Hearken back to 2007, Toronto, Canadian Nationals finals. First match of the day was Mixed (TFP vs BFC, TFP wins), bright and sunny (photos). Second match of the day was Women’s (Traffic vs Capitals, Traffic wins), a little cloudy but still dry (photos).
Which brings us to the third and final match of the day: Open (Furious vs GOAT). A game in which GOAT was handily beaten and I believe by one simple factor: rain. Sure it might have been that Furious had more experience (given), or more athletic (not so much), or perhaps it was that they were better in the rain (most seem to agree on this).
As all players can attest to playing in the rain is a significantly different game. The likelihood of dropping a disc or having it slip is increased. Grip on the disc and ground is reduced so it’s harder to cut and the passes are shorter. Defensive strategies must change significantly. Visibility is reduced. Muscles cramp as they cool down faster. In general it can be miserable but so is playing in the heat unless one is used to it.
In general I believe that touring players don’t practice or play in the rain enough. Most detest the cold and wet and avoid it only to encounter it at an important tournament and fall apart. Sure if you’re playing against those in your region you will all be similarly affected but the same is not true in National or International tournaments.
This isn’t simply my opinion but many touring players I’ve chatted with believe the same: That Furious George had an advantage because the west coast is wetter. That’s the end of that discussion.
Or at least it would be if it was true. Turns out that Vancouver receives less rain and has fewer days with rainfall than Toronto [edit: Thanks Gareth] in the two months leading up to Nationals (sources: Toronto, Vancouver). In July Toronto receives ~10 days with rainfall whereas Vancouver receives ~6 days. In May and June both cities have approximately the same number of days of rainfall as well.
Perhaps Furious has an advantage from rainfall earlier in the year and winter where Vancouver players are still outdoors whilst Toronto players are safely ensconced in their artificial turf bubbles. However, it seems more likely that Furious was a UPA champion facing off against the new kids that had still to develop into the fierce team they are now.
It’s just a matter of time now until the two face off again at ECC and we get to see how the years of experience have shaped GOAT. Hopefully it’ll rain.