This will probably cause some people to question my sanity but I want the teams mentioned below to know that I mean this in the nicest possible way and the only reason I’m saying it because I want you to be better. It’s also a general comment on Ultimate in Canada.
A wild and wonderful weekend with a few surprises wrapped up last Sunday at Sunnybrook Park in Toronto. Many teams took their first steps towards Regionals, Nationals, or Prague. Just mentioning Prague excites me as some teams have spent the last three years preparing for their chance to play with the best in the world. Prague is a hot topic in North America this year since teams that finish well at CUC (Canadian Ultimate Championships) and UPA Finals will be favoured by their National Organizations to head overseas in 2010.
The Toronto Ultimate Festival (or TUF) is the start of season tournament in Ontario for Open, Women’s, and Mixed teams. TUF is of particular importance because it is the last tournament before final cuts for most teams are made. The pressure from tryouts and a winter of pent up energy leads to Ultimate that can be both more conservative and explosive than what’s found at most mid-season tournaments.
Tryouts are hard enough with the combination of nerves and winter rust but a pleasant surprise for all involved was the thunderstorm on Saturday morning. After the first few points had been played lightning forced a 15 minute delay which extended into a 45 minute delay once marble sized hail starting falling (hail remained on the ground for at least another two hours). A break in the storm allowed two games to be completed before the trailing edge brought 40 km/h winds (60 km/h gusts) torrential downpours and fears of cancellation. Fortunately the storm broke and the fields were dry enough for play. Players from Team Canada and GLOATUS (Toronto All-Stars) were the first to take to the fields as they warmed up for the showcase match (game commentary as Twittered live).