Entrevista a Seth Crockford (ing)

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Seth Crockford
Septiembre 27, 1981

Equipos: Ironside, Sockeye, USA team WUGC 08

FyC: It was a long season you had to prepare for Worlds then ECC and finally Nationals. How does your team work during the year? You make tryouts? Do you have any plan so your body and your mind stays at its highest level till the end of the year?

S C: I did not play at Worlds this year, so I can't really speak to this. From past experience, like in 2008 with Sockeye, I know it can be difficult to try to peak at 2 events within only a few months of one another. I can say that taking a break after worlds was crucial to getting people on the team healthy. This game can be really tough on your body and sometimes the best rehab is simply rest. Ironside put a large emphasis on injury prevention this year, and hired a team trainer/ strength coach with that goal in mind. That said, injuries are going to happen. Losing Stubbs, one of our best players, to a sprained hamstring in semis at Nationals certainly hurt our chances in the final.

FyC: I’ve played against you one or two times; I know you are great in defense. What does a D player must have to do a good job?

S C: If playing good defense could be synthesized in a paragraph, I think it would have been done long ago by people smarter than me. That said, there a few things that contribute to success as a D player. First, make yourself a better athlete. Strength training, plyometrics, and footwork and agility drills will give you the physical tools to make plays on the field. On the mental side, make sure you understand what you need to do to help the D team succeed on a given point. Is it more important that you hold the force on the mark or aggressively try to stop your man from making deep throws by marking straight up? Should you cover your man underneath in the flat stack or back him and force him under. These strategies should be worked out as a team. Most turnovers at the highest levels, come from 7 defenders executing a well-coordinated plan and forcing the offense to do something they don't want to. Maybe the result is Colin Mahoney getting a huge layout block on an in-cut as he did in finals, or maybe it results in an opposing thrower forcing a bad deep throw at a high stall count. Know what your team wants to accomplish on D and buy in to that strategy.

FyC: What can you say about your style? The way you play? The best things you have as a player and those things that you work in every practice to have them perfect.

S C: I really hate losing, so it is not hard for me to get motivated to give my best. And playing D, you have to stay motivated to succeed because effort is paramount. Style-wise, I play a relatively physical game. I try to beat my man to the spot that he wants to go to. That can get pretty annoying to offensive players, as they generally do not like being touched.

FyC: I must say that in my opinion your body and the way you play has more things in common with the Japanese or Colombian (fast, aggressive, layouts, etc) what do you think about it? It is harder to defend o attack a player from Japan than a player from Europe for example?

S C: In that I am short and skinny, yes, I agree. The Colombians, in my experience, play a physical game, so I can see that comparison, as well. I don't see it as much with the Japanese (aside from the gloves) as they are not so physical and they all throw bladey deep shots. That is not my game. I've had the pleasure of always having tall guys to huck to, so I try to float it.As far as who is tougher to play against -- Japanese or Europeans -- I think it totally depends. Right now, the Buzz Bullets have a very talented, cohesive unit that is likely better than any team outside of North America. But this game is in a constant state of flux, so if the Brits or Swedes or Colombians have another great team in a couple years, I would not be surprised.

FyC: Your team has been in the top for a long time, how did you do the transition? I can imagine that some years ago the average age was higher than the one today? It was a easy process or it demanded time?

S C: I have only been playing with Boston for 2 seasons, so I am not the person to ask about the evolution of the team. The merger of DoG and Twisted Metal formed much of the current team and provided the talent necessary to compete for the top spots at Nationals.We are certainly young. At 29, I am one of the older guys on the team, which is a strange feeling, as I still feel like a kid. With lots of colleges in New England, we have a good pipeline of talent coming in every year, which is essential for sustained success.

FyC: You had the chance of playing worlds in VC with Sockeye also the chance of winning Sarasota with them, how was it? Can you compare your actual team and the fish? (Things in common, differences)

S C: I got my start playing club ultimate with Sockeye and given the success we had in my 3.5 years on the team, it would be hard for any subsequent experience to compare. I learned a lot playing with those guys, particularly folks like Ben Wiggins and Roger Crafts. Representing Team USA in Vancouver is something I am incredibly proud of and will never forget, despite falling short to the Canadians in the final.That said, I can't imagine any experience with another team comparing so favorably with Sockeye as this one with Ironside has. Winning a lot certainly helps in that vein. As I think is true across the top teams in the US, there are more similarities between the two teams than differences. Both teams' D lines are very athletic and have some big boys that can really play (Chase/Nord; Mahoney/Neff.) Both teams were loose and often silly off the field but disciplined on the field. The two O teams were somewhat different, as Sockeye played mostly horizontal stack and relied more on the deep game while Boston plays mainly vertical and uses break throws and underneath cuts to move the disc.

FyC: Most of players have this person that you love to play with because you understand each other perfectly, with the one you can play by memory, who is this person? Who is this player/friend you love to play with?

S C: I love playing with the guys I went to college with. Despite the fact that we never won that much, we know each others games well and have a great time playing together when we get the chance.In club, I love playing with guys that demand the disc downfield. Makes my job as a handler much easier. Will Neff and Chase SB both make picking the disc up trapped on the cone much easier than it normally would be by making decisive, aggressive cuts and using their big bodies to shield their defenders. Those guys are easy to throw to.

FyC: In Nationals we saw a very strong Ironside, you did great and won to 2 teams that seam to be at very good level (Sockeye, DW) what happened at the last game against Revolver? How was this tournament for Ironside?

S C: We had a really good year. So did Revolver. We were the only team that beat them all year, and that was without their main handler, Robbie Cahill (who I have the displeasure of marking.) And those 2 games at ECC were both very close. Sockeye's D line was great this year, but their O could not score consistently enough to pull out their games against us. DW did not show us much, as that power pool game did not mean a lot when both teams already had a bye into the quarterfinals. I don't think too much stock should be put into the outcome of that game. If they keep those young studs, I suspect we will see them in more important games down the line.The final versus Revolver just was not our game. Our D line had dominated all tournament and kept our offense out of high leverage situations. So when we did not get any breaks in the first few points, it came as no shock that our offense played a little tight. Deep cuts were coming a second too early or too late and were not viable. And when our deep game is not viable, the under cuts get much more difficult. I have to give Revolver credit. They played the best man defense we faced all year. And once we went down, their D fed off the energy and made a couple little runs that were enough to carry them to victory. Their O team was very solid. We were able to generate some pressure and got a few breaks, but the Cahill/Watson combo proved too much. Those guys are two of the better all-around players in the game, and unsurprisingly, they were a tough tandem to contain.

FyC: What was your role in the team this season?

S C: I moved to St. Louis this season for my girlfriend so I did not make it to many practices. The most challenging part of being basically a tournament-only player was staying in good shape without inspiration from teammates. Running track workouts by yourself is no fun.At tournaments, my role was similar to what it has been with other teams. I play defense and try my best not to have too many turnovers when we get it. This year, the addition of Brandon Malacek's cannon meant I did not have to stretch the field with my throws much, so I mainly tried to break the mark and keep the ball moving. I definitely struggled more on the offensive side of the ball more than on D and I think that stemmed from lack of practice. Much of playing defense is instinctive and years of playing soccer, basketball and ultimate have drilled into me certain defensive principles that don't require much practice. But on O, I made some mistakes -- like throwing into poaches -- that I am not sure I would make given more time on the practice field.Overall, teams I've played for ask me to cover the other team's main handler and I end up chasing around some of the best players in the game with very limited success.

FyC: I have to tell you that when we went to ECC the team that everybody liked the way they played was Ironside. Now people wanted that Ironside beat Revolver and won Sarasota. There are lots of fans of your team in here. How can you describe your team?

S C: That is a tough one. I appreciate that you guys were rooting for us. Describing a team ethos is tough. Most of the young guys listen to really bad top 40 music, but I like them anyway.

FyC: As I told you people want to see you and play against you, you should come to Colombia someday. But what do you know about Colombian ultimate, did you hear something of the people who came to TEP? (Sockeye, FG, Traffic, Riot)

S C: Colombia is definitely making their presence felt internationally. Given the success of your juniors teams, it should not be long until you guys have an impressive array of medals. As for TEP, I still have a lot of buddies on Sockeye, so I got to hear about how much fun they had down there. I speak some Spanish and need to practice more so I would love to come down there some time. Maybe Ironside could come down and help with the next iteration of TEP?

FyC: You have won a lot of titles, but there must be one that you remember everyday, the one that you won’t forget, which one?

S C: I think I remember the 2007 Championship most fondly. That game versus Bravo was a battle and our D team really came through to come back from an early deficit to win. I'll also always remember that final in the rain in Vancouver in 2008. Even though we lost, it was quite an experience playing in front of that many people -- most of whom were booing me for repeatedly calling travels on Mauro.

FyC: And there must be a player that you admire, the one you watch and say “I want to play like him” who is this player?

S C: Roger Crafts, of Sockeye lore, is the guy I modeled my game after. He was such an exciting and versatile defender, and at 5'9'', some of the plays he made were ridiculous. And he could kill you on the turn with his throws and legs.At this point in my career, I think I am done emulating. I'm probably passing my prime right about now, so while it would be nice to be the next Zip or Bart there is no sense wishing my life away. I am lucky to have gotten to play for such great teams the last 6 years or so. Hopefully I can keep contributing as I get into the twilight of my career.

FyC: Thank you very mucho Seth, I know people in my country will love to know you, and will learn a lot of you and your team. You are welcome to Colombia the day you want to come!

S C: Thank you, Camilo. I hope I have not bored you too much.I am curious to see what the translation looks like. I considered writing this in Spanish, but I don't know any frisbee vocab (and my written spanish is horrible.)