What a day! The upset of the tournament (so far) and conditions that influenced every game. Round robins wrapped up and quarters started in Open and Mixed divisions. While I did take some photos most of my day was spent chatting with the SkyD guys. We walked between several games and had thoroughly interesting conversations. We livened things up with spectators that got very emotional and in general experienced the fantastic atmosphere that is WUGC 2012.
Starting off there were some comments in the previous post about the Japan vs Canada Open match. I’d like to reiterate that Canada’s behaviour was unsportsmanlike and they lost their cool. The comments from some of the players focus on the travel incident and we’ll need to head over to Ulti.tv to find out what fully happened (without the breaks of course). Speaking of Ulti.tv, they’re doing a great job with multiple field coverage and I look forward to what they’ll do in the future.
First game of the day I arrived to was Canada vs Germany Women’s. Canada was up quite a bit and seemed to be rolling along. The biggest issue was the wind that allowed zone to be extremely effective. Canada did go over the top and hung on to a few more passes than Germany. Hucks from Canada also connected and the huck and pin strategy allowed for far more efficient D than O for disc movement. The end result was a strong win for Canada and heartbreaking for Germany. Emotion is running high at this point in the tournament, even for those not on the field.
While the TC Women’s vs Germany game was on the first Open quarter final of the day between Sweden and Japan was being played. In a big upset Sweden defeated the hosts and one of the finals favourites 17-14. It bears mentioning that the wind had been quite strong all morning and played a big factor in the match. Input from SkyD is that it was a huck game to the taller Swedish boys and that the Japanese players struggled with the wind. Struggles with the wind sounds out of character for a strong team like Japan but it was proven out later in the day in other divisions. Regardless, a bit upset and one that Sweden was enjoying before starting to prepare for semis.
Moving onwards I watched between two fields as Team Canada played their quarter against Germany and on the other field Australia played Great Britain. Of the two the Aussies vs GB was the more exciting and a much closer match. As I was distracted by the Ulti.tv setup (I’ll post a photo sometime soon) I didn’t watch much of the game but the end result was a win by two by GB. Exciting times all around as GB moves on to play Sweden in a European semifinal. On the other field TC Open played a much cleaner game than they have all tournament and did not have any of the focus issues that have afflicted them. Canada won the game handily and move on to play the USA in the second semifinal (which you can catch on NexGen).
I moved on to watch GUTS with some of the Swedes where the second last day featured best of three rounds rather than single round round robin play. GUTS in winds of 50 km/h is quite exciting especially when players catch the disc that’s going downwind at over 130 to 140 km/h. If you get a chance get some GUTS discs and play a bit of three on three, it can help improve your reaction times and becomes another fun game you can play with fewer players. The result of the day is that one of the Japanese teams takes on the USA in the finals, excitement!
After a bite to eat it was time for Japan vs Germany Mixed. When I arrived Germany was leading by two points into half (may have been more but my memory is hazy, already). The Japanese huddle was extremely serious and quiet while Germany had a dance party. The second half started with Germany continuing a strong performance but Japan powering back after they warmed up. Bit by bit Japan closed the gap and then took the lead. Once Japan started their comeback their pace was unstoppable besides a few heroic catches by the Germans. The story of the match was how heated the sideline GB spectators were while watching. There was some perceived fouling and physical play that was not appreciated which lead to the spectators walking into the player sideline area and berating Japanese players. My opinion is that as spectators we can yell and be involved in the game but from a distance. It is inappropriate to enter the play area, which includes within three meters (or more) of the sideline, and express our opinions. It is completely appropriate to express an opinion but it’s preferable to not do it on the field. There have been a few instances where we, as spectators and “press”, need to do a better job and that includes avoiding direct involvement in a match.
I seem to have forgotten a match that I watched and that was a Mixed quarter between Australia and Philippines. It was dominated by Australia save a late game run by the Philippines. The highlight was a player on the Philippines that was frustrated by the water management strategy that the team managers had employed. I posted a tweet earlier about it and received quite a bit of responses from the Filipino fans wondering who the player was. There’s more to the story as I’ve learned but the most important message is this: As players any behaviour or action we engage in is an initial impression that becomes almost impossible to change over time. If you have one game where you have a few physical fouls you will always be known as a dirty player. If you have a great game where you dominate in the air you will be known for quite some time as that player that’s great in the air. Finally, if you get angry about the water and are being watched by a mass of people because of how exciting your game is, that genie is not going back in the bottle. Australia Mixed won and plays Japan in the semis.
Moving onwards! For the last game of the day SkyD and I sat in on the Japan vs Canada Women’s final round robin match. When we arrived the game had been running around about 35 minutes and was tied 1-1. We sat and chatted about many subjects for approximately 15 to 20 minutes and the score was still 1-1. As the game decided who would finish 1-2 in the pool it was reasonably important as the winner faced Colombia in a semi while the other semi featured the USA. I spoke with Kristen and she said regardless of the result that while Colombia would allow an easier path to the finals that they relished a chance to play the USA again. Team Canada Women’s will get the chance again in their semi as Japan won that final match.
Turning to some of the conversations we had primary was: Where will World Clubs be held in 2014? There are a few inklings of bids but the lack of transparency in the bid process is concerning. We also spoke about how Canada and most of the countries put together an All Star team whereas the USA does not. The US teams very closely reflect or are exactly the teams that won in Sarasota last year. Canada uses a similar system of winners of the national championships get to pick the teams but there’s an emphasis of picking the best from across the country. Which system is better or worse? We’ll find out soon as the USA and Canada face off in the Mixed, Women’s, Open, and Open Masters semi finals. The TC Open Masters defeated Surly (USA) and are in the finals at this time while others play on.
Hope you enjoy the Friday games!