Cinco Favoritos: My Favorite Things From Day 1 of TEP

Ultiworld’s first day coverage at TEP is presented by Universe Point cleats. All opinions are those of the authors. Please support the brands that make Ultiworld possible and shop at Universe Point!

My expectations for TEP were high. I’d heard nothing but great things about the tournament and the city, but I have to say, my expectations were exceeded, at least on the first day of play. The ultimate wasn’t super high energy, as the turf fields were pretty hot, but the mixing of cultures and festivities encompassing the action made for one of the most fun ultimate experiences I’ve had in my time with Ultiworld. Hopefully there’s plenty more of that in store over the next few days, but here are my five favorite things from the first day of TEP, along with some bonus favorites from my time in the city on Wednesday.

“Ring of Fire” Nearly Losing to Discountry

It was difficult to track results through the first day of the tournament. Only a couple of the fields had scoreboards, and I either didn’t notice them until late in the day (entirely possible) or they weren’t used until the last couple of rounds. One result that I was able to track was Ring’s 13-12 win over Colombian side Discountry. Ring gave up some early breaks and were actually down 12-10 before coming back to win 13-12.

The truly memorable aspect of the game, though, was the fact that Ring played with just one player who is likely to be on the team’s roster for the American club season. Jonathan Nethercutt was out there, joined by some former Ring players like Jonathan “Goose” Helton and Tristan Green, plus a bunch of pickups from the U.S. and Colombia.

To call the Ring roster a skeleton crew would be generous. A lot of the American teams in action featured hodgepodge rosters, but none were quite to the level of Ring.

Stadium Vendors

In the grandstand seats of one the fields, vendors went up and down the stands hawking food items like mangos and icepops. One gentleman, seemingly in the area for the Atletico Nacional futbol match later in the day, was trying to sell horns, though he seemed to have less luck than the ones selling edible sweets. The presence of stadium vendors gave the event a much more professional feeling than you usually get at ultimate games, which I appreciated even though I didn’t buy anything from them.

The Facility

Truthfully, the whole atmosphere at the Atanasio Girardot Sports Complex was amazing. Little shops and cafes lined the sidelines of the main field. Beer, drinks, snacks, and heartier meals — at one point I saw a whole red fish steaming on a plate — were all available just a couple of steps away from the action. So far, I prefer the Club Colombia Roja to the Pilsen, despite the slightly higher price.

The area seemed to be a little extra electric due to the Atletico game to be played in the evening. Drums and horns were heard off and on all day, and while the game was going on, the raucous cheers for each of Atletico’s four goals made the crowd for the showcase ultimate games feel enormous, even though they were in another stadium 50 yards away.

Even without the energy from the soccer match, the night setting at the fields was incredible. With the Andes mountains as the backdrop, the setting was pretty all day long. But after the sunset, and the low, orange glow from all the houses on the mountains made them look like giants, burning embers, it was really a sight to behold. I tried to get a picture, but the stadium lights made it impossible that captured the beauty of it all.

Manuela Cardenas vs. Claire Chastain

Manu and Claire played against each early in the morning, when Molly Brown played the Colombia U24 women’s team. The two played together as teammates later on in the day with Revolution, but it was fun to see one of the best players in the world match up with one of the best young players in the world, especially when you consider the context of them having been teammates so many times.

Chastain won the game, but it was close, with Molly scoring the game-winning goal on what I believe was double game point. But Manu got all the style points for one of the best goal celebrations I’ve seen. After laying out for the score, she laid on her side, her arm propping up her head like she was modeling for a magazine shoot, and held the pose for a good 10 seconds, before throwing the disc high up in the air with the casual confidence only someone who’s won too many medals to count before turning 20 years old could have. She brings so much joy to the game, and it’s always fun to watch her on the field, even her goal celebrations.

Also of note is that Manuela is playing with three different teams this weekend. I know she’s playing with Revolution and the Colombian U24 women, but I was unable to catch the third team she suited up for. Hopefully I’ll be able to note that on Friday.

Colombian Women’s Teams Pregame Dancing

This just never gets old. It’s like the New Zealand rugby team’s pre-game haka tradition, but not quite as threatening. It’s a defining aspect of the Colombian ultimate culture, and I love it.

For anyone who’s trying to add a little bit of the Colombian flavor to their pre-game warmups, or just their dance repertoire, Revolution is hosting a salsa dancing clinic on Friday night. I was far too intimidated by the dance moves Revo’s Gabby Jimenez displayed at Universe Point’s reception to want to attend the clinic myself, but it definitely seems like it could be a fun night for those more courageous than myself.

Jugos y Lluvia (En Miércoles)

As I said in my tournament preview, coming to TEP is my first international experience. I explored a little bit by myself on Wednesday and my biggest takeaway was that Colombia is absolutely crushing the juice game. Jugo spots are all over the place, and I’m tempted by everyone of them. I don’t even know what all of the juices I’ve had are, but they’ve all been incredible.

The pinnacle of the juice world, the absolute creme de la jugo, though, is jugo con leche. It’s juice mixed up with milk to the point of being frothy, almost like a smoothie but not quite. I’ve only had passion fruit jugo con leche so far, but I plan on expanding my horizons very soon. Honestly, they’re amazing, and the first person to start a jugo con leche based franchise in the U.S. would make a killing.

I also got to experience my first Medellin rain storm on my first day. I walked to the Medellin River parks from my hotel, despite the obvious rain clouds in the mountains and thunder in the distance. Everyone else walking around the city seemed so nonplussed, I thought that the storms must stay up the mountains. Then it started pouring rain as soon as I got to the park. I guess the Medellinense are just used to the afternoon showers.

  1. Daniel Prentice
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    Daniel Prentice is a Senior Staff Writer at Ultiworld. Daniel is a product of the Tallahassee ultimate community and has been writing for Ultiworld since 2015. You can follow him on Twitter @danielprent and email him at daniel.prentice@ultiworld.com.

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