Tuesday, August 12, 2008

WUGC 2008 - Reflections

So, now that the week is over and I'm back home, I guess it is time to reflect on the whole experience. No matter how many times you do it, and no matter what division you are in, Worlds is something very special.

I didn't succeed in finding a ride back to Seattle, so I had to rush around and get a taxi to grab the 2:45 Greyhound bus to Seattle. If I missed it, I was going to miss my flight. I had Georgia call Greyhound while I was on the way (talk about a LONG taxi ride) to see if she could buy me a ticket. She couldn't get one on that bus, you had to buy 2 hours in advance, but could spend an extra $18 to get an anytime ticket. I get there to pick up my ticket, nice long line, finally they ask if anyone is on the 2:45 train. I move to the front of the line, we have to figure out whether to look me up in the Canada or US computer (way to have them talk, Greyhound...) get my ticket, and rush to the loading area only to find like 6 people. Oh well, there go the worries about being left off the bus. The border took less than 20 minutes as we were the only bus. Get to Seattle at 7PM, find a local bus and eventually get to the airport at 8:30, check into United, grab some food, fly to Dulles, fly to Boston, get picked up by the kids holding Congratulations! signs. Didn't sleep a wink on the flights, as is my wont.

Back to Worlds.

WUGC is a totally different experience from WUCC. At WUCC, you are just another one of many teams from your country competing for the prize. Ultimately, it may be harder to win (at least for US teams that compete as themselves at both tournaments), but it doesn't have the same cachet while you are there. There is far less of a patriotic feeling because you are just one of many teams from your country. At WUGC, you ARE your country. If you fail, your country fails. As such, there is also a lot more pressure I think. Imagine how Seattle feels right now. If they had lost to Bravo in the finals of WUCC, that would be one thing, but losing to Canada as the sole Open representative? I can't imagine how much that must suck right now, especially as they seemed to be heavily favored going into that game.

Unfortunately I missed the opening ceremonies. I would have loved to do the parade, and would probably have choked up a little bit. I also missed the Masters medal ceremony because of the rush to get back to Seattle, which was also a bummer(apparently I didn't get one of the Champion discs). According to Jim, it sounded pretty cool. I did see the Jr. Women, and it did look pretty cool.

My main objection with the tournament was that there were no socializing opportunities that included drinks after 7:30PM until the Friday and Saturday night parties at the end of a long week. I went to the chill-out lounge one night and found a bunch of people (not too many) playing board games. Uh, lame. It didn't help that Canada doesn't sell on Sunday and Monday was BC day with no alcohol, so those nights we just mooched off our fellow players on Shazam Returns and other teams. It was only once Tuesday came around that we found out actually how much beer cost in Canada, which is RIDICULOUS. Bad beer costs $35 a case and you need to pay at least $45 for the acceptable stuff. So thanks to Shazam Returns and others for subsidizing us.

It is just amazing to walk around the fields and see all of these players from different countries playing in different divisions. At first, I objected to the number of byes we had, but in retrospect, it makes the week more social, getting to pick the games you want to watch, whether a big Open showdown, the Swedish women..., etc. And based on how I feel right now, 4 days after my last game, I'm thankful that we ONLY played 11 games during the week. Hell, we played one more game than the US and Canada Open teams, who topped out at 10 games. My right heel/soleus is very sore to walk around on, there is something going on on the outside of my upper right leg. and I have something going on with a rib on my side which is VERY painful, but the rib problem is nothing like Dugan's rib (and Jim on a lesser basis).

When I was playing ultimate back in the '90s, I had always wanted to run subs, at least the O-line. Well, with this masters team, I have finally gotten my wish, and hats off to Jordan for all those years for subbing us. Being the subber, even for just half the team, is not the cat's meow by any means. You have to worry about involving all of the players during the week, trying to make a judgment when someone should play through problems, someone isn't getting it done at the moment, and do all this without it detracting from your own play. I'm not sure how well I succeeded on any of these fronts, except for the fact that we won. I know I missed some people in the finals.

As for my overall play, I ended up with more than twice as many assists as the next person on my team, but I would given that up to have far fewer turnovers, including 3 in the finals (I'm giving the long backhand to Jim). I iced myself in the second half after my final turnover flaring out Paul Greff too far. Unfortunately, Marshall got hurt a few points later, I put Paul in, and then the next point, Marshall still wasn't ready so I started going in again. But I finally played within myself for the last few points. Like I said before, I was totally feeling the hero hormones on the last possession after the Canada dump turnover. If I hadn't had any earlier hammer turns, maybe I would have uncorked the long goal score to Jim so that he could dive into the hot tub, but we are ALL probably better off this way.

This all started as a little bit of a lark last fall, and now my team has won the World Championship and we get to own it until 2012. That is pretty sweet. I know that in the post-game frolicking and huddle there were a lot of emotions. Leaving the stadium on Saturday to get my bus to Seattle, I gave a big hug to Paul 'TGPITG-BF' Greff and we both got a little emotional. Part of the specialness, especially at our ages, is that we sold the week on the fact that there was a HIGH probability that this would never happen again. As if we weren't old this year, imagine having to win masters in 2011 and then do Worlds again in 2012. Mooney would be 54! Paul 50, Jim 47, myself 45. Crazy, eh?

Thanks to the D for picking us up when we were down, and they are welcome for us holding on... I'm sure I have more to say, but that's good enough for now.

Oh yeah, like my old gunslinger reference, Match challenged me to a gun during the tournament and I finally took him up on it at the Friday night party. He smuggled in a couple of beers, and we got ready. He made a HUGE hole, so I felt a little threatened and enlarged my hole more than I normally do. His buddy counted down us, we started, and spiked my can well in front of him, although he apparently thinks he was right on my back. He also had beer left in his can where mine was completely empty. In this one I didn't really try and time the end of the beer but waited for an empty gulp before spiking. But I'm sure I'll hear from him again...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Sunday beer issues are a BC thing not a Canada thing.

9:54 PM, August 12, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you explain to your younger readers why you and Jim call Paul Greff "the greatest player in the game by far"? What specifically made him so good? What roles did he play and what years were his prime?

10:50 PM, August 12, 2008  

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