Monday, June 24, 2013

Wisconsin Swiss 2013: Reca's first U.S. ultimate tournament

Over the weekend I played in my first ultimate frisbee tournament in the USA: Wisconsin Swiss!  It was new to me because all of my previous tournament experience took place in Spain (well, one in Brussels).

At the Wisconsin Swiss tournament I played with a team called Boomtown Pandas.  Here's a team picture on the last day:

Can you find me?  I'm in the front, second from the right (with my red/white Q+D hat from Madrid).

For those not from the area, we have had a lot of rain lately.  I've heard people say that this is the most rain ever recorded in Madison (in half a year, I'm assuming).  So Saturday morning it was raining, surprise surprise.  It wasn't raining that hard, but during our first game it was chilly, and the drops did impede my vision (I wear glasses).

Near the end of the first game the rain picked up.  This was the ONE day I had decided not to wear leggings under my shorts, because it was supposed to get into the 90s that day (It did, later).  We lost that first game, and then went to the main shelter while waiting to find out who we'd play next and on what field.  The wind started to pick up with the rain.  It was cold, wet, and windy.  And cold.

Now when I play ultimate in spring/summer/fall leagues in Madison, we only stop play if there's lightning.  Well, we must stop play if there's lightning.  But rain itself won't stop ultimate players from playing.

Okay, so soon it's time to warm up for our second game of four, so we head back into the rain and wind, onto the fields.  We're about two seconds into a drill when it's announced that games have been postponed until further notice.  We go to a nearby roofed shelter to wait for further instruction.  Apparently the owners of the fields (the tournament was at a soccer park) said there was too much standing water in most of the fields, so we couldn't play on them anymore.  Field condition.

Our captain talked with the team we were supposed to play second, and agreed that we would drive to a park just five minutes away and play our game there.  Two other teams came with, so we could all play three more games that day - like we were supposed to.

The rain stopped and the sun (and heat) came out at the nearby park.  It was really fun to take over the park, and the informality of it all (coupled with the smaller number of teams) took away the tournament pressure and made playing more enjoyable.  Playing was also enjoyable because my captains were amazing, and everyone on the team had such great spirit.  I always get a bit nervous before playing with a new group of people, but there was absolutely no need to worry with this team.  We won two games and lost one.

Many teams dropped out of the tourny and went home after the other games had been cancelled on Saturday.  Thus on Sunday there were considerably fewer scheduled games.  The people in charge of the soccer park said we could play on two fields.  To give you an idea, on Saturday morning the tournament had been using somewhere around 12 fields for simultaneous games.  So each team only had one scheduled game on Sunday, since there were only two fields to play on.  

We lost our 1:20 game, which was the last scheduled game of the day.  It was night and day difference from when we had arrived on Saturday morning, since now the only people in this huge soccer park were my teammates and our opponent.  The opponent left soon after the game ended, while Boomtown Pandas stuck around to enjoy the sun and play some other games with frisbees.

The weekend ended up being really fun with our impromptu small tournament at the nearby park on Saturday, but it was a bit shocking to me.  It made me realize nothing like this had ever happened at a tournament in Spain.  No games had ever been cancelled because of weather -- it just doesn't storm often there.  You get what you pay for at each tournament -- including lots of playing time.  I only remember it raining during one tournament in Spain, and that was in Pamplona.  And it was only during the last game, and just some sprinkling.  

Most people at Wisconsin Swiss were recalling other past tournaments in the midwest that have been cancelled by bad weather.    Apparently at this yearly tournament called "Dick and Jane" there's always bad weather.  Hmm -- I knew I had it good in Madrid, but didn't realize I had it that good!
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