Sun 3 Sep 2006
Sunday promised to be a relaxing day, with only 2 events left to complete. The sky was overcast and the temperature was mild. We started out with the least strenuous event of all: Accuracy 100. In this event, you throw your boomerang from the bullseye of a target on the field, and let it land on the ground. There are a maximum of 10 points per throw and 10 throws total, making 100 points a perfect round. To speed things up, we did tandem throwing, meaning that 2 competitors threw each turn. We had time to warm up and practice this so that we wouldn’t get in each other’s way. This was yet another event where Ace and I planned to share the same boomerang: A Tri-Fly that I had modified to fly low and have very little hover, and hopefully drop into the bullseye. Because of the way warm-ups went, I was forced to use a different boomerang: my Fast Catch unit, thrown much softer. Happily, I got used to it quickly and had good results in practice, so I elected to go with it instead of trying to swap out with Ace each turn.
Ace and Delaney threw in the same group as Betsylew and I. During warm-ups, Ace had his boomerang dialed in and was looking like he would score well. Unfortunately, when he got on the real circle, his first throws didn’t go so well. His second and third throws totally failed to score. He finished very strong though, with his last 5 throws scoring 10, 6, 6, 10, and 10. He scored a total of 53 points.
During my turns, I saw why Ace had such trouble at the start. The wind was very shifty, changing almost 180 degrees from one turn to the next. I was able to adjust reasonably well, and scored several 8’s and a couple of 10’s. My total of 69 points was probably my best score overall, putting me in the top 20 overall, even against the Advanced throwers. So I guess I’m glad Ace swiped my accuracy rang and made me use something else.
Now it was time for what some people consider the quintessential boomerang event: Australian Round. This event measures your range, accuracy, and catching ability. Some people use boomerangs that go 50 meters for this event, in order to get maximum range points. But I had been planning to use a 30-meter 3-blader, hoping the accuracy points would make up for the lesser range points. During our only serious practice session before leaving for the tournament, Ace and I discovered that a phenolic 2-blader we had made had pretty good range, and was still fairly accurate. We had been hoping for 40 meters for this boomerang, but during warm-ups, Ace was getting a solid 50 meters with it, and still getting decent accuracy. Well, this totally changed my strategy. I decided I’d go for those range points too, and hope for decent accuracy. I should mention that it was drizzling slightly at this point, further soaking the already dew-wet grass. Our phenolic boomerangs were really slick, but some painter’s tape seemed to give Ace the grip he needed. He finished with 46 points, which got him 3rd place in the Intermediate division.
Now it was my turn, and my warm-ups were a disaster: I didn’t get a single catch. The 50-meter 2-blader wasn’t working. The 30-meter 3-blader wasn’t working. I was already thinking up excuses involving wet grip and bad wind, but I still thought I would come through when it was actually my turn. I started out with the 50-meter boomerang Ace had enjoyed success with, but my first throw was awful, only making 40 meters, and it was all I could do to make the catch when it washed out well outside the accuracy circle. I quickly abandoned the max-range idea and reverted to my 30-meter 3-blader. On my next throw, I got the expected 30-meter range points, but only 4 accuracy points. I finished really strong though, making every catch and scoring 8 accuracy points on my last 3 throws. My 58 total points got me 2nd in the Intermediate division, and definitely improved on my personal best.
The sun came out a bit by lunch time, and the field started to heat up. We had learned our “dry socks and shoes” lesson the previous day, so we were able to eat our lunch at the field and relax, not needing to drive anywhere.
After lunch, it was time for the crowd favorite event: GLORP. This is like the basketball game HORSE, but with boomerang trick catches. You must repeat the trick catch of the “Dominator”, or receive a letter. When you have G-L-O-R-P, you are out of the game. For GLORP, everyone lines up in order of how many years they’ve been throwing boomerangs. It is Ace’s bad luck to have been playing around with boomerangs at 6 years old, which was a year or so before the incredibly formidable Bower Brothers got involved. This means that Ace is behind them in line, and has to do whatever tricks they do to avoid getting a letter. To make a short story even shorter, Ace and I were out of the game early, only making a few trick catches each. This gave us a chance to get out the camcorder to document some of the incredible things our fellow competitors can do with a boomerang. Trick catches involving multiple fist, elbow, and foot hackeys were the norm. “Flamingos”, flipping head catches, and one-handed cartwheel catches were also necessary if you wanted to advance in this game. In 2003, Richard Bower was the Nationals GLORP champ, and though he had to use his once-in-a-lifetime “Dan Quayle ‘E’” to do it, he was able to capture the crown again.
Soon after GLORP, it was time for the awards ceremony. We gathered near the public canopies and that’s when I noticed the prize table. Jason’s tournaments traditionally have a prize table where the last-place contestant gets to pick the best boomerang, and the first place contestant gets whatever has been passed over by everyone else. I realized that I hadn’t yet contributed anything. I went back to my bag and found a new boomerang I wasn’t yet attached to and put it on the table. Jason started handing out the award certificates, and Ace and I ended up with a healthy stack, even getting a piece of “hardware” each: A 2nd-place Overall plaque for Ace in the Junior Division, and a 2nd-place Overall plaque for me in the Intermediate Division. At prize choosing time, Ace selected a wind-devouring “Vorlon” by “Tuscon” Don, and I grabbed an LED night boomerang from Colorado Boomerangs.
Our minor accomplishments are of interest to our friends and family, but I have to recognize the overall Nationals Champion: Harald Steck. Daniel and Richard Bower took second and third.
After helping out with a few throwing lessons for the crowd, Ace and I were ready to head back to the hotel and the pool once again. This time, lots of other boomerang guys had the same idea, and we had a considerable crowd in the pool area. There were some young kids Ace had been talking to every day who didn’t even know what a boomerang was. Today, he brought one out to the pool to show them, and this turned out to be quite fortuitous. Any people out at the pool who had never seen a boomerang got a first-class show. Our boomerang guys were throwing a Tri-fly around the courtyard, and having it hover over the pool so that they could jump for it, catch it, and land in the pool. The kids at the pool were in awe, and I think it’s safe to say that their parents were too. Gregg was able to get some video of this rad madness, and I sure hope I can see it someday. The most incredible stunt of the evening was after the camcorders were put away. Someone made the outrageous suggestion that Logan should do a foot catch and land in the pool. He succeeded on his second try. We all saw him leap toward the boomerang, but couldn’t tell if he’d snagged it with his feet or not. A few seconds later, his feet floated out the water with the boomerang between them, and the crowd erupted into applause while Logan was still upside-down under water.
We finally got out of the pool to head to Outback Steakhouse for dinner. Lots of the group wanted to go there just because they served beer even though you couldn’t buy any at stores on Sunday in Georgia. We had a fun dinner and Ace and I got to hear from “Juice” his adventures of playing a “boomerang guy” in a somewhat mainstream movie: “A Crime“. I can’t wait to see this movie! All too soon, the lights came on, and it was time to leave. Ace had just been involved in his first-ever “closing down” of a restaurant.
When we got back to the hotel, we met up with some guys messing around in the pool area. We hung out til late and had a great time. We knew we didn’t have to get up as early the next day since the competition was over.