A sign of the times…

I haven’t posted in a bit due to being busy with various activities and I prefer that my words convey a message that I truly care about to you, the reader.  So I post here with news of Ultimate out of Southern Ontario, news about the times, how things are developing, and how much fun we’re all about to have.

The last few years have consisted of three seasons for most of us in Ontario:  tryout season, Canadian touring season (culminating with CUC), and the fall fun season.  Typically most of us relax in the fall and take it easy by playing on ground that we can feel freezing as the winter solstice draws nigh.  That has so far been typical.

A few teams have had a different “typical” season of tryouts, Canadian touring, fall fun touring, and UPAs.  The few teams are GOAT, Phoenix, Mephisto, and The Capitals (I mention Mephisto as they’re pretty close and they deserve mentioning).  The aforementioned teams are amongst the cream of the crop in Canadian Ultimate and recently GOAT has also earned their place amongst the top teams in the world (ECC results speak for themselves).

Yes, these teams are part of an exclusive club, or rather I should say “were”.

Last year a small team (12 players, down to 10 or 11 after I suffered an injury) of players from Waterloo Region made the journey to several UPA tournaments including Sectionals.  While we finished behind Phoenix our games were close and we realized that we had potential.  That potential exists within every club team, the potential to make UPA finals (if even by a sliver) and to play amongst the very best this continent has to offer.

It’s an enticing offer that wasn’t lost on MONSTER either who also made the trek to Regionals last year with an enhanced roster.  While the results may have been disappointing both teams realized that there was work to be done and one could benefit greatly by playing in the UPA series.

Our enthusiasm must have rubbed off on other teams as at last count I know of a Mixed team from Hamilton and a Women’s team from Waterloo/Guelph that are considering the UPA series.

It’s hard to convey my excitement as to how great a development this is.  Competition breeds better teams and players.  Better players mean a more exciting and/or entertaining game.  The more entertaining a game the more new players our sport will attract.  Growth at the highest level leads to exponential growth at the lower levels.

There are concerns at the same time.  Will the harder and more competitive play result in spirit being lost or confused as an unnecessary part of the game?  I know that on the West coast some very competitive teams have become aggressive players and it’s a common complaint I hear from players around the world (about North Americans).  While it will certainly be positive for growth will the infusion of “new blood” that hasn’t been indoctrinated result in a loss of our own identity as players that can handle any situation through Spirit of the Game?  Perhaps that’s another conversation.

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