The Flying Discs at The World Games 2017 had to be the biggest Ultimate Frisbee event that ever took place in Poland. The competition had six teams of 14 players (seven men and seven women) compete for gold during the weekend. The World Games is a prestigious international sports event promoting exercise and a healthy lifestyle with more than 30 sports disciplines. It’s also an amazing opportunity to introduce niche sports to a wider audience. A true sports festival of awesomeness!
While Ultimate might be fairly known in other countries, in Poland it’s a niche sport. It’s so non-existent, that when you tell someone about it, they keep wondering: what the hell are you talking about?! Until they see one of the games they can’t grasp the idea of it being a sport.
During The World Games, there was great TV coverage of the event. Google Trends prove there was a spike in interest in Ultimate. That’s an opportunity each team in Poland should take advantage of. There’s no better time than now to promote it to the masses. Data never lies.
Searches on Ultimate Frisbee in Poland
Seems like some regions might get more new players next season. 😉
The tournament started on 21st July (Friday) and ended on 23rd July (Sunday). I dare to say it was the only summer weekend I’ve experienced this year. I don’t think there could be better weather to play (with a tiny exception…). People from all over Poland (and even abroad) came to Wrocław to cheer for the teams. We’ve had the chance to see the representatives from USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, Colombia and the host country team – Poland.
The tournament was played under the new gender ratio rules that WFDF recommended for the International Mixed Competitions. At the beginning of each match, the teams made a disc flip. The winner was selecting the gender ratio (4:3 or 3:4) for the first point. The ratio was altering every two points with half time not impacting the pattern. It was repeated until the end of each game. The teams played in a round-robin. The best two teams were competing for gold and the next two for bronze.
Day 1 – Learning from the greatest!
The day started off with a game at 9 am. Poland vs Canada. A match we didn’t want to miss despite a crazy Thursday at the amusement park (adrenaline junkie). It was the first time that I attended an Ultimate Frisbee event as a spectator. I’ve never seen Team Poland play before (apart from live streams from time to time), but I was really curious about their handler offence game. I was impressed with Canada’s ease of play. That’s the kind of Ultimate I’d love to play.
Each game, each throw and situation on the field was something I wanted to remember. You don’t often get the chance to see such great teams play every day live. As an Ultimate Frisbee player, you want to see soak up as much knowledge, situations on the field and styles of play to later try to use it when you play. You’ve got to learn from the greatest.
The next game was between Australia and Japan. We’ve had the chance to see the zone defence play on both sides. Japan had some impressive overhead throws. There was also a nasty-looking collision on the field and the medics had to tend two female players from Japan and Australia.
USA and Columbia was the third match of the day. I didn’t know what should I expect from Colombia. It was a huge unknown for me. I was excited to finally see Team USA play, however, Colombia stole the show. Colombian female players were unstoppable, fierce and a true force of nature. They were confident and impressive with their game. After a game like that, I was sure they could even dare to reach out for gold!
The afternoon games had for us in store some pretty cool matches. It started off with a heated match between Poland and Australia. For some time it was a point for point, but the Crocs managed to pull away and they won the game. Despite that, it was a good one and Poland had some really spectacular moments. The handlers offence was hard to stop!
Japan’s and Colombia’s game was fast-paced. Japan couldn’t stop them. One of the more impressive moments was a layout Callahan for Colombia. They scored a few of those during the tournament! The last game of the day was USA vs Canada. Another game I was looking forward to. USA couldn’t let their guard down this time and eventually, they were victorious. Both teams played some great Ultimate. That made me wonder if we ever graduate from Ultimate kindergarten because when you watch games like that you see how much work is before you. Perhaps it’s too late to play the way they do, but it never hurts to try!
Day 2 – Maple Syrup
The second day of the tournament was probably my favourite one. There were so many things going on and the games didn’t lose their fierceness. I’ve had the feeling the teams were just getting started. The tournament was once again started by Poland, but this time they had to face Japan. It was another good game for Poland, but Japan’s defence at the end was what brought them their first victory at the tournament.
Canada and Columbia was a fierce game! The Maple Syrup team had to win this one if they wanted to fight for gold. The unstoppable Colombian girls once again stole the show, though Canada still presented great style. I think it was one of the best games during the tournament. While Colombia had a lot of mistakes in the first half of the game, which could mean that Canada would win. But it’s Ultimate. Nothing’s certain until the end of the game. The only constant is the disc. As a result, Colombia was victorious in the universe point with Canada (13:12). What a game!
Team Canada definitely stole my heart with a friendly and warm attitude. After the game, they stayed around to take some photos with the supporters. My team was so fangirling! Canada earned dedicated fans and we’ve had lots of fun while cheering for them. It was one of the highlights of the tournament.
The next game showed that the USA was not giving up and they were going straight for the gold. Losing the match was out of the question! The afternoon games started off with Poland facing Colombia. I suspected it would be a difficult game, but I didn’t expect that Colombia would be so merciless. The second half was a bit better for Poland, but the obvious winner was Colombia.
Canada and Australia was a good game with lots of cheering on our side. How could you not? As a team, they were inspiring and motivational. The best moment of the tournament? It’s definitely in this game!
That’s the kind of things I hoped to see at The World Games! Impressive huck. And that layout?!
Day 3 – Dancing in the rain
Sunday was the last day of this Ultimate Frisbee feast. The atmosphere was still great and the games didn’t disappoint. While Australia was still unsure of playing in the game for bronze, Colombia was definitely eyeing the gold. The first game seemed a little slow, but the second half delivered some thrill. Australia started this day full of energy, while Colombia needed some time to wake up.
I was looking forward to Canada vs Japan game as we came up with a cool way to cheer for the team. We decided to take our Ultimatum t-shirts and underneath each of us had one letter, which made up “Go Canada!!” During the game, we’d lose the t-shirts to show off the cheer for the Maple Syrup team. So much fun. 😉 The game was a fast one and Canada could think about the game for bronze.
The next match was the one every Polish fan was looking forward too. Poland vs USA. I was curious how the game would look like. Would Poland be a challenge? How the matchups would look like? What would be USA’s approach? What would be Poland’s tactic? Unfortunately, a huge storm was heading our way. Seriously, the only worse one I’ve ever experienced was at the Grand Canyon. I’m still surprised I survived that. Anyway, we were advised to find a safe place to hide. Perhaps someone was asking for rain and Neptune granted that wish. Unfortunately. Before we went to hide we tried to help out the staff at the food section (code name: save the beer).
After the rain passed we were waiting for the game where Australia would compete with Canada for bronze. It was another great game and Canada didn’t lose their fast pace throughout the game. It was a pleasure to watch these two teams. It was also fun to actively cheer for Canada while next to us where people from Australia also rooting for their team. Our cheers earned us the “Oh no! You’re the Maple Syrup girl!” reaction from Australians. 😉 After the game, both teams came for high fives with the people who came to see them. I love moments like that. I really do.
The last game at The World Games 2017 was the match between USA and Colombia. While on the first day I was rooting for Colombia I wasn’t so sure anymore. I settled for let’s see what happens attitude. The teams once again didn’t disappoint!
The USA was more careful with their game. They made sure to make as little mistakes as possible. They certainly knew they couldn’t underestimate the Colombian female players. During the game, Colombia made some mistakes, which in the end ensured the USA in their quest for gold. You can’t lose with the same team twice at the tournament, right?
After watching each team play, I see the long way ahead in training and working as a team if we want to be as good even in the slightest. There’s a lot of work to do, but if there’s motivation then there’s the space for action. This season is unfortunately poor with tournaments. The World Games gave me a long lost motivation and a goal. Each of us saw what we can work on and how we can improve. Events like this are a wake-up call. You can learn from the greatest and later put that knowledge into action. I’m still under a strong impression of the girls playing on Colombia’s team. The Canadian ease of play and the USA’s confidence and skills are something to look up to.
And the final results!
The World Games will be the event I’m not going to forget for a while. It was the best opportunity to watch the best teams in action. I also hope that with the press coverage there will be a change for good for Ultimate Frisbee in Poland. Well, I’d love to play some Ultimate right now!