Professional Disc League Opens 6th Season

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Raleigh Opens With Win Over Tampa Bay

 

The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) had the opening pull of their sixth season this weekend with two games on the schedule.

Indianapolis AlleyCats 24, Detroit Mechanix 12

The AlleyCats (1-0) are coming off an 8-6 record from last season and got off to a good start with a convincing win over the Mechanix (0-1).  Detroit is hoping to improve of last seasons’ 4-10 record.

Raleigh Flyers 27, Tampa Bay Cannons 22

The Cannons (0-1) challenged the Flyers (1-0) for the first three quarters before the home team Flyers pulled away at the end to win 27-22 in their opening night matchup. The Flyers have won five straight against their divisional rivals dating back to 2016.  Jacob Fairfax had eight goals in the game for the Flyers which was the second highest single-game total of his career.

The league begins the 2018 season with 23 teams divided into four geographic regions (East, Midwest, South and West).  The league lost the Charlotte Express and Cincinnati Revolution, the Jacksonville Cannons initially moved to Orlando and then landed in Tampa.  The Vancouver Riptide moved to Portland and will play in 2019.   The Nashville Nightwatch are under new ownership.

According to the AUDL website’s “Tuesday Toss”, here are the top five places to watch an AUDL game:

Austin
Long considered a great ultimate town, the Sol have quickly built up a loyal following of fans, making their home atmosphere among the best in the league. Plus, the Sol’d Out crew has officially become the greatest unofficial media outlet in AUDL history.

Washington DC
The Breeze have a new home in 2018, moving about four miles north from Gallaudet University to Catholic University. It’s reasonable to expect the fans to follow, considering that DC has steadily supported its team over the past couple seasons, in which the team has gone 20-8. Pregame concerts and lucrative halftime promotions have become commonplace for the Breeze, who count DC Mayor Muriel Bowser as a fan.

Los Angeles
Three words: Ace the Aviator. Without question, LA has the league’s best mascot. Ace is the perfect mix of entertainment and engagement, without overshadowing the game. Aviators ownership deserves a lot of credit for building a brand in a town that is overflowing with activity.

Madison
Speaking of building a brand, no team in the league has done so like the Radicals. Often, they are featured on local news alongside the Wisconsin Badgers or Green Bay Packers. As a result, Radicals players now get recognized more and more frequently around town. With a great home stadium, excellent concessions, passionate fans, and a fun and convenient postgame hangout destination, it makes all the sense in the world for Championship Weekend to return to Madison for the second time in three years.

Montreal 
Last year’s Final Four destination is certainly worthy of hosting another Championship Weekend down the road. Since the team’s inception in 2014, the Royal have delivered an exemplary gameday product, attracting fans and building a grand ultimate atmosphere. Their loyal followers are devoted to the home team, but appreciate of brilliant ultimate from either side. And their fans’ love can be attracted via great marketing, like when the Toronto Rush took the field wearing old-school Expos t-shirts last August.

This weekend’s games:

  • Saturday, April 7
    • Minnesota at Seattle
    • San Diego at Los Angeles
    • Detroit at Pittsburgh
    • Montreal at DC
    • San Jose at San Francisco
    • Atlanta at Tampa Bay
    • Dallas at Raleigh
    • Madison at Indianapolis
  • Sunday, April 8
    • Montreal at Philadelphia
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Obscure Sports Report (1/31/18)

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Yu Yangyi Leads The PRO Chess League

XFL TO RETURN IN 2020

The reports are true.   The XFL is planning to make a return in 2020 with eight teams to play a 10-game schedule in the spring.  The original XFL appeared in 1999 only to last one season before folding.  The original league also had eight teams:  New York-New Jersey Hitmen, Orlando Rage, Chicago Enforcers, Memphis Maniax, Birmingham Thunderbolts, Los Angeles Xtreme, San Francisco Demons and Las Vegas Outlaws.   There is no word if the same teams will return in the XFL reboot.  XFL boss Vince McMahon is hoping to give fans a better quality of football.

AFL UNVEILS NAME OF NEW ALBANY TEAM

The Empire strikes back in Albany, New York to join the Philadelphia Soul, Baltimore Brigade and Washington Valor in the dwindling Arena Football League.  Albany originally played as the Firebirds in the AFL from 1990-2000.  The Firebirds were very successful during their first time in the AFL winning six division titles and won the 1999 ArenaBowl title.   The Empire will begin play this season.

TAYOU LEADS MASL IN GOALS

Sonora Forward Franck Tayou leads the Major Arena Soccer League with 47 goals.   Sonora is currently 10-6 and in second place behind Monterrey in the Southwest Division.  Monterrey remains the league’s only undefeated team at 15-0 and the first team to clinch a playoff spot.

GEORGIA SWARM STING VANCOUVER

The defending National Lacrosse League champs broke up a close game against the Vancouver Stealth to notch a 16-12 win last week.  The Swarm scored five goals in a span of 6:11 in the fourth quarter.  Georgia now improves to 3-3 and dropped the Stealth to 1-6.  Toronto and Saskatchewan continue to lead their divisions.

TWO GOALIES ARE NWHL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Amanda Leveille  (Buffalo Beauts) and Brittany Ott (Boston Pride) were named the National Women’s Hockey League’s players of the week because of their performances in goal when Buffalo played Boston.  The Beauts beat the Pride 1-0 after ten rounds of the shootout. Leveille got the win stopping all 25 shots she faced.  She is 7-4-0 with a 2.77 GAA and .911 save percentage.   Here are the current NWHL standings:

  1. Metropolitan Riveters (11-0-0)
  2. Buffalo Beauts (7-4-0)
  3. Boston Pride (2-6-3)
  4. Connecticut Whale (2-7-2)

PRO CHESS LEAGUE EARLY DIVISION LEADERS

The Estonia Horses (East), Stockhold Snowballs (Central), Minnesota Blizzard (Atlantic) and Chengdu Pandas (Pacific) are off to an early lead in their divisions.   Round 3 of the season is this week.   Yu Yangyi (Chengdu) is the leading player with 7.5 points and a rating of 2750.

NBA’S CHRIS PAUL TO HEADLINE NINTH STATE FARM BOWLING TOURNAMENT

Houston Rockets All-Star guard and tournament host Chris Paul will try to defend his doubles title with a new partner in the ninth State Farm® CP3 PBA Celebrity Invitational presented by Go Bowling! Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN from Bowlero The Woodlands in the Houston suburb of Conroe, Texas.

Paul will be joined by several celebrities and PBA Tour stars who will compete in the multi-format event which benefits the Chris Paul Family Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting youth, education, health, sports and social responsibility.

In addition to Paul, who is the defending champion of the doubles event (with PBA partner Chris Barnes), other participating celebrities include former NFL All Pro and former Celebrity Invitational winner Terrell Owens, Boston Red Sox All-Star outfielder Mookie Betts, and Paul’s All-Star Rockets teammate James Harden.

NEW MIXED-GENDER ULTIMATE DISC LEAGUE PLANNED

The new semi-pro mixed-gender United Ultimate Disc League (UUL) plans to start play in April 2019 with eight teams and will be competition for the more-established American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). The UUL will feature six-on-six competition (three men and three women per team) on a smaller field rather than the traditional seven-on-seven style and larger field used by the AUDL. The mixed-gender aspect of the league is a new and timely concept, as the AUDL recently faced a boycott by players due to its lack of female representation. The first-year teams are listed in a North Division with the Boston Whalers, New York Kraken, Philadelphia Pride and Washington Generals, and a South Division with the Carolina Cutlass (Raleigh, NC), Nashville Tristars, Atlanta Hounds and Florida Gulls (Jacksonville). The UUL season is short (three games per team) with each team playing the other teams in its division only once. The UUL will operate all teams and it plans to add four additional regional divisions of teams over the next few years.

 

Nightwatch Finishes Season Winless

nightwatchI did NOT think I would be writing that headline.

The Nightwatch closed out their 2017 season with a 33-24 loss to the Jacksonville Cannons on Saturday in Jacksonville.

At the end of last season, the Nashville Nightwatch rallied to win their final two games as well as their best performance in team history when they topped Jacksonville in their regular season finale 30-26 and scored the most goals in team history.  The future looked bright.

Then came the 2017 season.  A new home field.  A slow start.

The Nightwatch finished their third season at 0-14 and had -141 in goal differential which was the worst in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).  In three seasons, the Nightwatch is 5-37.

I would be surprised to see the Nightwatch return next season.  When a team shows no signs of improvement, it is very difficult to keep a team.  The surprising thing is the Nightwatch gets hundreds of players at their tryouts every year but they never seem to be able to get the right mix of talent to be truly competitive in the AUDL.  There may need to be some coaching changes in order to put a better team on the field.

Speaking of the field…..

Worst decision ever to move home games from Overton High School in Franklin to Hunter Lane High School in North Nashville.  The field is terrible.  For day games, the sun is shining directly into the fans’ eyes and just not a good game experience.   Obviously, the team isn’t going to play in Nissan Stadium but a location closer to more fans would be ideal such as closer to Vanderbilt.  A practice field at Vanderbilt?  Find a better location that’s CLOSER to Nashville.  I have always told my wife that if we were to ever win the lottery that we would buy the team and build them a stadium.

I’m not going to be down on the players.  They played hard this season.  It is frustrating for them as well to play an uphill battle the entire season.  The closest game was a 14-11 loss to Jacksonville on April 23rd.

I didn’t cover much of the Nightwatch this season because, well, there wasn’t much to cover.   When you are going through a winless season, it is difficult to write positive things.   The excitement over the Nashville Predators’ Stanley Cup playoff run was a difficult shadow to play in.  The Nightwatch is already invisible to the media.  No coverage.  No support.  That makes a winless season even more difficult.

Ultimate Frisbee is an exciting game to watch and lots of action.  If you have never been to a game, you need to make the effort to go to one if you have an AUDL team near you.  There are some very talented players.

I really hope the Nightwatch will return but if they don’t improve their quality of play on the field – on a good home field – I don’t know how much longer they can survive.

 

Dallas Roughnecks Remain Unbeaten In AUDL

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The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) defending champions remain undefeated so far in the 2017 season.   The Dallas Roughnecks are 6-0 and alone at the top of the Southern Division.  This past weekend they beat the Nashville Nightwatch 32-23.  Jay Froude had eight goals in the game followed by Dylan Freechild with six.   The Nightwatch had a rough Texas two-step this weekend.  After losing to the Roughnecks on Saturday, they were soundly defeated by the Austin Sol 31-11 on Sunday to drop to 0-6.

The DC Breeze, Toronto Rush, New York Empire and Montreal Royals are all crowding the top of the East Division.  The Breeze cling to a slight lead at 3-1 after a thrilling 22-21 over New York on Saturday.

The Minnesota Wind Chill are 3-0 and lead the Midwest Division.  The Wind Chill defeated the Indianapolis Alley Cats on Saturday, 28-25.

The West Division has four teams tied for first place and all have only one loss so far.  The San Francisco Flamethrowers, San Jose Spiders, Seattle Cascades and Los Angeles Aviators are fighting for control of the division.  Seattle won a cross-country matchup with the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds, 26-24.  The Los Angeles Aviators topped the Vancouver Riptide 23-18 on Sunday.

Current AUDL Standings:

  • East Division
    • DC Breeze 3-1
    • Toronto Rush 3-2
    • New York Empire 2-2
    • Montreal Royal 2-2
    • Ottawa Outlaws 1-2
    • Philadelphia Phoenix 0-3
  • Midwest Division
    • Minnesota Wind Chill 3-0
    • Pittsburgh Thunderbirds 2-1
    • Madison Radicals 2-1
    • Detroit Mechanix 1-1
    • Indianapolis Alley Cats 1-4
    • Chicago Wildfire 0-3
  • West Division
    • San Francisco Flamethrowers 4-1
    • San Jose Spiders 4-1
    • Seattle Cascades 3-1
    • Los Angeles Aviators 3-1
    • San Diego Growlers 1-4
    • Vancouver Riptide 0-6
  • South Division
    • Dallas Roughnecks 6-0
    • Raleigh Flyers 5-1
    • Jacksonville Cannons 4-1
    • Atlanta Hustle 1-3
    • Austin Sol 1-5
    • Nashville Nightwatch 0-6

 

 

Nightwatch Drop Home Opener To Atlanta


The Nashville Nightwatch hosted the Atlanta Hustle in their American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) home opener on Saturday night at Hunter Lane High School in front of over 175 fans.  After playing even in the first quarter, 9-9, the Nightwatch had some key turnovers to allow the Hustle to open up an 18-14 lead at halftime which the Nightwatch could never overcome.  The Nightwatch fall to 0-2 on the season.  

The Nightwatch looked promising in the first quarter with some tight play but was unable to sustain it throughout all four quarters in the loss.  The team also looked out-of-synch at times and not the fluid play they had at the end of the 2016 season.

The Nightwatch will host the Jacksonville Cannons next Sunday at noon.

I’m not really a fan of the move to Hunter Lane High School in North Nashville.  The field is awful and the home side must deal with looking directly into the sun until the sun sets.  We ended up moving over to the shade on the visitors side.  It also seems a lot further away from downtown.  Last years’ Overton High School location was better but still too close to the interstate.  Let’s just say that I am glad I didn’t get season tickets.

Also, I was totally not a fan of the announcer and the music.  The music was almost unbearable and a terrible selection to play.  The Mario Brothers and Simpsons sound effects are totally outdated and would do better to calm it down.  Honestly, I almost left before the game even started because of the annoying loudness of the music.  

My observation after the first home game is that much improvement is needed on and off the field.  

Nashville Nightwatch Release 2017 Schedule

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The Nashville Nightwatch will be back for the 2017 season in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).   The Nightwatch will open their third season at Jacksonville then opens at home two weeks later against Atlanta.  The defending AUDL champions, Dallas Roughnecks, will come to Nashville on April 29th.  Here is the complete schedule (home games in bold):

  • April 1 – at Jacksonville
  • April 15 – Atlanta
  • April 23 – Jacksonville
  • April 29 – Dallas
  • May 6 – at Dallas
  • May 7 – at Austin
  • May 13 – at Atlanta
  • June 3 – Austin
  • June 10 – at Raleigh
  • June 18 – Raleigh
  • July 1 – Austin
  • July 8 – Raleigh
  • July 14 – at Atlanta
  • July 15 – at Jacksonville

The Nightwatch finished 3-11 last season to exceed their win total from 2015.  They closed out the season with an impressive 30-26 win over the Jacksonville Cannons.  They scored a franchise-high with 30 goals in the game.

If you have not attended a Nightwatch game and live in the Nashville area, please mark your calendar and at least try one game.  The sport is very exciting to watch and usually lots of scoring.  This could be a break-out year for the team.

 

 

What Sport Will Expand To Nashville Next?

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It remains to be seen what will happen with Nashville’s bid for an expansion team in Major League Soccer (MLS).  Nashville Mayor Megan Barry joined the group in New York City in their meeting with MLS to pitch Nashville to them.

While we wait for the fate of Nashville’s attempt to bring professional soccer to the Music City, I was wondering about other leagues that might consider adding Nashville.

Major League Baseball (MLB) – Probably not much of a chance of Major League Baseball relocating or expanding to Nashville.  We have the Atlanta Braves to the south of us and the Cincinnati Reds to the north.  Expansion to 32 teams is coming but Nashville is behind other hopefuls such as Mexico City, Montreal, Vancouver, Charlotte (NC), Portland (OR),  Austin (TX), Las Vegas (NV) and Columbus (OH).  Both Tampa Bay and Oakland are having battles with their stadiums so those teams could relocate as well.  Nashville has First Tennessee Park but it would need a major expansion for a major league team.

National Basketball Association (NBA) – The NBA hasn’t said when they would expand or how many teams they would add but you can be assured that Seattle (WA) will be one of them.  I’m not really sure that Nashville is an NBA city.  Bridgestone Arena is a top-notch arena that could support an NBA team but arena dates would be difficult.  Memphis has an NBA team but that’s Memphis.  I don’t know anyone that drives to Memphis on a regular basis to watch the Grizzlies.  The NBA’s short-list of cities includes Seattle (WA), Pittsburgh (PA), Omaha (NE), Las Vegas (NV), Vancouver, Louisville (KY), Mexico City, Kansas City (MO), St. Louis (MO) and a second team for Chicago.   I could see the NBA going to Louisville before coming to Nashville.  Kentucky is a hotbed for college basketball and seems like a good fit.

Arena Football League (AFL) – Even with the league down to only five teams this season, the league is still alive.  Nashville had a team called the “Nashville Kats” through a ten-year span from 1997-2007.  The team was pretty successful on the field and at the gate.  They played in two ArenaBowls and had an average attendance of 9,000 per game.    The league is going to expand, probably by three more teams in 2018 but the league has not made public the cities with interest that could join their current roster of Cleveland, Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay.  A new Nashville team would be a hit and a resurrection of the Kats would be good for the league.  The only thing that is a little iffy is whether or not the Arena Football League will rebound from its current state of life support.

National Lacrosse League (NLL) – Indoor lacrosse is a lot like hockey but is played without ice or skates.  The traditional outdoor game of lacrosse is scaled down to a hockey rink.  The games are very physical and high scoring.  The NLL currently has nine teams.  The closest team to Nashville is the Georgia Swarm.  Nashville would be a natural rivalry if the league placed a team here.  I think Nashville fans would love the NLL but it would be competition with the Nashville Predators.   If the lacrosse team couldn’t play in Bridgestone Arena, they could play at Municipal Auditorium.   The league is targeting owners who already have NBA or NHL franchises so Nashville could be in the mix.

Major League Lacrosse (MLL) – Outdoor lacrosse has become increasingly popular over the years and the MLL’s most recent expansion added the Atlanta Blaze to make it a 9-team league.  Most of the teams play in college stadiums so that’s a positive for Nashville.  The league plays at 14-game schedule during the spring and summer months.   The sport is on the rise in Nashville as youth leagues continue to spring up.  If Major League Soccer doesn’t come to Nashville, the MLL might want to take a chance on bringing a team to Nashville.

Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) – Indoor soccer has never been a “major” sport but the professional league still exists in the form of the Major Arena Soccer League with 17 teams across North America.  I’m not sure Nashville would support indoor soccer as much as they would an outdoor team.  With little exposure, and likely none by the local market, a team would probably not be able to play in Bridgestone Arena but might play at the Municipal Auditorium.

Other Sports Leagues – I think it’s just a matter of time until another indoor football league claims territory in Nashville.  The established Indoor Football League (IFL) snagged the Arizona Rattlers from the Arena Football League but have no teams east of Nebraska.   The Arena Pro Football (APF) league evolved from other leagues including the Professional Indoor Football League (PIFL) which had a franchise in Nashville (2014-2015) before the league folded.  Although the Nashville franchise won the league title in 2014, most Nashvillans didn’t have a clue……The NBA’s Developmental League might be a good option for Nashville.  Perhaps working with the Memphis Grizzlies although the Grizzlies have already decided to own and operate an expansion franchise in the D-League and plan to locate the team in Southaven, Mississippi in the Landers Center which will be closer to Memphis…..As for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), there is probably no chance since Nashville does not have an NBA team and the league is trying to remain stable with the teams they already have…..The American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) has a professional Frisbee league in operation as well and the Nashville Nightwatch will be playing in their third season this spring.  The team needs some serious exposure because it’s a great sport to watch.