Finals Day for Mixed, Women, and Open (in that order, I think).Â Been beautiful all week, so today, a 60% chance of rain.Â I don’t think I can get field access to shoot anyway (and I didn’t bring the camera’s rain jacket), so I guess I’ll just be glad that there’s a sort of a roof over the seats in the stadium. Probably it’ll just be crowded and boisterous…
We didn’t get the medals – yet.Â The ceremony is tomorrow.Â But “World Champion” sounds nice, don’t it?
I doubt I could be eloquent at all right now (not that I’ve acheived any literary heights in my quickly-written posts this week).Â It’s 2:00 a.m., and I’m back from a relatively subdued dinner followed by a loud party that was large enough to fill an ice hockey rink.
There’s a lot to consider from today, which I’ll attempt to do some justice to later.Â The short version is:
Semis: New Zealand played better in this game than when we played them previously, hitting on several challenging long throws in particular.Â We were also able to pressure them into enough turnovers to get us through with a relatively-comfortable 17-13 win.Â Truthfully, their game was a little one-dimensional, and one player in particular was very strong running deep.Â Overall, a good, hard-fought game, and I’ll proudly wear my shiny new New Zealand Ultimate hat.
Finals: Canada re-match.Â Yes, like people expected.Â It was a tight game and a little sloppy; finals tend to be cagey and this one was no exception.Â Enough turnovers to go around, especially on a brutal final point with three turnovers from us.
I got into a collision with one of our own players early in the second half, and the result was me not playing the rest of the game.Â Tightened my back up enough that I wouldn’t have been able to hit 100%.Â I’m a little torn about whether I should think I’m lame for not sucking it up and getting out there, or whether I was simply doing the right thing by letting the sub-caller (Al)Â know that I wasn’t at full speed.Â I would have gone in had we given up a run of breaks, but in any event, Al, Paul, and Moonee took care of the handling duties through the final push.Â Those three have played a ton of huge games together.
I recognize that not playing much of that second half could make the result feel hollow to me, as in, “if *I* didn’t help get it done, it doesn’t count.” Â But that isn’t the nature of team sports.Â I’m going to be very proud to get up on that podium tomorrow and collect the gold medal – proud personally for what I’ve accomplished all week up until now, but even more proud to be a member of this team that got it done together.
I’m already wondering if this level of introspection (to coin a word?) belongs out here on this blog.Â But it’s 2:30 a.m., and there it is. Â I’ll be putting out some more pictures and some more cogent thoughts on the tournament over the next few days.Â But now, maybe I’ll try that sleeping thing again…
Today: Great Britain and Venezuela.Â Very little ultimate-watching given that we were on remote fields, but had a nice walk on the beach.Â Great Britain said themselves that they were crap; they made a number of unforced errors but like every team were very spirited afterward (and during).Â Venezuela played hard, scored some points, and then played drums and danced and sang.Â They are deservedly well-known for their high spirit.
Thus endeth pool play.Â 9-0 in pool play at the World Championships is an accomplishment.Â But as of the end of pool play, it doesn’t mean anything.Â Whatever is going to happen, happens tomorrow.Â 10:30, semifinal vs. New Zealand.Â The other semi is Canada vs. Australia, but to think beyond our semifinal smacks of chicken-counting and I won’t go there.
I will hopefully sleep.
As Al said, most tournaments are over by now.Â Our team is holding up ok, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t aches and pains.Â Gotta earn it one way or another.
The big game with Australia turned out to be pretty tough indeed.Â Strong team.Â We had some trouble generating turns and scoring, but we did pull it off, which was important because the O wasn’t perfect.Â I had a miscommunication turn with Coop, which just isn’t supposed to happen because of how much we play together, but it didn’t cost us in the end this time, so we’ll put it together before we’re done.
For those who don’t know about Worlds, here’s a digression into one of the things that makes this tournament what it is.Â At the end of every game, the teams form a circle together, say some nice things to each other (they even mean them, it seems), and exchange gifts.Â The gifts may be token in monetary value, but it’s a nice tradition that reinforces the positive interaction between teams.Â The other teams usually have someone who can speak English.Â We were able to speak some French and some German.Â We have at least one Spanish-speaking teammate, so we’ll be ok with Venezuela, but I have no idea how we’ll be able to speak to the Great Britain team we play first tomorrow.
From the Aussies, the gifts included a snake (plastic), some Vegemite (um, cultural?), and a bottle of some form of adult refreshment (pulled out of the bag by our eldest player).Â In addition, Isabel, one of the team’s children, got a miniature stuffed wombat.Â We have been sharing some Team USA schwag, which may not be cultural, but perhaps neither are we.
We did get to hang in the beer garden and watch the USA Open team against Australia.Â Open, fast game played by both teams.Â And for the first 10 points or so, they both played it to perfect – no turnovers at all.Â The first turnover quickly begat the second, but overall it was a hard-fought game in which the US pulled away inch by inch, finishing with a relatively comfortable 17-11 (?) victory, just barely beating the 5-point spread assigned to the game by one of our players.
A couple of our teams hit their first snags today, with the US Women going down by one point to Japan.Â The US Mixed team, after being down 10-2, fought back to 12-10 or so.Â Japan scored a couple to build the cushion back and finished it out.
A few more pictures in the flickr set, though I’m still not shooting that much.
And on that note, hopefully the laundry is done and I can get some sleep.Â We have our earliest game yet at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, and it’s at the farthest fields – 4km away.Â Closing off with another team picture – this time us with the Aussies.Â ‘Night all.
Watched Guts.Â Sometimes I think what we do is crazy in Ultimate.Â What they do looks like a hoot in concept.Â And then a crazy guy from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan throws a (thankfully) lightweight disc at you as hard as possible, like nearing 100 miles an hour.Â And you’re supposed to catch it.
Some teams are very, very good at this.Â Some teams a little less so, but they have a good time at it.Â Ireland has boisterous fans, which makes it pretty fun.Â In any event, It was pretty fun to watch.
The teams seem pretty darn nice to each other, always touching hands as the change ends and such.Â Almost as if to say, “I may be trying to kill you with this piece of plastic, but I don’t actually hate you.”Â The two US teams all seem to know each other, too, making for fun trash talk.Â (One of the US teams is young and skinny.)
The picture is team Canada vs. Ireland, shot from the couch set up behind one fence around the “Guts Enclosure”.
As for us, we played France in the morning.Â Came out sloppy, but put it together over the course of the game.Â Played Japan in the afternoon.Â We really expected it to be a tight, tough game, and it was in very many ways.Â They are quick, skilled, and play with high intensity.Â Fortunately, our D generated enough turns – gave a few too many back, but also scored a few.Â Our O actually worked pretty well.Â Not perfect, but cleaner than the last two days.Â Connected on a few long throws.
Three quick observations, then sleep:
1. It’s too bad that the schedule and the dispersed field locations prevent us from seeing as much of the other teams as we might like.Â As we were playing Japan on the Stadium fields, USA Open was playing Japan at the Jericho fields, which are 4 km away.Â I only got to see the US Mixed team today, and that only for one half against Hong Kong (9-1 US at half).
2. Thanks to some organizing (by the US Women, I believe), we got to hang a little with other US teams at a bar/restaurant at Jericho Beach.Â Mostly it was us and the US Women.Â (The Men were there for a while, as well.)Â Beautiful night.Â Good hang.
3. Open, Women, and Mixed have seen a lot of blowouts to this point in the tournament.Â I think they go into Power Pools (top teams only) after tomorrow, and then it’s really on.Â Good luck.Â While they’re doing that, we continue our round-robin with Australia in the morning and Germany in the afternoon, before hopefully I get to go shoot the US Open team in the Showcase game.Â Will try to post pictures tomorrow night if I get to do that.
I’ll leave you with the team shot of us and Japan and another shot from the hang at the Galley.Â The Japanese were generous with their gifts and their words, to go along with their hard play.
Tired.Â Late.Â Short post tonight.
The bottom line for today is that winning ugly is still winning.Â Our O did not work all that well, but our D pulled us back from down 9-5 at half to a 16-14 (I think) victory.Â It wasn’t all bad for the O, but we got broken too many times for our standards.Â The game was clearly a step up from yesterday’s games in intensity.Â They played much harder and more physical D – in fact, I got taken out twice by the guy covering me.Â Overall, though, the spirit level was quite high, despite a few close calls.
Since we come from the tradition of Big Ego UltiME, I’ll mention my play from today: yuck.Â I know I’m supposed to try to get things done, but I threw two turns today, and that’s not how I’m supposed to impact the game.Â One long one to Simon which hung a bit.Â He says he gave up position and should have had it, but I’m still taking it because the throw was shorter than I should have thrown it.Â For the second one I threw a timing pattern to Jim, but I released as he turned and he simply never saw the disc coming.Â He would have had to flare a little for the catch, and thus, no catch.Â Damn.Â (For people who think I’m too hard on myself: no, I didn’t play horribly.Â A few nice deliveries, some good fight through tough D, but I know I’m going to have to step it up, and I intend to do so.)
With nothing to do today until 5:00, I watched a little ultimate.Â Didn’t get to see the US Men, who didn’t play until 4:30 themselves.Â Got to see a little of the US Women, but did get to see some Juniors play.Â The US Boys cruised against Germany.Â Â The US Girls had more of a fight against a quick, talented Japan squad, but pulled it out in the end.
A couple pictures here from today, including the team shot from our game against Canada (roster limits, anyone?).Â But I mostly haven’t sorted through the pictures.Â Hopefully more tomorrow…
I didn’t manage to post until now, and that spares y’all the full rant.Â The short version goes like this: late flight, no luggage, screwed-up uniform printing, mildly screwed-up room reservation, a little trouble setting up for interweb access, and so on.Â Once the luggage arrived ~22 hours later (around 11 the next night) and we got a little settled, things started looking up.Â Or at least I was less likely to have to put up a language warning on this blog.
It was fun to walk in with the whole US team.Â The announcer mocked us for taking to long, but the real reason was that there are so many of us.Â With six teams, all with full rosters, we did stretch out quite a ways on arrival.Â Later, they mocked the Canadian teams’ pokiness as well, saying that they wanted to be like the US (zing).
I’m sure Jim and Al will cover the games.Â Italy was routine, though more competitive than the score.Â After the game, we ran a practice/scrimmage.Â Not sure if that was the best idea: it was the first time we played sloppy, and we continued to be a little sloppier going into the next round against New Zealand.Â NZ had one big thrower and a little more idea what to do against our D, but the result went alright.
After the games, we headed to the beer garden to watch the Japan women handle Canada surprisingly easily.Â They were kinda what you’d think: fast and disciplined.Â They worked the disc pretty easily much of the time, but what was surprising was that they really didn’t allow the taller Canadians a long game.
Going into Day 2, we have a one-game day: the showcase game against Canada.Â Given that we both come out of Day 1 against identical opponents with exactly the same score differential, you’d have to call this 1v2 matchup a wash on paper.Â I’m not sure any of the history counts.Â We haven’t lost to them, but we haven’t really played their full squad, and we certainly haven’t played them in front of their home crowd on Canadian soil.Â So, until then I think I’ll hunt down a few US teams to take some more pictures and try not to spend too long standing around in the sun.
I don’t know how much action I’ll get to shoot, and I can’t imagine shooting much during our games,Â so here are some pictures from the Opening Ceremonies and one from Japan v. Canada.Â I’ll be trying to put some other stuff up in the flickr set as we go on.
Thanks to Towson U. shooter Patrick Smith’s blog, I recently discovered an excellent example of storytelling photography.Â Scott Strazzante’s photo story “Another country”, recently published on the Chicago Tribune’s website, is a tour de force well worth attention.
More after the jump…
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Willow: “Well, we don’t have cable, so we have to make our own fun.”
This post is pulled from an OLD post on my old site. Put up here for a couple friends who are headed out west to do some photography. The whole write up after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »
I have stacks and stacks of t-shirts. More than I could ever wear, and it seems like they must be multiplying on their own. My wife wants me to get rid of them. At first, I thought they were too important as mementos and souvenirs: of frisbee teams, of concerts, of whatever. Iâ€™ve started to think she might be right, because I donâ€™t wear very many of them very much at all.
I got a new t-shirt last Sunday. Bright yellow. Text on it from an organization I havenâ€™t got much connection to. It says â€œSpecial Olympics Volunteerâ€.
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Assuming I can remember correctly at my advanced age, I’ve played two Masters tournaments. I’m 2-0, which is a pretty good percentage, I guess. Then again, I’ve played two tournaments with pretty darn talented folks. Even if they’re old.
The Short Fat Guys decided this year that we should find a way to add “Old” into the name. “Short Old Fat Guys”, “Short Fat Old Guys”, something. Before a couple 30-something reinforcements arrived for Saturday’s games, we would not have been able to put out a line that didn’t include some 40+. Read the rest of this entry »
In the spirit of Overheard in New York, here’s an “Overheard in Newton”:
Customer: “What country are you from?”
Guy behind the counter: “Greece?”
Customer: “What language do you speak there?Â Italian?”
Satire isn’t dead.Â It’s just becoming unnecessary.
People happy about the Nor’easter this weekend: NBC. They must love that the most populous part of the country is socked in whilst they’ve got the Olympics going on. Of course, the local NBC station isn’t showing the Olympics – they’re just talking about the weather. As for me, well, my tv is off.
David Sifry of Technorati shares some stats on the blogosphere in general.Â Makes me feel like a damn sheep for even having a blog.
Making my sheepitude even worse, I’m trying to figure out how to host a second blog just to do a photoblog, but I can’t figure out how to keep it entirely separate from this one and still host it myself, at least not without installing another blogging package.
I don’t know how to use this one all that well yet, so that seems like a risky proposition.Â Anyone know how to do that in WordPress?
I shoot a lot of pictures and I often carry around a big camera with a big lens hanging off the front of it. So naturally I get asked two questions fairly frequently: “will you shoot my wedding” and “so what kind of camera should I buy?”
The answers are “no” and “I have no idea”. But lest you think me unhelpful, let me try to explain.
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Over New Year’s, I was chatting with A-list ultimate bloggers Jim and George. One made the observation that when ultimatetalk was just getting started, I was right on the bubble. Now, it seems I’ve fallen off the bubble and live deep in the second tier. And I’m not sure whether that’s a bad thing.
So in the spirit of New Year’s reflections, here are my thoughts about my blogging and what’s going to happen here now.
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Yep, I’m involved in the technology part of the audit at work.
This is where a kid who looks like he wouldn’t have the experience to get a job in our department comes in and asks us probing questions designed to give him some way to report us as failures. And our particular auditor mentioned a few times that he also does some security consulting on the side (subtle, no?).
I suppose he actually wasn’t too bad and he did seem to know what he was talking about, but still, that’s how I feel about audits.
At the close of her first season playing Mixed, one player with a lot of elite womenâ€™s experience made an observation to me that came down to four things about Mixed:
The pace is higher.
Itâ€™s generally easier to cover the women.
I canâ€™t have as much of an impact.
I had a lot of fun playing Mixed.
Thereâ€™s a lot of truth in there, and it speaks volumes about women in the Mixed game as it stands today.
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