Monday, August 04, 2008

WUGC 2008 - Day 1

After a 'brief' 8 year hiatus, here I am back at the World Championships. At least the Olympics version. I have to admit, I have missed it. While that was definitely one of the reasons that Jim and I put together the DoG masters team last fall, I'm not really sure we could have predicted ending up here now.

I flew into Seattle on Thursday and stayed with Brian Cameros and his family for a couple of nights. On Friday, I took Brian's 15 year old Mazda Miata (!) out I-90 and did a waterfall tour, seeing Snoqualmie Falls from various vantage points including going off path to get straight to the base of the falls and take some footage, then did a 1+ mile trek to see the upper and lower Twin Falls in Olallie State Park. All gorgeous falls, and a great way to spend the day except for the fact that Seattle was actually gorgeous blue skies and 45 minutes out west, it was cloudy and misty/raining most of the day. Oh well.

Saturday morning grabbed the 8:45 Greyhound bus out of Seattle with John Bar for Vancouver. While on line waiting to board, I see 3 people who look like frisbee players, and then it is obvious once I spot the Gaia bag. I introduce myself and they are with the German Open team. We talk for awhile. It's there first Worlds. After I do some counting, I realize that it is my 11th World Championships. 86, 88 (with the French team), 91-2, 95-6, 98-00, 02, 08. 1 hour later at the second stop, the bus had broken down and we had to wait for a replacement. Two hours later it gets there and we are on our way. Customs at the border is pretty straightforward, and then we are in Vancouver at maybe 3PM.

We grab a taxi to the dorms since we are too late for the opening ceremonies, check in, drop off our bags, and then head to Thunderbird stadium to catch the tail-end and then watch the showcase game (unfortunately Co-ed) between Great Britain and Canada. But mostly it is about the beer garden and catching up with people. Jens is there from Germany, as John and I predicted, I spend some time talking with the French masters team, ruing some more about how lame the French were that they couldn't send an Open team for the 3 straight WUGC. Drank some ciders, some beers, and then back to the room. At 7:30 I hit the captain's meeting, which as usual is phenomenally boring, though I'm not sure there is a way to make them interesting, except to prevent people from asking stupid questions. The nice thing about the meeting is that they had a bunch of beer for the captain's after, and barely anyone took any, so I was able to squirrel about 12 beers into my tournie schwag bag. That made up a little bit for the fact that they were charging for ALL the beer at the tournament. Still trying to figure out where my $350 in individual entrance fee went to, besides the $20-$40 in schwag.

Finally, it is Sunday morning and time for the games to begin. I'm rooming with John, Paul Greff, and Jim Parinella, who had gotten in at 1:30 that morning. We grab breakfast and then get a shuttle to our fields which are NOT close. It is a little pod of 2 fields about 25 minutes away on foot (UBC is a BIG campus). Our first round doesn't start until 10:30, so we watch the previous round. On our field it is Germany versus Venezuela in the Open division. Venezuela is doing very well, and at one point is up 12-10 with the disk on the upwind goal line before a lame turnover. Germany pulls the game out 15-13. Our first game is against Italy, who is maybe 20 strong. The other field has Canada versus New Zealand, and for the afternoon game, we will reverse opponents, playing New Zealand. Italy does not prove to be very strong, as they do not perform particularly well against our various defenses. We went on long enough runs that we put the offense out there on D lines for two different runs of two points. I got my first turnover out of the way, jacking a long backhand to Jim Olson that was a little too low. Otherwise we won out maybe 17-3. Canada had a tougher start with New Zealand, although they pulled away to maybe 17-9. After that we took the opportunity to scrimmage ourselves at the field for another half hour. Boy did O suck! At least it was a good reminder that we weren't nearly as good as we appeared during the Italy game...

With 2.5 hours still left before our game, it was off in search of food. We found the one food enclave in the entire campus and proceeded to wait for burritos in the slowest line I have ever seen. But the burrito was one of the best I ever had, with nice crispy chicken. We brought them back and watched the Australians dominate the Irish (Open) and a battle royal between Great Britain and Colombia. I was VERY impressed with the depth and skill of the Colombians. Unfortunately, the points were VERY long with lots of turnovers. At one point, there was a point that took over 30 minutes. GB ended up pulling away and winning the game, but Colombia definitely had their chances.

So now it is New Zealand. Nothing particularly memorable about this game (except for playing against a team that is over 20 hours away by plane). I chalked up 2 more turnovers, a long backhand to Jim that I put too much touch on and another long backhand to Steve Dugan that stayed too low. He got his hands on it, but definitely my turnover. So I'm now 0-3 on long backhands on the tournament so far. Wonderful. I did uncork a nice 40 yard hammer goal to Bim in the second game. We ended up winning 17-9. Over on the other field, the Canadians matched us again, winning 17-3, setting up a nice showcase match for tonight. After that we headed over to the showcase game to catch the Japanese women's team buzzsaw through the Canadians. And it wasn't as close as that.

So, at this point my biggest peeve is that there are no organized socializing (read, drinking) opportunities after 7:30 until Friday night's party. I have to figure that UBC is restricting it somehow, because otherwise the tournament is leaving a HUGE financial opportunity on the table. The whole point of worlds is to mingle with the other teams, and the showcase game with a beer garden isn't enough, especially as it closes down at 7:30 every night. We stopped by the players 'chill out lounge' and it was just a bunch of board games and stuff. Again, I'm wondering where my $350 went (don't forget, there is also a $1000 entry fee per team). Someone has to be making out like a bandit.

But tomorrow is another day... And it is going to be a long day, as we only have one game, and it is the showcase game against the Canadians at 5PM. Hopefully we'll find something interesting to do until then.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

$350 per individual + $1000 per team ?! That's usurious, especially with no free beer! great writeup, keep 'em coming.

1:32 PM, August 04, 2008  

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