Diaries from Monday at WUCC.
August 4, 2014 by Charlie Eisenhood in Interview with 1 comments
Updates from the fields in Lecco.
Akina Younge (Revolution)
What. A. Night.
I don’t even know what happened during the day. I guess we went to some really cool beautiful lake in Lecco or something, but my mind is totally wrapped up in our game.
It was amazing. Despite getting lost on our way to the lake, being unable to find parking when we arrived early at 7 PM for our 8:30 PM game, warming up with millions of mosquitos and the damp field, we were going to play. There were no cancelations and no excuses. We were going to play. We were going to play against MUD, first in our pool and a top team from Japan. We were going to play under the lights in the stadium. We were going to play our first game of Worlds.
And it was a GREAT game. MUD is an amazingly talented and spirited team. I got totally schooled, posterized, and scored on. It was embarrassing, but I feel like I learned so much from having to match up against some of the best Ultimate players in the world.
MUD took the first point, which was a break for them. But the game continued close throughout. Both MUD and Revolution are extremely athletic and put on a clinic for bidding form, throws and gos, skying, hucks, and breaks. Revolution took half 8-7, with my throw to my teammate Elizabeth Mosquera in the endzone. It was weird to be that person throwing a goal at Worlds, like it wasn’t really me, but I felt myself screaming ‘VAMOS!!!’ and feeling the hugs of my teammates, forcing me to know it was real.
The second half was neck and neck throughout. But time cap went on and we scored on a huck to Elizabeth and it was over. I didn’t know it was our last point until our team came running to us saying ‘GANAMOS!’ (‘WE WON!’)
It was unreal. I almost cried — for my incredulity that we won, for my happiness that we won, for my tired body that has many more games to play, for knowing how short Worlds is and that my time with Revolution has been sweet but short, and for missing my club team BENT back at home and thinking about the TCT tournament I missed with them this past weekend. After one game, Worlds has proven to be not just a showcase of beautiful ultimate, but a showcase of my range of emotions.
Brett Matzuka (Johnny Bravo)
First, I will apologize to anyone reading for the inconsistent tense and poor grammar in my previous, and any future, posts. I will do my best to write in a comprehensible way, but I am using a keyboard with characters like this — àèùç°§ — so it makes it quite hard. Also, spellchecker thinks every word is misspelled due to not being italian. <- that entire sentence has red under it, lol Moving on... The team got up for our first day of games with a nice hotel breakfast followed by a shuttle ride to the fields around 10:30 AM. Our game was at 5 PM but there were no other possible shuttles for us to catch in the span of the day to allow us to make our start time. Thus, we proceeded onto our quest to compete at WUCC 2104. Getting to the fields, we got a first hand look at the carnage that the rain brought. Luckily, the day off seemed to do a great job of keeping the fields tolerable for games so as to not alter the nature of the competition. We spent the day relaxing in the shade, catches glimpses of games around the complex, and having a pasta lunch. When 3:30 PM rolled around, we got our first chance to don the blue and red, and take the field this season as a unit (we are missing 2 players, but we are not shorthanded like at the US Open). Going into warm ups, the team was focused to put everything into our one game today against the second seed in our pool, Loquitos from Japan. We were primed not to overlook this very worthy and talented team, and came in ready for a dogfight. I wont give a play by play but just a brief recap of some highlights. The game started with Bravo on offense with a quick, efficient score. This was followed with 3 straight breaks from the D on the backs of some great team pressure along with some individual stand out plays. The game continued on this course with offense scoring efficiently, giving up no breaks, and defense mounting pressure each and every point. It ended with Bravo on top 15 to 6. Some of the impressive plays included two Stanley Peterson catch blocks on handler slash cuts, a Hylke Sneider out-of-nowhere catch block on a isolated under cut downfield, and Ian Toner getting horizontal on a break mark throw to reward the team with another break opportunity. The team came ready to play and the only disappointment in the win was the lack of opportunities to get more points together. Loquitos put in a hard fought effort, but it just didn't go their way this game. We will have two games tomorrow to finish out pool play which I very much look forward to. On a side note, I have played in a few of these World Ultimate Club Championships, but this is my first experience on an American team. The feel and approach is very different from every other time I have participated. Typically, I have been part of an underdog hoping to pull an upset and bring my club glory on the international stage. This time I am part of the frisbee machine looking to power through each obstacle on our way to a chance at a World Championship. It is a very new and different feeling, along with the added emotions of being part of a new club. Here's to new beginnings! lol ...Back to the day Upon having dinner, the exact same food from lunch, but no complaints as I enjoyed the meal, we jumped on a 8:10 PM (40 minute drive, ugh) shuttle back to the hotel where things got dicey, to say the least. I know Ian Toner planned to not write a diary for today, but wanted to just collect himself and look forward to tomorrow; however,he has now written a post to summarize some of the adversities we face here (see below). While the first world problems of no internet were very understandable, the lack of running water at the hotel for multiple hours at this point is quite an unacceptable outcome. I will just leave it at "when in Rome" and hope to get the opportunity to bath after playing in the mud. Farewell. Ian Toner (Johnny Bravo)
So as I was walking to our team’s shuttle bus after dinner, I said to Brett, “I don’t want to write a diary entry tonight. I think I would just complain, and I want to give this tournament a chance before I do too much whining.”
And then we got back to our hotel and shit hit the fan.
Let’s start with today’s shuttle service. Bravo didn’t play until 5PM, but somehow, the only time the shuttle could take us to the fields was 10:30 AM. And then, the 8:10 PM return shuttle showed up late, with much kerfuffle from the organizers about teams getting in unassigned buses that were still all going to the same location (our hotel).
Tuesday’s bus schedule was posted in the lobby upon our return. Thanks to “trade night,” after our 9AM and 3PM games, we won’t be getting bussed back until 11:45 PM tomorrow night. When and where did we agree to spend 6 hours at “trade night?”
We try to call a contact number to get tomorrow’s return trip rescheduled. The call won’t go through from my cell phone. We try to call from our rooms, hoping a local call will work. We can’t make outbound calls from our rooms until the manager approves them. The situation remains unresolved. Editor’s Note: As of this posting, it has been resolved. See below.
So we should have gotten rental cars and not trusted the tournament shuttle…crucify us.
At least we can shower and prepare for bed. But the hotel’s not built to handle the large volume of simultaneous showers. The water pressure craps out after a handful of our teammates get halfway through showering. We’re sitting in the lobby unsure of when we’ll be able to shower. We’ve been at the hotel for an hour, and we have to get up for 6 AM breakfast and a 6:30 AM shuttle. Jimmy is threatening to jump in the lobby water fountain if we don’t get water service in the next 10 minutes.
The tournament food has actually been plentiful and delicious. But the delivery and timing could use some work. Hundreds of players bottleneck at the entrance point with two semi-functioning swipe machines. Lunch is served during prime warm-up time. The dinner swarm is a clusterf*ck. There’s no good way to feed multiple thousand people at once, but you need more than two swipe machines and three distribution lines to start.
I want to shower and go to bed knowing that I’ll be home at a reasonable hour tomorrow. Is that so much to ask?
Editor’s Note: I’m glad to report that players have convinced the powers that be to add another shuttle at 8:30 PM so those who want to can get home.
Sion “Brummie” Scone (emo)
The sun is shining and the scenery is absolutely incredible. What a backdrop. The fields closer to the arena (20+) are in worst condition and sand is already in use.
Drainage ditches are now flooded, leaving canals of stagnant water. There are no easy places to cross so people are wading through barefoot and then using pitch side taps to wash their feet, leaving even more water on the fields. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. There’s only one wooden “bridge” (really just a plank) and most people are taking running jumps to get between areas. Fortunately with some luck I’ve not fallen in yet, mostly by using crutches to pole vault across.
Some good ultimate on display too; emo showed signs of life against Buzz Bullets but simple errors including some howling drops made the score one-sided. Flying Angels won an incredibly tight game against a strong French team in a mud bath. Ragnarok played Sockeye close, mostly by skying Sockeye’s not-that-tall D squad deep, but the American outfit pulled through.
My main observation was Sockeye’s rather loose definition of the “foul” and “travel” – I wonder if MLU has had an effect on their style? I saw a lot of blatant offensive fouls, and while Ragnarok were happy to play on I think Sockeye might get into call fests later this week.
Zimmer looked strong in their game against a skilled Vigi side, and finally Bravo crushed a Loquitos team who looked pretty dangerous themselves. Bravo had some incredible defensive plays from Brett Matzuka and Hylke Snieder. Injury news: Richter hobbled off injured.
Food was NOT all-you-can-eat on a single plate, since we were served. However, portion size was decent. Pasta was a highlight; let’s hope that’s on the menu each day. Real lack of good quality meat though and appalling for the cost (20 Euro).
Thanks to Rob of the TD group for driving me to the arena (it’s a long hobble), and to Buzz for a fun & spirited game.
Charlie Eisenhood (Ultiworld)
Finally, an absolutely beautiful day. Start to finish sunshine and warm temperatures made for a very pleasant day — I even had to seek out shade (my sunscreen situation was a bit bleak at times).
Lots of ultimate to watch — an overwhelming amount really. I tried to pick games that looked interesting before rounds started, since the field complex is so big and getting around is a real pain with the ground so muddy and wet (and canals blocking paths all over the place).
There are plenty of quality teams here, as you would expect, but I haven’t been wowed by many teams yet. It’s early, of course, and the ground conditions really slowed the pace of games down. But the heat of the day should make tomorrow better, assuming we dodge the possible thunderstorm in the afternoon.
The day mostly lacked drama, but it was great to see so many different teams, their styles, and their cheers! You notice, particularly, a continental style — Asian teams play different than European teams. The South Americans play different than the North Americans. I’ll take more notes on this tomorrow.
I, too, have some complaints (and I will probably have something more formal up later in the week or early next about the various issues that really are unbecoming of a World Championship tournament). There has been absolutely zero functional wireless internet at any of the sites: fields, dorms, anywhere. As you might imagine, doing online journalism is tricky without the internet. I am very glad to have purchased a data plan here so I can tether to my laptop. Not ideal, but working.
The food situation remains dire: I was wholly unimpressed with the amount of food I got in the meal plan at dinnertime. I can’t imagine how I would have felt had I been playing ultimate all day. The food was perfectly good (especially the pasta), but I devoured everything and was still hungry. One small piece of grilled ham is just not going to get the job done for elite athletes.