By: Jimmy Leppert
Hello and welcome to ‘The Spectator’. We’re in the midst of U23 Ultimate Championships in London, and the international game has already shown its strength, and growth.
If you haven’t been watching the Skyd Magazine coverage of the U23 Ultimate Championships that have been taking place all week long in London, you’re missing you. Luckily for you, all of the video is free and on Youtube for your viewing pleasure. So far a total of 24 different teams and 15 different countries have been streamed, showcasing a wide variety of the international teams and talent present at the event.
In these games, it hasn’t just been Canada and the United States (or even the hosts, Great Britain) providing great games. In fact, we haven’t even seen the USA Mixed team on the stream yet, and they won’t show up until the finals. Instead, Austria, Australia, Japan, and Germany (among almost every other nation that Skyd has filmed) has provided us with nail-biting finishes to pool play, power pool, and now bracket play games. For games on the international level, when the game is showcased not just to Americans and Canadians, but the world, this is fantastic news.
Even better though, is that new teams have shown up in the championship brackets for each of the divisions, ousting not just the lower-tier teams from a chance at earning a medal, but also beating the teams on top. The Australia vs Canada Mixed Semifinal was one of the best games of the tournament, and (spoiler alert) Australia came out on top, with stellar play on defense and handlers unafraid to throw the disc deep.
The international teams have shown their strength at this tournament, that it isn’t just the USA and Canada pushing through each of their opponents to eventually meet in the finals. Rather, in all three divisions, the USA and Canada haven’t had a guaranteed victory heading into each of their games from Day 1 last Sunday. In fact, finishing with a medal isn’t even a guarantee for those countries heading into the final day of the tournament. Some other, familiar faces in the medal round didn’t qualify for bracket play, or were knocked out almost immediately. Instead, we had the exciting Austrian and German teams in the Open division, Germany again with Australia in the Mixed division, and Australia again in the Mixed division.
To me, this is the most perfect way for the international teams to show not only their strength, but their growth. Looking at the results from 2013, you can already pinpoint some huge differences. Not only in the number of teams, or which countries are attending, but in the finishing positions of certain countries. It’s also a continuation of some of the great talent and games we saw last summer at the WJUC in Italy. So far, that’s meant nothing but great games for viewers to watch. As each of the teams challenge the top dogs, and fight amongst each other for shots at redemption, and a medal, there have been exciting double-game-point finishes, huge layouts, and too many instances of “cheeky” throws.
We’ve heard the statistics from USAU and WFDF about how much the game has been growing not just domestically, but internationally as well, and how that helps their cause of getting the sport into the Olympic games, and more notoriety on the national and international levels. These games have shown that there are players from each country behind those numbers, players that can play mean game of ultimate. That’s exciting.
All of this should, hopefully, translate to an even more competitive WUGC in 2015, and WUCC in 2018, or perhaps even further down the line. The more those events can showcase the top international competition, and not just medal-earning competitions for Canada and the United States, the better. The better for the sport, for those countries, and for any hopes of getting into events like the Olympics.
If you haven’t been watching, there’s still time too! The finals are all morning this Saturday (7/18), and Skyd keeps all of the games available for free on Youtube for viewing. Watch them, and watch the game grow right in front of your eyes.
- Go check out the new Girls Ultimate Movement (GUM) website from USA Ultimate. The re-design highlights events, their video playlist, and how to get involved.
- Watch some damn ultimate! At least on Saturday, you’ll be able to stream games from the crack of dawn until supper.
- A bit of a down weekend for tournaments featuring top teams in any of the three club divisions. In Davis, California, a few of the top-Californian Mixed teams are playing in Revolution 2015 – including Mischief and Blackbird.
- There are a whopping 13 games in the final weekend of the AUDL regular season left, with playoff implications in the East, Central, and Western divisions. Evan Lepler’s Tuesday Toss this week has information on each of the games worth following on Twitter.
- Ultiworld’s club video subscriptions is still for sale.
- It happened! The All-Star Ultimate Tour was funded to a tune of $45, 676, and has grown to $45,996. You can still fund the All-Star Ultimate Tour on IndieGoGo by the way, and keep that number growing.
- The 2015 Ultimate Results Coaching Academy returns for 2015 – from August 2nd thru the 7th – and you can purchase access to the videos for download, presentation notes, and more now. There’s a survey from presenter Alex Davis (of Furious George, Team Canada, and a brief streaming career with myself) that’s going around to fill out on player usage.
Listen to This
- Thank you Steven Hyden of Grantland for quickly summarizing the week in music, at least for alternative/rock/indie fans. The big takeaway is that Wilco released a new album today (7/17), on the internet, for free, titled Star Wars and it has a cat on the cover. If you’re a fan of Wilco, go pick it up. If not, give it a try, it’s free.
- Trouble Knows Me is a new rap project from the lead-singer of Future Islands, Sam Herring, and producer/rapper Madlib. They released a track, also called Trouble Knows Me, and have released details on the release of an EP. I dig the song, especially the beat.
- Why You Should be Throwing Every Day by Steven Wartinbee of Ultiworld highlights the Ben Wiggins mantra of ‘TED’ or ‘Throw Every Day’, and its importance.
- Undoubtedly, you watched a trailer or five from the San Diego Comic-Con that recently wrapped up. It’s become a mainstay for Marvel, Disney, Warner Brothers, and others to announce their newest creation or show it off to the world. On Grantland, a reaction to what Comic-Con has become from a comic book writer – Van Jensen brings us, How’s Your Show?
- The MLU Western Conference Finals had a crazy finish, and some great plays. On the MLU website, Dusty Rhodes breaks down the game from beginning to end in Disc Don’t Lie.
- Skyd Magazine has the U23 streaming schedule and past games on their Youtube page. The Finals are Saturday (7/18), starting at 7am EST for Australia vs USA in Mixed, 9:30am EST for Japan vs USA in Women’s, and 12pm EST Canada vs USA for the Open final.
- Speaking of U23’s, Lisa P of the USA Mixed team, has been putting up some great video journals of her experience with the team.
- The AUDL’s Seattle Cascades released one of the best training/highlight combo videos ever. Featuring Matt Rehder, the focus is on technical lifts and functional training, and how that then transitions to the play of one of the elite players in ultimate.
- From the U.S. Open, Ultiworld has full footage on the Gender Equity Forum. Hoping that it helps kickstart more conversation on gender equity.
- The Major League Ultimate playoffs are in full swing! The Philadelphia Spinners travel to take on the Boston Whitecaps at 3pm EST this Saturday (7/18) – and yes that’s just after U23 streaming should end.
- Did you see the huge block from Peter Woodside of the Portland Stags during their game against the Seattle Rainmakers last Saturday? Watch it again and again and again and again. The Stags would lose, but this play made the Sportscenter Top 10, and later earned Woodside a trip to the ER.
Tired of links from the same few websites over and over? Have something to share? Send us something on this Google form.