Hodag Love

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


The 2007 scholarship has been decided. Below are all of the submissions (in no particular order). Thanks to everyone who submitted an entry.


Part I

What it means to be a Hodag:

My name Tom Annen, aka Animal. I am a junior at the University of Wisconsin and this is my third of five years that I will be on the team. As of right now, the Hodag team is probably the most important thing in my life. I love the team and if it wasn't for the team I would probably transfer elsewhere because I am not a big fan of the cold weather. Plus I have lived my whole life in Madison and never got a chance to go any where else. Anyways, to play for this team is a privilege. Since I have been on it we have been one of the top five maybe top three best teams in the country every year throughout or at some point and time during the year. I don't believe there are many other teams around the country that can say the same thing. I personally love playing with the team, partying with the team, and in general being around the team. We are a family. Every single one of us is working toward the same goal, to win College Nationals. In order to achieve this goal we all put in 15 plus hours a week doing team workouts, lifting with our buddies, or training on our own. It is a huge commitment, but it has a phenomenal pay-back from being apart of the baby blue.

Part II

Las Vegas 2007

Even though the ending result of the frisbee tourney was not exactly what we wanted. The heart we played with to come back from a big deficit was the most important thing we took from that game. Since we did not win the new and hilarious story came friday night when some 10-12 Hodags found themselves walking out of the casino New York New York like it was the end of an Ocean's 12 movie.

It starts with Jack Marsh addiction to gambling and Animal's desire to bitch Vegas on the craps table. Not knowing how to play Craps, Animal followed Jack to whatever casino he was going to in order to learn how to play. The 12 or so hodags that ended up at New York new York were they by fate. At the casino we all got split up very quickly with the flashy lights, free drinks, and Vegas bitches at our finger tips.

Not too long after Jack and Animal find the craps tables but the minimum be is $10 and we were looking for a five dollar table to lose our money at and learn the game so we sat there and watched and learned. Within 20 minutes the 12 guys were around the craps table all annoying the craps workers by not playing but looming over the table asking dumb questions. Not to mention breaking every rule about where to have your drink as to not spill it all over the table. I am pretty sure anyone who played this weekend got yelled at at least once for holding the dice and their beer at the same time.

After long consideration, Animal decides that he needs to figure this game out even if he only buys in with 20 dollars (2 bets). Which, he does and turns into 50 or so. Soon all the hodags are throwing small amounts of cash, at most 50 dollars on the table to see how fast they can loose it buy betting on their favorite number. So as the dice moved around the other side of the table, the hodags learned how to play a little and some won money others lost money. Then the show started off with Scallet rolling the dice for a good 5-10 minutes winning people money but since he was the first to go the hodags must have been a little slow on the bets because there was not too much gain with his rolling. The dice moved through the next 6 hodags pretty quickly causing most everyone to lose a good portion of money. As a note Heijmen was on his last bet 10 or 20 dollars when the dice came into Animal's hands. This is where the loud screams came that attracted the big spenders on the other side to throw benjamins all over the able betting on Animal's rolls. As Animal seemed to continually roll for some 15 minutes hitting every number and the hodags were betting on. Especially the number 8. Every Hodag had 12 bucks on 8 during the whole time there was not a moment where the number was not filled with bets. Animal hit the 8 somewhere around 5 or 6 times before craping out making everyone 15 bucks each time. Even when someone asked for a 4 or a ten to be rolled within a couple rolls it would be rolled giving out even more money. Finally after craping out and the applause from the other side of the table was done we all walked away with 100 dollars chips in hand to go cash in. Who knows how much money Animals made for the other side of the table but for the Hodags who were there it was a good 1000 dollars and a damn good story to tell.

Some notable facts. Matt Scallet walked away from the table with 250 dollars, marsh walked away with 350 dollars making back the 200 dollars he lost the night before, heijmen turning his 10 dollars left into 100 plus dollars.


I just have a few small stories about what hodag love means to me. The first story might already have been said, but last year the night before finals the whole team got together in a big circle outside of the finals field and one by one we went around and said anything we wanted. I started the circle and one of the things I said was that being a part of the hodags is being a part of a family. I also said that being a Hodag defines me, and has made me who I am today. After I went, there were an overwhelming amount of people that said the exact same thing, that Hodag Love is a love for family, and it was at this point that I realized how much everyone on the team cared for one another and how much time and effort everyone had put in for each other to accomplish one common goal, winning the national championship. It was at that moment that I realized just how much hodag love meant to me.

One other story came from last year's spring break. A bunch of us were wasted running to the beach at night. Shane and I were together and all of a sudden Shane face planted into the sand. He had tripped on an enormous log, probably 8 ft long and 2 ft wide. Without hesitation I ran over and started burying it to show it who was boss, and shane jumped in yelling something like "take that mother fuckin skank ass tree, you cant fuck with the hodags." This is prime example of what you get facing the Hodags, players on the team currently and alumni. Once a hodag, always a hodag. If anyone fucks with one, you got everyone else behind you ten times more fired up ready to go to war for you. After we buried the tree we got back with the group and started vowing as loud as we could that CUT would not stop us from going to nationals, "look to the person on your left, and the person on your right, you cant fuck with the hodags," a drunk Mike Ottum yelled at least 25 times. Ottum, the guy from Carleton, who was thinking about not playing his final year becasue of the time commitment, but came back because he saw how much everyone cared and loved each other after a quarterfinal loss to Colorado the year before.

Finally, to prove to you how much Hodag love means to me, I have just signed and returned my "intent to enroll letter" for Graduate School at the University of Wisconsin Madison. I am graduating this spring because there was no real way to stretch my undergraduate studies to get that 5th year of eligibilty. Instead of getting a job and starting my working life and career as I probably should or going to graduate school at a different school as every professor, advisor, and friend outside of frisbee has told me, I have decided to go to graduate school at UW-Madison for the sole purpose of playing and captaining for the Hodags for my 5th year. I never even thought about any other option because they all envolved one less year with the Hodags. The only reason I am going to graduate school is to win a championship with the Hodags, and I could really use the money to help alieviate a little bit of the expenses I have brought upon myself.


I first developed a desire to be a Hodag as a senior in high school. While I was applying for colleges I heard what a great Frisbee team Madison had. I wanted to be a part of that because Ultimate was a major part of my life. What I did not know was the profound impact being a Hodag would have on me. The first time I heard of “Hodag love” was after the first practice when we did the cheer as a group. At that time I had no idea what it meant. Even after I had made the team and attended the first few practices, I still did not fully grasp the idea. I understood the phrase to represent the bond between teammates as in any other sport. The true meaning was something much deeper.

Through the winter training season it was hard for me to love going to practice. I missed a lot due to sickness and injuries, and I did not think it was that big of a deal. Later that season, captain Dan Heijmen confronted me about missing too many practices and what it means to the other players. That is the point at which I truly began to understand the meaning of Hodag love. It was not simply a representation of something that could be experienced by any sports team, Hodag love is specific to this Ultimate Frisbee team. At that time I understood Hodag love to be a willingness to work for everyone else on the team. As it turns out this will is only a byproduct of Hodag love, not Hodag love itself. Some people ask why the Hodags do not have a coach, and the truth of the matter is that Hodag love is our coach. I would work harder and longer for my teammates than any coach telling me what to do. A year ago I would not have responded that way, but after truly experiencing Hodag love, I can now say that with certainty.

A story that shows my true understanding of Hodag love culminated after regional finals. I have certain morals about drinking, swearing and smoking that I still hold. However, after winning that game against CUT I realized the true bond that ties the team together. Even though I didn’t play a single point, I felt more a part of the Hodags than anything I had ever before been a part of. I knew that every single player on that field cheering and screaming would do anything for me, and I realized that I loved them and would do anything for them as well. It was at this point that I took a shot of the Bush Mills to show my commitment to the team and what everyone on that team meant to me.

When I meet older players on the club level and they ask where I play, I respond proudly that I play for Madison. In every situation, I have experienced their immediate acceptance and respect. I have also seen in many situations intense jealously from some of these same players. They know and have seen what Hodag love means, and either they wish they could have had it, or they wish they could have it again. To define Hodag love in one sentence, Hodag love is the intense, undying love one Hodag has for another that gives them complete trust in each other; and this trust between Hodags is paramount in our success as a team.


As a first year hodag, it became clear very quickly how hard the hodags work. Off the field we are in the gym nearly everyday practicing and working out to improve our bodies for the team. On the field, we pride ourselves on winning by outworking every team we play, regardless of the fact that we may be faster, more athletic, or more experienced. Sometimes, all of the work we put in can overwhelm our bodies and cause us to fail, despite our desire to continue. This situation happened to me this year at Mardi Gras. The first day of the tournament after having spent 16 of the last 24 hours in the car the exhaustion and dehydration of traveling caught up to me.

Nearing the end of a solid victory versus Texas A&M, who we would later defeat in the finals, I started to have blurred peripheral vision. Thinking little of it, I continued to play hard for my team. After sitting down one point, I began to get an intense headache which only seemed to worsen the more I drank and sat. Soon I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to play at all the next game, or for the rest of the day. I tried to combat my headache with a nalgene of water and the electrolytes from a banana, but to no avail. All of a sudden, I was overcome with the explosive need to purge myself of all the contents in my stomach. I expelled it all into a trash can water, banana, and pieces of beef jerky I had eaten earlier.

Unfortunately, my misery was nowhere near over as this same story repeated itself another four times and I was out for the remainder of the day. Sitting on the sideline during a game that you could play in is a pretty unpleasant feeling. What did make it better though was the comfort and support my teammates gave me as I sitting on the sideline trying to hold down any liquid. Just about every member of the team came over to see how I was doing. They all offered to bring me water and had kind words to say to me. Everyone’s concern and effort really meant a lot to me when I was feeling at my worst. Later in the day I began to feel a lot better after getting some water into my system. People still continued to ask about how I was feeling and had good advice for me so I could play again the next day.

Hodags take care of their own, and that is not something you can say for any other ultimate team. Even just this week when one of our newest hodags, Ryan “Jesse” Ingersoll, severely broke his ankle everyone made an attempt to go visit him in the hospital. Hodags do more than just support each other and work hard for the team, we love each other. Even when I’m at my lowest, I know that I can count on the team to be there for me and give me a hand. Through the pain of work and the joy of the victory, Hodag Love.


My first year on the team, I did not quite understand exactly what it meant. Having played team sports in high school, I understood the team dynamic and such, but I never actually loved my teammates to the point that I would do anything for them. However, I recall the exact moment when I realized just how much my teammates mattered to me. It was at College Nationals 2005. We had beaten Carleton in pre-quarters and were set to play defending champions Colorado in quarterfinals. All season long we thought it would be our year. In the very last few points of the game, we were edged out. The looks on the faces of the players who had finished their eligibility were too much to handle. As a sophomore on the team, I cried. I did not cry because we lost, but I cried for those players on the team who would never have another chance to play college ultimate. Deep down in my heart I felt the pain of Carrington, Jimmy Mac and especially my roommate Grant, because they would never get that opportunity again. They would never get to play college ultimate and have the chance to bond with a group of 20 something guys who really actually loved each other.

This is when I realized what Hodag Love really meant. It was the once in a lifetime opportunity to compete at the highest levels with your best friends to dominate the rest of the country. It is not about a single person or a single game. It is about a team of individuals growing, working, and learning together. It is about making life long connections and becoming a man. Hodag Love has made me into who I am today. Hodag Love is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I hope to pass that meaning along.



3:54am. Here I sit in seat 11C on the Midwest express next to Kevin “bucket” Riley. I have just undergone the most dramatic, intense, mind racking experience of my life. No, I am not exaggerating.

Trouble in Vegas 2007 has just been concluded, and the #1 Hodags have fallen short in the finals, losing 12-11 on universe point to the ufuct (god I hate those guys). All of the sudden however, it was somehow pushed to the back of my find after reaching the end of a mad scramble to catch my flight home. This short story gives a good example of one side of hodag love to me

For my essay/story/example/thoughts on what Hodag love is to me I’m going to “double down” and give two. The first will be this most recent story and the second, a more melancholy one from recent memory. Here, I will try to convey what exactly Hodag Love really means to me.

Hodag Love: Part I

To begin, I will repeat: I may have just undergone the most intense series of events in my life. A flight full of Hodags, bellas and roughly 150 people was held up for a few minutes due to a particularly bad case of routine Frisbee tardiness. Though, in my personal 15 minutes of hell trying to make this flight, I was not alone.

The rental car I was in for the weekend in vegas consisted of Hodag rookies Cullen Gephert, Jack Marsh, and the roommates Riley and Muffin. After a long, eventful, exciting weekend, finals had just ended and we had lost in dramatic fashion (yet again) to the arch nemesis Florida UFUCT. (quick overview: Pulling the game back to 11-11 and overcoming a 10-6 deficit, Wisconsin made a heart-filled run to reach universe point. It was not enough. Three extra months of practice outdoors have given florida a head start in training, and it was enough to overcome the determined Hodags for the championship. Looking around the huddle into the teammates eyes after the game I saw determination in every face to do anything necessary to prepare so this loss would be the season’s last, including the college series.)

Team dinner was had, laughter had seen a steady flow, and casino games were played. The more responsible feeling cars decided to leave around 10pm or so for the airport to catch the 11:59pm flight to home base, Madison Wisconsin. Our car had different plans. We had fallen victim, in the midst of flashy lights and free (or maybe $50, if you count the money I lost) drinks, to a terrible case of group lethargy and procrastination. I mean, the airport was only ten minutes away after all, right? Thus the mad scramble to catch our flight home had begun.

Through gassing up, taking a few wrong turns, returning the rental car, waiting for the shuttle, and finally reaching the airport, we had spent nearly 45 minutes. What more could go wrong? Well, upon sprinting into the airport after hopping off the Enterprise shuttle we quickly discovered, to our dismay, that the Midwest check-in desk somehow had closed at 11pm. What the fuck, closed an hour before departure? Well, true we were there at 11:30 but still. There is absolutely no way we are making this flight. Alright, time to problem solve.

Fast forward 20 minutes. I’m standing in the terminal, bags at my sides and choking my neck, I’m minus two nalgenes, a can of coke, and a half-finished powerade, but I’m through security! However, now I’m somehow alone. The others must have gone and ran ahead because they weren’t stopped. Game plan: ok, quick, check the gate number. 11C, ok. Hmmm that means I have to change terminals, that’s funny. Go through a gate, hop on the tram to C terminal, and try to catch up.

Ring ring. Enter partner in crime Kevin Riley and a tragic realization. The plane is being held up at gate D22, repeat, D22, not 11C. I tell Kevin where I am and double my efforts, retracing my steps and eventually getting on the tram to the right terminal. 10 minutes, another wrong turn, and about 100 phone calls from (I swear) everyone on the team plus some Bellas, I’m dripping with sweat but I see gate D22! Barely able to notice the cheering crowd of onlookers at the adjacent gate upon my arrival, I pump a fist high in the air to acknowledge them and present my boarding pass to the attendant. A quick jog down the tunnel to the plane and one more round of applause later upon boarding, I find myself in seat 11C sitting next Kevin; safe, sound, and going home.

But why, you may ask, is this story of irresponsibility and sheer stupidity an example of hodag love to me, let alone one I’d feel as worthy of admission to the community of hodag alums?

Little did I know, the whole time I was alone on my frenzied scramble to get on the flight, Kevin Riley was taking action. He had been the first of our car to reach the gate, but yet the only one who would not set foot on the plane until just moments before I did. Pleading with the numerous flight attendants at the gate long after most people would have given in, Kevin had put himself fully on the line for me when it mattered most, buying me precious minutes with no guarantees I was even near. Where most people would have given up and admitted defeat, he thought quickly and did what it took for his teammate, friend, and brother to not be left behind alone.

So, although this example of hodag love took place far away from the Frisbee fields, in my eyes it provides a perfect reflection of what a hodag bond should be; on the field or off. A willingness to put one’s own self on the line when a fellow hodag needs you most. Pure, unadulterated, hodag love.


Hodag Love: Part II

For the second part of my submission I’d like to take a slightly different angle. I’m going to recount something that has been buried deep, deep down inside of me since the end of May last year. Anyone who was a current hodag at that time will know what I’m referring to without exception. However, regardless of how moving the experience was, the specific subject has been almost completely taboo ever since then. I’d like to share the untold story of where the hodags were the night before the 2006 upa college national finals.

We had just completed the most dominant Saturday of nationals of any hodag squad in history. The San Diego “Air Squids” came and went, seeing unheard of score margins of 8-1 at half and 15-5 after all was said and done. Next was the Georgia “Jojah” who didn’t fare much better, experiencing the shorter end of an 8-3 halftime margin and a lopsided 15-7 final.

The experience was so unlike that of the previous year’s nationals for me, which was filled with underachieving, lead squandering, frustration, and ultimately pain, culminating with an emotional 15-12 loss to our then archrival Colorado Mamabird. I can still hear Jimmy Mac’s trembling, yet persevering, emotion-filled voice speaking in the huddle after the game. I can still see the faces of those hodags who knew that it was the last game of their careers, those who suddenly realized what they’d be missing; Grant Zukowski, Ryan Carrington, Joseph Dombrow, Brian Hackbarth, and Jimmy McMurray. Experiencing a nationals season-ending defeat for the first time changed the way I looked at everything.

But the year was 2006 and everything was different. Exacting revenge on our previous year’s oppressors, our record was now a staggering 48-2. College national finals now seemed so mortal, so real; so completely different from the untouchable façade I saw the year before. It literally seemed as if God himself couldn’t keep us out of that final game. Call it fate; the team we would face was none other than the much hated Florida squad, the only team to legitimately challenge us throughout the course of the entire season (aside from CUT, who more than anyone had been the bane of our mental game). Of course, Florida had the athletes, the drive, and the skills to compete, we knew, but our hearts told us nothing could, or would stop us.

After cleaning up from the day’s battle wounds we had the customary team meal at a random Italian place. We had some laughs, some stories about the sickest and nastiest plays of the day, and even passed the local paper around to see their egregiously incorrect captioning jobs (I mean, Mike Lang as Will Lokke?!). It was then announced that we’d be having a team meeting later that night in addition to a trip to the stadium to check out the fields and mentally prepare for the final showdown.

Before I know it we’re cruising out to the fields. There is excitement and energy in the air. Everyone is eager to see where exactly the hodags will etch their names into history as the last team standing in 2006; as national champions. Upon arrival it is discovered that the gates were locked. We would not be setting foot on this grass until tomorrow morning. Peering over the top, clinging to the cold steel, was as close as we’d get. A brief feeling of uncertainty entered the air as each of us looked to each other to discern what would happen next. Do we just call it a night and head back to the hotels now?

Let’s think about it. The 2006 season was filled with many memories: stinging early season defeats followed by several thrilling victories, long, grueling workouts spent endlessly chasing Tripoli and Hurst, early spring practices with slushy fields and numb fingers, the extraordinarily debaucherous spring break in Georgia, overcoming CUT’s regional stranglehold, dealing with untimely end of the season injuries, traditional hodag camaraderie, and a rollercoaster ride of 36 consecutive victories leading up to finals.

So, do we go back or not? No, let’s stay for a bit and see what happens.

The idea was thrown out that we could sit and go around the circle telling each other some goals we had for finals, but after the first person began speaking it quickly morphed into something more profound. There are few times in life when you can experience something so purely and so full of honest emotion that nothing else seems to matter at that moment. There is nothing except you and the people experiencing along with you.

As we sat there in the circle that night, yards away from where we would suffer our most painful defeat just hours later, it became clear to me just how much exactly this team meant to each, and every, one of us. One teammate described what it meant to him to know that he would be willing to forever his imprint his skin with the mark of the hodags. Another spoke of how his decision to come to Madison was based on playing for the hodags but how he never expected to find a team with the unity that we had. A veteran spoke of the hodag legacy and how they will forever consider themselves a part of this team, long after the conclusion of finals. Everyone spoke, everyone had their turn, and everyone listened.

What we did that night would have seemed almost poetic if we had won the championship the next day; it would have been the perfect happy ending. The team that was bonded so close and tightly together that they could prevail in the face of any enemy, any challenge. The team whose love for one another could never be stifled. But we lost. And losing that day was something I was completely unprepared for.

As the tears erupted from my eyes against my futile and eventual lack of effort to stop them, I could feel everything I put into that season come pouring back out of me in a matter of seconds. All the work, all the commitment, all the good times and all the bad; it was all over. The only comfort to be found in that moment was through the firm embrace of another hodag, leaning on one another just to keep from collapsing in, feeling the warm tears streaming down into the baby blue fabric that had not only separated us individually, but created a connection so strong that only those who’d ever worn it before could truly understand the extent of its power.

Dog Floyd Patterson once said, “It’s easy to do anything in victory. It’s in defeat that a man reveals himself.” The passion I saw in my teammate’s faces that day I wouldn’t trade for the world.


I would like to apologize in advance for the possible length of how long this could get. Also I’m not really sure what you guys want for this thing but I would like to say that it will probably be less of something about what HL means to me/ why I’m proud to be a Hodag and more about how fortunate I feel to be a Hodag and grateful that I will forever be a part of this team…

I will begin by saying that I can remember playing for winona state after I graduated from high school and thinking that it sucked ass that my high school team could beat my college team. I remember my frustrations after loosing in sectionals to go to regionals. The next year I played for Sub Zero and was super excited to be able to compete at a high level. I remember at one of the first practices after I made the team Charlie Rez talking about how happy he was that the Hodags had just won their first national championship and I remember seeing how happy he was throughout the practice and remember being slightly confused about how unbelievably happy he could really be just because he was an alumni and his team had won it all (little did I know that one day I would too know the pride of being a Hodag alum). I am actually kinda of happy that I was not on the Hodags the year they won nationals when I was a freshman. The first reason I am happy for it is the fact that it has been a driving for me to want to win nationals and the second more important reason is the fact that it makes me realize how lucky I am to be a part of a team like this even if it was only for 2.5 years. Shane and I say frequently how happy we are that we are not stuck on our former team at winona and I have talked to several people that have been on the team since they were a freshman and how they say they can’t imagine playing for a team, too which I always reply ‘I assure you, it sucks’

The following year came and winona made it to regionals I remember Sunday morning being by the food/tent and striking up a conversation with Carrington when he asked me when I was planning to transfer to Madison and me replying (semi-jokeingly) “whenever I get accepted.” I watched them loose to Carleton for the #1 seed. I remembered after the game how happy I was that the college season was finally over and I could go back for the summer and start playing competitive ultimate with Sub again. It is weird to think about how glad I used to be when the college season was over and now instead how very sad I am when the college season ends. And how much more fun it is to play competitive college ultimate compared to club competitive ultimate. I think the reason for this is because its like the difference between NBA basketball and college basketball where people know in college that there is only a limited amount of time that they have the opportunity to play college ball.

I remember how excited I was in the fall when I got my letter of acceptance for Madison and although there were a few people that I was going to miss I was very excited to be able to play at the highest level in college ultimate. I am also very thankful that the person that I was going to miss the most was also able to transfer to Madison (shaner). I also remember right after transferring lying to the people about the reason why I had tranfered usually responding to their question with, “bigger school, bigger town etc”. When I knew the real reason which I wanted to tell them was -“ultimate”.

I remember soon after I transferred between semesters and being curious about the term ‘Hodag love’ and what it meant and whether I liked the term. I also remember being very thankful that every time I came to practice Heijman Carrington and Mcmurray would always go out of there way to make sure they invited me to either go out or hang out and make sure I was being included in shit like partys and hanging out in an attempt to bring me closer to the team. –this to me is a big part about what HL means to me. People going out of there way to make the team closer together.

I have attached a few pictures. The first one is a picture of us and CUT before regional finals ’06. I think that pretty much any Hodag (past or present) will be envoked with a similar feeling of HL when they see this picture because of the rivalry between us. That game meant so much for us and I would not trade it for the world.

The second picture was taken right after we scored the final goal upwind against CUT and the first thing I notice is how happy Charlie is for us as a team and at the same time how happy he was that CUT lost. Only a team like the Hodags could have alumni feel so much pride and happiness just by witnessing their team win regional finals and secure the only bid from the central region. A similar sense of feeling can be seen in the 3rd picture when looking at the faces of several Alumni like Carrington Mcmurry and hector among others in the background.

All of these reasons and many more are reasons why I love being a Hodag and am thankful for HL. I can’t wait for this season to pan out before me but am extremely nervous to know that this is my last seasons already. HODAG LOVE…

And the winner of the 2007 Hodag Love Scholarship is:


Over the last several months I’ve had plenty of time to think about College Nationals. To think about losing to Florida, to think about not being there for my teammates when I was needed most, to think about how Gigo’s, Tripoli’s, Freddy’s, Lang’s, Ottum’s, Berkley’s careers all ended in a loss, to think about what might have been if I’d been able to do my part on Sunday. The only thing that really prevents me from drifting into a dark hole is something that occurred on the Friday of nationals, something that’s taken me these long months to fully understand.

On the cloudy, stormy day that was Friday of nationals I was standing on the sideline crutches under my arms, my sprained ankle swollen to the point that my toes were unrecognizable as something that should have been attached to my body. As I stood and cheered on my teammates as they dominated one team after another I couldn’t help be feel slightly sad and disappointed. As thrilled as I was with their success, I felt as though I should be out there, that by standing ineffectual on the sidelines I was in some way abandoning my teammates, my friends when they needed me on the field. At one point I was standing next to Mike Lang and happened to look down at his feet as he was cleating up and noticed a 25 in permanent marker on both legs. When I asked him why my number was embossing his legs he replied that this was his way of making sure that I was on the field with him, that I was on the field with our teammates. For me that completely changed everything that I felt about this team. Sure it had been fun, I loved hanging out with the team, loved the competition, loved working out, but from that moment on I had a deeper more fundamental sense of what it meant to be a Hodag. I was determined to do everything I could to not betray what that baby blue meant to my friends. I iced all night, went to the trainer in the morning got taped up, downed some painkillers and walked, crutches over my shoulder, to our quarter-finals match up determined at the very least to let my teammates know that I was no longer going to stand on the sidelines and simply cheer.That if they needed me I would answer and once again stand on the line with them, and do my best to make them proud.

What Mike did for me was to put into material terms what any member of this team will someday learn: that every time we take the field we do so with the memory and spirit of those who came before us, those who are on the sideline, and those who have yet to come. We take the field as a family stretching backward and forward into time; no man is forgotten, all are represented. The Hodags are not a team that runs 24 deep, but 240 deep. That’s what it means when we cheer “Hodag Love”, when we sign our emails with “hl”, when we sweat and bleed, and endure pain for what some consider barely a sport. We do these things for each other. We do these things in homage to those who blazed our history before us. We do these things as an example to those lucky few who will some day wear the baby blue. We do these things for our family.

From finally making an attempt at articulating what I’ve felt for so long I’ve gained something much more than any tangible reward. I’ve gained purpose, determination, desire. For those of you who read this know that I will never let my family down again. Few people have an opportunity to do something truly great in the minds of others. Even fewer people seize that opportunity. I hope that I will be blessed with a second opportunity, for this time I will not falter, and I will be there for those I care for most.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Former Hodags,

Remember that spring break when Bruss and Rob nearly set our beach house a blaze with a grease fire? or when Franz got us kicked out of Charleston for peeing on a church? How about when I threw up on Matty D? or Tyson put a shark head in Hector's bed? As much fun as all of those spring break trips were, there was always one thing holding us back from having more fun: Playing Frisbee. Time that could have been invested in extra innings of World Series Quarters or elaborate wiffle ball drafts was instead squandered on the Frisbee field. When we were younger we could afford to waste time like this, but now we're busy, life counseling meth addicts, stalking George Clooney, building jet packs for the military or convincing our fiance not to have a pre-nup. The fun we have now has to be boiled down and condensed to just the grease fires and shark heads. As a result, I present to you, the Ultimate Mancation.

It's been discussed for years (mostly during torrential downpours in 40 degree weather at Fools Fest or first round games in Tempe or Vegas), but now it's actually happening. The Ultimate Mancation is occurring March 22-26 in Miami. Who's going to be there you ask? Well, thanks to a prolonged legal battle likely the corpse of Anna Nicole Smith. Rex Grossman will probably still be wandering around fat and unshaven like Will Ferrell in Anchorman. Shaq. Dean, Tyler, Dise and me. I know what you're thinking, "Tyler's going to be there? Sick! How do I get in on this?" It's easy, just come to Miami that weekend. Dean is looking into rooms and we can get more depending on how big the group is, just let us know you're coming. Now you're thinking "Hey Florida is nice and warm I wonder if my girlfriend/wife would like to go?" Let me save you the time, No, she doesn't want to come. Now you're thinking, "I can't go, it will be expensive and I'd have to get off work, I'll just go next year". Wrong. This is going to be an event that you have to attend every year. You have to attend every year because 1) Something ridiculous is going to happen every year that you're going to want to see in person 2) There is always going to be the outside chance that someone is going to die or get incarcerated for a very long time as a result of this weekend. Do you really want to miss what could be your last opportunity to see Opie or Hector?

Right now all of us are flying in Thursday night and leaving Monday morning. Shaq lives there.



Thursday, February 08, 2007



Wei Lu is an Assistant Professor for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at The University of Michigan

He received B.S. in physics from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 1996, and M.A. and Ph.D. in physics from Rice University, Houston, TX in 1999 and 2003, respectively. After that, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. He joined the faculty of EECS at the University of Michigan in August, 2005.

Wei Lu is an Assistant Professor for the Mechanical Engineering Department at The University of Michigan.
His interests include:Modeling and simulation of nano/microstructure evolution; mechanics in nano/micro systems; mechanical properties and performance of advanced materials and the relation to their microstructures.

Wei Lu is a Ph.D. student in the Indiana University Department of Computer Science.

He has been motivated to improve the performance of the Web Service and XML processing, particularly for those scientific applications. The approaches he has explored includes Schema specific XML compiler , Steam XML message processing and Binary XML encoding scheme. Recently, he has been focusing on how to leverage the multi-core resource to accelerate the XML and web service stack processing. One of his current approaches is the Parallel XML Processing, including Parallel XML Parsing and Parallel XPath Query.

Wei Lu is an actor, writer, and director! His acting credits include "Feng liu can jian xue wu hen", "Xue rou mo fang", and the 1972 classic "Kuai huo lin" (maybe better known by its Cantonese title "Fai wood lam"). He also directed the epic "Xixia lutiaotiao" in 1997.

Wei Lu is a graduate student in computer science with the Singapore-MIT Alliance.

His current interests include: Machine Learning, Computer Vision, Computer Graphics, Chinese Natural Language Processing.

I hope this clears up any questions you may have had on, who is wei lu.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Man-cation Update

So man-cation is on March 23rd - 25th in Miami. Unless your name rhymes with Tang. Then it's still on the other dates and don't be concerned if you don't see us. We'll be there eventually.

We had to reschedule because BP has this thing called a "job" that he actually care about. I guess they made him do some "lawyering," which sounds like it really interferes with drinking time. So the man-cation got pushed back a weekend. More details on hotels in a week or so.