I had not planned to go to the Canadian Ultimate Championships this year since I wasn’t on a team and in 2009 when I was a player (Karma, Open) I wasn’t able to shoot the games I wanted to (ex. Finals) due to field restrictions. My plans changed suddenly when Tushar offered to give me IAmUltimate credentials for the tournament. After some scrambling I arranged to drive through the night on Thursday night (the tournament runs Thursday through Sunday) with two of my ultimate buddies in order to get to Sherbrooke, QB by game start time on Friday.
The plan went fairly well except for my general state of exhaustion all of Thursday. I took pictures all day and collapsed in my room that evening after going out for dinner with the Ottawa Juniors Teams. The first day taught me 3 things that I hadn’t considered about being a photographer at a tournament as opposed to being a player:
1) The sun is a big issue when it is bright out. The best you can hope for when shooting on a bright sunny day is catching the play on the sunny side of the players so that they don’t look dark against the background. This becomes a problem if you burn easily and are used to playing rather than shooting because the sun was on my back for the whole day and you can only reapply sunscreen so many times. The masters players have it right, they wear the wash cloths from their hotel rooms under their hats so that they have a covering for the back of their necks.
2) I feel a bit guilty to write it, but I enjoy games that are intense and could result in a little bit of violence between players. I mean this from purely a spectator point of view. I watched a game between two very intense Masters teams that had several confrontations that I thought could lead to blows, but they worked it out and the only blood on the field was from layouts on the fairly dry ground. I don’t think I’d ever go for playing in a way that could lead to a fight on the field, but if ultimate were ever shown on TV as much as hockey is in Canada, a little tussling could add to the spectator interest, or maybe not. I felt a little less guilty about enjoying the semi-violence when the teams were able to leave it on the field at the end of the game (see image 19).
3) The most entertaining play is not necessarily the highest level play. I discovered that juniors and masters divisions provide a lot of opportunities for layouts and hospital passes. I got some of my favorite picture of the day watching the Ottawa B juniors “X2” play against the “Green Monsters” from Quebec. In stark contrast, I also was a spectator at a game between two top level open teams, the “Moondoggies” from Toronto and “Mephisto” from Montreal who eventually met again in the final. Although the athleticism and skill was undeniably the best in the tournament, the number of turn overs was very low and the offense for both teams pressed its advantage leading to impressive but not always exciting to watch plays. My traveling buddies spent day 3 watching juniors and Women’s ultimate.
I’ve written too much, so I’ll just roll out the gallery now. The following pictures were taken by myself throughout the second day of CUC 2010 in Sherbrooke, QB.