BY TOM GUEST
When I was asked to write an article reflecting on the Atlantic City, I was hesitant. I didn’t want to write this article, because I didn’t want to think about the fact that a team with a win-loss ratio of 90-18 point over 3 events managed to place 5th. But it’s something I needed to think about.
Aftermath is defined as the consequences or aftereffects of a significant unpleasant event. People talk about the aftermath of an earthquake; the aftermath of a tornado. Today I’m writing about the aftermath of our performance at Atlantic City.
San Diego Aftermath is a Semi-Pro team with a proven track record. Coach Mike Hinman is known for building championship teams that have produced the likes of Dalton Vanderbyl, Alex Goldman, Marcello Margott, and Raney Stanczak; some of the best players in the game right now. Our goal, like many other teams in our division, is to earn our spot in the Pro division. Going into Atlantic City having won the two events prior, our guys felt well on our way were to achieving this goal.
Whenever we go up against a team, we are confident knowing that we have prepared more than anyone else. We are confident knowing that as players we have received the best possible preparation for every point, match and tournament, and I am confident that every player on my team is capable of greatness.
In Vegas, a combination of hard work, calls that went in our favor, and an eagerness to prove that we are deserving of wearing the SDA jersey landed us a first place. In Dallas, very similar circumstances led us to take first place. The conditions of the season had been ripe for success. We became confident that things were going to go exactly how we expected for the rest of the season. That was a mistake.
Enter Atlantic City. Throw in a slow, bounce shot ridden layout. A marker malfunction. A sick player. Multiple penalties. Adversity. Throw in adversity, and the game changes. On Sunday morning we ended up losing our first match against Colorado Blitz 3-2. The worst part about the loss was how close the game was, and knowing that on a personal level, I could have done more to help change that outcome. Not making it to finals at AC was a reality check; we felt like we belonged on that finals field. So why weren’t we on it? In this game, for every factor you can control, there are two factors you can’t. When faced with something you can’t control, you can either react or respond. A reaction and a response might look exactly the same, but they aren’t. A reaction is impulsive and sloppy. A response is intentional and well thought out.
On a personal level, my confidence that the Colorado match would go how we expected it to meant that I wasn’t prepared to respond appropriately when it didn’t. I also feel like there were points where my confidence in my team led to the diffusion of responsibility; the assumption that if I don’t respond, someone else would. When people talk about the aftermath of an unfortunate event, they often talk about the resilience required to overcome it. Successful teams are resilient teams; teams that can bounce back in the face of adversity. Prior to Atlantic City, we hadn’t experienced much hardship. Going into Chicago, things will change in the Aftermath camp. We are not a losing team; that isn’t what Aftermath is about. We owe it to ourselves, Mike Hinman, our fans, and to every player who has ever contributed to the SDA name to be better. We’re expecting the unexpected. We’re coming back.
Tom Guest #07 | San Diego Aftermath