I have now returned to my air conditioned room after a day where I tanned quickly, experienced stifling heat, met up with many old friends, and watched some great Ultimate. I already know that visiting Sarasota will become an annual event going far into the future.
Being day 1 and likely the only opportunity to see most of the teams before power pools I decided that I would spend equal time at each field. Unfortunately I spent all my time watching the top teams and Canadian teams (there is overlap) play.
Upon arrival at the vast grounds of the Sarasota Polo Club I watched Traffic and Capitals play their first few points before wandering over to where DoG and Boneyard were playing. Both teams had uncharacteristic drops and that affected the early game. As the game rolled on moisture evaporated and the Masters teams keyed in.
The heat was stifling and the typical Sarasota wind that’s always present at the tournament was missing. The heat was unbearable for some players and several players experienced heat stroke. Many teams wondered why they didn’t show up a few days earlier to acclimatize.
At halftime on the Masters game I wandered to watch Furious George (Vancouver) play Truck Stop (DC region). The game was quite tight but Furious took half and rolled on from there. Just a few miscues affected their short passes but they dominated throughout the game.
Following the Open game I chatted with Tom Crawford (CEO of USA Ultimate) and will be interviewing him tomorrow.
With Open watched I headed back to watch Women’s and concentrated on Capitals and Traffic although Bent and Scandal were also caught in the mix. Both teams won the games that I watched although the unforced turnovers were a bit higher than usual. Nevertheless, both teams did well today going 3-0 for Capitals and 2-1 for Traffic.
After lunch attention switched to Mixed where I wandered to watch CLX vs Drag N’ Thurst as well as Conspiracy Theory vs Snowbirds. CLX doesn’t let onto their speed or disc skills during the warmups, they spend a good amount of time ensuring that their basic throws are working as well as taking it relatively easy.
Snowbirds ran a team warmup and were sweating profusely in the heat. They had practiced outdoors in 0 C (32 F) weather last weekend and were not adapting well to the heat and humidity. They did, however, find weaknesses in the Conspiracy Theory zone and were able to get a few breaks where it mattered.
When I left CLX and Drag N’ Thrust were playing a close match. CLX dominates with their men while DN’T have strong women that they are able to rely upon for defense as well as bringing balance. Scores are available on the USA Ultimate website.
I had to leave early as there were two important games to watch. The first was Chain Lightning vs Truck Stop while the second was Furious vs Street Gang. Truck Stop was leading as was Furious and if they both won then Chain, Truck, and Furious would be 2-1 for the day and tied.
As it turned out both Truck and Furious won and were each tied for first but they had also defeated the other teams in the three way tie by a score of 15-10. A second level of tie breaking was required and the scores against Street Gang became important. Chain won the tie break and that meant the head to head tie break went to Furious who had defeated Truck in the first game of the day. Chain and Furious moved into the power pools while Truck will have to get through on the backdoor after a hard day tomorrow. I fully expect Truck to make it back into the top 8 and who they knock off in the crossover will be most interesting.
All in all it was a wonderful day of Ultimate and tomorrow I will likely concentrate on watching, enjoying, and learning more than doing event coverage…it’s why I’m here :)