World Games Review

Cali 2013, GB, Tournament Reports, world games
Sophie Edmondson looks back at her amazing experience on our World Games team over in Cali, Colombia.

Arriving back in London from the World Games in Colombia has been a reality wake up. The tournament was the final part of what has been a nine-month journey made up of a seemingly endless trial followed by training weekends and relentless track sessions. It seems a long time to prepare for a tournament that was done and dusted in just two and a half days. Yet compared to other sports, say an Olympic weightlifter who spends four years working for just six lifts, that’s probably not a bad lead-in time. Regardless, after nine months of all-consuming commitment of time, energy, emotions and funds I was definitely ready to go to Cali and play.

As odd as it might sound the actual playing felt secondary to the experience of preparing for and being at the World Games. From the moment we landed in Colombia we were treated like celebrities (all-be-it z list). It seemed as though the whole of Colombia’s police force and army had descended on Cali; we had police outriders flanking our shiny new team bus and a designated police head honcho from Bogota to co-ordinate our every move. I could only presume the rest of Colombia was in turmoil because of it.

World Games Opening Ceremony Cali, Colombia. Courtesy of Isabella Burke.


Preparing for the opening ceremony was exciting enough, in fact I would probably have flown out just for that and then gone home again if I knew it was going to be so awe-inspiring. Looking smart boarding the bus in our box-fresh kit, I don’t think anyone knew what was around the corner. Thousands of spectators lined the streets outside the main stadium and as our driver navigated the special road-blocks we found ourselves taking photos of the crowds who were taking photos of us. It was all a bit surreal and I definitely got off the bus with a sore face from all the grinning. On the walk up to the stadium people were stacked rows deep behind crowd barriers waiting for our arrival screaming and waving. Before we knew it our names were being chanted and Team GB had been ‘released’ through the cordon to go and greet the masses. It was a sea of red, yellow and blue flags, warm arms grabbing us in for photos over the barrier and bright eyes genuinely pleased to meet us.

The whole thing was a blur of noise and camera flashes but we quickly found ourselves ushered into the back entrance of the stadium waiting in a train of athletes and flag bearers from other countries. There were so many different hats and traditional costumes from all the different nations. As we shuffled into some sort of order, the concrete underpass suddenly became the opening onto the vivid blue athletics track where we waited for our entrance. The sound was deafening. I remember having butterflies and looking up to the bright lights of the crowd as we stepped onto the track and joined the parade, it was incredible! At some point amongst all the waving, t-shirt signing and photos, Si Hill had managed to identify himself to us from high up in the crowd. We were already buzzing from the whole experience but seeing’s Si’s face from the crowds was the icing on the cake.

That was just the start. It was pretty ace just warming up on the stadium pitch let alone playing on the freshly laid turf. Our second game of the tournament against the host nation was on the Sunday evening after the Ultimate opening ceremony which meant half of the huge stadium had filled up. When we took the first point, the stadium was deathly silent. Then they scored and the place erupted; the crowd went nuts, the noise was deafening. We were stood on the line trying to call our offence and could barely hear what was being said. It made your heart pound and the nerves soar; just for that feeling I would consider trying out for the team again in four years time. Not all the games were as intense as that one but each had a bigger crowd than I’d expected.

GB World Games squad. Photo Courtesy of Isabella Burke.


I’ve been lucky enough to fill the last month since the competition exploring Colombia’s amazing scenery, yet there has also been time for reflection and discussion with close friends which have aided the decompression back to life post-World Games.

Perhaps it would be easier to process and talk about the playing side of the tournament had we won. I’m not talking about bringing back a medal, but had we won just one of the five short games. Nobody likes losing. When you take a step back and realise just how much you’ve sacrificed to be there and just how much support people have given you along the way, that’s when the losing starts to hurt.

I’m sure most people who took interest in our progress saw that we took the first halves of the first couple of games and then went on to lose in the second halves. I’m also sure that quite a few people will have quite a few opinions on why that happened and what would could or should have been done to change those results.

The most important take-home from this whole playing experience is what we can learn from it. Despite being the biggest cliché of all, this just brings us back to David Pichler’s recent article on closing the gap on The Big Three. There are lots of potential steps to closing that gap: expanding our player base at grass roots, changing the way we train and the structure of the training calendar, cultivating managers and non-playing coaches. The major positive here is that the very first step has been reached – we’re talking about what needs to happen and UK Ultimate has upped its viral game providing a forum for these discussion to take place. The coverage the GB World Games squad received in the lead up to and throughout the tournament through social media was really impressive. We even saw how the global Ultimate community responded to the crowd-funding plea to raise a massive amount of cash to buy the filming rights to the matches. 

As a relatively green-footed player last World Games I was pretty unaware of the tournament but hope this time around the profile of World Games and Ultimate’s part in it has been raised. GB’s qualification for the 2017 World Games rests in our hands; we need to keep up with the dominating nations both on and off pitch to have the opportunity to send another GB team to The World Games.

Let’s keep up the hard work off and on the field!! Look out for UKU Nationals reviews and more soon enough. DP @ tSG.

World Games Special: Roundup and Predictions

Cali 2013, Mixed Ultimate, ulti.tv, WING, world games, World Games Previews

World Games Special

Hopefully you’ve followed the series and are up-to-date with all the teams competing in Cali, Colombia over the next week. If you missed any of them, you can find the pieces here.

The Opening Ceremony has already happened, and games start on Sunday. This should be a terrific tournament, and rumours are that there’ll be large crowds for the Ultimate games.

Thanks to the amazing efforts of the Ultimate community and ulti.tv you will be able to watch all of the games: here! You can find the full schedule here
More live streaming links: 
http://core.enetres.net/CoreV1/Share/DEE56DFCB3E64BCC88376576A57D5481028?rnd=%27+Math.random%28%29

http://www.senalcolombia.tv/juegosmundiales2013/ 
(Click on senal en vivo ^^)

VOD at bottom of here.

GB’s games are:

vs Canada – Sunday, July 28th – 4pm,
vs Colombia – Sunday, July 28th – 10:10pm,
vs Japan – Monday, July 29th – 2:30pm,
vs Australia – Tuesday, July 30th – 1:10am,
vs USA – Tuesday, July 30th – 5:30pm,
3v4 – Tuesday, July 30th – 10pm,
1v2 – Wednesday, July 31st – 12am.

Amazing Score Reporting System for Ultimate at World Games 2013
We will have the opportunity to follow the games trough an incredible score reporting interface called WING.
It will give highly detailed stats of each player and team like: game time, time outs, goals, assists, D’s, drops, pulls, touches during the game or during the tournament; also a fresh new tool which draws the disc trajectory. Plus player profiles, team roster and much more cool stuff. Here are some sneak peak screenshots:


and here is where you can find it: www.conceptoocho.com/wing

And finally – money where your mouth is time!

Finally, it feels like other countries are catching up to the traditional giants of ultimate, Canada and the USA. When only the top 13 players are selected from each nation, that effect is only magnified. For the first time, it feels like anyone can beat anyone – and that should make for a thoroughly exciting competition.

My predicted final standings for the tournament are
1. USA
2. Canada
3. Great Britain
4. Australia
5./6. Japan/Colombia (there is no placement game for these positions).

DP’s predictions (so hard to make these but here goes, prove me wrong please!) are
1. USA
2. Japan
3. Canada
4. Great Britain
5./6. Australia Columbia

What are yours? Comment below.

World Games Preview: Australia

AFDA, Australia, Cali 2013, Mixed Ultimate, world games, World Games Previews

James Burbidge takes a look down under at Team Australia in the third installment of his World Games series.

Before you read this piece please help get the broadcast of these World Games Ultimate games online to view for everyone as they should be, by supporting the ulti.tv indiegogo funding page! This is just one step in making the sport and our community grow, go here now! They need double the amount they already have in less than a day, DO IT! Now you may read on…

Team Australia

The Lineup


Danielle Alexander
Stephanie Malcher
Lisi Moore
Cat Phillips
Michelle Phillips
Sarah Wentworth

Seb Barr
Peter Blakeley
Jonno Holmes
Tim Lavis
Gavin Moore
Joel Pillar
Tom Rogacki
Team Australia.


About the Team

Known as the Crocs, Australia look to be a good balance of experience (two players attended the 2005 World Games), and C4090-451
youth (5 players were at the u23 championships in Florence in 2010). They’ve also got great team spirit, and a winning social media campaign, as evidenced by their website, twitter, facebook and youtube accounts. Plus, they’re getting in the news.

Without a doubt, the biggest name on the list is Tom ‘The Gak’ Rogacki. The most dominant player in Australia for the last 15 years, his name is known around the (Ultimate) world. He brings experience from the 2005 World Games to the team and first represented Australia in 1998. He played in the Masters division at the last WUCC where he lead the division in total stats (goals + assists). A possibly controversial selection, he will undoubtedly make an impact on the field.

Whilst most of the team have a similar wealth of experience representing their country, one player will be putting green and gold on her shoulders for the first time – Danielle Alexander. Making the jump from club to World Games team is a significant step and should indicate a hot new talent.

At the other end of the spectrum is Peter Blakeley who, having come up through the Autralian junior programme, has played for every Australian team possible (without being a woman or a master).  He caught twice as many goals as any other Austalian player in the Open division in Japan, and is a receiver to be reckoned with.

Peter will be reunited with four teammates from that campaign: Joel Pillar, Seb Barr (who threw the highest number of goals on the Australian Open team in Japan), Jonno Holmes (who has played both previous World Games) and Tim Lavis, the Captain of the Crocs. It is unknown how much sleep Jonno and Tim have had since that hammer.

Coming from the extremely successful (silver medal) and well-coached Mixed team in Japan are husband and wife pairing Gavin and Lisi Moore who should bring chemistry to the field as well as a deeper understanding of the mixed game.

Another pairing of note on the team is that of the Phillips sisters. Both won gold with the u23 Women’s team in Florence and both were dominant players in same division at WUGC. Michelle, the older sister, 1Y0-A17 scored the 3rd most goals for the Australian team, and Cat was 4th in total stats in the whole division. She is also still eligible for the u23 tournament taking place in Toronto this year but opted for World Games instead.

Tom Rogacki throws past a Finnish force. Photo courtesy of Paul Hurt.

Coaches and expected playing style

The team is coached by Anna Rogacki, wife of Tom. She coached Cat, Michelle and Steph to a gold medal in the u23 Womens team in 2010 and coached the Club team Honey to a National Championships in 2012. This year she coached the Men’s team Chilly to 3rd place at the Australian National Championships.

Assistant coach Mike Neild was originally a reserve for the team and so presumably brings a close relationship with the players. He has a wealth of playing experience where he dominated the air as a downfield receiver. Having played at World Games in 2009 he knows what’s involved and will be able to share his experience and knowledge with the team.

The Australians have been known for a strong deep game, usually from a vertical stack, and backed up by tenacious man defense. I wouldn’t expect them to move away from what has made them successful in the past, but since they feel like they’ve been knocking on the door for a while, perhaps they’ll look for something new to muscle their way into the final?

Expected finishing place

Australia has been on the 2nd tier of world Ultimate for a long time, and I don’t see this competition being any different. Their strong Mixed results will stand them in good stead over some of the competition, but I don’t see them breaking into the final.

4th.

Remember to donate towards the ulti.tv WG coverage page! Like, share and comment in any way you can. DP @ tSG. 

World Games Preview: USA

Cali 2013, Mixed Ultimate, USA Ultimate, world games, World Games Previews

James Burbidge takes a look at Team USA in the second installment of his World Games series.

Team USA

The Lineup


Georgia Bosscher
Cara Crouch
Sarah Griffith
Cree Howard
Octavia Payne
Alex Snyder

Ryan Farrell
Ashlin Joye
Beau Kittredge
Mike Natenberg
George Stubbs
Mac Taylor
Dylan Tunnell
Team USA.
About the team

Selectors seem to have opted for wise heads rather than youthful legs here, particularly on the men’s side of the game where only Stubbs is of the NexGeneration. He is team Captain, following a year’s experience in that role at club team Ironside, as well as 3 years in the role at Harvard, during which time he won the Callahan award as the best player in College. He is extremely athletic, has big throws and cool head. Captaining alongside George is Alex Snyder, who captained Fury back in 2008 and was selected by Ultiworld as MVP of their latest Club Championship final. She has plenty of experience at the highest level of the game and knows what it takes to win – two big assets for the team.

Cara Crouch goes up over GB at World Games 2009. Photo courtesy Scobel Wiggins

Whilst neither George nor Alex played on the 2009 team, USA will be bringing 3 returners to Cali: Cara Crouch, Dylan Tunnell and Beau Kittredge. Cara Crouch is an experienced handler with big throws and a Callahan award (2005) under her belt. She plays for Showdown and so will be facing up against teammate GB’s Bex Forth. Dylan Tunnell is one of the most respected players in the US, a stalwart for club team Chain Lightning (Club Champions 2009) and picked by Club Jr to be part of a US All-Star team flown out to Japan’s Dream Cup. You can read an interview with him after the 2009 World Games here. And finally, not much needs to be said about Beau, surely? He’s one of the most dominantathletesinthe game– and that’s not even his game anymore. These days Beau is so feared for his deep ability that people back him by ridiculous amounts – so has evolved into a reset and distribution player, coming under far more than he goes deep. It’s unlikely that anyone else in the world is going to front him so this seems like a plausible position for him to play again. That said, I’m sure we’ll see a few goals and posterisations by the end of the tournament.


Georgia Bosscher lays out for the D
Rounding out the female half of the team are Georgia Bosscher a redoubtable defender (see picture), her former Fury teammate Cree Howard (a 5’8 deep cutter), Seattle Riot’s speedy Sarah Griffith and DC Scandal’s Octavia Payne.

On the male side there are a pair of club captains; captain of reigning National Champions Doublewide – Mike Natenberg and captain of Johnny Bravo Ryan Farrell. Filling out the last spots are Revolver teammates Ashlin Joye (defensivehandler mostly) and Mac Taylor(does everything).

Coach and expected playing style

USA is lead by Coach Alex Ghesquire and Assistand Coach Matty Tsang. Those names alone put them into the top 3 teams at World Games. Alex Ghesquire has coached the club team Revolver to 2 National Championships and 2 World Championships. He will bring established relationships with Beau, Ashlin and Mac from that team. Matty Tsang has arguably an even more formidable pedigree – he has coached Women’s team Fury to 7 National Championships (adding to the two they had won before his arrival) and 2 World Championships. He brings relationships with Alex, Cree and Georgia to the team.

With a limited amount of training time, and some of the best players in the world, it would be surprising if this team worked on anything too tactically complex – expect them instead to focus on their fundamentals and run simple, disciplined offense. Defensively, again I’d expect them to use their legs rather than zone, but they’ll be sure to have some junky sets designed to disrupt pull-plays and change the rhythm of the game.

Expected finishing place

Some of the best players in the world, coached by some of the best coaches in the sport. Every single one of these players has experience of the toughest competition and knows what it takes to win. A team of the highest calibre.

1st

[edit: A documentary is being made about Team USA’s journey to Cali. You can now see the trailer for ‘Bidding for Gold‘]

Sounds like team GB have their work cut out! Like what you read? Remember to share and comment. Keep an eye out for OWT2 Preview coming later this week – JCK @ tSG.