WUCC 2014 Diaries: Day Two, Presented By VC Ultimate

Diaries from day two at WUCC.

LECCO — A mostly rainy day here made for a wide set of experiences around the city. Here are the day two diaries (and Brett plays catch up).

Brett Matzuka (Johnny Bravo)

Day 1)

Upon arriving at 9 AM after a 10 hour flight across the Atlantic, I am fortunate to find another frisbee fanatic in Sarah Ito at baggage claim. While we linger hoping to resolve logistical issues faced thus far in the journey, we make it through customs with ease. I manage to get a shuttle to the hotel via tournament transport, despite the unaccommodating weather conditions. Upon arrival to the hotel, I am glad to find my teammates and begin our journey through WUCC2014.

Overall, the hotel is far more extravagant than any housing I have experienced for frisbee. However, first world problems exist: there is limited to no Internet.

Needing to get accredited, attend the captain and spirit meetings, and attend the opening ceremony, a group of us sneaked unto a shuttle to the field location. Unlike any previous major tournament I have attended, this journey quickly became trepidatious, challenging, and troublesome. First, the tournament is 40 minutes away from our accommodation, which makes planning difficult given reliance on tournament transport. Then, the meetings are discovered to be 20 minutes apart via car, of which we have none. In desperate need of food, a group of us wanders to find sustenance; an hour later, after a stolen apple from some trees, we manage sandwiches at a open bar.

Missing accreditation due to it closing immediately after a required captain meeting and being 20 minutes away, we proceed to opening ceremonies where dinner is being served in front of the inaugural game. Italy mixed faces off against Singapore in a game full of nerves, yet a fierce battle. Another challenge was faced in that dinner was served for participants during the game, but required accreditation. After much struggle and plenty of run around, figurative and literal, we manage to be fed despite our lack of accreditation.

After the game, we catch buses home in time to have a team meeting where we learn games are cancelled. And thus, day one was so.

Day 2)

So far the stories from the Facebook page #leccoed seem to just scratch the surface of the entire experience. All games have been canceled, there is still torrential downpour begging the question “will we ever play?,” and we have yet to get accredited.

After a planned training session in the morning was cancelled due to being rained out, we decide to rest for the day. Given our living arrangements far away from other realms of existence, our options for the day are hotel shenanigans and/or walking to a small mall. After bring blessed with the precious commodity of Internet for part of the morning/early afternoon, we make our way to the mall for supplies.

Making one of the best purchases of the trip with a travel board game, we manage to get a game of monopoly between Hylke, Brodie, Jake, and me. Jake managed to take a commanding lead when Brodie made the worst trade in existence by giving jake boardwalk, thus completing his set of the affluent blues, for St. Charles Place. Hylke succumbed to the almighty Jake after one visit to the housing on Boardwalk.

Brodie left the game next as he rented a nice housing complex on green one too many times. I stood no chance having a total of four properties and jake ruling the real estate market. After the game, I joined Brodie for a throw outside in the parking lot, and followed it up with a leg and core workout.

It was nice to move around and be active after the rather sedentary day. The team had dinner in patches and card games ran rampant around the foyer. All in all, I think the team is ready to test our mettle against the Japanese tomorrow. In terms of the tournament thus far, the experience leaves a lot to be desired, though for many reasons entirely out of anyone’s control.

Sion “Brummie” Scone (emo)

Today it rained from 8 AM to 4 PM almost without stopping. Given the limited communal space and the walk to reach it, many people just hung out in their dorms; tricky when the beds keep collapsing. Showers were a trickle, but thankfully warm. But we need to go out in the rain for them. A few people tried erecting makeshift rain covers to shield doors or provide a porch, but none survived the wind.

Breakfasts were good: lots of bread, croissants, and cereals.

No sooner did the sun come out than the compound filled with games of 500 and barefoot throwing. Games of 3v3 start up on gravel. Later I saw one team conduct a training session then games also on gravel. A huge mud bath barefoot game of pick up also went on, while other teams enjoyed the sun with music and food. You can’t keep ultimate players down.

This was my first chance to admire the scenery, and let me say, what a spectacular site this is, surrounded by mountains on three sides.

Volunteers are not being given information, which is not helping. Some have said they are not being provided with food today due to fields being closed, and neither have they been trained. Still plenty of issues here unrelated to weather.

Akina Younge (Revolution)

Without a tournament today, there has been a mellowness that has swept over our team. Everything felt a little slow and a little off in the morning — we were slow to get ready; we were slow to leave for practice; people playing soccer were on the fields we’ve been using; and we had a slow, long warm up. It wasn’t until we started playing in the mud and rain that it felt like we started to wake up and shake off the sadness of only being at practice instead of at a tournament.

Maybe there’s something about playing in the mud in particular, or maybe it was that we had to put a mark of mud across our face for each drop we had, but today’s practice felt like the perfect combination of fun and intensity. People were bidding, hucking, and laughing without inhibition and I almost felt like we didn’t have something as serious as Worlds on our schedule for the next day.

But I snapped back to reality this evening when we sat in the lobby of our hotel scouting our competition on YouTube. Our coach explained that what we were going to watch was no popcorn filled comedy movie, but rather video that we had to pay attention to and analyze with the utmost scrutiny. We focused on the most minute of details, not just overall team strategy but individuals’ likes and dislikes…and numbers and first and last names.

This is the kind of stuff I love. As a huge lover and learner of ultimate, and women’s ultimate in particular, I think it’s so fun to watch the best play and analyze the game. With all this increased video coverage in recent years, we have an increased opportunity to learn from or just watch and enjoy some beautiful ultimate. Today I was totally reminded of how much coverage has grown and so thankful for what has been covered, but frustrated by the still lacking/limited coverage for women’s ultimate. We were trying to prep and learn for our challenging games ahead, but there were teams that we couldn’t find any recent videos of! And I’m talking about top teams here at Worlds! I only hope that the coverage of women’s Ultimate continues to grow, if only for selfish reasons that I want to grow as a player and I want role models and videos of great women playing to learn from.

I’m excited and nervous for what comes tomorrow — as of now if Monday games are happening tomorrow as normal and previously scheduled, our only game will be against MUD from Japan, the top in our pool. Not only will this be our sole game, but it’s also slated to happen at 9 PM tomorrow night at the showcase field. I guess all I can say is…there’s no better way to start!

Ian Toner (Johnny Bravo)

Jet lag has more endurance than you do. You may think you’ve conquered her, but she’ll make a fool of you before too long. I’m not saying I underestimated her before departure. But preparing for an eight-hour time change is not realistic with a normal, 9-5 full-time job. (I’m thinking of the Bay Area teams who famously used to start their days three hours earlier than normal in the weeks leading up to Sarasota.)

NyQuil-assisted sleep attempts on Denver-JFK and JFK-LHR red eyes were unsuccessful. Perhaps that was why, on my first day in Italy (Saturday), I was able to nap for three hours during the day and sleep eight hours that night without any difficulty. Had I adjusted to local time seamlessly?

The wily traveling mistress exposed my naïveté come Sunday. After a three hour afternoon cat nap, I could only manage four hours at night. My body was itching for movement, as it normally is during the prime of the evening. I’m usually wrapping up a workout around 8PM MT, and that meant that I was wide awake here at 4AM local time.

There were no conditions to blame. We went to great lengths to get the AC in our room fixed, and I had plenty of space on my shared pull out mattress. The room was pitch-black, and all remained quiet in the hotel and town.

Restless and anxious, I began my Monday by setting up shop in the lobby at 5:30 AM – before hotel breakfast opened, and before the teams catching the 6:30 AM fields shuttle even appeared.

Johnny Bravo has to take a bus to the fields at 10:30 AM. We don’t start our tournament until 5PM. I know I’ll be exhausted come noon. Despite the hours of down time to spare, maybe I’ll wise up and steer clear of a nap today. Maybe I’ll shoot the moon and finally beat Owen, Keegan, and Matty in Hearts.

Charlie Eisenhood (Ultiworld)

I think I speak for just about everyone here when I say it was a weird day. Most teams really tried to make the best of it — many held practice (even here at the dorm complex in the straight mud), others played cards or found ways to pass the time. I really had nothing to do with no competition today, so I took a bus into Lecco and up to the Piani D’Erno funicular (always called it a tram; we have one of the world’s longest in my hometown, Albuquerque). It was a beautiful ride up the steep mountain right in front of Lecco.

At the top, there were some spectacular vistas (see some photos here) and a long series of hiking trails.

Reminder: it poured all day. But I was lucky enough to arrive at the top just as the storms cleared out. Turned out to be really a beautiful day from about 4 PM on.

After a nice hike through some pleasantly undeveloped backcountry and a speck e taleggio panini, I headed back down into Lecco. Then I ate again.

It’s hard to get enough food to eat here. Not because of the tournament (though they didn’t feed us today because the catering kitchen is set up at the fields and trying to move it to the dorms would have been impossible), but because of Italy. They are very heavy on the bread, and light on the meat and cheese (and that’s too bad since the meat and cheese here is unbelievably good).

I stopped into one of the many döner kebap shops — a kebap, some fries, and a cold beer did the trick for dinner. But now it’s midnight and I’m hungry. Grocery store run tomorrow…

  1. Charlie Eisenhood
    Charlie Eisenhood

    Charlie Eisenhood is the editor-in-chief of Ultiworld. You can reach him by email (charlie@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@ceisenhood).

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