Waking up on Saturday morning knowing we had already achieved our goal of making top 8 was a really good feeling but we didn’t want to just finish 8th; we wanted to play well on Saturday and see where we could end up. Unfortunately that meant having to play arguably the #1 team at nationals, Odyssee, from Quebec.
Odyssee, to my understanding, is a mixed team built from men and women from Mephisto and Storm, the open’s and women’s teams from Montreal. Which means that they will play more of a men’s/women’s game than a mixed game. Which means the game will be fast, with some big hucks and some big d’s. When you’re a new team playing against a number 1 team, it’s easy to believe that you’re going to lose and to not try your hardest. There’s always the strategy to not give it your all against a stronger team so you can save yourself for later games that you have a better chance at winning. However, I believe that you learn a lot from giving everything you’ve got against a number 1 team. I felt like our team had players believing in both sides of that theory which doesn’t bode well since it means some of your players believe you can win while the others have already admitted defeat. What happened didn’t surprise me based on our mood – Odyssee took half 8-0 or 8-1. The half time talk wasn’t very positive and there was some arguments that ensued. We were basically fractured at that point and it was tough to come back from. We scored a few more points in the second half after coming out with some more intensity but Odyssee easily won in the end, 15-4.
Our second game was against 7 Deadly Spins, a team from Vancouver with a bunch of TFP players so we knew they were going to be tough (TFP won world’s in Japan last month. We had some intel from other teams who said their girls weren’t very strong so our goal for the game was to force their women under to get the disc and then take away the unders on the guys when the women got the disc. It was a weird game because there were some points where we played well and others where we just seemed to not be in it. I’m not sure if we were tired or if we were mentally defeated from our quarter final loss but in any case, we lost to 7DS 15-9. We were definitely in this game and could have won but we just weren’t playing like we did on the Friday.
Our last game was against Rogue Hippos from Edmonton and the winner of this game would finish 7th. Rogue Hippo went to nationals last year as a new coed team (although a bunch of their players had played before) and they ended up last with no wins. Knowing that, and knowing that they had already played tough against some of the teams and had almost beat MuD as well, we knew this game wasn’t going to be easy. We were trading points pretty much the whole game. Every O point seemed very easy for both teams to score so we tried switching up the D a bit and got a few points but we were just playing too desperate, trying to force throws and not taking our time. The game was a bit chippy too and their sidelines was being pretty unspirited, heckling and making comments that really weren’t necessary. I laugh when people say things that they have no idea about and there really is no room for that from people who aren’t even playing. Anyway, the game was a battle the whole time and it came down to us tying the game just as the horn went so it was hard capped, universe point, next point wins. They worked it up the field and Joelle got a layout D in the endzone but it was called back on a foul call by the thrower. But, it was the throw the thrower wanted; Joelle just got the D. Oh to have observers on that play. In any case, they got the disc back and ended up scoring a few points later, so they game ended 13-12 for Rogue Hippos and we finished 8th.
Playing 9 games in 3 days is a lot for players who are used to playing 5-7 games in 2 days and especially with the caliber of teams we had to play, it eventually takes its toll on people. If you watch the video I posted with the captains on Wednesday night, you’ll see that their goal was to hold our 10th seed and make top 8 – which we did. Sure there were a few learning points where we would have liked to done things a bit differently but overall, we were happy with how we played and for Bunny Thugs, being their first time at nationals, it was a successful trip and leaves a lot of positives to build on.
On a personal note, I felt like I got my timing back the more points I played. Having not played much ultimate over the past few years and being more focused on distance, I had to adjust to throwing to a person and trying to keep the disc in bounds. It’s hard switching that mode. However, my pulls were really good – it was nice to see our team get so many D’s because so many of my pulls were landing deep in the endzone and were floating enough to let our D get down to mark up. I really wanted someone to get a callahan – we were close but just weren’t able to get one.
I had an incredible time and I will be posting 2 more videos and probably 1 more blog post with some thoughts on ultimate, the current state of Canadian ultimate and will for sure have some videos and articles based on what I learned from playing and talking to other people.
I’d like to thank my sponsor Horizon Heating for allowing me the opportunity to travel to Victoria compete in the national championships. Without them stepping up, I would not have been able to afford to go!