Friday, August 29, 2008

Link Friday - Best University, Mental Phelps, and NLP to get that position

Some favourite links this week are:

  • Trainor has an interesting poll on the best school to go to, for Ultimate (applies to Canadian schools only). It would be interesting to see something like this for the US Colleges. I'm looking for faculty positions, my plan is to create a dynasty in College Ultimate. Now, all I need is a position at a good school.
  • Thinkulti has a post on the mental aspects of Ultimate. The infamous Michael Phelps and his coach Bob Bowman appear in this article among other articles I've read over the last week. The mental tactics are to throw adversity over and over at the developing athlete so that when adversity happens in competition it's old hat.
  • My girlfriend, Lexi, is looking for a job in London, and I'm starting to look for Faculty positions (as I said before with Ultimate coaching in mind). Since we're in the job hunting mode, and I came across NLP for doing well in an interview. Interesting stuff

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Poll Thursday - It's the big one, Labor Day

Last week we took our stands on the new Florida based team, Ronin. Our mass guess is that these guys won't make it out of Regionals. A smaller group thinks they'll fit into the bottom half of the UPA championships.

This week, the major tournament before the UPA run happens in Santa Cruz (there's two divisions for mixed in San Francisco, but I don't think it's the same tournament).

In the open division, the tournament is made up of 13 of 15 teams from last years UPA championship. PoNY and Revolver are the additional teams that missed the UPAs by a point, and I would argue are as good or better than some teams that went to Florida. Many teams in the poll (right), and who you think will win this one.

In the women's division, it's much of the same. A strong field of 12 teams, with all our favourites, will play for the championship (poll right). I notice the traditional east and the west teams from Canada are missing from the field, and we'll see if that hurts them come the fall. Missing out on good competition can be a costly game. Of course, it literally costs to get out to Santa Cruz.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Australian sideline threw me off my game

The Canadian Jr. Open team had three losses at worlds. Two were to the eventual winner, U.S.A., and we lost to Australia in pool play. As the weeks go bye it becomes more vague how that last game progressed, but I clearly remember them jumping out to a lead, and us never being able to claw back. We made runs, but couldn't put it all together.

Pictured Above: Cam Harris in the foreground warming up.

What I also remember is their sideline. For the first time in a long time I was thrown off my own sideline game, and that's one of my perceived strengths. I'm sure it had no real affect on the result of the game, but it was interesting to notice, nonetheless.

So what did they do? Was it a brilliant strategy of sideline influence that I've never seen before?

They yelled constantly. They yelled constantly. THEY YELLED CONSTANTLY, and unless the guys were trained to filter out very specific commands, they yelled constantly without the purpose of helping their teammates. The Australian sideline was so loud that our own guys either yelled even louder or shied away from helping on the sideline. It was the type of random noise that can disorientate you (or maybe my sugar was low).

Some coaches, like my past self, might think that just yelling is a bad plan. It confuses the players on the field and provides no useful information. Then, you think of being a player on the field, and you realize how much of the external sounds you can filter out. I know that when I'm on the field I get a few cues from voices that I trust and have heard for many games. Therefore, yelling randomly and non-stop is great tactic if your team is prepared. You sacrifice your own sideline information at the benefit of throwing off an opponent that heavily relies on a sideline.

I'm not sure that was Australia's intention, as their coach was running up and down the sideline trying to communicate to his guys, but you never know. Maybe I'll have to adopt the amplifying cones that Japanese Jr. Women coach and the GB Women's team were using to direct the sound. Is it the counter to random loud yelling?


Friday, August 22, 2008

Link Friday - Blog anniversary, Chesapeake, Ultimate footwork, Ultimate happiness, and a comic

Here are my favourite links this week:


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Poll Thursday - Ronin who?

Last week we had a short poll on the winners for Canadian Nationals. Nomads won both the picks and the gold, so good on you. My favourite, Mephisto (after GT who had their 2nd best nationals ever), didn't take the top honours, but came in a close second.

This week, the poll is based on last weekends Chesapeake Open. This tournament looks to be the big pre-series tournament along with Labor Day. Looking at the results, the most interesting results are from Ronin taking out Johny Bravo in the quarters, while not being exceptional in the lower bracket. Rumor has it that Ronin are Florida players (maybe along the lines of Vicious Cycle?). The poll this week is how far do you see them going in the UPA series.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Photos I - Worlds

This is my first group pictures from worlds. Most of these are photos of Canadian teams or friends, but there's a good mix. These pictures are from Jr. Team Canada pre-camp to the second day at Worlds. The majority of photos are from the opening day ceremony.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Junior party paradox

Well, it's time to start looking back at Worlds and form some opinions. And I'll start with the point that I think needs to be addressed first - the Junior party paradox.

Ultimate is hinged around having fun as well as competing, and this fun, in many cases, is manifested in the party. The parties are associated with alcohol.

Pictured Above: GB mixed in the first showcase game.

Even when you remove the party aspect of Ultimate, you'll notice that major Ultimate tournaments revolve around the beer garden or the keg, and many tournaments are sponsored by beer and alcohol companies. Tales of alcoholic consumption and epic parties are gladly passed on by participants.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with partying or drinking and the association with Ultimate. Heck, if we were getting money I would be happy to sponsored by cigarettes (that statement might not be completely true). The problem is mixing the association of Ultimate, alcohol, and Juniors.

As one of the adults in charge of a group of Juniors, I felt the association with partying and alcohol was inappropriate. A simple solution, I think, is Junior National and World events should be separated from the adult events much like they are in the UPA and off world years.

Pictured Above: Open New Zealand vs. Finland at worlds.

In the back of minds around the world, outcries are forming. Juniors need to be inspired by the high-level Ultimate. Juniors are young adults that if not experimenting with drugs and alcohol, are aware of there existence and role in our modern world. Peter, you're coming from a North American attitude that is more conservative on alcohol.

These all may be true, but I feel that Ultimate is crossing a line on a subject that is a parent's responsibility. Ultimate is good for teaching Juniors concepts such as conflict management, team work, and dedication, but those lesson's are where it should end.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Opinions on Canadian Nationals and the live finals feed

Instead of watching more Olympics, I tuned into the Women and Open finals at CUC in Calgary. The low-bandwidth feed was courtesy of our main Ultimate media provider UltiVillage.

The first game put Montreal's Storm against Ottawa's Stella. This was a turnover filled game where both teams had trouble going upwind and downwind, and the game seemed to move in runs of two. I was going for Storm since Ottawa has won Nationals in the past, but even with Storm's lead at half, Stella made a strong move in the second half to take the gold medal. Both teams had many chances to take the game.

Similar to the commentators perspective, I couldn't understand why Storm wasn't punting deep going downwind. More than once, they threw cross field swings that ended in turns close to the endzone.

The next game had the B.C. Nomads vs. Montreal's Mephisto. Many Furious players filled the ranks of Nomads, and that experience proved to be the difference. This was another game that was filled with turnovers due to the wind. The first half was tight, but Nomads pulled away at the end. Again, Montreal had chances to close the game, but couldn't convert on their chances.

I was thrilled to be able to catch the action live even though it was a small format that was useless during the uncommented Jr. Women Allstar game. Hopefully, these internet events will continue to happen with more frequency, and events like this weekends Chesepeake Open will be shown. It would be nice if UltiVillage released some info on the technology used, and maybe opened up their technology so other tournaments, which Rob can't attend, could also be filmed. I'm sure there's some sort of market here.

As for the commentating, it wasn't bad. It is the area that we need the most improvement in for this media format. I've had experience doing the same thing the year before in Toronto on an audio feed of CUC, and it isn't easy. The first thing that needs to be done is more preperation ahead of time. Unfortunately, people who play in the tournament make poor commentators. A little bit of time is needed to be spent research the teams playing and learning the names of players. The problem is, the video is very poor, and the viewer can't identify players. A simple player to player call (similar to radio commentating) would add significant quality to the stream. Also, simple errors such as "Stella is from Toronto and Ottawa" or "Shaggy is Mike" should be avoided.

Next, the colour commentating needs to be left for game stopages and the play call is meant for game action. The quality of these comments should feed a range of Ultimate knowledge levels. For this broadcast, there were too many simple comments on basic rules and Ultimate knowledge. This is fine for some, but the more knowledgable viewer needs a little more such as Alex Hughes interesting reasoning on the early foul call by Nomad's when they were close to the end zone. The Women's game lacked Ultimate knowledge since one of the commentators wouldn't get into coaching strategy. Where's the colour?

Just like the improvements in the Ultimate DVDs, I expect we'll improve in Ultimate live broadcasts. Maybe one solution is to feed the video and audio seperately so that multiple audio feeds will allow different people to try their hand at commentating.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Link Friday - Post Worlds, Women at worlds, and a cool time waster

The links this week are:

  • Parinella makes some great points about the good and the bad at Worlds.
  • Gwen Ambler's view of the Women's games at worlds. I only saw 2 women's games, but many Jr. Women's games.
  • Here's a flash game that took two of my days to complete. Warning, for some this will game will hook you.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Poll Thursday - Open open at Canadian nationals

Last poll was on the hot tourney jersey for the tournament. Japan topped the list, and this was somewhat true at the tournament. They weren't the best looking jerseys (in my opinion), but the artificial market they created and the high amount of advertising on the clothing helped in making the jerseys one of the favourites of the tournament.

This week, Canadian nationals will take place in Calgary. Both Goat and Furious will not be attending the event, which opens up the race for 1st. The poll for the next few days is who do you think will win Canadian Nationals (poll right)?


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Worlds Day 8 - Cheers, jeers, and tears

For the last day of Worlds, I caught the three finals in the Thunderbird stadium. The women and open finals were the best, and the mixed was a blowout (similar to UPAs at Florida last year).

As you'll all know, the women's saw USA vs. Japan with Japan's win streak pitting them as the favourite to win. The USA ladies weren't going to take that, and they showed that they were the best in the world. The most notable moments in the game was a marathon point after half that saw USA finally score and take a 10-8 lead, which I think broke the backs of Japan physically and mentally. Also, there was a huge D by one of the USA ladies, that, unfortunately, resulted in a hurt knee. I think she had so much adrenalin that she over jumped her normal vertical. When she landed she was in a run, which sometimes signals that the brain thought the ground was already there.


  1. USA (+3)
  2. Japan (+2)
  3. Canada (+1)

The next game was the mixed. Canada mixed went up quickly against Japan (I think a 5 point run). At this point, I lost interest in the flow of the game, and focused on taking pictures of my friends in the game and the Master's medal presentation. There were two callahans that made the game somewhat exciting in terms of individual efforts, but I missed the last one that won the game and could only respond to the crowds emotion.

  1. Canada (+3)
  2. Japan (+2)
  3. USA (+1)

Finally, the Open finals finished off the day. Canada vs. USA was a great game in terms of crowd noise, events on the field, and a little rain to make it true Vancouver Ultimate. My favourite plays of the game were Oscars big D on the sideline and one of the USA Ds on a huck. There were a number of exciting plays throughout the game, and the crowd made every point exciting. I didn't catch the final points (due to some external factors), but as I walked away from the stadium you could tell how great a game this was for the crowd. Massive roars could be heard even from 1km away.

  1. Canada (+3)
  2. USA (+2)
  3. Japan (+1)
The remaining divisions finished as follows.

  1. USA (+3)
  2. Canada (+2)
  3. New Zealand (+1)
Jr. Open:
  1. USA (+3)
  2. Canada (+2)
  3. Germany (+1)
Jr. Women:
  1. Japan (+3)
  2. Australia (+2)
  3. USA (+1)
The overall Ultimate country stats based on these results (and excluding Guts) based on the Jamieson country ranking system is:
  1. USA - 13
  2. Canada - 11
  3. Japan - 8
  4. Australia - 2
  5. Germany - 1
  6. New Zealand - 1
Clearly, Japan has shown they're the real deal. I felt there was lots of hype, but for the most part, they proved themselves. USA remains the giant, and Canada sits close behind. The difference between the countries is at the Jr. level, which if extrapolated would suggest a long term differentiation. On a per game basis though, there were scares all over the place, and I would argue that the competition level is very close. I think Australia, GB, and Columbia will make the next major pushes in the sport and tighten the gap.

These countries need to take note of the commitment Japan put into their accomplishment. They made the effort to play the best by visiting and bringing their opponents to them. Then you can see how the giants get things done. Also, the junior development is probably the most important factor for countries to consider over the coming years.

For myself, I've got a new set of topics to discuss over the coming weeks. I'll do some breakdown of the good and the bad for our own team, and some thoughts I had over the week. In general though, it was an experience that I hope you all can have in some way or another over your Ultimate career.

Photos to come...I've got a little memory space problem.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

Worlds Day 7 - Laying the chips on the table

We lost our final to the USA. They played a spectacular game, making big grabs, and playing solid Ultimate. It wasn't just this game, but throughout the tournament they were a stellar group, from players to coaches. Our guys showed some of our best stuff from the week, but couldn't put together a complete set of passes to score consistently. It's a tough loss, but to a classy opponent.

In other action, I caught some of the GB Jr. Open vs. Germany and GB Mixed vs. France. The Juniors were having major troubles with the German zone, and the one two German punch was almost unstoppable on O. They threw 2 laser scoobers for points while I was there. The mixed were looking good against France, but were making a fair number of unforced errors. When I left, they were up by two.

I went to watch the guts finals next. I watched a complete game for my first time, and really enjoyed the game. The crowd got into it, and Japan number 2 made some spectacular catches. One of the catches he made was clocked at 123 km/h, and he caught the throw 1 foot above the ground. Amazing stuff. I got, what I thought, were some good pictures, and I'll share them in the coming weeks.

After our finals was over, the Masters came in for their final. It was another USA vs. Canada battle. The USA broke twice early, and kept just enough of a lead to win the game. The Canadian team made some stellar comebacks, but came just short in the end.

One other mention goes to the Japan Jr. Women. They dominated their finals against the Australians, and showed that conservative, drilled play can win convincingly.

Tomorrow the three finals will take place in the stadium. The weather, which has been sunny all week, is supposed to go to rain, but hopefully, this won't tarnish a great week of World competition.

Still no pictures. My time seems to disappear.


Friday, August 08, 2008

Worlds Day 6 - Your a trader, not a traitor

Team Canada Jr. Open are in the finals against the USA tomorrow. We're pretty pumped about our performance over the last few days, and we'll bring the kitchen sink to tomorrow's game. I've heard rumors that we'll be live on Ulti Village, so check it out if you have time.

For the rest of the day, I watched a little Canadian action. In the morning, I saw the Jr. Women and Mixed. Both teams lost to the USA making for some interesting matchups in the future.

The rest of the matchups sound pretty exciting, and every division gets more and more interesting as the tournament progresses. It's hard to keep up since I'm so focused on our own division, and with a late start I'll be resting and relaxing with the guys.

Tonight was trade night. I've never been to an event like this, but a number of tents were formed up in a miniature village. Each country had their own tent, and people meandered around to trade. I was happy with my results since I got my main desire, a Switzerland jersey and a USA blue. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the Netherlands orange or the Swedish yellow.

Apparently, Swedish jerseys can not be traded. Something to do with the Swedish federation. Sounds like a bunch of crap to me, and it's the type of thing that made them look out of place in the Ultimate community. Trading is done in all sorts of sports, and why a team would be forced into not trading is ridiculous. It might be a culture thing, but I though Ultimate crossed culture.

On the same note, it seems the Japanese jerseys have created their own artificial market. I'm not sure why, but it also seems like these jerseys aren't up for trade. They're not even that great looking, but maybe the teams are only allowed to buy one jersey. I felt bad for the young Japanese kids who came around to trade for stuff, but had nothing of significant value.

That was the bad side of trade night. On the other hand, there was Latin alley, where South American teams were trading all sorts of items. I got a Colombian (spelled correctly) yellow, some Colombian pants, a Venezuelan hat, and a Venezuelan jersey. I liked the Dominican jersey and the Mexican black, but didn't have enough international trade options.

It seemed like tournament jerseys were the main currency. Club jerseys were essentially worthless in obtaining international jerseys. I was hoping to get a medium Ireland jersey for a friend's jersey, but it wasn't to be. Still, this was the best night event at worlds by far.

No pictures tonight. I didn't have time to get them ready. I'll pass on some pictures tomorrow.


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Worlds Day 5 - Who is Sexy... Wayne Gretzky

Pool play ended today for us as the Jr. Open team played both France and Columbia. The challenge for us was to beat Columbia by at least 4 to assure that we would get the bye into the semifinals. Of course, we couldn't discount France on our way to playing Columbia.

Pictured Above: An attempted hand block by the Irish on the Netherlands. The Netherland jerseys are quite popular with the Canadian Jr. Open.

In our game against France, we came out with strong Canadian defense that pushed the french team into a bunch of errors. They were definitely not prepared for our physical style and commented on it in the circle. I've been debating with the guys whether we should have dropped our aggression to their level, or expected them to pick up their aggression to ours. A question for both teams to debate. Regardless, we won the game convincingly and looked towards Columbia.

Pictured Above: Australia and USA in pursuit of a huck in the showcase game.

The pressure was on the guys to perform, and our D showed their metal once again by digging Columbia into a 4-0 deficit. From there, things kept on rolling to a 9-2 half. We never looked back, and other than some great back and forth points we found ourselves with a score that will likely guarantee the bye we were looking for. That and our team is hitting on all cylinders with some great adjustments and team step ups.

Pictured Above: Two french players practice their fencing skills in between games.

As for the rest of the tournament, I was stuck out at the satellite fields for the day. I caught some of the Netherlands vs. Ireland Open, Mexico vs. South Africa Open, and Dominican Republic vs. Germany Open. All three games were lower bracket games, but still enjoyable with lots of bids.

Pictured Above: The domino spike made by the Dominican's after their point.

After waiting for buses, I got back to the fields to catch the showcase game featuring the USA and Australia Open. We came into the game when they werre trading points, but after a few errors by the Australians the game opened up, and USA walked away with the win. Canada Open took Japan in power pools, meaning that it's quite possible that we'll see the USA vs. Canada matchup. On the other hand, playoff games are a different beast than round robin.

Pictured Above: A Mexican thrower coking his flick.

Finally, on my way back from the game, I caught some exhibition guts. I really enjoyed watching the game. It was Japan vs. a mixed International team, and these guys were throwing the disc hard (as expected) at each other. It looked like lots of fun, and the Japanese were making the game exciting by whooping it up for every exciting play they made. Maybe I've found something new to play, and we got a guts disc in the tournament bags.


Worlds Day 4 - It's a long tournament

It's amazing how packed a day at worlds is. From 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM something is always happening. Breakfast, games, warmups, and team meetings fill the many hours of the day. Then there's watching Ultimate. Lots of Ultimate. It's tough to keep these posts coming, but I hope it's giving a flavour of why you all should be here - fan or participant.

Pictured Above: A big layout by Andy Siy with a big layout grab in our USA game. This grab was well applauded by both teams

Today the Canada Jr. Open team met some tough competition. Australia got the best of us in the morning by jumping to a 5-1 lead that we couldn't close out. They played a great athletic game matched with a strong zone that kept us off our guard.

Pictured Above: A sick layout D by Team USA Open vs. Japan.

Next, the US team took us for a ride up and down the field. They showed some great presence and stellar throws that we just couldn't match on the day. However, their armor is not impenetrable, and we showed that our moments of brilliance could match theirs. We've been emphasizing to our guys, that we are in a long haul tournament, and we're still in the thick of round robin. The tournament is not won until the final point is scored.

Pictured Above: Japan Open player comes down with a big grab over the the taller opponent. Based on their feet, I would guess at least 6 inches.

In other action, I saw the tail end of Japan and USA open. This was Buzz Bullets and Sockeye in disguise, and once again they treated us to a great game. If any matchup can make Ultimate exciting to watch on TV, this matchup has it all. I've seen some amazing layouts and grabs, but this game was packed full of them. USA took the game 17-11 (I think), but it was a back and forth game that either team could have taken control of.

Pictured Above: A big attempted block by Team USA Jr. Womens against Team Canada.

The day finished off with me jumping between Canada vs. Sweden Open and Canada vs. USA Jr. Women. Oddly enough, both games were 7-7 when I arrived at the fields. Also at that point, both games were taken over by one team. Canada Open took control of their game despite the Swedish ladies wrapped in flags on the sideline. On the other side, USA went down 9-7, but stormed back to win their game.

Pictured Above: Team USA Jr. Open and Team Canada pose for an after game picture. Another example of tough competition, but great after game camaraderie.

Once again, I'm impressed by how tight the Ultimate has been. I'm overwhelmed with the skill level on all the teams, and it's hard to measure what's the difference between teams. Is it player depth, strategy, team chemistry, or coin tosses? Regardless, I'm trying to soak it all in, and loving every step of the way.

I've also had a chance to talk to people from Mexico to New Zealand. Every team is going through the ups and downs, but it seems like we're all having a great time. This and the parties haven't even started.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Worlds Day 3 - Oh or Doh Canada?

It's a little late, so this will be brief. The Jr. Boys had a good day with convincing wins over Great Britain and Japan. Both teams were highly skilled, but our boys had worked out the kinks and came out fast in both games. We had the opportunity to roll lines, and everyone had a good day on the field. Tomorrow is Australia and USA, which will be major tests for the team.

In other action, the morning started out with Team Canada mixed vs. Japan in a barn burner. I had to leave early to watch the guys warmup, but from the yells and cheers coming from across the fields, it was obvious that something was happening. It turns out Team Canada made a major comeback against, and pulled off the win.

I, also, had a chance to catch some of the Japan Masters vs. New Zealand. New Zealand was up for all the points I saw, and they took the game. I've never seen so many guys stare at the sky after a loss. It was like the Japanese guys were looking to some unseen Ultimate god and paying the price for loss.

The showcase game was Team Canada Masters vs. USA. This was a great game that started with some trading of points. Canada made a run and took the half 9-5 or 9-6 (I can't remember). It looked like Canada was in a position to pull off the win, but team USA came back, breaking Canada's O-line on multiple occasions.

The game was tied up at 13s or 14s, and the crowd really got into this one. I could hear the drunken ranting of Match in the background, and the large Canadian crowd was pushing for team Canada. It ended with USA with the win 16-14. Great game from both sides.


Monday, August 04, 2008

Worlds Day 2 - Columbia Ladies

Day 2 at Worlds was a day where everyone got to play. Our game was at 10:30 AM on the showcase field. The boys started off with some jitters, but showed some grit and pulled off the win against European champions, Germany. We'll be planning to improve throughout the tournament.

Pictured Above: My artistic morning warmup photos of Cam Burden.

I spent the majority of the day moving from game to game. The four games I paid the most attention to were:
  • Jr. Women - Columbia vs. USA: this game felt like USA was in control, but changed in favor of the Columbians. The girls were throwing their bodies all over the place. Down by 2, USA closed in the game, and looked like they were taking control, but Columbian ladies took the game.
  • Women - Canada vs. Sweden: touted as one of the best looking game for the male persuasion of the tournament, Sweden and Canada went at it. Canada steam rolled through this game, and didn't look back.
  • Open - Canada vs. Switzerland: this was a big action game that saw Canada men playing towards their potential. At first it looked like Switzerland could trade and make a run at the game, but into the 4th and 5th points, Canada took control with big hucks, big D, and some good play.
  • Jr. Women - Canada vs. Columbia: the Canadian ladies looked great from the start pulling off three upwind breaks in a reasonably strong wind. The Columbian ladies kept tight. Canada looked like they would break open the game, but missed a key endzone situation. The game was a battle back and forth until Columbia broke open a two point lead that Canada couldn't recover from.
Pictured Above: A layout attempt by Mexico Open against New Zealand.

In all, I saw lots of Ultimate and took many pictures. I met a few new people from USA Open, Columbian Masters, and Australia. The people, as expected, were great.

Pictured Above: Sweden vs. Canada womens.

It's funny how you want to hate the "so called" enemy, so you can treat them as opponents that must be destroyed. The reality, however, is when you talk to any Ultimate player you realize they're just cool people, and you have to treat the game with spirited competition.

Pictured Above: The USA flag in the foreground with USA mixed prepping for the pull to Australia in the mid day showcase game.

At present, my favourite jerseys to trade for are:
  • Switzerland (red or black)
  • Sweden (yellow)
  • New Zealand (black)
Honorable mentions go to Ireland Women's white and Mexico Women's white, but I just don't like white jerseys.

Pictured Above: Columbia Jr. Women plus fans celebrating the win against the Jr. Women USA team.

So far, I'm having a great time. Check out some of the other blogs as posted below, and checkout some of the podcasts from blockstack.


Sunday, August 03, 2008

And so it begins - Worlds 2008

I've never experienced a start to a tournament like worlds. My biggest starts have been national level tournaments, but the opening ceremonies for Worlds makes you feel like your at a miniature Olympics. In other words, it feels special. This is roughly what happened.

Pictured Above: Junior Team Canada before the opening ceremonies.

Junior team Canada met outside our dorms and posed for a team picture. Next, we were off to the stadium for the team parade and opening ceremonies. Outside the stadium all the teams assembled under their respective country flags, and after a wait the teams were corralled and led into Thunderbird Stadium. Canada was the last team to enter, so I didn't see much of the earlier teams, but it sounded exciting.

Pictured Above: A brief meeting with Team Mexico on my wander around the meeting area, before heading into the stadium.

On our walk in, we proceeded through the gates and high fived some kids who came down from Seattle. They were a middle school team, but unfortunately, I've forgotten their team name. We headed into the stands and watched a number of speeches and demonstrations from various groups. The crowd didn't give the various presentations the full attention they should have had, but overall, the proceedings went well.

Pictured Above: Some of the colours of the world sitting in the stands.

Once the tournament was opened we had the opportunity of watching mixed Team Canada vs. Great Britain. I left with Canada up 15-13 for dinner in the cafeteria, and I heard that they pulled off the win.

Pictured Above: Some aggressive D in the first game between Team Canada and GB.

The game had its ups and downs, and it looked pretty clear that the tournament jitters compounded with being the showcase game resulted in some rough patches of play. Overall, the game had defensive breaks back and forth, and was interesting to watch. If I thought GB was going to tighten things up I would have stayed, but their D-line could generate Ds, but couldn't string solid offense.

I, also, enjoyed booing for the various bad calls. The worst was a hail mary scoober into the endzone that came back. Karma prevailed on that call.

Pictured Above: A classic jump ball on a jump ball throw. This one resulted in a turn for GB.

Other than the beating down of the sun, the day was great, and I can't tell you how exciting it is to see players from throughout the world come together to compete in a game we all love. I haven't gotten into a meeting people mood yet, but I'll break out tomorrow, if possible.