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…
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.
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.
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.
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?
Off to the tournament formerly known as Tune-Up. We’ve played a fair amount together now, but no tournaments since the Invite. For us, this will definitely be an opportunity to tune up more than just an attempt to crush, kill and destroy. We are missing a few key folks, but we are also taking a pretty good size squad. If we’re able to get execution of our systems and our individual decisions in line with higher-stakes play, we’ll have had a good weekend. Report to follow…
Sorry for the inactivity here this week. Ann had knee surgery on Wednesday and I haven’t thought about adding to the blog much. For anyone who’s had a meniscectomy done, what was your experience with recovery? My dad, who had this done around age 50, said that for pain control he took two martinis the night of the surgery and never needed anything after that. Ann felt no pain yesterday even without drugs, but is pretty sore today. I’m trying to keep her pretty inactive, which wasn’t easy yesterday but she’s doing better at it today.
Just installed blogging software of my own. Just trying it out. This is unlikely to be the most interesting post I ever make. But I could be wrong.