New Britain City Journal

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The Sports Journal

Connecticut Constitution is a Fun Night for the Family

Last Friday night I had the pleasure of watching the Connecticut Constitution play the for the first time. They played Buffalo Hunters. I learned a lot and wanted to pass along some information to readers.

The game is played at Arute Field at Central Connecticut State University. Some of the factors that the football field was chosen is because it is turf, flat and can be played in during the rain.

Prices range from $6 for students to $10 for reserved seats. Not bad for a family.

There is some tailgating going on, but it was not a rowdy crowd. It was a fun crowd who obviously loved the sport of ultimate disc.

Food is reasonably priced serving hot dogs and water for $3 and soda, candy and pretzels for $2.

There are seven players on each side and it begins much like a football game as one teams hurls the disc as far as it can (about 60 yards) to the other team that catches it. The throw is called a pull. From there each player must stop as quickly as momentum lets them, pivot and throw the disc to another player within seven seconds.

If a player drops the Frisbee it is then a turnover. Teams throw to players until either a turnover occurs or they score. At Arute Field a score is made anytime the Frisbee is caught between the end of the end zone and the ten yard line.

There are four 12 minute quarters. The game is fast and furious. The basics are easy to understand and there didn’t seem to be a fan not enjoying the action. At the end of the first quarter the score was 7-5.

During the end of the first quarter games are played such as a backhand, flick and hammer which are throws of the Frisbee. At half-time there was a huck it in a bucket contest where fans throw a disc into a bin and the person closest or in the bin wins. There were also raffles and free team t-shirts were thrown into the stands.

Some more observations about the game is that in some ways it was similar to hockey. There were different lines and the disc can go forward or backward. There is no goalie.

I would say it also resembles soccer except that there is more scoring and it seems more exciting because of it. Of course, the players do not use their feet.

Games can be viewed at cptv.org, but are best viewed in person. One more home game is planned this season.

Right now there are 8 teams, but next year there will be 16 teams including ones in Boston, New York, Toronto and Chicago. In 2014 it is planned for 32 teams. Some teams have already signed up to begin in 2014.

WEEKLY GAME RECAPS:

June 23 – Connecticut 12, Philadelphia 11

The Constitution pulled out an exciting win in their closest game of the year. Neither team had more than a 2-point lead the whole way. With the game tied at 11, and the clock reading 0:02 in the fourth quarter, Matt “Gomez” Baum, #81, launched a Hail Mary pass that Eric Rathbun, #11, plucked out of a pile of humanity for the win.

After a quiet game, captain John Korber, #23, had 3 crucial blocks in the final period, putting the Constitution in position to win the game.

The Rampage had the disc with :26 seconds left and the score tied, just outside the endzone. But the Constitution D forced the Rampage back and forth, not giving them any good scoring looks. With 8 seconds left, a Rampage miscue allowed the Constitution to call time out and setup Rathbun’s final play.

Who’s Hot: Eric Rathbun. After figuratively being hot and picking up a flagrant two points earlier, Rathbun tasted sweet, sweet redemption, as he came out of a pile to pull his teammates out of a slump and to the win on the final play.

Quotable: “I just got behind the defense and waited for Gomez’s huck to come down,” said Rathbun. “This is a tough weekend and we needed that win. Gomez just put it up nice and floaty and I was able to come down with it.”

Quotable #2: Korber added, “On the final play, I thought it was good that we moved the disc two throws before we jacked it. It certainly wasn’t a high-percentage look, but it was higher-percentage after taking those initial freebies. Eric’s always been good in the air and good in a crowd, so it was good to see him come down with it.”

June 24 – Connecticut 20, Philadelphia 24

In what has become a fierce rivalry, the Sunday matchup between the Connecticut Constitution and Philadelphia Spinners did not disappoint. The game was tight throughout, with Philadelphia leading by two or three scores for most of the contest. The second and third quarters were back and forth, but the Spinners held a slight edge in the first and fourth quarters. Both teams played efficient Ultimate, often choosing high percentage short throws over deep ones. In the end, it was Philadelphia’s ability to complete the deep tosses when it counted that gave them the edge.

Five important players missed time with injuries during the game. Husayn Carnegie, Stephen Glauser and Ben Weyers missed the entire contest, while Misha Horowitz and Eric Rathbun both exited the game with ankle injuries.

A quick 4-1 start for the Spinners turned out to be the only difference in the tightly contested match-up. A few early mistakes by the Constitution offense gave Philadelphia the opportunities they needed to take control.

Quotable: “We came out with more energy this time (against Philadelphia) and solved our problems a lot quicker. But in order to beat (the Spinners) we have to use both sides of the field and take our options horizontally. We have to make their handlers miserable, and we didn’t do that until about the third quarter.” -Izzy Bryant

June 23 – Connecticut Constitution 21, Buffalo Hunters 19

The Buffalo Hunters gave Connecticut all they could handle in the Constitution’s only night game of the year. After the Constitution scratched out a 12-8 halftime lead, Buffalo fought back to start the third quarter, scoring the first four goals to tie the game. Eventually, it was the Connecticut offense that redeemed itself when the team needed it most. Clutch blocks late in the game were converted into scores that eventually gave the Constitution a well-deserved win. John Korber and Brent Anderson turned in sterling performances, with seven goals and five assists respectively.

Connecticut scored 21 goals but notched 20 assists. This abnormality was the result of Matt “Sippy” Tomasko’s second-quarter Callahan, Ultimate’s version of the “pick-six” in football. A “Callahan” is when a defensive player catches an interception in the opposing team’s own end-zone, thus scoring the point unassisted.

Leading 20-19 with less than two minutes left in the game, the Hunters were driving down the field in search of a game-tying score. Buffalo hucked the disc looking for yet another jump-ball point, but Brent Anderson swatted the disc away for what turned out to be a game saving block. Within seconds, Andy Bosco tossed the final score of the game to John Korber to all but guarantee the victory.

“That was a little too close for comfort. Buffalo is a team that takes what you give them and can also take a lot of shots downfield. After halftime, we stopped doing the things that worked for us in the first two quarter and started holding the disc too long instead of hitting the open guy. This was a big game and gives us a good measure of where we are and what we need to do going forward.” – Late-game hero Brent Anderson, #2

A crowd of close to 1000 cheered the Constitution to an important home victory. When the game was close late in the fourth quarter, it was the Minutemen – the official fan club of the Constitution – and the rest of the home fans that nudged the team to the win.

What’s Next: The Constitution will head out to the Midwest for a two game, weekend road trip. Saturday will see Connecticut take on the Bluegrass Revolution at 7 p.m in Lexington, KY. The Constitution will then face Indianapolis for a 2 p.m. game on Sunday. The Constitution will return to Arute Field on July 14 for the final home game of the season at 1 p.m. For tickets or more information, visit www.ctconstitution.com.