I’m writing this after just getting back from our team dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Victoria. The best part about playing a full day of ultimate is that you have a ravenous appetite and get to eat a lot of food. We certainly got lots of calories in our bodies so our muscles will do some repair while we sleep tonight.
In a nutshell, Day 1 went somewhat as planned. We had to play the 2nd seed, the 7th seed and the 15th seed. Going into the day, our goal was to hold our seed and qualify for the top 12 on Friday which means beating the 15th seed. We knew a bit about the 2nd and 7th and so if we were in the games, we were going to shorten our bench and make a run for it. In essence, we weren’t so the games all went to the lowest seed team.
Our first game was against Unight, the 2nd seeded team from Quebec. They had upset Odyssee, the top team from Quebec at regionals a few weeks ago, so we knew they were a good team. We gave them the lead early and they were never in danger of losing. The first game for us was all about learning our timing, adjusting to the higher caliber teams at Nationals and getting some more touches in. We had some good points but they were outnumbered by our mistakes, getting broken and the game ended lopsided in their favour, 14-5. My left calf cramped up early in the game which a little surprising so I sat off a few points trying to stretch it, get water and electrolytes in me and get back in the game. I was able to play most of the second half but my leg was still tender. I’m going to make sure to get more water and electrolytes in me tomorrow. Also, Bunny Thugs gave me a nickname (since there is another guy named Rob on the team as well) so for the rest of the tournament, I’m to be known as Tank. Lovely lol.
Our second game was against Union from Toronto, who were the 7th ranked team. They had some great players on their team, most notably my friend Malissa Lundgren, who was voted the Female MVP last year in Canadian ultimate and most recently won a bronze medal with Team Canada Women at the 2012 WUGC in Sakai, Japan. Mal is a great player and this game went very similarly to the first game, with Union winning 14-5 as well. What I noticed in this game that was different from the first game is that we started to adjust better to the speed of play since many of our players aren’t used to this level of competition. The opposing players run a bit faster, mark a bit tighter and create a sense of urgency which can cause newer players (and many times veteran players alike) to force throws which result in turnovers. I found that we started to play a more adjusted game in the second half and there were definitely flashes of brilliance. You could see it starting to come together a bit more.
Our third and final game was against Glide from Ottawa, the 15th ranked seed. This was a must game for us in order to make the top 12 tomorrow with a chance to qualify for the top 8 on Saturday. We started off a bit slow and for much of the half we were trading points until we started to get some breaks. At one point it was 9-9 until we rattled off a few in a row and ended up closing them out, 12-10. The highlight was when Elise caught one of my throws in the endzone literally behind her head. The disc floated a bit and she was close to the back of the endzone so the way she reached up to grab the disc made for a highlight reel catch. It felt good for our team to have a win since the first 2 games were both not close.
What I really liked, as I mentioned, was how you could see our players adjust as the points went on and start to get used to the faster speed of play. I’m excited for tomorrow and I’m confident we’ll come out with a bit of a different approach – 3 games under our belt, some good pasta in our stomachs and ready to win some games and upset some teams
I was able to post a few updates on Twitter after each game so you can follow me on Twitter @ultimaterob to find out how we do after each game tomorrow. I appreciate the txts, facebook messages and emails of support. It’s not always about playing with a number 1 seeded team and winning tournaments. To get to that point takes years of practice and a lot of experience playing tournaments and getting to know your teammates. For me, playing with Bunny Thugs means trying to contribute where I can, be positive and helpful and let the team run the way they’re used to. Having me pick up and trying to change their style of play doesn’t benefit them at all and frankly, I’d rather be on the field, throw a swing pass to someone who puts up a big huck since that will benefit their role on the team more than if I were to do that. I was happy with how I played today and I want to keep that going tomorrow – playing my game, keep on throwing big pulls (and getting them all in – I had a few bricks today) and helping some of the newer players out with a little tip here and there. Enough to help them but not enough to confuse their game.
Thanks to Horizon Heating for sponsoring my trip – without them it would not have been possible to be here.
Also thanks to VC Ultimate for their continued support. If you need jerseys for your team, they’ll hook you up real good.