On Saturday, November 14, 2010, the University of Waterloo (UW) and Wilfred Laurier University (WLU) Open Ultimate teams had a post-season exhibition game in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. This was the first game of this type between the two Universities in Waterloo. Laurier had defeated UW B team at University Easterns but had yet to play against the UW A team in an organized game. 2010 was the first year for the WLU team, and several of their players played for UW last year at CEUUC and CUUC 2009. As an alumnus of the UW team and a friend of many of the players on the Laurier team, this game had special meaning for me. The game symbolized how far ultimate has come in Waterloo and it was really exciting for me to watch and photograph what turned out to be some pretty respectable ultimate. I bought a new lens in time for the occasion, which added to my personal excitement.
The game itself saw UW come in a little over confident, leading to an early 5-2 lead for Laurier but a well placed time-out got Waterloo back on track so that the score was 8-7 Laurier at half. Waterloo had superior numbers and overall experience, which they eventually used to win the game 15-12. This was an impressive showing for Laurier, given that this was their first year and that they were a much smaller team (Waterloo has an A and a B team.) I expect Laurier to become more and more competitive as the years go on.
Over the course of the game I was reminded (internally and also through a conversation with one of the spectators) that I would much rather be in the position of the underdog, (Laurier) in a post-season game like this. There is no way to loose. If you don’t win the game, it was expected and as long as it is reasonably close you can walk away happy that you were able to run with a stronger team. If you win, it is even better and can be a huge boost to your moral for the coming year. On the other hand, Waterloo was in a tight spot, if they win, all they can say is that it was expected and they maintained expectations while a loss in those circumstances can be crippling for a team moving forward, if conditions are bad enough. Three years ago I was on an underdog team that won such a game and the team we played against never played together again. Those conditions were fairly extreme but it still makes me a little nervous every time I play in a game my team is expected to win. There were some pretty concerned faces on the UW team early in the game this past Saturday, and I can definitely feel for them.
One other point of interest is the number of spectators that were at the game. I counted 62 spectators at one point which is impressive considering that the event was advertised only on Facebook and over the UW e-mail list about a week before the game. The captains from both teams Jonathan Templin (UW) and Dave Kaufman (WLU) confirmed that both ultimate clubs would seek to do more such games in the future, which should give the Waterloo ultimate community more chances to come out and cheer for their favorite school.
The pictures below were taken by Jon Hines on Saturday, November 14, 2010 in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada