How do you win a championship game without your best player and team leader? The D.C. Current knew they would find out, whether they liked it or not.
Entering Saturday’s Major League Ultimate championship game, the Current were placed in a unlikely and unexpected proposition: Their leading point-getter, handler Alan Kolick, had broken his right wrist during the Chesapeake Invite Ultimate tournament over the weekend. He underwent surgery the day before the championship.
So the questions were immediately raised. How do you replace Kolick, who recorded 44 points on the season? What could D.C. do, under such short notice of Kolick’s injury?
The answers to all of those questions seemed vague. Well, they seemed vague until 6:59 p.m. ET on Saturday.
That was the time of the first pull in the championship contest, and the Current were defending first. But after a few short passes, a pass sailed over the head of Vancouver’s Brendan Wong, resulting in a throwaway 12 seconds into the game. In D.C.’s first offensive test of the evening, it took just eight passes before defensive cutter David Boylan-Kolchin rose up in the end zone to notch the game’s first score.
It was a signal of things to come, as D.C. thoroughly demolished Vancouver. The score was 13-4 at the half.
By the end of the game (a 23-17 D.C. win), Kolick was a proverbial afterthought, relegated to just another player on D.C.’s deep squad. After all, it is easy for the average fan to forget about your leading scorer when five D.C. players combine for 22 points – including a six point performance from Player of the Game Markham Shofner.
“Nobody’s trying to be Alan out there,” Shofner said after the game. “Nobody’s trying to be anything but their own role.”
And yet, even though Vancouver was thoroughly shoved into an inescapable hole early in the contest, there is an uncontrollable urge to see what the final score would have been if Kolick was on the field. (He was, however, on the sidelines during the game, sporting a cast on his arm.) Despite the fact that it would be completely against all forms of sportsmanship, Kolick is a rare breed of the stop-what-you’re-doing-and-watch-this-guy-now player.
“No one can be Alan,” Current team captain Sean Keegan said. “There’s only one MVP, and unfortunately we didn’t have him. We just have so many talented Frisbee players on this team that everything is good if we play within ourselves and play within our roles. Regardless of who we have on the field, we’re going to win no matter what.”