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Iron Rumble Report

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Iron Rumble Report
By Matt Gypin
Denver Harlequins
 
We started the 2012-13 season with four wins in a row before losing to the Minnesota North Stars in the hard-fought championship game of the 10th Annual Iron Rumble, held Nov. 17-18 at Vincent High School in Milwaukee. It was my first tournament in about 18 months, and I was proud that my teammates thought I played well enough to keep the second-place trophy.
 
As a team, we came out a little shaky in our opening game Saturday, committing several early turnovers (mostly by me – I kept getting the ball stripped from me like I was Knowshon Moreno), and the nerves of in-game action took its toll on our emotions. After a timeout, we settled down and battled back to beat the Oscar Mike Militia-At-Large, a team made up of military veterans (including our teammate, Robert Schuler, who also played a couple of games with us during the tournament), 49-44. Thanks for your service, boys!
 
Several hours later, we won a Western-style shootout with the feisty North Texas Cowboys, 51-47. In our third game of the day, our starters (Jason Regier, Adam Scaturro, Garrett Osborne and myself) were able to get some rest as we dominated Chicago (Da Bears!), 50-36. I was happy to see the rest of our team who made the trip to Wisconsin get some playing time, and it was fun to cheer them on. I thought Ron Bolseth, Ryan Walters, A-Jay Nagle, Kirk Williams and Schuler played just as great as the starters did, and they never let off the gas and held the lead steadily.
 
On Sunday, we woke up and showed no hospitality to the Milwaukee Iron, winning 58-47 in front of the hometown fans, putting us in the championship game against the North Stars. The North Stars earned their way into the title game by destroying Grand Rapids, 62-24, cruising past Indy, 39-27, and beating Milwaukee, 53-42, and Oscar Mike, 53-44, to set up a clash of unbeatens.
Both teams entered the game confident, and the atmosphere felt a little more charged up for this game. Everyone in the building knew these were the best two teams there – sorry, Milwaukee.
 
Minnesota took control of the game early when a for-sure breakaway goal by me became a turnover after a North Stars player caught me from behind and placed his hand on the ball just as I crossed the goal line. I still think I crossed the line first, but the referee didn’t agree. After that, we fought hard but could never quite catch up, losing, 48-44.
 
The final game was frustrating for me, not just because we lost, or that early call that went against me, costing us a point, but because I spent most of the second quarter on the sideline getting the rear caster wheel on my chair fixed. It felt helpless sitting there watching, not being able to get in the game to help my team. I don’t think it would have made much of a difference though, because Bolseth played great in my absence and Minnesota was just better than us on that day. We were matching goals with them for the most part, but we could never quite create the turnover that was needed to switch the tide and catch them on the scoreboard. My hat goes off to them, especially the low-pointer who was continuously back-picking me after every score, which I think contributed to my chair issues.
 
Overall, I think it was a great tournament for us. It felt good for me personally, getting back into game action after taking a year off. I was reminded of several valuable lessons, including the importance of ball-control and keeping your emotions in check, as well as having a working wheelchair. I feel like we came together as a team, and that we can only get better, and I am looking forward to a future rematch with Minnesota sometime down the line.
 
Thanks to everyone at Milwaukee for putting on a great tournament!
December 20, 2012 — 9:28am