Madcow kicked off the club season at Monkeybowl 22 in Nashville, TN. The 23-man squad was full of new faces with only 11 returners in attendance. As the first tournament of the year, it provided a great opportunity for the new talent to step up and make an impression.
However, it would be a trying weekend for everyone involved. Despite a week of mid-70's temps leading up to the tournament, the weather gods were not kind to the Cow and temperatures hovered in the 88-92 range on both Saturday and Sunday. Combined with high humidity, very low wind, and little cloud cover, this made for a tough weekend of ultimate.
Saturday started off slowly with close wins over Tanasi and LouEvil. Madcow had an early lead in both games but allowed the other team to climb back in. Ultimately, both rounds went to the cap, and the long games in the harsh conditions seemed to wear the team down a bit. By the time the third round started, Madcow seemed to be lacking the energy it had brought to the first two games. RobertCats jumped to an early lead and the Cow was never able to pull within striking distance. The final round, a crossover against a depleted Chain team, had a similar result. Madcow finished Saturday with a worse-than-expected 2-2 record, but still good enough to earn a first round bye on Sunday.
Saturday evening provided some much-needed relaxation and time out of the sun. Later in the evening, a handful of players braved the trip to downtown Nashville for the tournament party. The free beer was enjoyed by all, and after various games of skill the team eventually made it safely back to the hotel to rest before the Sunday push.
As stated above, Sunday offered no respite from the brutal conditions. By the time Madcow's first game started at 10:45 AM, the temperatures were already pushing the high 80's. The first round pitted the Cow against Grassy Knoll, a tryout team for Grit based out of Dallas, TX. Madcow showed some obvious signs of improvement over Saturday's play and dispatched Grassy Knoll relatively quickly.
Next, in the semi-finals, Madcow faced the same Chain X team that had beaten them soundly on Saturday. However, Sunday was a new day and Madcow's fresh legs and improved play were obvious from the beginning. Despite giving up a couple of breaks early in the game, Madcow stormed back to take half 7-6. Chain's low numbers was clearly taking a toll on the team, as they were unable to make the full-field deep cuts that they had been routinely scoring with on Saturday. Ultimately, after some big plays down the stretch by veterans such as Timmy Meyers
, Madcow defeated Chain X 14-12 to earn a birth in the finals. A number of guys in the tryout squad had very solid games, with Mitch and Gus notably distinguishing themselves.
In the finals, Madcow squared off against the home-team Tanasi. Tanasi had played as split squads on Saturday but combined into a single team on Sunday morning. Tanasi proved to be very effective stretching the field and made a number of great plays going up for hucks. However, Madcow's overall game was too tough and 'Cow ultimately clenched the tournament championship with a 15-11 victory over Tanasi.
Thanks to everyone involved in organizing the tournament - Madcow had a great time at its first-ever Monkeybowl. Madcow now takes a few weeks to focus on practice, with the next tournament falling on June 19-20th at No-Surf in Cleveland. See you there!