No doubt most of you have been watching the NexGen games on Vimeo or, if you want them all, on UltiVillage. As the tour starts to travel East there are interesting developments. One of the most interesting will be next Wednesday when NexGen play GOAT at Esther Shiner Stadium in Toronto (do not miss this if you’re around). The game between NexGen and GOAT will be one of the more direct comparisons between Furious and GOAT than we’ve had this year. The comparison is especially important as in less than one month the two teams are favoured at CUC and are likely to meet in the finals.
However, there are more important issues at hand.
The whole series of NexGen events are the most important Ultimate events of the year with regards to developing our sport. In terms of visibility the CBS Sports College Championships coverage may provide more eyes but with two years of disappointing Open finals (and fantastic Women’s finals) USA Ultimate desperately needs a great set of Open finals next year. NexGen may allow USAU to point potential sponsors to a set of showcase matches.
Within the community the tour is hugely popular and it gives us a chance to invite non-Ultimate players to what is guaranteed to be a series of exciting games. The NexGen series is a showcase of how well the sport can be played consistently and how much fun it can be to watch. What the challenge to the community is whether we can get the crowds out to support the players.
The Team and Style
The first few games have left no doubt that best College players put together form one heck of an awesome team. The team has been able to gel quickly with the assistance of Ben Wiggins but relying mostly upon their own experience and abilities. Of particular note is the aggressive huck style that NexGen is happy to play. The College players are young and athletic enough to throw riskier high value passes and capitalize. Their play is a joy to watch as it’s apparent they’re having fun in comparison to the businesslike demeanours and styles of their opponents.
The NexGen site has plenty of details on the games, teams, and results. What has been done exceptionally well are the videos. Rob Baril (silent l) of UltiVillage has been shooting in HD from a side angle along with a sideline camera. All games are shot in HD and the extra detail is appreciated. However, the most important improvement is the sound. In most videos the microphones are doing a good job of picking up sideline and field chatter. The combined experience is quite engaging for Ultimate players and allows one to appreciate the game all the more.
I hope it is assured that we shall see NexGen every year from now on; that much is given. What I also hope for is a Women’s NexGen tour. The last few years have seen increasing grassroots organization and support with regards to Women’s development and NexGen Women’s would do much to advance the game.