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My Thoughts on Speaking at JSConf Last Call

Speaking at JSConf Last Call is an amazing experience, and not for the reasons you might think. While the experience is still fresh in my mind I wanted to set down my thoughts and observations. If you are finding this too long, skip to the end for my “lessons learned.”

In case you were not at JSConf Last Call here are the pertinent details… I, Glen Goodwin and Todd Gandee gave a talk together entitled “We are Hacks and have been Stealing code for Years.” The talk was about how we all steal code because it is part of the process we use to learn new things and how it is our responsibility to make sure others in our community learn this process. We were very well received mostly due to Todd and I styling the talk as a quick back and forth dialog, hitting the major points we wanted to hit along the way. The audience enjoyed our presentation style, laughing a lot, but listening when we got serious. It was an awesome audience. The video is coming soon. This was my first ever talk at a technical conference and Todd’s second (but largest) technical talk. We are both super grateful to JSConf for giving two unknowns a huge chance on a relatively unknown subject.

So that’s the back story. Now here is where I tell you about everything else. The rest of this article details how we came up with the idea, our process in creating the talk, what is was like to give the talk, and most importantly what we learned from the process.

HOW IT ALL CAME TO BE

So the story of how our talk came to be begins with a Tweet. Todd Gandee, Chris Aquino, Eric Fernberg, and I had all met at JSConf 2013. And every year since then we’ve all tried to make it back to the subsequent JSConf events. Each year when JSConf announcements are made, a tweet goes out among us asking about who is going. For JSConf Last Call this was no different and I asked everyone who was going to go?

Todd replied that he was thinking about putting a talk together.

To this I replied offering to co-speak with him or help out.

It was a pretty big move for me to offer to co-speak. I had always thought about talking at JSConf but never really felt like I had anything worthwhile to say. (See Kevin Old’s talk about Imposter Syndrome) So my desire to speak was there, but I lacked what I felt was a really big idea. But more than that, the idea of speaking scared me a whole lot; not because I am afraid to speak publicly, I have little fear of public speaking, but more because I was afraid to put myself out there. I remember agonizing over even sending my offer to co-speak or help Todd, but eventually I just decided to risk it.

Todd’s answer came back four hours later and we were on the phone talking within a day. He was in.

The good news was that Todd had a good idea for a topic: The great news was when he told me it I got excited. I knew I was excited because my brain kept coming up with new ideas, new angles, new thoughts. When I can’t shut my brain up, that’s a really good sign and the longer my brain keep spinning on a subject, the better the idea.

So we opened a google doc and started spit-balling ideas.

SUBMITTING THE TALK

There were going to be some barriers to working together on this talk; primarily distance. Todd lives in Atlanta and I live in Baltimore, about 700 miles apart. Yet we knew the internet was full of tools for collaborating and we could employ them to our advantage. Initially we started with a Google Doc into which we put our ideas. Then came Google Slides for actually building our slide deck. Eventually we turned to Google Hangouts and ScreenHero for rehearsing together, but that’s getting a bit ahead in the story.

I want to tell you that Todd and I got together every couple of days and constantly refined our idea, worked out the story we wanted to tell, built the slides, etc. I want to tell you that but it would be a complete lie. Life is hard and gets in the way a lot. We are no different, so there was a fair number of stops and starts and really long breaks.

Initially we started by coming up with the JSConf submission form answers we were going to need. After all, there was no real point in working on a talk if we didn’t get accepted. So we crafted a Mission Statement. Well, really more of a presentation abstract, but I really wanted to fit that Jerry Maguire link in there. Then we massaged the abstract into the JSConf submission form.

We had a lot of questions though… Would JSConf allow a pair speaker presentation? Could they even technically support two speakers? Was what we were proposing a good topic? We emailed our questions to various JSConf people we knew from past years. I reached out to Chris Williams, having met him a number of times in mutual local community events. Todd reached out to Derek Lindahl whom he was friendly with from prior JSConf events. We wanted to know if we even had a shot and we wanted to be clear that we were willing to work with JSConf. We didn’t want the fact that we were going to have two speakers put any additional financial burden on JSConf. We were happy to pay our own way, so JSConf didn’t need to comp us extra because of a second person.

The results of our contact with the JSConf staff met with mixed results. I knew Chris was really busy with real life things and was not surprised when he never got back to me. Todd had a little better success with Derek, but it fundamentally came down to Derek saying, “Just submit it. If it’s good it will get selected.” That quote, from Derek, by the way, is the answer to always tell yourself if you are thinking about submitting. Just stop second guessing yourself and go submit it already.

So, on the last day of the submission deadline, after going back and forth a few times on our answers, we submitted our talk idea.

Here’s our initial submission abstract:

Two intrepid developers, who met at JSConf, examine the relationship of sharing code, community, and developer growth throughout the short history of making programming more art than engineering.

In this talk, Glen Goodwin and Todd Gandee will walk back from the present day to the “ancient” past of Babbage and Lovelace discussing how the act of “creative borrowing” influences learning and understanding for computer programmers; how we learn by observing and deconstructing the work of others to make it our own. This includes an examination of past and current models used for “stealing” the (mostly) freely shared knowledge and past work of others like Github, StackOverflow, View Source, and Byte Magazine. Our talk emphasizes the importance of inclusive conferences like JSConf in the growth of junior and senior software engineers. Programmers’ tools of today illustrate the apprentice/mentor relationship more akin to the arts than engineering.

On October 20, 2015, we were officially notified of our acceptance. It was a glorious moment, getting accepted. Rachel White in her own JSConf Last Call talk said she ran around the building screaming upon being accepted… There may or may not have been some happy dance moves on my part; I admit nothing.

THE FIRST DRAFT

And then it sunk in… Now we have to write the damned thing.

Initially we started just coming up with ideas. We had the basic theme of our talk in the form of our title “We’re Hacks and We’ve been Stealing Code for Years.” Great title, but what did it really mean, what does “Stealing Code for Years” really imply. Also, we knew that this being JSConf’s swan song meant something special to us and that we really wanted to show that. In the shared Google Doc we just started throwing out ideas, snippets really, that we thought might be relevant, possibilities.

And then neither of us touched it for weeks. Like I said, life is hard and things get in the way.

Yet, the thing about an exciting idea for me, is that my brain never really lets it go away. So while neither Todd nor I talked about it or added anything new to the Google Doc, my brain was constantly spinning things around, you know, like in a background thread.

Then one day, while sitting in my favorite lunch spot, having my favorite lunch (beer), I had a moment, a vision, an inspiration. “We should totally open the talk wearing ski masks, like we’re trying to protect our identity.” So I pulled out my iPad and proceeded to write this down. I knew that in order to pull off a ski mask based gag, the dialog would need to be very quick, so I decided to approach it like a theatrical scene using a script. And once I started writing it, once I started working in the script format, the words just poured out of me. It helps that I was an English Literature major in college and writing comes very, very easy to me.

So, yes, the first ten minutes of the first draft of the script was written in a bar, on an iPad, while consuming beer.

Explains a lot.

THE SECOND DRAFT

After some initial conversation with Todd about this new script, we again stopped working on the project for a few more weeks. While the first ten minutes of the script was done, the rest wasn’t really coming to me. And what little I did add after the initial burst was a little disjointed. We had all these ideas, but we lacked an organization for the ideas.

And then inspiration struck Todd.

Todd is a very visual thinker where I am a very textual thinker. He thinks by drawing stuff out, where I’m more of a writing stuff down kind of person. They are two different approaches, complimentary at times, but in-congruent at others. So Todd was having trouble thinking about the talk because we hadn’t organized it visually; I was having trouble thinking about the talk because I couldn’t figure out where to go next. And we were both stuck.

And like I just said above, inspiration struck Todd. He called me up. “I made a Trello board to just write down all the slides we need. I need to organize how this is going to go.” So we fired up Trello and we started to work. We first outlined the major points we wanted to hit, like talking about the history of Code Stealing or the section on Community. Those became our Trello columns (Trello Boards). Then in each column, we put the specific points we wanted to make like talking about NodeSchool or Women who Code. Then we could move the Trello columns around to come up with the best way to present the story we wanted to tell, the progression from Stealing Code to Community.

I cannot stress enough how much what we did in Trello saved our talk. It was so instrumental to just organizing what we wanted to do. And once we had that, the script I had to write became super easy to do. I literally copied all the column names out of Trello into the script as section headers. Then a copied out the specific points of each section into the script. A little bit of refactoring on the introduction part, and the script pretty much seemed to write itself.

The Script was completed three days after we did our work in Trello. Well, the second draft was completed. The final draft of the script wouldn’t be done until about two days before our talk was to be given. It probably would have been tweaked right up to minutes before the talk, but we had to pull the slides out of Google Slides and into Keynote to protect against conference internet latency. That meant Todd had the latest copy so I was prevented from rewriting anymore.

TODD MAKES SLIDES

The plan was for me to write the script and Todd to work on the slides. But in order to make the slides, Todd needed a sense of where the slides would go, how they would fit into the script. So we decided that as I wrote the script I would put slide changes in as scene notes, like this:

GLEN: That’s my point… We have an entire industry of tinkers, it’s baked into what we do. [SLIDE: Tinkering, or breadboard in state of repair]

Also, since the script had a certain flow I had an idea of what slides I thought we should use. Plus I knew there were just some slides I had to have in the talk because I love the images, like this IT Crowd one… Mandatory for any talk in my opinion.

So once I really got started on the script, Todd got started building the slide deck out. He started collecting images and putting them in order. I am firmly in the camp that you should never make your audience read your slides, so we agreed to minimize that. Use the images to enhance what we are speaking about, so the content of the talk is the focus, not the images. Turns out when you throw a bunch of humorous slides and make people laugh that also kind of pulls their attention away from the content, but we’ll talk about that later.

Of course, while all this slide work was being done the script was constantly being tweaked, the slides were getting tweaked as well. I was making sure to re-read the script 3 or 4 times a day, fixing typos and refining the flow. Todd was continually adding more slides and I was continually offering more suggestions.

The entire process was very iterative. I’m not sure how much Todd started to hate me at this point because I kept changing the ground out from under him. I tried to minimize the impact of my changes, but it happens. There was also a lot of places where I would change his slides and he would change my script. We had to completely throw out the idea that while I wrote the script and he was doing the slides, neither of us owned our respective parts anymore; everything was shared.

Meanwhile, we both set out to memorize the script. Big mistake.

REHEARSING OVER THE INTERNET

See, the script I wrote was roughly twenty (20) pages of mostly rapid back and forth dialog. Neither Todd nor I have ever done any acting at all, we had zero experience memorizing lines. And let me tell you memorizing lines is incredibly hard. I am a huge live theatre fan, especially Shakespeare, and have always had a lot of respect for actors. In the weeks leading up to the conference my respect doubled, tripled, then doubled again. My hats go off to the actors that can memorize their roles in iambic pentameter.

00000001So we came to the realization that we were not going to be able to memorize our parts. Instead, we were going to have to read from the script as we walked through the slides. So we had to cut and paste each section of text from the script into the slide. Also, because of the rapid pace of our dialog we would need at least a few lines from the next slide showing on the current slide. This, it turned out, was a fair amount of work; and as we kept refining the slides going further we also had to refine the notes for the slide, and the text from the prior slide, and the text from the next slide. It was a constant battle of keeping everything aligned.

About five days before the conference we had our first “live” reading together using ScreenHero and Google Hangouts. We set some time aside on Tuesday night at 9:30 after our respective wives/partners had gone off to bed. I remember telling my partner Jennifer that I would be up “in about an hour.” I went to bed at 1:30am that night. We managed to read the script completely through exactly twice.

This is where I feel the real work began. We moved some slides around, changed some images, changed a bunch of dialog placement, and all that. Every single slide and line of dialog was tweaked and reviewed. It was constantly a work in progress and as I said above, changing slides around meant a lot of rework to get all the alignments correct. Uggh.

I think prior to our first reading that I figured we’d rehearse a couple of times, do the Google Hangout things, then maybe a few reads the day before our talk. Except it became pretty clear right from the first reading that the timing of our dialog was going to be everything. The opening bit with the masks was especially hard for me to get down because of the constant interruption nature of those first 20 lines.

After working into the wee hours on Tuesday, we decided we needed to do it again the next night.

Wednesday night at 9:30 I told my partner Jennifer once again, “This should be much shorter, we just need to read it.” I went to bed Wednesday night at 2:30am.

THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

On Thursday I flew down to Jacksonville. It’s a two hour flight from Baltimore, plus a few hours sitting around in the airport. I re-read the slides a dozen times. I had one particularly long speech that I just couldn’t seem to get down so I keep going over it over and over again. I’m pretty sure the couple sitting next to me on the plane thought I was some sort of crazed lunatic because I just kept staring at my iPad and mumbling to myself under my breath; and then every time the “Points for Glen” slide would come up I would throw my arms up in the air. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a sky marshal on the flight or I would have been detained.

The preceding Monday Jan Lehnardt had contacted me about sharing a shuttle van from the airport, since he, I, and Patricia Garcia were all arriving at the airport at the same time. I had already booked a rental car, so I just invited them to join me in the drive. Best thing I ever did. Jan is a seasoned pro at talks and Patricia had just given her first one at JSConf EU. I quizzed them both mercilessly for tips and tricks and perspectives. They were both very open and sharing, despite having been awake far more hours then they should have and that it was like 2am in their local time. I appreciate their company and helpfulness.

Additionally, Jan pointed me at a blog post he did on the subject of speaking at conferences which he emailed me later. It’s a great quick read and you should totally read it. It also gave me the idea to write this up as well and share my own experiences. So much thanks to Jan and Patricia.

THE DAY BEFORE

Todd (and another friend of ours Chris) arrived the next morning. Let the dress rehearsal begin.

Remember when I said I had constantly been tinkering… It’s true. The first thing I did before we even rehearsed was drop a slide and 2 lines of dialog. We also realized (remembered actually) how shitty the hotel WiFi is. This is important because we had used Google Slides to write our presentation. The first time we ran through the Google Slides on site we realized waiting for each slide image to load wasn’t going to cut it. We ended up exporting the slides to Keynote. For the most part this was fine as most everything moved over except for one crucial part: We had done some color coding of our speaker notes to indicate text said on a prior slide, or text coming up on the next slide, or even whose line was whose. That didn’t transfer over. Todd was a trooper and reformatted all those things Friday night instead of sleeping.

We rehearsed probably eight times that day. Chris (our other friend) came in and pretended to be our audience despite the fact he had heard our talk five times already at this point. Him being there was so critical because it acclimated me to the idea of an audience. Let me focus on them instead of always looking down at the slide notes.

A large part of our practice on Friday was just getting comfortable with each other and learning the timing and the delivery of each line. We had never given a talk together, so just learning each other’s cues was really important. Creating a rapport between us was really one of the biggest success we had in our talk and that rapport was entirely due to spending a day practicing. By learning each other’s cues we also learned how to respond to each other conversationally. This turned out to be critical because I don’t think we ever said the same line the same way twice. There was a fair amount of “scripted improv”. That is to say, while we would be saying the line, we each would modify the line or the intonation or the pace when we actually said it. It made for a much more comfortable dialog.

Practice also proved out that our method of reading the slide notes would work amazingly well without the need to total memorization. Yea, I did end up memorizing a lot of my lines, but what I had a big problem was was knowing when the line was supposed to come. However, because we had a dialog between both of us, whenever Todd was speaking I could glance at the script and read my next line.

Another thing that we changed during practice was who was running the slides. Initially I ran the slides during our remote practices, but it seemed to get in the way when we were rehearsing together. We tried splitting who was in charge of what slide, but it didn’t work. So Todd just took it over and did a far better job than I had. I think he’s more used to using the clicker and was less worried about timing the slides with the dialog. I also think he really wanted to take over running from the very beginning, but I was unable to hear his desire. Sorry Todd. You did an awesome job running the slides.

GIVING THE SPEECH

Honestly, I have very little recollection of what happened during the speech.

I couldn’t tell you how Tracy introduced us, but I’m sure she did a great job. Everyone knows she’s awesome.

I know a lot of people laughed, which was so amazing. I knew we had a few jokes in there, but never expected our audience to laugh as much as they did. And the laughter started the minute we stepped on stage. I’m told we looked utterly ridiculous. I remember telling myself prior to the talk that “if we got some laughs, just wait a second or two for them to die down before continuing.” Problem was, in the intro, the laughter didn’t stop. People genuinely thought what we were doing was funny. That made the speech for me right there.

After that point, everything was coasting.

I know I made two mistakes, but they weren’t huge and I was okay with that. I remember toward the end of the talk, Todd read one of the lines I was supposed to read. So I read his. And we kept going reading the other person’s line. Nobody seemed to notice, so we went with it. I think the practice really allowed us to do that. Well, that and it was pretty close to the end.

I do remember Zahra‘s game of twenty questions, but having missed all the prior talks due to rehearsals, I had no idea why she was asking us these questions. It seemed odd, but I rolled with it. Turned out to be a lot of fun… I improv fairly well. I think Todd doesn’t do as well and was less comfortable.

AFTERSHOCKS

Let me tell you what it’s like after giving a speech…

First, everything about your talk, all that memorization that you did? all of it gone. My brain literally emptied of everything regarding the talk within a second of exiting the stage. Well, that’s not true… I know all the themes and points we hit during the talk, but the lines we memorized? Can’t think of a single one. A few have surfaced back to memory over the days since, but by and large all the memorized text is gone.

Second, I was full of energy. My body was positively charged and I just wanted to bounce around. We had given the talk, everyone laughed, it was great. I was humming.

People came up to use and said good things. Chris Williams came over and complemented the hell out of the talk. That meant so much to us that he enjoyed it. Todd and I had said that if just one person came up to us after and complimented the talk, then it was a success. That the first person to do so was Chris made it all that much better.

We shook hands and said “Thank You” a lot. We met new people, we grew our community, it was amazing.

And then the crash… I think your body is running so high building up to your talk, that when it’s all over the adrenaline goes away and all you want to do is sleep. I almost fell asleep in one of the talks after ours. Todd was in the exact same state. Power nap time. Its amazing how much your body can recover in a 30 minute nap. Try it some time. 30 minutes is the perfect nap length.

WHAT DID I LEARN?

Don’t agonize over submitting your talk, just do it. You are completely capable to give a talk and people genuinely want to hear what you have to say. Stop thinking about it and go submit a talk. Do it now, I’ll wait.

Don’t give a talk with another person unless it’s absolutely critical to do so. It’s really, really hard to do. We were very lucky in that Todd and I work amazingly well together. YMMV.

Outline before you write, or make slides, or whatever. The outline is they key to organizing your thoughts.

You don’t need a script like we had, but have solid notes that are easy to refer back to.

Don’t make your audience read your slides.  Use images to enhance what you are saying.  But, be careful of the funny image as that can cause people to not pay attention to what you are saying as well.

If your slides depend on timing, make sure your notes have the text that is immediately following your slide change so you don’t lose your place.

You can never practice too much. I think overall, Todd and I rehearsed together somewhere between fifteen and twenty times. When we were not rehearsing I was reading the slides over and over again.

Delivery is everything. The timing, the intonation, the mannerisms, they all play into the performance.

It’s a performance. I learned this from Jan’s blog post (see above) and its absolutely true. Even more so for us where we actually had a script.

If you do slides in Google Slides, export them to PowerPoint or Keynote for the actual presentation. Never ever rely on conference WiFi.

You are absolutely going to make mistakes during the talk; just roll with it. Take a second, move on. Repeat your line if you have to. Like I mentioned above, Todd said one of my lines near the end of our talk, so I said his next line, and for the last 10 or so lines of the talk, we were inverted. We never rehearsed that, so it was completely unprepared for, but we were pros at reading the script by then, so nobody noticed.

As Chris Williams told all the speakers in a conference call prior to the conference, everyone in the audience wants you succeed. They’re your peers, co-workers, friends, and family.

Thanks.

Wildwood Rules Cheat Sheet

Lincoln Strikes again, this time with a handy Wildwood Rules Cheat Sheet. How does the Two Point Rule work? What’s the Stall Count? Am I In or Out of Bounds? All these questions answered in one simple, concise and convenient page.

Get it in PDF form here: http://goo.gl/Jb5cn

Lincoln’s Guide to the Wildwood Beach Ultimate Tournament (W2BU)

The Wildwood Beach Ultimate Tournaments (W2BU) is the world’s large beach ultimate event with several hundred teams and several thousand players in one location for two amazing days of Beach Ultimate. Preparing for, and surviving this experience can be a daunting undertaking, so Lincoln is here to demystify every single aspect and facet of this amazing weekend long ultimate fest.

This is intend to be a comprehensive guide. However, it is far from complete and Lincoln guarantees no specific detail, results, or any of the information contained within. It is incumbent upon each team, captain, and player who reads this guide to do their own research, set their own expectation, and come to their own conclusions. If you find any inaccuracies or have suggesting for changes or inclusions, please comment on the Reddit thread at http://www.reddit.com/r/ultimate/comments/1hfvef/lincolns_guide_to_the_wildwood_beach_ultimate/ and Lincoln will make every opportunity to make changes and corrections.

As with all things published on the internet: Things are subject to change and YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

ABOUT W2BU

What is W2BU? Wildwood is the largest beach ultimate tournament in the world. It has been running since 1992 and annually hosts approximately 400 teams, made up of around 5000 players. There are about 150 or so fields setup, and games playing non-stop from 9 to 5 on both Saturday and Sunday. It is an incredibly fun and exciting tournament full of great people, amazing ultimate, and outstanding spirit. Lincoln cannot recommend this tournament enough.

When is W2BU? Wildwood takes place the last weekend of July every year. Here’s a rough schedule for the next ten years…

July 27-28, 2013
July 26-27, 2014
July 25-26, 2015
July 30-31, 2016
July 29-30, 2017
July 28-29, 2018
July 27-28, 2019
July 25-26, 2020
July 24-25, 2021
July 30-31, 2022

What can I expect? You can expect to play 4 full games of Beach Ultimate on Saturday and anywhere from 1 to 3 games of Beach Ultimate on Sunday. Each team is also allotted a certain amount of free food and water, to keep energy up. All players over 21 also get access to the Beer Garden on Saturday Night with free beer, live music, and films of past tournaments.

What can I REALLY expect? You can expect to meet a lot of really cool players and teams, to see crazy layouts everywhere you look, and to have the time of your life. This is not hyperbole. Almost anyone who has ever gone to Wildwood once, returns the next year.

How Much does W2BU Cost? The only official expense for W2BU is registration, which, as of 2013 was $400 per team. If you carry a team of about 10 players, this is $40 per player. That said, the other costs of Transportation, Accommodation, Food, Alcohol (optional), vary greatly. Lincoln’s personal estimate is that it runs somewhere around $400 per person.

Where can I find out more Information? You can visit the W2BU Website, W2BU Facebook Page, or W2BU Twitter account to stay up to date on all the latest details.

TEAMS

How is W2BU Structured? W2BU is structured into different divisions, each with any number of sub-divisions and groupings.  A team registers for one division. Within each division teams are divided into a Class.  Each Class is further divided into Pools with 4 teams in each pool. So for any given team you will have a division (2/2 beer, 3/1 Competitive, etc), a Class (Golden Monkey, Helios, etc), and a Pool (as determined by your team letters).

What Are the Different Divisions? There are currently four different divisions of play for which a team may register. Each division is outlined below…

  • 2/2 Beer – 2 Male, 2 Female on the field for each point. Beer Divisions are for teams who care more about fun than winning. Commonly, beer division games will often, but not always, feature more casual play interspersed with practices like boat races, disc chugs, beer points, bust-a-move points, T-Rex vs Pterodactyl, and the like. If you are not interest in such antics, go play Competitive.
  • 3/1 Beer – 3 Male, 1 Female on the field for each point. Beer Divisions are for teams who care more about fun than winning. Commonly, beer division games will often, but not always, feature more casual play interspersed with practices like boat races, disc chugs, beer points, bust-a-move points, T-Rex vs Pterodactyl, and the like. If you are not interest in such antics, go play Competitive.
  • 3/1 Competitive – 3 Male, 1 Female on the field for each point. Competitive Divisions are for team that want a more competitive setting of play and are less interested in the goofy alcohol fueled antics of the Beer Division. If you want to be serious about the game, play this division.
  • Juniors – For teams 18 years old and younger. I’m not sure what the enforced gender ratio is. Junior division is for our younger participants.

Which Division is Right for You? Ultimately, which division is right for your team is up to your own judgement. In the Beer divisions you should not be surprised if opposing team challenge you to beer related points or contests and other silliness now and then. Beer divisions also tend to be more casual about the games as a whole. Competitive division is more about the pure joy of ultimate and the love of the game without all the beer division silliness. Teams in the competitive division are giving it their all to win the game, versus beer division teams which are giving it their all to fight off the hangover from Friday night.

Which Time Slot should A Team Choose? Some divisions have the added choice during registration for if you would like the first or A slot (earlier) or the second or B slot (later).  The First/A slot games play earlier than the Second/B slot and then games alternate from there on in.  See below for the schedule. Choosing a specific time slot during registration is not a guarantee of that time slot.  The organizers reserve the right to assign you to whatever time slot is necessary for field balance.

How Do You Build a Team? To build a team, get 10 or so of your closest Ultimate Frisbee friends to agree to go spend the weekend in New Jersey playing Beach Ultimate. This is much harder than it sounds. Being very organized about the whole thing will help greatly.

How Big Should a Team Be? Lincoln personally recommends you carry 2.5 to 3 times the number of players that must be on the field at any given time. For 2/2 teams Lincoln would carry 5 to 6 males, and 5 to 6 females. For 3/1 Lincoln would carry 7 to 9 males, and 3 to 4 females. You should be prepared for the eventuality that several of your players might get hurt or otherwise impaired from playing after you arrive at Wildwood.

How Do You Find Male Players? Show up at your local Ultimate Frisbee league and shout out that you are looking for guys for Wildwood. Should be a swarm of them.

How Do You Find Female Players? This one is usually a little tougher, unfortunately, to do.  Lincoln believes in home growing female players by introducing new women to the sport and encouraging them to get out and play as much as possible.

REGISTRATION

How do You Register a Team? Once you have enough people to move forward with a team, you go online to the W2BU website to register it. It is recommended that you register earlier for better field position, although Lincoln has never found this to matter in the slightest. The Team Captain should register the whole team at once by going to the website and completing the form. The registration fee ($400 as of 2013) is due at that time.

When Does Registration Open? Registration opens somewhere between March and April. The Wildwood Twitter account or Wildwood Facebook page should have these details, although W2BU is notoriously bad about announcing these details. Personally, Lincoln likes to register in late April.

When Does Registration Close? Unofficially W2BU has never turned a team down, so there really is no ending to the registration deadline. That said, Lincoln would make sure to register by July 1 just to be polite.

How Much Does it Cost? As of 2013, registration costs $400 per team. The current trend seems to be an increase of about $25 per year.

Can I change My Registration After I’ve Registered? Yes, you can. There is an email form at http://wildwoodultimate.com/?page_id=98 that can be completed to contact the organizers. They are VERY HELPFUL and will work with you to make any necessary adjustments. There is also a phone number to call if the email form does not net you any results.

Can I cancel My Registration After I’ve Registered? Lincoln believes you can cancel your registration at any point. Again there is an email form at http://wildwoodultimate.com/?page_id=98 that can be completed to contact the organizers.

Can I get a Refund after Cancellation? Lincoln does not know for certain, but believes the W2BU people will try to return your money if you do cancel your registration. There is nothing on the website to contradict this, but there is also nothing posted about it either.

Do I Need to List ALL Players to Register? No, you do not need to have a set roster to register, or at any point during the tournament for that matter. They only constants is that when your Check-In on Friday night you will be asked for your waivers (see below) and that will be how many wrist bands you receive. That’s the roster number you have.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Where To Stay in Wildwood? Your choices for accommodations at Wildwood are Hotel, Campground, Beach House/Condo, or Sleep in your Car.

  • Hotels -There are literally hundreds of hotels in Wildwood and staying in one is probably your best choice. You can find a complete list of hotel options at http://wildwoodultimate.com/?page_id=92. Keep in mind, the following…
    • Most hotels, like the Beach House/Condo option below, will be initially reluctant to make reservations for less than 3 nights. However, if you tell them you are “with the frisbee tournament” they often will make an exception because they “love those nice frisbee people.”
    • The closer the hotel to the beach, the more expensive the room will be.
    • You must be 25 years of age or older to book with most hotels in Wildwood.
    • Please be polite to the hotel staff and treat the hotel with respect. Your actions at Wildwood will affect occupancy for years to come.
    • Generally speaking, almost all the hotels at Wildwood are best described as Crappy and Small. It’s the nature of the Jersey Shore.
    • All Wildwood Hotels will require a credit card to hold the room and about 50% of the cost as a deposit. All have very detailed cancellation policies with most hotels keeping 25% to 50% if you cancel. Read the find print carefully.
    • Hotels want you to check out by 11m (or so) on Sunday, so you will need to Checkout and then get to your game.  For some hotels this will also involve parking your car somewhere else for the remainder of the day. Please see parking notes below.
    • Most hotels come with some form of limited parking.  Make sure to ask.  For example, you can park up to 2 Cars per room or something to that effect.
  • Camping – There are a number of campgrounds in the Wildwood area with very reasonable rates. As with all things Wildwood, Lincoln recommends you make a reservation in advance. You can find a list of Camping locations at http://wildwoodultimate.com/?page_id=95.
    • Please note that Camping on the beach is not permitted.
    • If you do Camp you will still have to Park your car when you drive over to the beach for your games. Please see parking notes below.
  • Beach House/Condo – My personal experience with renting a beach house/condo is that it is incredibly hard to arrange. Most condos/beach house owners want to rent a minimum 4 to 7 night stay and do not really want to rent for the weekend.
    • If anyone has more advice on this front please share and Lincoln will happily add the info.
    • Every time Lincoln has tried to arrange this it has failed miserably.
  • Sleep in your Car – There are always stories about players sleeping in their cars at Wildwood and it appears to be pretty common. If you do sleep in your car you must be prepared to be rousted by the police to move along as it is not permitted in most places. That said, Wildwood is full of nooks and crannies (especially if you get further away from the beach) where you can park for a few hours of shut eye.
    • Please note that sleeping on the beach is not permitted.
    • Even if you do Sleep in your car you will still need to find beach parking at game time.  Please see parking notes below.

How Far Out Should I Book The Accommodation? As soon a possible. Once you have a good commitment from most of your team, get the rooms booked. Most Hotels in Wildwood are generally closed during the winter months, so Lincoln recommends calling somewhere around February to book your rooms. As with all places, the best rooms go the quickest.

WAIVERS

PLEASE NOTE: All details in this section on waivers is SPECULATIVE until confirmed.

What are Waivers? Each player at Wildwood is required to fill out and sign a waiver. This is your standard indemnification waiver that you have to fill out when participating in most sports events. Waivers are submitted to the Wildwood staff AT CHECK-IN where they will be checked for signatures and counted. The number of wrist bands you get will be equal to the number of waivers you submit.

Where is the Waivers Form Found? You can find the Waiver in PDF form at http://wildwood.usetopscore.com/uploads/923/media_items/wildwood-waiver-waiver.original.pdf. You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed to view and print the form.

When do I turn in my Waivers? Waivers are turned in, en masse, during team Check-In on Friday night. Your captain should collect the forms and turn them in for all players of the team, instead of having the whole team go over to check-in.

What if I am a Minor? Please have your parent/legal guardian complete and sign the Waiver.

TRAVEL

How do I get to Wildwood? You can Fly and Drive, or you can just Drive. Here’s a Google Maps link  http://goo.gl/maps/2R0VO. Figure it out from there.

Where Should I Fly Into? There’s an airport in Atlantic City which is just north of Wildwood, but will be crazy expensive unless you are an Oil Tycoon. Otherwise, Fly in to Philadelphia which is about 2 hours drive and then rent a car.

How Long will the Drive Take? Depends on where you are coming from: Boston is about 6 hours although weekend traffic can make that as long as 12 hours; Philadelphia is about 2 hours; Baltimore/Washington DC is about 4 hours; NYC is about 2 to 3 Hours.

Where can I Park? There are a number of “Pay for the Day” Parking lots near the boardwalk at the beach.  These are generally your best bet for parking.  Street Parking is all metered, all the time, and enforced vigorously.  If you do street park, make sure you stay up on feeding the meter.  Some meters have cell phone enabled payments. Lincoln’s last parking ticket was $45.

PACKING

What Do I need to Bring? For playing at Wildwood you will probably need a pair of shorts and a shirt for each day, and possibly your swimsuit since this is the beach, maybe a towel as well. Also you will need water for hydration and a LOT of sunscreen. Do not under-estimate how much sunscreen you will need. Lincoln personally recommends spray on sunscreen as the rub-on lotion kind will be very painful once you get even the slightest bit sandy.

Sandsocks? The beach sand can get hot, real hot. Blister hot. One very popular option is the usage of Sandsocks for protection from the hot sand. These are basically socks, with a toughened sole for sand or water usage. Lincoln recommends buying Sandsocks and playing in those, but to each their own. A great Sandsock vendor is Vincere and you can buy them on Amazon.

Other Footwear? W2BU allows players to play in Bare Feet, Sandsocks, or Tennis Shoes (if necessitated due to injury and acceptable to both teams). No cleats or other type of shoe is allowed!

FOOD/EATING

What’s the Best Place to Eat At? Sorry to say, Lincoln has never found a good place to eat in Wildwood.  Most of the restaurants are adequate, but not outstanding. But then Lincoln can be a bit of a food snob.

Where’s the nearest Supermarket? There are a number of nearby supermarkets, but Lincoln likes the Shop Rite Supermarket on the way into Wildwood.  1700 New Jersey 47, Rio Grande, NJ .

What is the best way to do a Team Dinner on Saturday Night? First and foremost, avoid taking the whole team to restaurant and trying to get a table.  It’s difficult to do and often requires a long wait and exasperated staff.  Instead consider these options:

  • If your lodging has a kitchen, cook a meal like a big batch of Pasta or something.
  • A lot of hotels have grills for use by hotel guests.  Fire one up and grill some fat steaks and veg, or whatever your food is.
  • There are a number of decent pizza places down on the boardwalk.  Buy a few pies and walk out onto the sand for a sand pizza picnic.
  • If you are camping, campfire cooking is awesome.  Roast some weenies and s’mores.
  • Prepare ahead of time and bring deli fixins and let your team make sandwiches and hang out.

CHECK-IN

What is Friday Night Check-in? All teams must Check-In on Friday night to turn in their Waivers and collect their Team Packet. The Team Packet includes your schedule, your free stuff card (for water and food), wrist bands, and any promotional sponsor items. You will also need to get the time and location of your first three games for Saturday. These are usually posted inside the Check-In room. It is the Captain’s responsibility to write down the information and inform your team.

What do I need to Bring to Friday Night Check-in? You will need to bring a completed waiver for each player of your team. Also, because Registration is in a bar you should bring a photo ID to get inside.

Where is Check-In? Check-In takes place at the Bolero Resort & Conference Center, 3320 Atlantic Avenue, Wildwood, NJ. It is actually held at the bar/nightclub attached to the hotel, so don’t go into the hotel, but go next door to it. You will see a lot of Frisbee players standing around outside probably. Once inside go up the stairs to your left and get in the line wrapping around the upper level.

When does Check-In Open/Close? Check-In begins at 8pm on Friday night and runs until about 12am Saturday. Be warned that the check-in line can be VERY LONG. Buy a beer at the bar and make friends with the people around you.

Can I Check-In Saturday Morning? I believe there is a limited check-in available Saturday morning, but I have no idea where this takes place. Anyone got any info on this?

What are the Wrist Bands For? Each playing person is required to have a wrist band.  That said, nobody really seems to care.  But, you absolutely must have the Wrist Band in order to get into the Party on Saturday Night.

SCHEDULE OF GAMES

What is the Schedule? Below is a rough outline of the schedule.  Please be advised that the schedule may change.

DAY STARTS ENDS CLASS TYPE
Saturday 9:30am 10:15am A Pool Play
Saturday 10:30am 11:15am B Pool Play
Saturday 11:30am 12:15pm A Pool Play
Saturday 12:30pm 1:15pm B Pool Play
Saturday 1:30pm 2:15pm A Pool Play
Saturday 2:30pm 3:15pm B Pool Play
Saturday 4:00pm 4:45pm A Pre-Quarters
Saturday 5:00pm 5:45pm B Pre-Quarters
Sunday 10:00am 10:45am A Quarter Finals
Sunday 11:00am 11:45am B Quarter Finals
Sunday 12:00pm 12:45pm A Semi Finals
Sunday 1:00pm 1:45pm B Semi Finals
Sunday 2:00pm No End Time* A Finals
Sunday 3:15pm No End Time* B Finals

* The Final games are played to points, not an ending time.

When do we show up for the First Game of the day? Please, please, please get to the field for your first game 1 hour before the game starts.  It will take your team a lot of time to get setup, warmed up, and ready to play.

When do we show up for subsequent Games? After each game there is at least 1 hour of time before the next game, you can show up to your next field a little more casually.  That said, try to get over to the next field with about 30 minutes to allow for more warm up, meet and greet, etc.

PLAYING

What Do I Need to Know as a Player? Play hard, play with spirit, and have fun. Oh, and sunscreen is critical. And hydration.  Don’t forget the hydration!

What Do I Need to Do as a Player? Help your captain. Get your ass out of bed in the morning and to the field on time. Show respect for your fellow players.

Is a Team Captain required? While it is not required to have a captain for a team, most teams usually have someone who does the majority of the organizing, the cat herding, and the score reporting. That’s your captain. Show them some respect and buy them beer.

What Does a Captain Do? As captain your responsibility is to…

  • Check-in your Team (see above).
  • Inform your Team about when and where they are playing.
  • Get your team to the field on time, about 1 hour before game time for the first game.
  • Report the score when the game is over. Make sure you do this even if the other team says they are going to do it. Do not rely on the other team to do it.
  • Agree with the other team over any special rules, beer points or the like.
  • Lag the disc or appoint someone to lag the disc for determining the initial pull.
  • Be cognizant of the rules.
  • Be aware of the time, stop horn, and the like.
  • Set the example for on field spirit and awesomeness.

How Do I Captain Well? Lead by example, be super spirited, and don’t over-think the chaos around you. Most importantly, get your team to the field on time. The other team is waiting on you.

TIME LIMITS AND HORNS

How long does Each game run? Each game begins at the allotted time.  One long blast of the horn will sound to signal the beginning of each game.  Games are played for 45 minutes, except for the Finals which have their own rules.  Three short blasts of the horn will indicate the end of the round. When the three shorts blasts of the horn occurs, the following rules come into play.

  • If a point is in progress at the sound of the horn, finish the point.
  • If after play has stopped one team is ahead by 3 or more points, that team wins.
  • If a team is winning by 2 or less points, then another point is played until there is a team with a higher score.  (Essentially, a hard cap is established at 1 more point greater than the team with the higher score.)
  • A team does not have to win by 2 points.
  • If the time reaches the time for another game to begin, the game is over. In the event of ties, see Specific Rules below for resolution.

How long does the Final game run? The final games is not timed, but rather 3 games played to specific points.  The best 2 out of 3 games wins. The firs two games are played to 7 points.  The third game, if needed, is played to five points.  In the Finals, each team gets 1 time out per game.  In the Finals, each game is separated by 3 minutes before the next game must begin.  In the finals, the team that scores the winning point will begin the next game by pulling from the end zone they scored in.

What do the horn blasts mean? The horn is used to signal the start and the end of each game.  The patterns have the following meanings:

  • One Long Blast: This indicates the start of a game.
  • Three Short Blasts: This indicates the end of a game, 45 minutes after the start of the game.

SPECIFIC RULES

What are the Official Rules of Wildwood? Wildwood follows the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) rules for ultimate with the 4-on-4 Beach Ultimate Appendix.  Additionally Wildwood has it’s own set of rules that you can find at http://wildwoodultimate.com/?page_id=66.

How Long does a Game Run? Each game will be played to 45 minutes in Pool Play, Pre -Quarters,  Quarter Finals, and Semi Finals. All games have an extra ten minutes for any additional play that may be needed after the horn goes off.

How does the final Championship Game work? The championship game will be the best two-out-of-three 7-point games, with the third and deciding game played to 5 points. Each team has one time-out per game. No carry-overs of time-outs into the next game. The team that scores the winning point of the first and second game will start the next game by pulling the disc from the end zone that they scored in. 3 minutes between games.

Is Gender Matching Required? Each team must field exactly the gender dictated by their league for each point.  For 3/1 Leagues, you must have 3 male and 1 female players on the field.  For 2/2 it is 2 male and 2 female players. If a Team cannot field those numbers, they may play down a player.

What is the Lag? The captains of each team will choose a representative to “Lag” the disc. One representative of each team will throw the disc from the back of the end zone, trying to get it closer to the back of the opposite end zone without the disc going over the line. Both representatives throw the disc at the same time on a count of three. If both discs go over the line, then the closer to the back line wins the choice of either starting on offense or selecting which end zone to defend.

What are some alternative to Lagging? Any game or challenge which both team can agree to is acceptable in place of lagging.  If nothing is acceptable, please use the lag rules. In Beer Leagues challenges like Boat Races, Shotgun Races, and Disc Drains are common practice.

How must a Pull be Done? Each pull must be an inverted type throw (Hammer, Scoober, etc). When the disc is pulled it shall be at least 91 degrees (perpendicular) to the ground.

What happens when the Disc Goes Out of Bounds on the Pull? If the disc first touches the ground in bounds or touches an offensive player and then rolls out of bounds on the pull, play is resumed at the point where the disc exited the field.  This includes discs that travel out the back of the end zone. If the disc becomes out-of-bounds without first touching the playing field or an offensive player, the thrower may establish the pivot either at the brick mark closest to their defending end zone, or at the spot on the playing field proper closest to where the disc went out-of-bounds. The brick option must be signaled by the intended thrower before picking up the disc by fully extending one arm above their head.

What happens when the Disc Goes Out of Bounds not on the Pull? If the disc travels or rolls out the side of the field, play is resumed where the disc exited the field.  If the disc goes out the back of the end zone, the defender who takes possession may play the disc at the back of the end zone or at the goal line.

How long is the Stall Count? The person with the disc has 6 seconds to throw the disc to a teammate. The defender (Marker) guarding the thrower counts the seconds out loud (“stalling one, two, three…”). The Marker must be within 3 meters of the thrower to initiate the stall count, and must stay within 6 meters of the thrower.

Are Boundary Lines In or Out? The boundary lines are part of the playing field proper. If the bottom of the players foot steps on the line, then they are considered in-bounds. If they drag the lines out of their original position, they are to be considered out-of-bounds.

How Does the Two Point Rule work? Any throw that travels from the defending end zone to the scoring end zone is worth two (2) points instead of the usual one (1) point.  The end zone line is considered part of the end zones for the purposes of determining if the score is a two point or a one point.  For any play where the disc is walked up to the front of the end zone, the throwing player is considered to be in the end zone for determining if the throw was worth two or one points.

How many Timeouts does a Team get per Game? Each team is allowed two (2) Timeouts per game in the Pool Games, Quarter Finals, and Semi-Finals up until the horn sounds.  Only one (1) timeout can be used after the horn has sounded. In the Finals, Each team has one time-out per game. No carry-overs of time-outs into the next game.

How Do Games End? All games, except the Finals, are timed.  The horn will sound three short blasts at the end of allotted time for each type of game. When the three shorts blasts of the horn occurs, the following rules come into play.

  • If a point is in progress at the sound of the horn, finish the point.
  • If after play has stopped one team is ahead by 3 or more points, that team wins.
  • If a team is winning by 2 or less points, then another point is played until there is a team with a higher score.  (Essentially, a hard cap is established at 1 more point greater than the team with the higher score.)
  • A Team does not have to win by 2 points.
  • If the time reaches the time for another game to begin, the game is over.

How are Ties resolved? Ties are resolved by point differential between the teams involved. If there is still a tie, then it will be point differential between all teams in the pool. Please consult the Scoring personnel at the Command Center.

What type of Footwear is allow? W2BU allows players to play in Bare Feet, Sandsocks, or Tennis Shoes (if necessitated due to injury and acceptable to both teams). No cleats or other type of shoe is allowed!

FIELDS

How to Find Your Field? Each team is provided a field map during Check-In.  Additionally, each field is numbered at one end with a placard that says “Field XX”. Figure it out. Make sure before you play that the team your are playing against is on the right field. If you see a fallen field placard, please replace it/stand it up.

What is Combing the Field? The first team that plays on a field should spend a few minutes before the first game “combing” the field. This is done by both teams lining up on one end of the field and walking, as a unified line, to the other end. As you walk pick up any glass, sharp sea shells, nails, or other detritus that you find that could cause injury. This is VERY important to do as the Wildwood sand can hold all kinds of vicious and sharp objects.

Where is the Command Center/Medical Tent/Score Reporting/Food Distribution/Sponsor Tent? In the middle of all the fields, at the Ocean end of the main pier, called Morey’s pier.

WEATHER

Rain or Shine? Wildwood games are played whether it is raining or sunny, hot or cold. Please prepare for all conditions and dress accordingly. Standing water on the field after a rainfall is not uncommon and should be played thru. Honestly, that’s part of the fun.

What about Lightning? The exception to the above is that in the event of Lightning or Severe storm, all games are stopped and cover should be sought. Any game stopped due to lightning or severe weather is considered paused until the expiration of game time at which point the last standing score becomes final.

MEDICAL

Where Is the Medical Tent? At the end of the Morey’s Pier at Wildwood is the W2BU command center and Medical Tent. Please go there for any non-life threatening emergency. For a life threatening emergency, please call 911.

What Services does the Medical Tent Provide? The medical tent is there for any non-life threatening emergency or Ultimate Frisbee medical support services. In particular they can provide ankle/foot/toe/hand wrapping prior to playing to help minimize injury. Injury Massage and treatment is also available. If you are thinking of getting an ankle/foot/toe/hand wrapped on Saturday morning, go over extra early as a bit of a line can form.

REPORTING

Where do I Report My Scores? Near the Command Center, at the end of Morey’s Pier, there will be a large moving truck.  Each side of this truck has schedules posted on it.  Report your scores here to the personnel staffing the score sheets.

How Do I Report My Scores? You send a team representative to the Scoring Truck (see above).  Once there you will find people at the side of the large truck with the schedules on it. These people have markers.  Politely wait until they are not busy and then tell them your team Division, Class, Team Letters, and scores.

What is the Score Reporting Etiquette? Each team should send a representative to the score reporting area to report the score.  If the team you just played reports a different score, ask the scoring personnel to make a correction if you disagree with what was reported. Please be polite to the scoring personnel.

How Soon After my Game Should I Report the Score? You should report the score immediately following your games.  This is especially critical during the 3rd game of the day on Saturday.  At the end of the 3rd game, your scores and record is used to determine against whom and on what field your next game will be.  In order for this to happen, all the scores from your grouping must be turned in.

Can I just Skip Score Reporting and Assume the Other Team Did It? No.  That is crazy disrespectful to the other team, the other teams in your group, the personnel working the score boards, and your team. Make the walk, report your score, then take a dip in the ocean.

PROBLEM RESOLUTION

How do I resolve problems prior to Wildwood? There is an email contact form at http://wildwoodultimate.com/?page_id=98 that can be completed to contact the organizers. Start there.  Be nice, these people are volunteers.

How do I resolve problems at Wildwood? At Friday night check in, you can ask for assistance resolving your problems.  Be warned however, that things are moving pretty quickly and trying to get things resolved then can be difficult and chaotic.  Be extra nice to the people working. After Friday night, please contact someone at the Command Center for assistance.

What Happens if our Opponents do not show up for the Game? If after five minutes your opponents have not arrive for the game, check around at nearby fields for them  Sometimes teams go to the wrong field.  If you still cannot find them, report to the Scoring personnel for assistance.

How do I resolve on the Field Differences? As with any Ultimate Frisbee difference, make the call, contest or don’t contest, move on.

How do I resolve Score Reporting Differences? Ask the scoring personnel for assistance.  They can help you sort the matter out.

PARTYING

What’s the Beer Garden? On Saturday night the Beer Garden is a gift from the Tournament directors to the players.  It opens at 4pm and runs until 10pm.  The Beer garden is open to all attendees whom are 21 years or older and have a valid ID and W2BU Wrist Band.  Free beer is available as well as Live Music and films from past years W2BU. Get there early to avoid the long entrance line.

Where is the Beer Garden? It’s near where the Command Center is, at the end of Morey’s Pier.

When Does the Beer Tent Open/Close? The Saturday Night Party runs from 4pm to 10pm.  Get there early to avoid the long line to get in.

What Do I need to Get into the Beer Tent? You are required to have a valid photo Id proving your are 21.  You must also have your W2BU issued Wrist Band.

What if I’m Under 21? Hang out outside the Beer Garden and enjoy the music.

RESPONSIBILITY

What are my responsibilities as a W2BU Participant? While there is no formal responsibilities for attendees, there are several informal ones.

  • Always remember Spirit of the Game.
  • Be polite and courteous to the local residents, employees, and visitors.  We want to be allowed to come back next year.
  • Party responsibly.
  • Respect the W2BU Volunteers and let them know how much you appreciate their hard work.

SOME SECRET INSIDER TIPS

Beer or Competitive? If you care about winning, play competitive.  There’s nothing worse than playing a team of snotty competitive players whom are slumming in Beer league.

Which Time Slot is Better? Most teams generally want to play in the later game slots so they can sleep in a bit.  However, if you want to take the team out for dinner, the earlier slot gets you off the field sooner.  Also, if you want to leave sooner on Sunday, earlier slot is better as well.

Register Sooner or Later? Typically, the over aggressive teams register earlier, and the lazier, haphazard teams register later.  So, if you looking for less challenge there’s an argument to be made that you should register later.  Honestly, this is all guessing though.  The one thing the Organizers do say is that registering you earlier gets your fields closer to the command center.  Lincoln has never found that to be the slightest bit true and not necessarily a positive thing even if it was true.  You really want a field that is closest to your hotel/car.

What’s the Best Way to Collect Waivers from my Player? Get everyone on your team to mail them to you weeks before the event.  Otherwise you’ll end up rushing around trying to collect these at the last minute.  Do not rely on someone to show up and sign their wavier on Friday before you have to turn them in.  Lincoln guarantees you will end up waiting for that person as they are stuck in traffic somewhere.

What the Best Hotel to Stay at? Lincoln is not telling.  Sorry.

Should I Really Book the Hotel Five Months Ahead? Well, maybe not five months, but Lincoln would certainly make sure to have it done by 3 months out, say April 15.

How can I Land a Beach House? Good Question, Lincoln will get back to you on that once he knows the answer.

Got Any Good Places to Sleep in your Car? Lincoln does not specifically know any, but if you drive a bit away from the beach Lincoln is sure you can find all kinds of interesting places to park.

How do I avoid the long line for Friday Night Check-in? Four tactics work here…

  • Show up later, like at 11:00pm instead of early at 8pm.
  • In years past there has been a separate line for 2/2 than there is for 3/1.  If you are in 2/2, cut to the front or near the front.  Ask around you.
  • Buy a buttload of beers at the bar and bring them upstairs with you.  Hand out free beers for trading places in line.
  • Just drink those beers yourself and get to know the people around you in line.

Do I Really Need to Get the Team out 1 Hour before out first game? Yes!  Hell Yes.  Lincoln personally likes to get the team moving from the hotel toward the beach 1.5 hours before the game.  The reason for this is that 1). It never really happens on time, so some extra padding is good. 2). There is a ton of things to do once you get to the field like find your field, warm up, get your sand socks on, apply a liberal dose of sunscreen, setup your gear, crack your first beer, lag with the other team, discuss strategy, and cheer.  Also, do not under estimate just how long it will take to walk from your hotel to the field.

How do I get my Team to the Field on Time? Make it clear when they should be getting up, offer them breakfast if they are up by that time, and leave anyone behind whom doesn’t get their ass out of bed.

What’s the One Must Have Thing to Pack? Something fun like cool costumes, a Sombrero, a six foot long stuffed tiger, what ever fit’s your team name.  Have some fun.

Do you recommend a Canopy Tent/Tailgate Tent for Shade? Some players hate the canopy tents because they create dangerous obstacles alongside the fields.  That said, the shade the Canopy Tent provides is priceless for surviving the unrelenting sun. If you do setup a Canopy, please try to do it away from the edge of the field (and especially not on the field).

Do you recommend Beach Chairs? Yes, absolutely. Siting on the sand for a whole day can be tough.  Lincoln also likes to bring a cooler, but that’s just how Lincoln rolls.

What Do we Do if our opponents Don’t Show Up on time? Be nice, but if they’re not there by 10 minutes after the game start time, report them as forfeiting.

What’s Better Laying Out in Sand or Laying out in Rain Puddles on Sand? Yes.

How Early should I get to the Medical Tent on Saturday for Pre-Wrapping? On Saturday, getting to the medical tent 30 minutes early is recommended as quite a line can form. After that first game, the tent is pretty accessible.

What do I do if the other team reports the wrong score? Discuss the matter with the Score Personnel. They can advise you.

What do we do if the team we are playing is full of jerks? Be polite, be Spirited, and suck it up.  Get through it as best you can, the game is only 45 minutes long.

Where’s the Best Post Beer Garden Party? There are lots of Bars around Wildwood.  Pick one, make friends with the Ultimate people partying there.  Buy them beer.  Follow them from party to party.

Where can I find Good Beer? Basically, you are screwed.  Wildwood is a dead zone for good craft beer. Bring your own good beer with you.

ABOUT LINCOLN

Abe Lincoln F/Huckers is a repeat offended at the Wildwood Beach Ultimate tournament.  We’re in it for the beer.  You can find Abe on Twitter at @AbeFHuckers.  If you see Lincoln at Wildwood, buy him free beer for all his hard work typing this guide up.   Abe Lincoln F/Huckers is captained by the captain himself: http://www.bartleby.com/142/193.html

 

My Ideal Job

Lately, I’ve been asking myself if my current work role is really the best use of my talents.  But shortly into wondering about the answer to this question, I had formed an even more important question: What exactly do I consider the best use of my talents.  So, here, for better or worse, is where I think the best use of my talents lies…

First and foremost, I’m a hacker type through and through.  A work day in which I am not writing code is a terrible day for me.  A work day in which I write a little code is a terrible day for me.  A workday where I am heads down, balls to the wall buried in code and completely oblivious to the passage of time.  Ding!  Awesome day.  What’s even better about those kind of days is that when I’m in the zone like that (Interface Designers call it “Flow”) I am disgustingly prolific. I mean oodles and oodles of code being churned out.  That’s a win for not just me, but the company for which I am working.

Next, I am a very creative person.  This means I get strength and energy from creative outlets.  I am not going to be your go to guy to write that piece of software for which you have painstakingly provide pages and pages of detailed specification.  No, I’m the kind of guy you come up to and say, “Hey, I had a friggin awesome idea, can you whip something together for me to test the idea out?”  I will take your crazy ass idea and run with it.  Now, the result here can be mockups or it can be straight to code, I’m comfortable either way, although I think I’m more productive in code, but whatever.  Just give me an idea that I can contribute to and put my own spin on and I will exceed your most wild expectations.

Also, I love writing reusable components and libraries.  Recently Jacob Thornton an engineer at Twitter (@fat) shared a tweet at JSConf 2012 that I really found interesting.  He tweeted, “new interview question: you have 45 minutes to write JQuery from scratch. get as far as you can. start from wherever you’d like.”  I absolutely loved this question, not just because I think it would really separate the wheat from the chaff as it were, but also because I would love that challenge.  Ultimately @fat concluded that anyone trying to answer that question would be screwed because there’s so much depth to JQuery, but I would absolutely love to try.  I could spend a lifetime reanswering this question over and over and over, getting it more and more perfect each time.  I have been fortunate in my career that the work I am asked to do more often than not has limitations that prevent us from using certain libraries.  I get to go in, study those libraries and then recode them for my project.  It’s quite enjoyable and amazing enriching.

Finally, I love sharing my knowledge with others and learning their ideas and knowledge as well.  Mentoring to me can be quite a lot of fun and there is nothing better, IMHO, than a willing and eager student/peer that wants to learn or wants to debate.  I love that sort of thing.  The caveat, though, is that these activities must not take away from the above two activities.  I like mentoring some of the time, but when it becomes a full time job, when I start managing, that’s where I lose interest.  Surprisingly, I am extremely good at managing and have had a number of management position in the past, but ultimately, I have no interest in doing it in the future.

So, all that said, my ideal job is Hacker and Evangelist of Prototype Libraries. Now, I know that’s probably not a real job (if you think differently, please send me an email!), but that’s what I would ideally like to be doing. And it’s pretty cool that I’ve figured it out.  I now have a benchmark by which I can hold up two jobs and ask, “How much does each of these jobs approach the ideal for which I have set myself.”  That’s the job I’m more likely to take, that’s the job I want.

So, current job, how much do you think you live up to my ideal?

Annual Snow Rant

It’s time once again for my annual snow rant in which I tell you how irresponsible you are being by not cleaning the snow off your car. So here goes.

It is your responsibility to clean the snow off your car in its entirety, including the roof. If you cannot accept this responsibility, you should not be allowed to drive. It’s that simple.

Not cleaning the snow off you car causes others driving around you to have limited visibility and can even lead to complete loss of sight while driving if a large chunk blows off your car. This leads to panic, accidents and even fatalities. By not cleaning your car completely of snow you are actively participating in trying to hurt other people.

Now, I know we live in a world where people think everything outside of their car doesn’t exist. It as if inside of the car is a completely seperate world from outside of it. But the reality is that you share this world and the road with other people and you have a moral responsibility to help them be safe.

So there it is. Clean the snow off your car, including the roof. If you are too lazy, then please just stay home. Your job, shopping, or social activity just isn’t that important and the world will keep on turning without you.

The 2.8% Raise

So, I’m due to have yet another annual review this week. If you read my earlier post “Deciphering What your Annual Review Means” you might recall I’m not really that excited by annual reviews or their results.

But, in preparation today I went out and did a little math. According to the Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) which measures how much things costs for the average person, the costs of things has increased an average 2.8% every year for the last 10 years. That means, any merit increase I see that is less than 2.8% means I’m losing money. And a raise of 3% means I’ll see .2% more money a paycheck! Hold me back I’m going on a spending spree. (That was sarcasm in case you missed it.)

Honestly, I expect 4% though and I’ll have to start lining up some interviews after the holidays.

Funky Techno Groove Beat

I laid down some funky techno grooves. Check it: http://inudge.net/inudge#/ft8r

Stripes 2

I had a dream last night that I was writing the script for the sequel to the movie stripes. When I woke up this morning from the dream I spent all morning thinking about doing just that. I finally stopped thinking about when I realized that I don’t think Bill Murray is probably too old to pull off an impression of Dean Martin joining the army.

Deciphering What Your Annual Review Raise Means

Recently my boss came to me and told me that my annual review was coming due. I’m not sure if he was telling me this to warn me to get off my ass and be productive, or if he was giving me a heads up that I might want to start looking for a new job. The fact that his message was unclear got me thinking though; what exactly do I expect from an annual review?

From an employee prospective the annual review is about one thing: big fat raise. Employers can push their “growth plans” and “360 reviews” all they want, but for the actual employee it simply comes down to how much more money they are going to see in their paycheck. Honestly, every time you have ever been given a raise, what’s the first thing you do? You check out how much more per paycheck that means to you.

But getting past the 37$ more a week thing, what does the percentage raise your boss just told you really mean to you? And what does it mean in perspective of your bigger picture? Is it a worthwhile number? Does it merit staying with the company another year? Or is it more profitable to your bottom line to go elsewhere?

These are the questions your employer really does not want you thinking about. Yet, employers run their companies as a business. They are in it to make money. So they should not be surprised when an employee runs their own life in the same way. You are in it for the money and it is money that talks.

So, in light of my own upcoming performance review, I decided to write down a scale of exactly what my feelings should be toward my company depending upon the percentage my boss tells me at the end of my performance review. The idea being, that I don’t have to rush back to my desk and figure out how much more per paycheck I’m going to get. Instead, I want to hear a number and instantly know if I’m being insulted or congratulated.

Now, before you go read the charts I want to tell you to please remember to take this with a grain of salt. Employee/Employer relationships are complex things, and you should be mindful of that. You also need to be mindful of your own situation, the availability of jobs in your industry, how valuable you are in the work place, blah blah blah. All I’m saying is to think before you leap.

Also, this is just about an increase to your salary here. Things like bonuses and stock options do not count because they are a one-time payout. If you boss gives you those, that is a nice thing to do and all, but a merit increase is about sustained growth not a one time bump. If your boss does this kind of tactic, just ignore the bump factor and focus on the growth factor. The bump is a nice way to say thanks, but it’s the raise that counts.

0% This company is actually the worse off because you are an employee here. Get the hell out.
Getting 0% as your annual review is basically tantamount to being fired, regardless of the reason. A company will tell you “we had a poor first quarter this year and that hurt everyone’s raises.” But what you really should be hearing is “Get the hell out.” The company is basically telling you that regardless of your performance they do not want you to stick around. If they cannot even muster a token increase, the company is doomed to failure.

1% We basically gave you a raise because we have to but nobody here likes you or wants you to stay.
The 1% raise is the token insult raise; a little something because they must, but honestly they’d just rather give you nothing. If you were a minimum wage worker your company basically just told you that they think you’re worth only 6 more cents an hour. If you made the median household income in the United States as of 2005, this would roughly translate to $8.91 more a week. I recommend you spend that money on resume paper and go find a new job.

2% We’d really prefer it if you just saved us all a lot of trouble and stayed at home sitting on your sofa.
This raise translates to $17.81 more a pay check. Unfortunately that won’t even cover the cost of the gasoline you use to get to work every week. A company might give you this in hopes of motivating you to “excel” or “exceed”. I recommend that you take the hint and “Exit.” In fact, if your manager/boss person tells you that 2% is your raise this year, there’s no reason for you to stay another minute. You can probably make more money selling magazines out of a van.

3% We have decided to shower you with our greatness and you should be thankful for it!
Alright, this is the defacto raise that companies usually use for a base. Someone once told them that that was the “annual cost of living” increase. I’m sorry to tell them this, but last year the cost of a loaf of bread climbed 8%. That means it’s roughly 8% more expensive to eat this year than it was last year. Worse yet, companies make this seem like they’re doing you a wonderful favor. A favor would be if you could afford to eat more than a damn loaf of bread.

4% You don’t deserve a brand new Porsche, but the people who own your sorry ass do.
Since 3% is the defacto raise, 4% is usually reserved for the companies that want to give out 3% but they know you did a kick ass job. In a company of 100 employees that made $1,000,000 in profit last year, a 4% raise for everyone in the company means that the company spent 18% of it’s $1,000,000 in profit on raises (assuming everyone makes the national median wage). To us, this doesn’t exactly say “Keep up the good work.” Instead it says, “Keep up the good work, you’re making us rich and we don’t like to share!”

5% We respect and value your lazy ass, but if you try harder we’d reward you better.
This is what I would call the bare minimum of fair raises. This says, you’re doing an adequate job and we see potential for improvement. Keep striving to be a better employee and next year there could be a more than 5%. This is usually the lowest raise at which I wouldn’t suggest looking for a new job right away. But I’d temper that by telling you that you could probably get more money by changing jobs.

6% You’re doing a decent job but we’re a little too cheap to really show you we appreciate you.
A company that shells out 6% is one that actually values you as an employee. They know you’re doing a good job and they want to keep you around. Unfortunately, someone in the management chain is cheap so the 6% raise is usually reserved for the one “rockstar” employee. I would argue that 6% is a token show better than 5% which every employee ought to have gotten, so it’s really not “rockstar” ready. You might want to take a look around the company and see how many 6% raises they gave out. If you’re it, than the company might just be a little too cheap for your dream of buying beach front property in Jamacia.

7% Way to go! Keep up the good work and someday we’ll promote you into management.
Finally we’re getting into the category of raises that say the right thing. These raises tell an employee that they did a good job and by golly you want them to stick around. Unfortunately, for companies these days most employees can get 10% just by changing jobs. If you got one of these raises, it’s time to weigh that extra 3% you could get from changing jobs against your apathy of looking for a new job. If the job conditions are good, a 3% jump and the risk of changing jobs might not be worth it.

8% We think you’re the best thing since sliced bread and we’re willing to do what it takes to keep you.
Remember back in the 3% raise we talked about sliced bread? Up 8% from last year? Well, with an 8% raise you are keeping abreast of being able to feed your family of four and your dog and a picket fence. The good news is that your employer really values you. The bad news is if you are only breaking even on feeding your family, you’re lifestyle is pretty much stuck in a rut. Keep your eyes open for golden opportunities, but you really have it pretty good.

9% You’re doing an excellent job and are exactly the type of person we want to keep working here.
Obviously someone at you company thinks your hot stuff and went the extra mile for you. It’s probably your boss and we assume if you got this raise you have an awesome boss. Awesome bosses are extraordinarily hard to find, so before you even think of jumping ship, take stock of what you have. It’s probably a pretty good thing.

10%
and up
You rule! We love you! Please, please, please do us the honor of working for us another year.
Honestly, if you get 10% or more, then your company absolutely rocks and you shouldn’t even consider thinking about changing jobs. 10% means the company recognizes your contributions, it believes in you as a long term employee, and it is willing to do what it takes to make sure you stay on board. And even more importantly, the company wants to reward your contributions to its success by helping you to your own successes. You simply cannot beat that.

So there you have it. My quick and dirty field guide for determining if you are being insulted or rewarded. It is my hope that you will take this out into the world, share it with your friends and co-workers, give it to your boss and her boss, and use it as a reference guide during your annual review. You should even use it as a reference point when it comes time to fight for a better merit increase.

My advice to you is, hope for 10%, but be ready for 3%. And then, be prepared to do what you must to better YOUR situation.

“Deciphering What Your Annual Review Raise Means” is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License which you can learn about at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ and you can read at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/legalcode. The original author is Glen R. Goodwin and can be found at http://www.arei.net. You can find additional copies of this document at http://www.arei.net/stuff/AnnualReview.doc.

Resume Updated

My Resume was updated as part of my bi-annual housekeeping.

Twelfth Night, Spring Awakenings and Glenztravaganza

Every year in July Jennifer holds the annual Glenztravaganza, an event of unspecified link celebrating my old age.  This year she out did herself with not one trip to the theatre, but two wonderful trips.

Friday night we headed up to Ellicott City’s Patapsco Female Institute to see the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company‘s production of Twelfth Night.  I’m one of those rare huge Shakespeare fans out there and Twelfth Night is one of the plays I have never seen nor read before.  We had never been to PFI or a CSC production before, so it was a complete shot in the dark for us.  Jennifer made a nice picnic lunch and we got there early to eat and attend an informal lecture.

The informal lecture was fine, the instructor very passionate and intelligent on the subject, but somewhat focused on the basics.  I had hoped it might talk a little more about understanding Shakespeare as Jennifer often has a great deal of difficulty with that and getting her more comfortable with it will mean more play attendances for Glen.  I don’t suffer from that because I know that just about every Shakespeare writes is meant pornographically.

The production of Twelfth Night itself was excellent.  Both Jennifer and I enjoyed it and we both were very taken with the woman playing Viola.  We both independently felt that she really captured the role and was an exceptional actress.  We came away from the entire evening wanting to see a lot more from this company and planning our next visit for Julius Caesar.

The very next day Jennifer whisked me away to DC for a showing of Spring Awakening at the Kennedy Center.  This was a good production with lots of energy and a good show, but we just weren’t crazy about it.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a fine show, a very good cast and an excellent production.  Just the story, the music, none of it grabbed us the way some other shows have grabbed us.  I like to judge my musicals by how much I feel like I need to buy the music when I get out of the show.  I didn’t have any urge to rush out and buy the CD when we left.  I do remember Duncan Shiek as a a perform from back in the 90’s and a lot of the music definitely had a familiar ring to it.  It was good, just not amazing, which I seem to have come to expect from my musicals.  I loved Avenue Q immediately, for example.

After Spring Awakening we went to the District Chop House and Brewery for dinner, it being my Brithday and all I got to pick.  I was in the mood for a good steak.

We spent sunday relaxing by the pool, watching movies, playing games, and just generally being really low key.  I’m a lazy person at heart, so relaxing is always a good thing in my book.

All in all, an amazing Glenztravaganza weekend.

Beer

Since moving to Maryland from Northern Virgina I have had two problems:

1). Finding good restaurants, and

2). Find a good beer store.

Jennifer and I are slowly trying out some of the lesser known restaurants and mostly avoid the chain places.  Back in NoVA we had found a bunch of places we really, really liked.  I guess this sort of this just takes time.  So far we’ve found one place we absolutely love, Victoria’s Gastro Pub, and we’re looking for some more.  I enjoyed Coal Fire Pizza which is new in Ellicott City/Columbia, but Jennifer has yet to try it as we don’t eat much pizza.  Also, from the BaltimoreBeerGuy’s site (discussed below) I found a Howard County food blogger, so I’m totally going to start reading that as well.

On the beer front, I have been very unsuccessful.  Everyone says go to Cooridor, but I was largely disappointed.  A buddy said to check out a place in Clarksville, but I found it the same as every other liquor store.  However, I have a hot lead… And while searching for the address to this lead, I came across a fellow beer fan’s site which I really enjoyed… and he also thought it a good place.  So I’m off to check it out and maybe get a few decent beers I’ve never tried before.

Wish me luck!

Staying Busy

Jennifer and I had a nice Fourth of July weekend.  We went to the pool, relaxed, took naps and fired up the grill pretty much non-stop.  Grilling is fun.

We did go down to the Columbia MD fireworks for a little while, long enough to see that it was a complete zoo.  We parked over a the mall for a strategic quick exit and then walked to the lakefront.  By the time we had got to the lake front we knew we’d be better of watching from the mall parking lot.  The crowds were enormous even walking through them was almost impossible.  A police or medical emergency in that crowd would have been devastating.  And a panic there, and people would seriously have died.  It was amazingly poorly managed from a crowd control perspective and the authorities in charge should be ashamed.

All that said, the fireworks themselves were nice and our quick escape route worked well getting us well out in front of the crowds.

Next year we’ll go try laurel or maybe somewhere a little more rural in hopes of less crowds and more well thought out crowd control.

Lost Cone Recovered

I know you’ll be excited as I am to find out that the lost cone has been recovered.

Lost Cone

Five years ago I went to the Sporting Good store and a bought a set of cones.  I had recently signed up to captain a rec team and as captain I needed to have cones to setup fields.  So I purchased my cones and promptly rushed home to write my name inside each and everyone.

See, ever since the minute I have purchased cones I knew there would come a day when the innevitable would happen.  I lived in fear of it, carefully guarding my cones with fear and mistrust of all whom would touch them.  Yet, I knew some day the cone gods would turn against me.  Someday, I would lose a cone.

Well, friday that day happened.

About halfway through our game friday, which we were winning handily, the sky gods looked down on us and took offense at our laughter, at our merriment, at our impressive disc skills.  They decided to smite us for the brazen way in which we loft our frisbees unto the heavens.  One minute it was bright and sunny, two minutes later there was strong winds, terrible thunder, a horrendous outpouring of rain… oh, and did I mention the hail? Anyways, there was a mad scramble to get off the field and into cars and under shelter as quickly as possible.  And in the process, one of my cones went missing.

I went back and looked for it, but it was not to be found.

So, yes, the day I dread has come upon me and I am sad and confused.  For now I am the owner of a set of seven cones, which is completely without value.

Dear Jennifer

Happy Anniversary!

It's the First of May

Happy Jonathan Coulton Day.  Go buy yourself a robot.

Upgraded WP

I upgraded WordPress to a new version.  Let me know if you see any problems.

Where the Weekend Went

This past weekend had the Dad in town which, despite icky weather, was a nice visit.  We wandered the inner harbor, checked out the cherry blossoms, hit some of the favorite restaurants, and did some grilling.  The inner harbor was fine, but in my opinion made better with a stop at Pratt Street Alehouse to get some of their very tasty hand pumped beers.  The cherry blossoms were mostly gone, but it still made for a nice walk around the tidal basement hunting for the remaining blossoms and allowed my dad lots of picture opportunities.  We followed that with a stop to Arlington’s Rock Bottom Brewery for some cask conditioned beer, which is the only way to serve beer.  Other various places we visited were Victoria Gastro Pub, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Indian Food in Columbia.  As I mentioned, we also fired up the grill for the first time this spring cooking some tasty fresh salmon for Jennifer, and some steaks for the old man and I.  I was especially proud of how the steaks came out.  Very tasty.

The dad’s visit gave me a chance to rest the broken finger by not being able to play any frisbee all week.  I think that worked out well, but with Tuesday night being to rainy for frisbee, I have yet to test my frisbee abilities with a broken finger.  The doctor took another x-ray yesterday and said that things were progressing very well and that so long as I wear a splint there is no reason not to play frisbee.  He also said that otherwise, no more splint, just buddy taping the finger to the other finger for a while should be fine.  Good news all around.

Broken? Yes

To follow up on my last posting, I had a specialist look at my finger yesterday.  There is definately a break, but it’s very minor.  A small fragment of bone has broken off.  However, because it’s so small and because it’s separated, it will never reconnect with the primary piece of bone and it’s not really a big deal if it does.  At best the small piece could be removed, but really it should be just fine leaving it in there.  I have to wear a splint for a week, then buddy tape for another week, with new xrays at the end of each segment, but other than that things are fine.

The good news for me is that he sees no reason why I can’t go back to playing ultimate immediately so long as I wear the splint while playing.  Since I wasn’t planning to play this week anyways (I have family in town and no league games on saturday), I’ll take it easy just in case.  On tuesday I’ll go back to playing and see how it feels.