real nice toe area, and heel stalls were also real easy with them too. One other friend of mine also got really into footbag that year, which in retrospect was really important, since we pushed each other to get better. This friend, Chris Dhanraj, also proved pivotal in introducing me to footbag freestyle.

I remember one day in High School, Chris came up to me barely able to contain his excitement. He had gone to a dentist appointment in the Village the day before, and in order to kill time, went to Washington Square Park. There he saw actual freestylers preparing for a tournament that weekend. they told him about footbag.org and told him to come to the tourney. As it turned out, he couldn`t, but I looked at dot org that night for the first time, and learned where the tourney was. On .org at the time there was an animation of Kenny Shults doing barrage-paradon-double pick up or something like that, and I remember thinking to myself that maybe that was a joke, and that people couldn`t actually do that.

That weekend I found myself in Central Park walking all over trying to find the tourney. This is where I first met Josh Penney, the styler who was most influential in shaping my style/attitude/ perception of freestyle. There he was: 5'4, wearing a jester's hat, and matching seersucker shorts and shirt. An inauspicious introduction to what would become my main hobby.

I remember thinking the atmosphere was cool, albeit a touch intimidating. People were doing tricks I couldnt understand, or believe. I remember one kid who could do ATW stalls with his head, and even did Double ATWs with his head. In retrospect, they probably were 'the,' but it was amazing nonetheless. I was also impressed that people had come from as far as California and Virginia for this tourney. That may have given me my first inkling of how dedicated people are to footbag, which reflects how much fun the sport is.

I remember the awe with which some players were treated. I remember Tu Vu sitting on the edge of the bandshell, and people hoping/being intimidated at the prospect of him joining the circle. I remember meeting Steve Goldberg, and him being extremely friendly and encouraging. I remember hitting my first 'wrap,' and impressing players by hitting 15 or so consecutive alternating flying clippers. I remember Ian Brill, who for the next year I would idolize as the best freestyler in NYC.

I don't remember too much about the routines themselves. I do remember that Tu Vu mixed the Inspector Gadget theme with a Rage Against the Machine song, and I thought that was very cool. I also remember Eric Wulff beginning his routine with several flyers, and thinking to myself: `meh, I can do that.` Then he went on to do his spins and other tricks, and me thinking to myself: `OOOOOOOOOOK.... I definitely CAN`T do THAT.'

I remember meeting Kaiser Ahmad and Amos `boom shakka lakka, here comes the` Schumacher. I remember feeling really encouraged, despite realizing how crap I was for the first time.

That was June 28th, 1997. New York Footbag Explosion. Now whenever I go to tournaments, I always try and find a few newbies and teach them something. Probably because I can still so clearly remember Steve G. showing me the eclipse repeatedly and explaining it. (that was a dream move at the time, I figured I could retire once I hit that).

After the Explosion, I started going to Washington Square Park regularly to learn and improve.
Last edited by C-Fan on 14 May 2018 10:49, edited 1 time in total.

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I get hooked

Post by C-Fan » 08 Jul 2004 17:12

Around this time I really get hooked. High School bores/frustrates/annoys me, so I find myself drawing when I`m in class, and footbagging when class is over. It`s in this environment where I notice another one of footbag`s magical powers: it`s ability to get varied people together and have fun.

My high school was extremely cliquey, and so it was really incredible to me that jocks, geeks, slackers, preppies, and punks would form hack circlers with me just to kick it around.

I got so addicted that my senior year I would eat lunch outside everyday, just so I could kick between bites.

And of course, there were the trick names. Like most casual hackers, people would do weird moves at school, and we`d give them stupid names. Like making a back bridge and catching it on your crotch would be called `the erotic dancer,` and other tricks would be named after people`s last name, even though we`d later learn how easy and common they were.

I remember my first 4 add trick. It was a toe-set dada curve, and I was so nervous about hurting myself (cause it was such a hard trick!) that I only attempted it on the grass lawn. That may have been my first double dexterity as well. I remember trying ducking butterfly, and falling over repeatedly. Or spending hours in my neighbors driveway, trying to figure out osis, and that flood of joy when I`d hit it.

Sometime in 97, Josh Penney and Kaiser Ahmad started lending me freestyle tapes. I remember watching raw shred, and being embarassed at how bad the music was. The Vu bros. 96 worlds tape was much better. I remember Ahren Gehrman being an early favorite of mine. I also remember Josh Penney making fun of me for butchering people`s names. Aw-ren Gair-mahnn. I learned how to hit ducking butterfly by watching Ahren do one on the 96 tape. Set high, just move your head, straighten up and fall into a butterfly.

The first winter after I discovered freestyle was rough. I`d go to the park on weekends, and nobody would be there, but I`d kick it around by myself. I was so hungry to freestyle back then. Then when Spring came around, i remember meeting Bruce Dole. I was walking around the fountain in Washington Square when i saw a really buff guy stretching who was wearing lavers! In an effort to contain my excitement, I casually walked up and said: `nice shoes, want to kick?` memorably stupid first words.

I often look back on my first couple years of freestyle and feel grateful that I learned through NYFA (New York Footbag Association). Footbag never was something particularly serious. it was just something fun to do while people recited Simpsons episodes, or made up song parodies, or while ogling pretty girls. I got into freestyle because it was fun, but I stayed because NYFA was funny, and I was making friends who were totally different from my school friends.

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Post by quadgun » 08 Jul 2004 17:58

"nice shoes, want to kick" wow ... thats great ... lol

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Change of pace

Post by C-Fan » 08 Jul 2004 18:05

Taking a break from the history for this post.

I had a bad fever this week and was on antibiotics til today, so not much shredding. Last weekend was Tokyo Shredder Gathering II, a big Japanese tourney, and since I helped organize it and was a special guest, I went all-out last weekend despite being sick, which only got me sicker. I had to take Monday off from work and was on an IV and everything. But it was all worth it, cause TSG2 was the bomb.

One problem I foresee with this blog is that I have so many things i want to say, it`s hard to know how to structure it. For example, right now I just want to talk about TSG2, but I also think it would be interesting to explain how the tournament came to be, and what that says about the Japanese scene. I also want to talk about the organizational aspects as well. Dunno where to start.

I guess I`ll just do a straight rundown of my experiences/impressions of TSG2. Oh, and here`s the website of the event: http://www.footstyle.net/tsg/

TSG2 was a one day event, but since it was in Tokyo (about 3 hours from where I live), I treated it like a weekend deal. TSG2 was last Saturday, and my plan was to train down Saturday morning and come back Sunday night. To this end, I took it easy Friday night, so I felt pretty well-rested going in on Saturday. I get into Tokyo around 11, which means I have some free time to kill before the tournament starts. I go to Shinjuku and find a Wendy`s, and eat a Spicy Chicken Filet. You can`t get those up where I live. Every time Im in Tokyo I try and take advantage and do/eat things that I can`t back in Kitakami.

I eat my sandwich in the infamous arcade `Shinjuku Sportsland.` This is the best arcade for Street Fighter competition in the entire world. Unfortunately, it`s pretty empty this early on, so no competition. On my way to the building where TSG2 will happen, I run into several freestylers. We stock up on sports drinks and head into the building.

It`s a trip: I see all these J-freestylers from kyoto and Osaka who I hadn`t seen in so long, and we exchange some warm hellos. It`s really hot and muggy: I`m sweating and I havent even put on my lavers. Kim, the tournament organizer, greets me by giving me a T-shirt of the event. Then he shows me the prizes that Freedom Footbags sponsored us with. I`m ecstatic to see how generously supported we are. While my weak Japanese prevents me from taking a more active role in organizing tournaments here, my experience in the footbag scene and my English ability help out in other ways. One of those was in soliciting footbag sponsors for TSG2 and Japanese Champs.

I put on the new shirt and warm up with some newbies. Lots of new faces means its hard for me to remember everybody`s name, but I`d much rather have a large event with lots of new players, than a small event with a shrinking scene.

Being in Tokyo and seeing old friends energizes me, and allows me to totally ignore my injuries/illness. After an hour or so of warming up and casual shredding, prelims for sick trick begin. All I can say is I am extremely impressed.

First round sees some hein combos laid down. Masaaki Shigeoka (national champ) hits phoenix-ripwalk. Baba kei hits ripwalk x2. Kenzo from Osaka makes finals with the top seed by hitting ripwalk to bedwetter. We have about 34 competitors for sick combo, and most of them hit their combo. Kim, Yusuke (the other organizer) and me have to cut down the finals to 8 players, which turns out to be tough. This is a testament to how good the scene has gotten.

After we announce the 8 `phat combo` phinalists, we have another 35 minutes or so of playing. The next event is Shred 30. Last year, I was asked to do a demo of Shred 30, and a demo of Sick 3 (on my flipsider profile, you can see my sick 3). This year, I was asked to do a sick 3 demo again. BUT, in a change from last year, I am asked to compete against the rest of the japanese shredders in the Shred 30. The way it`s explained to me, is that the Japanese players want to improve as quickly as possible, and reach a `world class` level. So they decide to push themselves by competing against me.

I very much admire this. At the same time, since I have the top seed I can`t really watch the other players Shred 30s. There are about 31 entries. Morii (he hits blurrage on the Big One Jam page on footstyle.net) goes right before me, and I see him finish his Shred 30 with a nice long shuffle run. Morii has one of my favorite styles of any of the Japanese players. After his run, i chest-bump him, which knocks him to the floor. D`oh!

My Shred 30 goes very well. I`ve been practicing it for worlds, and so certain sections of it are automatic, and I dont have to think about them, which helps a lot. To my great surprise, I go dropless. It`s my first dropless shred30 ever, and it`s a great feeling. It`s also my first time breaking 200, and so now my goal for Shred 30 at worlds is to try and break 200 again. I get a lot of love from the other shredders, and then its back to staying warm for the next event.



Since Im helping judge the Phat combo finals, I have to do my Sick 3 demo before that. I stay warm and practice in some small circles, hitting the component tricks/links of my big 3s. When it comes time for me to do my demo, I feel confident, probably residual confidence from my Shred30. I miss my first attempt, but I hit my main combo on my 2nd try. I hit my safety combo on my 3rd try. And then I dick around and miss the rest of my attempts, mostly because I didn`t really prepare anything other than my main Big 3 and my safety.

After bowing, I immediately dash to the judges area, and we start on the finals. Again, the finalists impress me.

Third place is too tough to call, so we end up awarding it to two players.
Morishige Kimihiro and Keita Oishi split third prize. Morishige hit spinning butterfly to spinning xbody rake. Keita hit scrambled eggbeater to atom smasher. We give 2nd prize to kenzo, for ripwalk to pdx eggbeater. And Ryota takes first prize for legbeater to PS whirl.

During the prize distribution ceremony we heartily thank Freedom Footbags and Naranja (a Japanese juggling/footbag store) for their very generous sponsorship. Nobody paid entry fees, but prizes were abundant. Prizes included: an abshire mini, an abshire, Japanese Footbag Champs t-shirts, freedom footbag tshirts, revolution sandbags, and a slew of cool videos.

Since 3rd place in Phat combo got split, it looked like we were going to be slightly short on high level prizes, so I decided to give my Shred30 1st place prize back in the pool so all the Japanese players would get good prizes.

After the awards ceremony, I let out a sigh of relief, and was ecstatic to see that we still had like 4 hours left to shred in the gym! Whoo! I love tournies where comp ends early, and then its all just fun shred.

Takumi (the 14 year old Japanese Vasek)finally shows up. he had to miss competition because his soccer game went into Overtime. Damn. His game has improved since last time. I see him hit blur to legbeater. smear-fear-magellan-pixie butterfly-ripwalk also happens. Peeking osis. Longer runs. Excellence. Real good attitude too, I love playing with him.

More later. Too bad there`s no edit button in the blogs. Anyway, my goal with this blog is to make it the most entertaining blog on this site. We`ll see how that goes.
Last edited by C-Fan on 08 Oct 2014 09:42, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by mouseman » 09 Jul 2004 04:23

Great blog, really enjoy reading it.

It would be cool to know more about japanese scene. I played with two japanese guys last year in worlds and they said there's been outbreak of footbag in Japan and I thought that if asians take something and they like it, they can practice it hours and hours and become very good at it (like we see on arcade/computer games). Your posts clearly shows how much the level has gone up. How's the atmosphere? Competing? Tense? Warm? How many players doing tiltless? How many doing guiltless? Competing scene growing rapidly or is it just hacky sackers?

Sorry, I'm not trying to take over your blog, I'm just really really curious :)

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General thoughts

Post by C-Fan » 11 Jul 2004 17:19

Hey Mouseman, thanks for the questions and kind thoughts. Just out of curiousity, are you Jere Linnanen? If so, I met you at worlds 2000 in Vancouver, and then again last year in Prague. Full names in signature!

Anyway, just a quick entry for now: played a lot this weekend, which was fun. On Friday night I left my lavers in a friend`s car though, so on Saturday I dug out my old pair of lavers and played in them. My old lavers are completely worn down in the soles of the toes (china lavers + my playing style), and they have no insoles, since I took my good insoles and put them in my new shoes. Anyway, playing in these old shoes was really fun because they were so light. My legs felt particularly fast because of this, which helped me hit some cool combos. I also tried revstein on a whim and came reeeeeeaaaallly close a few times. I just really enjoyed playing for fun, since lately I`ve been practicing so hard for worlds. It was a nice break and reminded me how much I love the sport. I also played in the rain for about 20 minutes, which felt really cool.

As for the Japanese scene, there will probably be videos posted of the best phat combos and Shred30s from the recently held Tokyo Shredder Gathering II. Most of Japan`s best shredders are on these vids, so keep your eyes open in the next few days!

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More thoughts on the Japanese scene

Post by C-Fan » 11 Jul 2004 17:58

It`s a little bit difficult to really describe how the Japanese competitive and casual footbag scene `feel,` especially to anybody who hasn`t lived in Japan.

I think that in many ways the scene here reflects the culture of Japan. I always hesitate to make comparisons like this, because I don`t claim to `understand` Japanese culture, and I try to shy away from sweeping generalizations. That said, I think it`s safe to say that the Japanese value group harmony more than individual success. The well-being of the group is more prized than the happiness of any single individual. The desire for things to run smoothly can sometimes result in people swallowing their complaints, or not voicing their true opinions all the time. Politeness is very highly valued here.

How does that translate into the footbag scene? I think it`s more good than bad in many cases. Footbag circles tend to be very encouraging to beginners and pros alike. Lots of `rebate` passes, lots of props. On the other hand, people are very hesitant to call each other on `the,` or when people self-serve, they aren`t reprimanded very often. The focus on group harmony (`wah`) also sometimes results in players hesitating to join/form circles, maybe out of a fear that they will disrupt the flow.

At TSG2, there was one high level shredder who hadn`t registered for Shred30. In America, I would have tried to get him to enter by saying something like: `Every single time you compete, you get better at competition. You may not feel ready at this moment, but by entering Shred30, you will improve.` In this case in Japan however, I made this argument instead: `You are one of the top players in Japan, and you have only been playing a short while. If you enter this Shred30 and play well, you will be sending a powerful, inspirational message to every single Japanese Footbag newbie in here. For the sake of the newbies, and the sake of accelerating the progress of footbag in Japan, please enter.` He did enter, and he ended up taking 6th.

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Post by mouseman » 12 Jul 2004 13:50

Yeah thanks for remembering me and sorry not having full name in sig :)

Also, thanks for your answers about the scene in Japan. Keep up the good work with blog :) See you at the worlds if you're coming.

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My first worlds

Post by C-Fan » 14 Jul 2004 00:32

Since I`m getting on a plane for worlds in ten days, I thought I`d write about my first world championships, with the hope that it will inspire somebody to make it to worlds. Also, to get myself and everybody else excited about `the best week of the year.`

So let`s set the scene: It`s the summer of 1999. Outkast has just busted on the scene, Clinton is President, Sultans of Shred is the new hotness, Worlds is in Chicago, and Ryan Mulroney is God. I`ve been playing freestyle for almost 2 years now, and have been going guiltless for maybe half a year. I`m almost completely one-sided with my moves, but I can hit some cool stuff. I was doing witchdoctors with a leggy atomic set. My biggest trick at the time was Ripped Warrior, which was HUGE, since only 3 or 4 people were hitting it at the time. My stepping sets at the time still weren`t totally slurry, but they were on their way. I had only been to two footbag events before (3, if you count the New York Explosion, but I was a total newbie), but the experiences I drew from them left me PSYCHED. I had competed in my first tournament ever the month before (Montreal International Footbag Championship, http://quebec.footbag.org/multimedia/m1 ... os/11.html )and had won the intermediate category. I had met Sunil at East Must Jam earlier that year, but largely I only knew the top-players from having seen them on video.

In Chicago I decided to stay at a friend`s house instead of the host hotel, in order to keep costs down and see more of the city. While I did indeed see more of the city, I really missed out on a lot of shreds because of it. If you do go to worlds, shell out the extra cash for the host hotel, cause its worth it.

The first night of worlds there was a publicity event at Chicago`s Navy Pier, a real tourist attraction. I got there and wandered around aimlessly for a while, trying to find people. I slumped down in a chair in the food court, giving up, when Sunil of all people walks by with a tray of greek food. `Sunil! Thank god. Where is everybody anyway?` To my embarassment, he walks me the 10 feet to the deck outside, where there are more freestylers together playing than I have ever seen. It`s a beautiful sight. I change into my footbag gear and ask if I can join a circle. I join in, despite not stretching or warming up (I never did warm up or stretch until 2000, but you really should). I remember meeting Zeke Ibardaloza and Scott Davidson in the same circle. I remember the joy of hitting ripped warrior on my first try, which impressed the people in the circle. When I met Scott D, I still had sauce from my Gyro on my hand, and Scott didn`t want to shake my hand because he was so against meat.

I also met Richie Abshire that day, which was also really funny. Before the summer, I had told my college roommate, who is from San Diego, that I was real proud that I could hit ripped warrior. The name stuck with him, cause he thought it was really funny. Apparently, one day he was at the beach in San Diego, and saw people freestyling. he went up and talked to them, and told one of them that I could hit ripped warrior. He was talking to Richie Abshire, who apparently told him: `that`s impossible, only 2 people in the world can hit that, I and I know them both.` So when I hit a ripped warrior in a circle with Abshire at worlds, he goes: `hey, do you have a friend who lives near the beach in SD?` Hah! Too good!

I remember meeting James Widman, and thinking his game was super-styly. `Where are you from?` I asked him.
`Manhattan.`
`Holy shit! That`s awesome! I`m in the Bronx, we should totally play all the time!` I said, nearly passing out with excitement.
`Manhattan, Kansas.`

D`oh!

I remember being really struck by how heartily old freestylers greeted friends. I got the impression that some of these people made really tight friendships over the years, and that one of the reasons they went to worlds was just to see old friends. I remember Frank Gutowski giving Sunil a big bottle of laundry detergent that said `Sunil` on it. Frank was living in the Netherlands and apparently `Sunil` is a brand like `Tide` over there. I recall thinking how cool it was that he brought something like that all the way to worlds.

I remember meeting all these really young, really talented up and comers. Josh Childs was particularly good, and so was some kid called Bryan Fournier, who could hit the cleanest looking leggy omellettes I had ever seen. Jason Crook and Damon Matthews were also there, and laying down some huge moves. I remember seeing jason hit pixie whirl, and thinking: `I should learn to pixie. ` I had never seen that trick either, and it made me realize that you could hit almost any downtime component off of any set. It helped me see the potential of learning sets and being creative.

I remember hitting my first 6 add moves that week. Whirlygig, and Leviathan. I hit my first Superfly ever as well, right in front of Red. I remember Pete stepping into a circle I was in. He was encouraging and laid back, but I was still intimidated as hell. At one point he hit a big apple in the circle, and I actually left the circle, cause I was that intimidated.

I remember the first time I ever saw Ryan Mulroney. There was a patio near the host hotel, which was thankfully in the shade. It was so swelteringly hot in Chicago that summer, that that was the only place to play. On the second or third day playing there, I remember hearing a commotion nearby, and several circles stopped playing to look up, some people leaving circles to greet...

...a really skinny kid with a real sharp nose, shirtless and wearing a backpack, baggy cargo shorts, and wheeling in on a skateboard. You could feel the reverence of all the players on the patio. At the time, Ryan was hands-down the best player in the sport. Some people would snipe here and there that some of his whirls were thin, but nobody denied his ability to regulate a circle, hit longer strings than anyone, and link 5s like nothing. Flipsidedness wasn`t a big deal back then, so Ryan was seen to have almost no flaws.

In some ways I think that people getting into freestyle today won`t have quite the same shock that I did when meeting people from videos. The freestyle videos that I was addicted to at the time were all 2nd and 3rd generation copies, and were filmed with average cameras at the time. So when I met Ryan, and other top players in person, it was a shock to see them so clearly. Graininess of video blurred or dulled features, and made the players seem less than real, so meeting them in the flesh was a real strange sensation, noting how they were transformed from the camera.

To be continued...

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Post by innersmile » 14 Jul 2004 01:18

Ken,
That ruled so much. I can't wait until part 2! I think I'm going to do my best to make Worlds next year, even though I've only been shedding a few months. Sounds like an amazing experience.

8)
Greg

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Fantastic!

Post by Asmus » 14 Jul 2004 03:27

wooow! Fantastic Blog it just make me wonna shred :P
You can just feel the Atmosphere..
Keep it up..

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Post by mosher » 14 Jul 2004 04:04

I need you to keep going!

I was so into it then it just stopped!

Great story telling, please continue as soon as you can.
Tom Mosher

hate is a waste of passion!

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Post by Posi-Cole » 14 Jul 2004 06:34

Agreed ... this blog is fantastic.

Please continue ASAP.
Cole Hobson

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Post by C-Fan » 14 Jul 2004 15:16

innersmile wrote:I've only been shedding a few months.

8)
8O
:? You should really see somebody about that.

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Party like it`s 1999- Part II

Post by C-Fan » 14 Jul 2004 16:44

Part II

It`s probably hard for newer players reading this to fully understand how incredible an experience it was to talk footbag for a full week. These days, internet forums, with all their new videos, chat rooms, etc make it quite easy to brag about your game, to discuss moves, get hints, build community. But back before 99 worlds, the best we had was the footbag.org email listserves, so being able to spend a full week just talking footbag was a fanboy`s dream.

While I didn`t stay at the host hotel, I spent a lot of time there. I remember going to the San Diego room, which had Richie, Canyon Hart, and maybe Cameron? We were trying to hook up Richie`s camera to the TV so we could watch the footage from the day. I remember Richie showing me footage of Ryan hitting blurry whirl-blurry whirl-ps whirl-mobius-pdx blender to a hand catch, and me being amazed. I remember being shocked by Richie`s comment: `I know he could hit a superfly off that last trick.` I remember admiring and appreciating, even then, that unlike myself, Richie wasn`t content to watch that string and say `wow.` He was already thinking ahead to how the sport could be pushed even farther. There`s a definite lesson to be had there. No matter how great you are playing, you can push it even farther, even if your name is Vasek.

I also remember hitting haze and some other tricks in Richie`s room in the tiny space between the bed and the wall. I remember thinking how great it was that Ryan`s family came to the tournament with him, and how they offered me floor space to crash in the hotel.

I remember:
-Being on the outside terrace with Ryan and Red, and Red challenging Ryan to see how many unique tripless he could link in a row, and Ryan just pumping out contacts, and in the middle of his string going: `fuck, I already hit that ripwalk` and me being amazed that he could keep track of that sort of thing and talk while in the middle of playing.
-Rippin` saying that he would induct anybody into BAP if they could link ten unique tripless in front of him.
-Seeing Steve Goldberg marching to the event site, being followed by 20 pale, blonde guys all wearing the same shirt (team Finland!)
-The huge hotel ballroom where we shredded. There was a crazy design on the carpet which made it hard to see the bag. It was like in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, where the carpet starts swirling and melting. I remember the smell so clearly, it got overpowering.
- Dave Holton throwing down the longest strings of everybody, and me being puzzled as to why he wasn`t competing in routines. I saw him hit a run of 40 contacts or more, and I told him: `if you do a routine, you can just do one run of 40, then smile, do a jester, then do another run of 40, then smile, do a lap stall, and win!`
-Sunil or somebody trying to teach Derric Scalf to hit double over down. What struck me, was Derric could hit it by `thinking of it as a (muted) fairy reverse whirl.` This struck me as funny, since I couldnt do fairy or reverse whirl, and thought that straight up double over down was much easier.
-Chad trying blurry double blender as a joke. Now I think this move is much more feasible. I also was impressed that he called barfly-barfly `fun.`
-Sunil hitting nuclear eclipse, when I didnt know he could do nuclear or eclipse. this made me want to have a lot of variety in my game. I also was blown away when he tried HPD and touched it, and was disappointed. Sunil would say `garbage!` or `that`s trash!` whenever he had a `bad` start. It was incredible to me, since I would have been ecstatic to hit some of those bad starts.
-Filming Chad hitting whirling swirl-blurry whirl, and thinking to myself `when this makes video, I can say that I filmed it!`

It was also incredible to me how I could ask top players to hit ridiculous moves or combos, and they would try them with the intent of actually hitting them. I asked Dave for Gauntlet, and he said he hadn`t tried since the day he first hit it. He put in some good attempts, and I was inspired that he really believed he could hit it on demand. I guess what I`m saying is that I was in awe of not just the level of shred the top players had, but their consistency, and their confidence in their own ability.

One of the most exciting parts of worlds was the possibility that you could meet anybody, and I mean anybody. I just stepped into a circle with kenny shults. Kenny Shults! And it was all good. Going back to the bad quality of videos, that was another thing: sometimes you wouldnt recognize somebody, and then learn you were having lunch with Brian MacKenzie or somebody. I remember being in a car with some random people, and the guy next to me introduced himself as Jack. `Jack Schoolcraft?` I shot in the dark. No. But still, more often than not, it was somebody `famous.`

I`ll never forget meeting Jon Schneider for the first time. Jon was living in Colorado, but he was in New Jersey occasionally, and would stop by Washington Square Park. For some reason, we never ran into each other there, but we had each heard about each other through the players at Washington Square. I remember he was wearing those cool aviator goggles when I met him. Somebody, I forget who, introduced us, and it was one of those `finally! I knew you existed!` moments. We both lamented how we never ran into each other in NY.
`Yeah, I remember the guys in the park telling me some guy just showed up and hit ripstein ending in dragon` I said.
And then he dropped the bag to his foot and hit it first try. I literally fell to the floor in disbelief. Never forget it.

More later, especially about the hanging out.

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Rekordy Polski
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99

Post by C-Fan » 14 Jul 2004 23:30

A word about 99 Ryan. It`s hard for people now to understand what Ryan meant to footbag in 99. The easiest comparison is to use Vasek, but that`s not real accurate. Ryan laid the foundation for Vasek, but the phenomena of one player being on a totally different level was newer under Ryan`s reign. The concept of really long, genuine strings, which is the standard now, was pioneered by Ryan. And it wasn`t just that Ryan`s shred ability was so high, it was also the attitude he brought to the sport. On the dallas footbag site there are videos from the saturday night shred, and all the Ryan videos have real good Fatboy Slim tracks in the background. He brought those to the site with him, and it really was like theme music. The originality, energy, and freshness of the music reflected in the style. Ryan knew he was good, and he knew you knew he was good, and he didn`t give a fuck, which was in a word: cool. On the final Saturday night jam, he had one run which was like 25 tripless, with a few fives thrown in there, where he drops on a mobius. The string appears as an `Epic Flashback` on Aggressive Grounds, and at the end of the string, you can see me stand up in the background to give him a standing ovation.

People may be playing at a higher level now than he was back then, but to me nobody can make footbag seem as cool as Ryan made it in 99. In 99 footbag was Ryan`s circle, and we were just playing in it.

===========================

The other thing that really made an impression on me was how easy it was to make friends with people at Worlds. I remember getting dinner with Ryan Mulroney, Red, Jon, Brian MacKenzie, Canyon, and some other guys on some night, and just shooting the shit with everybody over mexican food.

I`ve talked about this a bit in my `do you know how lucky you are?` post on .org, but it deserves mentioning again: in (almost) no other sport can a total newbie go out to dinner and hang out with their heroes, the best players in that sport. That`s really something incredible.

But beyond the accessibility of the top players, it`s just great how social everybody is. I remember one day, after competition ended, I was going to go out and eat with my non-footbag Chicago friend. As we were leaving the site, some guy I had been kicking with, whom I hardly knew, ran up and said: `hey, you guys going to eat? Can I join you?` Shrugging our shoulders, we said yeah. Since my friend was a non-footbagger, we just talked about girls and random funny shit the whole time. I remember having a chocolate-cake shake which was real good. After hanging out, I remember thinking its cool that footbaggers are so direct and friendly, and not shy about making new friends. We don`t even have to talk footbag all the time. So you should look forward to worlds not just because you can befriend top players, but also because you can befriend random players who only have two or three three add moves under their belt, like my chocolate cake shake friend. Because I got along so well with him that night, Yacine let me stay at his house the next time I went to Montreal, and subsequently we became better friends each time we hung out.

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Post by innersmile » 15 Jul 2004 23:27

I'm working on it ken, one day at a time.

Really dig that post, and the other 1 on .org (never knew that was you). You write really well dude, keep it up...

8)
Greg

Have love; will travel

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Post by C-Fan » 19 Jul 2004 19:13

7/20

So yesterday was a national holiday, which should have made my weekend a 3-day weekend. Unfortunately, on Friday afternoon I was informed I had to go into work on Saturday. And on Saturday, I was told I had to go on Sunday. So I effectively worked 7 days in a row, and got one day off. Even better? It rained yesterday, so I had to practice in the rain. I was really pissed off. Despite being pissed off, I did a real good Shred 30 run through. I think its possible for me to go entirely unique in competition, which is a worthy goal. I also did some Big3 practice. After looking at Jere`s blog, it looks like I have some stiff competition. But still, I feel comfortable with my combos. I also did some practice of my routine, but I have a cold, so my stamina wasn`t up for the full 2 minutes. Going to the doctors today for antibiotics, hope to get back in shape in time for Montreal. Despite the crappy playing conditions, I hit a few things on my first try which I was pleased with:
Fog-atom. I was inspired by watching an old Ryan Thomass Chilly Philly vid where Pete hits this. Not that hard, but looks cool.
Pixie butterfly-bed-pixie butterfly-bed to start a combo. Also hit a fog in that combo. Thought it was stylish.
I also hit ducking pdlo, which is very very similar to vertigo.
Hope to heal up soon.
:?

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qphox
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Post by qphox » 19 Jul 2004 20:10

This blog makes me smile. Seriously.

It also makes me a bit envious of the time you got into footbag. I "discovered" footbag in September of 2002, and fell in love instantly. If only that discovery was made when I was 14 instead of 17.

Can't wait to meet you in Montreal Ken.
- Kevin R.

F = G*((m1*m2)/r^2)

Know thy enemy.

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