European Masters Ultimate Club Championships had to be the first huge tournament in Wrocław, Poland since the pandemic’s slow retreat. Each event of this type had to face severe ups and downs. Some, like the Beach Worlds, didn’t make it. Other tournaments, like World Masters Ultimate Club Championships, are waiting for their fast-approaching moment of ultimate glory! EMUCC 2022 was definitely a breaking point for the games to be set into motion once again in this part of the world. For the players going to World’s Masters, it was a good opportunity to comfortably try out their cleats in motion before they get serious in Limerick at the end of June.
Summary of EMUCC 2022
Pola Marsowe in Wrocław had the chance to host a few of the European events with the European Ultimate Federation leading the event and Duch Gry supporting with the logistics.
EMUCC 2022 had 29 registered teams in three categories: Mixed Masters, Open Masters and Open Grandmasters. The strongest in numbers was the Mixed Masters division, which still is the main form of Ultimate in Europe. Open Masters had 7 teams and Grand Masters Open 6 club teams. The players represented countries such as Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and UK. The event took 3 days in the blazing sun of Wrocław’s springtime.
The event wasn’t a standalone action-packed spectacle. It was a prequel to the upcoming World Masters Ultimate Club Championships. The teams taking part in the May event had the perfect chance to practice, improve their teamwork and see where they are before the main event takes place in Limerick.
A post-pandemic dare
The visible effect of the pandemic is the increase in injuries. Within the last two years, we were home-bound – like it or not. With gyms closed, the training routine moved to the home-based gyms or outdoor activities. The intensity and motivation for training was varying and you could read up on it more in my other post about training during the pandemic. We reap the effects of our motionless lives the moment we start training hard or go to the tournaments and play those 90-minute games. During EMUCC 2022, there were injuries from day one and they haunted the players throughout the event.
Perhaps what’s different in a Masters division is more respect for one’s body signals. Younger people tend to ignore minor injuries and force themselves through the pain. As a result, a minor injury grows and ails the player longer than it should. It’s good to know when to stop and fight another day. For me, it was a lesson I grew to accept over my 7 years of playing. Sometimes it’s better to cheer from the sidelines in order to be able to play in another event. With that in mind, some of the players decided to tread carefully and enjoy the atmosphere of the event from the sidelines even though it was painful to watch their team sometimes struggling.
A gaping hole in EMUCC 2022 categories
The lack of a Women category at Wrocław’s EMUCC 2022 left a gaping hole and an insufficiency. It leaves some questions open for us to wonder about.
- Are there not enough players?
- Is the Masters category still not ready for an influx of senior players?
- Why is Mixed division still favoured over Women’s?
- How to engage the female players in the recruitment of new players?
- How to encourage them to take part in events like this?
Decisions and the results that you reap
When the opportunity to play Masters presented itself the main category I turned to was Mixed. I didn’t even consider Women’s as there are fewer opportunities to play in this category. It was natural to go with Mixed. Then there was an offer to play Women’s and the girl squad looked pretty cool. So, it turned out that Masters could be a great opportunity to take more game responsibility.
With joining the team came the topic of meeting up once or twice for training. Then as the time went by the registration rolled in and after that uncertainty. The closer it got to the event the fewer Women teams were willing to attend. The organizers were willing to support the teams and shortened the event to two days as only 4 teams were willing to take part. In the end, the category had to be cancelled due to the insufficient number of teams.
The category is facing many challenges, but I’m hoping that with the right effort we can face the problems and help it grow in strength and numbers. Also, when one door closes, another opens…
Enter media team opportunity
I have always been into event marketing and Ultimate Frisbee proved to be a great way to get involved. Professionally I work in SEM and Social Media marketing, so it was natural to put those skills and knowledge to use. Spoiler alert: many, many people take my willingness to help and advice for granted.
Just like on EYUC 2019, I’ve joined a team, which combined photography, video and content creation skills. Pretty all the right ingredient you could wish for in a team. EMUCC didn’t need a big team, however, it would make room for more opportunities. We were working independently of Ulti.tv or EUF, but we could count on some cooperation and boosting each other’s efforts, which was awesome.
Razor-sharp focus, writing and social media all day and night long.
With so many fields and matches to cover, we had to find each day a good story to follow, a photo of the day (Fame in the Frame) and some interesting facts. The days for us didn’t end with the last scored point. That’s where it really started. Our evenings were filled with photo editing, writing and planning for the day ahead. The good part of this was a razor-sharp focus on the task. It’s always easier to get things done when the deadline is unapologetically looming over you. Events like this should certainly use earlier content planning, so the whole process is smooth and doesn’t overwhelm.
For an introvert, it’s important to have a goal within reach and making even a small impact. It’s about observing, finding patterns and crafting a story. On the other hand, it’s getting out of the comfort zone and batteries getting depleted fast. Hence the resting sad face.
The highlight of the event was when my friends showed up on Saturday. Things are always better with friendly faces. We hung out watching the games and chasing the facts together. It made it so much funnier, and easier and the time seemed to speed up. One of my friends even took her camera, which turned out to be a brilliant idea. We’ve had an influx of great photos by the end of the weekend for you to infinitely look through.
Player perspective at European Masters Ultimate Club Championships.
Enough can be said about the sports strategy when you watch the games or highlights at Ulti.tv. You can read the summaries at Ultizone and check the scores of each game. Somehow there’s still something missing and perhaps it’s that tangle of thoughts that you capture in the mind of the player who’s about to throw the huck in a Universe point. Player perspective is something that always takes a center stage for me at Ultimate Frisbee tournaments. Championships are a perfect playground for all emotions, mental toughness training paying off and team goals either flourishing or failing. A perfect habitat full of unsuspecting Ultimate Frisbee players… A catapult out of my comfort zone and reluctance to answer questions while caught off guard.
First games experience…
It’s been a really intense game so far. Both teams started super, super hard and our team was a little bit nervous. We were down a few points, but we brought it back with our intensity. Everyone’s really well-spirited. There are no major fouls or anything. All’s sorted out really nicely, so it’s a great game so far. We’re preparing for the World Championships, so that’s in June. This is like a tournament that’s kind of making us ready for that. So our expectation is just to gel as a team and be confident when we finish and be preparing for Worlds.
– Bristow, MCP, Mixed
We met today with a Flash from the UK. They lost three or four players just 2 weeks before. We’ve also lost three, I think, prior to this event. They have tons of experience. I think we came strong into the game and we motivated each other a lot. We practiced for quite some time. The result right now I have no idea, but I think it’s about 12-5 maybe. So we have a little bit of a cushion. Which is comfortable, but they don’t make us feel comfortable, so they keep throwing those really, really smooth discs. I think we’re getting a little bit more athleticism since the guys are playing in the GGM, I think. So, we have that tiny edge over them from this point, but they’re playing really nice Ultimate and we’re trying to match that as well.
– Piotr SVC Dj Dahlem
We are here to train for Worlds, so that’s how it’s a preparation tournament as our target number 1 and then target 2 is to be good in Spirit and then have fun. Nice weather, good food, good level of pain.
– Benoit, AUC Mixed Masters
My expectations are to survive until the end and not get injured. I’m having a lot of fun with RJP. We’ve got a lot of sun, perfect conditions and the fields are great. The teams are really friendly, really cool and experienced. Certainly more Spirited and even tough when we’ve had situations where two players didn’t communicate well. In the end, the teams worked things out well. We’re having a lot of fun and we’ve got into the Top 8, so we’ve reached our goal. Our main goal was to win two first games and then see what happens.
– Hubert Kubit, RJP
Is any different tough?
Masters is, for one thing, it’s always actually kind of a nice level. At least at tournaments cause everyone is skilled pretty much, but at the same time, you also feel confident about your ability to run. So, I love Master’s tournaments.
It’s a great joy for us to be in Top 8, playing against a stronger team. We’ll do everything to get into 1-4 games. We have a really strong opponent, but I hope that with our experience and infamous zone strategy, we’ll make it to 1-4. These are our dreams, but we’ll see how that turns out. Top 8 is still great. Masters definitely is different in the aspect of more strategic thinking. Each mistake costs us and our muscles. We have to be so much more careful not only for injuries. 90-minute games for 30+, 40, and 50+ are tougher. We really try to go through each point calmly and surely.
– Pestka, RJP
I guess there’s a little bit less aggression like this Master’s Open I’m playing on now. And normal Open always has kind of very angry people there and here that’s just gone. Throws are really good and speed is a little bit lower, but otherwise, it’s the same. Good vibes Ultimate.
– Gosse, Overal
3 Masters Finals before a farewell
The games leading up to the Finals are always the most interesting and hard-fought. It’s pure effort materialized, sweat and grit! I’m not saying that Finals are boring. The teams, which make it to the top, are more balanced in skills and there’s less room for surprises. You’re already acquainted with what’s to come and all there’s left to do is start placing the bets. But the game is not over until the last point caught. Everything can happen. However, when you’re busy watching the Finals, you can miss some of the greatest Ultimate out there. The rumor has it that Uprising and Goldfingers Ultimate Club has been the most spirited game that Pola Marsowe has ever seen!
Grand Masters Open unlocking the EMUCC 2022 finals achievement
Grand Masters Open finals had Czech’s Silence 4.0 face off with UK’s Zimmer. By following the stats you could place easy bets on Silence, who went through tournament unscathed. Teams like that have a secret mix of ingredients: good team chemistry, skills and experience. Zimmer was more than ready to prove that. From the first pull, they’ve put a lot of heart and effort and wouldn’t let the game go easy. Both teams had to equip themselves with carefully planned offence, unforgiving deffence and spectacular hucks. Any mistake could be fatal. The intense game led up to the universe point and a Braveheart-like speech during the time out. Honestly, both teams had us guessing about the outcome of the game. Check out the dramatic events unfolded, as captured by Ucek.Art!
In the end Silence 4.0 took the title of the best Grand Master Open team, but perhaps everyone was too tired to celebrate? You can relive it again with the game below.
Game Changers in Open Masters
Silence v3.3 (Czech) and Hardfisch (Germany) made it to the last games by going through some tough matches along the way. The Czech team was considered a front-runner for the title, but the Hamburg-based team was not one to back away from a challenge! A slow start to the game was just a prologue to a show of athleticism, alertness and high intensity. With a point-for-point situations, there was almost no room to take a breath! Silence ensured a 3 point difference only to have Hardfisch viciously fight back. At some point the Germans scored 5 times in a row. No surprise that by the universe point the teams were exhausted. By the end, all it took to grab the win, was a carefully executed offence.
Also, spoiler alert!
It was Hardfisch, who took the Gold. Still can’t get over the how emotionally packed was that last point. Check the full game!
Last, but not least – Mixed Masters on fire!
Mixed Masters had a lot of great teams competing with a lot of ups and downs to follow. The fiery trials turned in favour of France’s PUC facing off Italy’s BEEFIRE in the Finals. While PUC was focused on one goal from the start, Italians were clearly visible with their fiery team spirit. However, it seems that the razor sharp focus and team work of PUC was an unstoppable mix. The swings, trust and hucks moved the game along. BEEFIRE put on a zone defence that seemed to be like one organism pursuing the disc. While in offence they were fast with the disc and unafraid of risky hucks against the man defence. However, perhpas there was just too much fire and mistakes happened, resulting in PUC leading the game with comfortable score cushion.
The Ultimate EMUCC 2022 gallery we did not see coming!
Spontaneity has its advantages. When my friend Ania found some time to visit me at Pola Marsowe Fields, she decided to bring her camera along. She’s been photographing for a while now, but there were not that many opportunities to try sports photography. It was a perfect coincidence and proof that it costs nothing to try and there is everything to gain. You can see some of the best photos from the gallery, but I strongly encourage you to check out her creativity at PxArtworks!
A look back at EMUCC 2022 content
You can read the following articles on Ultizone:
- Welcome to European Masters Ultimate Club Championships 2022 in Wrocław!
- EMUCC 2022 Day 1 – Let’s Get This Tournament Started
- EMUCC 2022 Day 2 – Injuries, boarding and full field hucks.
- EMUCC 2022 Day 3 – Finals Baby!
And for visual eye candy, here are some highlights from Ulti.tv.
Tune in for the next big events
The next big event you should keep your eye on is World Masters Ultimate Club Championships (WMUCC). It’s taking place at the University of Limerick in Ireland. You’re going to see some of EMUCC teams over there. The event will take place from Saturday 25th June to Saturday 2nd July inclusive over eight days. You’ll be able to follow the best Masters mixed, women’s and open club teams from all over the world. Do you already have any favourites attending?
As for Wrocław, another big event will be Joint Junior Ultimate Championship where both World Junior and European Youth Championships will take place. It sounds like quite a thrilling event. You can expect some more Ultimate coverage on that topic from Saturday the 6th to Saturday the 13th of August 2022.
Save the dates! And check out the EMUCC 2022 Aftermovie by Ucek.Art – follow for more videos like that. 🙂