Beach Diaries, Masters (Leonardo) 8/27/11

Posted: September 2, 2011 11:30 AM

Truth is, I feel like Masters is winning. Masters is kind of like the origins of Ultimate: the mix of a fun pastime, limited practice time and real competition on the weekends. It's a great combination.

So we avenged our earlier defeat at the hands of the talented but short-handed Austrians to win the Gold, this much is known.

When we arrived 3pm at the Beach Arena for the 4pm game the full Austrian team was there, covering the field and practicing a wide array of throws from different angles in what had become a totally different environment overnight. No longer was this game the same as the others.

For one week the weather was at a complete standstill: high heat, high humidity and absolutely no wind. Then on Friday night a front passed overhead and brought wind gusts, maybe 15 to 20mph or more.

And for all the world it looked like the Austrians were better throwers in the wind and our hand-picked USAU team—heavy on speed, possibly short on veteran handlers—might have some troubles.

But still we had more than a few advantages which quickly played out. First, we had already played an intense game in front of a thousand spectators in the Beach Arena when we matched up against Canada in the showcase game.

Second, we knew that the Beach Arena sand was light and shallow. It was, as they say, a fast track.

Thirdly we had some guys on the team who had seen it all, played in all conditions, against the stiffest of challenges and highest level of competition. We were in good hands.

All three factors ended up playing to our advantage and a fourth one: they poached off some of our deep cuts going into the wind and several or our throwers were able to connect on tough but ultimately successful upwind goal shots.

It all added up to a convincing 13-5 win.

And in the end I have to say we as a team really felt the warmth of the Ultimate community. The Austrians were cool cats, the French team that took third was gracious and friendly and the Spanish who won the Spirit prize were definitely worthy.

We got to sing the national anthem for the medal ceremony and you can really dig the "home of the free and land of the brave" when your heart is full, your spirit shining and a crowd of many appreciative of your efforts and sportsmanship.

I should add another thing: this was an unselfish, ego-checked team, as were all of the USA squads. We bonded as teammates and were rewarded. 

Team USA Beach Diaries

Some members of Team USA will be submitting diary entries during the event to keep everyone posted on their experience in Italy.

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