Monday, August 11, 2008

World Ultimate and Guts Championship

Wednesday was my first shift as a volunteer for World's Ultimate. Volunteering was great, we were treated so well, given cool T-shirts and free food. My first game one of the Columbian girls had a neck injury but didn't have to go to the hospital. I scorekept for a few more games and then wandered off to find the Domino's (from the Dominican Republic) and watch their game.

It's so much fun to be at an Ultimate Tournament and the first one ever that I have not played in. It was especially hard as the second game I scorekept for was Mexico vs Australia and I knew half the women on the Mexican team. I'd played with them all when I was in Mexico, the worst part was, when they saw me they also wished they'd known I would be there so I could have been on the team! Instead, I taught them a few new drills and will hopefully play for them next World's.

Thursday I also had a neck injury my first game, one of the Venezuelan Master's but thankfully he also didn't have to ride in the ambulance. After their game they got in a big circle with drums and all the French and Venezuelans danced, they even pulled me into the center for a little while, so embarrassing but tons of fun. Thursday afternoon I watched the Domino's warmup before ditching to see if I could play for Mexico in their game against Ireland. Ireland said no, which in hindsight was likely for the best since if I had played Mexico might have won. Ireland wasn't such a strong team and basically won the game on their height and longer strides, without that advantage the game would have been quite different. Instead I coached the girls throughout the game, it was great fun and they played very well. Their first game against Ireland they lost 17-3, this game they lost 17-9 which showed great improvement on their part.

Afterwards we watched part of the showcase games which was in the beer garden and had hot tubs on one corner of the field. The water was so hot it took me 5 minutes to get in up to my knees, the Mexicans thought I was a total wuss. I don't feel so bad though, as the day before I jumped into the Pacific ocean with a few of the Dominos when most of them thought it was much too cold...

Friday was my final volunteer day and I managed to be scorekeeper for the game of the Dominos vs Mexico! Loved it, I knew all the Dominos and most of the Mexicans so it was a great game to watch. It was also the second time the two teams played each other and Mexico had lost previously and was determined to redeem themselves. The Dominos won once more, in a much closer game and then spent nearly 45 minutes taking turns to give pep talks about their play during Worlds. Most of the players were quite new to Ultimate and it was their first competitive tournament, so they had really come in seeded last in rankings and hoping to win just one game. To win three, and twice against Mexico was very exciting.

This blog is totally long overdue, but I just have to write it down. The final game was Canada vs. USA Open division. It was a great game to watch, and especially fun as one of the volunteers I'd become friends with was American, so we heckled each other as Canada, USA traded points. It also turns out that one of the guys on the Domino's team is arch-nemesis with my favourite player on Team Canada. Of course I was so happy every time John Hassel was on the field and had a great play, and he was cringing or upset every time. So much fun!

The flight home was terrible, after a month of being in clean cities or places, trees, blue sky, fresh air, beautiful views and skylines, I returned to NY exited JFK Airport to cars honking, concrete a grey sky, polluted air and just wanted to leave again immediately. Since returning to NY it's been good to see friends again, and get back into Ultimate shape (such a joke! I'm so out of shape!!!) but oh, how I miss travelling. I now also define my life BSD and ASD, before scuba diving and after scuba diving. It was such an incredible experience and "trippin' on acid changed my whole perspective on shit." Need I say more?

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