Tiina’s Take: Nationals’ Eve

‘Twas the night before Natties and all through the Keys, not a creature was stirring, ‘cept those icing their knees…

Welcome to Club Nationals 2017! I will be reprising my role from 2014 this week, giving you a completely subjective view of Sarasota, the competition and anything else that strikes my fancy. My Ultiworld Tournament Report Card will be out next week and please contact me @nutc_amherst with any questions or observations.

This first report will be mainly about the fauna of the area. I am staying on Longboat Key, well north of Siesta and the Daiquiri Deck, for obvious reasons. It is quiet and unpopulated and grandparents reside there. I swam in the turquoise Gulf water this morning, with pelicans flying by and egrets hunting for fish on the shoreline. There’s nothing wrong with destination tournaments.

If you have some free time this week, I strongly suggest visiting Myakka River State Park. It is about a half hour south of the fields and I spent part of today there with some friends (Jeff Babbitt and his mother).

And by friends, I also mean vultures, lizards, herons, egrets, deer and alligators. Wildlife is everywhere. We missed the tour boat but saw plenty by just walking around.

I checked out the tournament venue late in the afternoon. The Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch has some of the most beautiful fields that I’ve ever seen. It looks like a turf farm. Looking forward to seeing it swarming with ultimate players tomorrow morning.

I ran into Will Deaver of USAU while there and he was taking care of some last minute issues. There’s nothing wrong with a little product placement.

I saw some partial teams at the site but I suspect almost everyone is still waiting for teammates to arrive. The night before a big tournament is when everything seems possible. I love the mix of joy and apprehension and hope. Ulti-insomnia will be pervasive tonight.

I would be derelict in my coaching and preaching duties if I did not leave you all with some words of advice:

1. Use the wind. Do not fight it.

2. Head on a swivel.

3. Beware of poaches.

I hope to find some manatees and dolphins in the days ahead. And, of course, I will be doing my best to see some GOATs throughout the weekend.

Enjoy the ride.

  1. Tiina Booth
    Tiina Booth

    Tiina Booth is the director of the National Ultimate Training Camp and a co-coach of the University of Massachusetts men. She founded the Amherst Invitational in 1992 and co-founded Junior Nationals in 1998. In 2006, she published a book about ultimate with Michael Baccarini, entitled Essential Ultimate. She has coached teams to numerous national and international titles. Her ongoing passion is sports psychology, and she offers clinics to coaches of ultimate and other sports. Tiina will be inducted into the Ultimate Hall of Fame at USAU Club Nationals in October of 2018.

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