Beach Diaries, Mixed Masters (Ray) 8/24/11

Posted: August 29, 2011 10:31 AM

Arrival/opening ceremony
by Harper Ray #33

I was excited to meet many of my teammates for the first time as I found my way to the "player shuttle" that the Tournament Staff had arranged to get us to the small beach town of Lignano Sabbiadoro.  We had exchanged emails and I'd seen some Facebook photos but had met only one or two of my teammates.  There is always a little anxiety when stepping into a new team, but as this team was formed just for this event, we were all in the same boat.  I quickly found Hale, who had lugged all of our cool Five Ultimate gear from California, and he gave me my jerseys, etc.  I got chills seeing my name and number on the back of a USA jersey.  What a dream! 

Arrival at the GeTur sports complex was a bit hectic, as expected, but we quickly found the rest of our team, distributed the USA gear, and lined up for the opening ceremony and parade.  It was great!    To the amusement of the locals enjoying a typical Italian day at the beach, all the players, in uniform, paraded down the beach promenade.  It was about a 25 minute walk.  Italians, curious by nature, seemed to really enjoy the "spectacolo," and many followed us down the road to the beach arena to see what this was all about. 

Watching Ultimate in an arena with bleachers is quite exciting.  We loved cheering for both teams, Italy and Philippines, and had even more fun getting the Italian crowd to help cheer with the "wave."  It was blazing hot and sunny but the players were giving their all on the sand.  I was getting fired up to play! 

The day concluded with our first "cafeteria style" meal at GeTur and a beach party to say hello to old friends and meet new ones.  Good thing our first game wasn't until 11:00!

End of Day 2
by Rod & Trish Hannon

By the end of day 2 we were 5-0 in pool play and hot, tired and hungry. Six meals in the cafeteria and the constant heat were beginning to take their toll.  After a quick dip in the Adriatic and a shower, our team gathered for an "off-campus" meal. It was our first field trip. We were excited to get something a bit different for dinner. After the usual difficulty in getting one whole team anywhere at one time, we managed to get all 16 of us to a local restaurant. We crowded into three long tables much to the staff’s amusement. We
eagerly welcomed liters of red wine, delicious pizzas the size of a car tire and excellent pasta. Now, that was the Italian food we had been dreaming of!

After dinner, we headed the mile or so to the beach Arena. It was an amazing thing to watch the U.S. Masters play under the lights. The stands were full of cheering onlookers, both Frisbee players and interested locals. The game was great to watch, and the strong play on both sides did not reflect the final score. After the game we wandered away from the beach and discovered an endless promenade of bars, shops, food and fashionable Italians on holiday. We strolled alongside, horribly underdressed but very very happy. After a final treat of gelato we headed back to Getur. That whole evening was the Italian seaside experience at its best. It was the perfect "reset" button to be ready for day 3! Grazie!

Pool play, Day 3
by Harper Ray #33

As a new division to the World Championships, Mixed Masters had only 6 teams.  By day three, we were set to begin seeing each team for the second time.  There would be three games to look forward to in the hottest part of the day.  So much for being "Masters!"  Fitness would be crucial, as well as staying hydrated and finding shade when possible.  Games would be more of a challenge now as each team now knew our strengths and our weaknesses. Down 2 players due to injuries at the end of Day 2, we needed to play smart and efficient and we also wanted to open up our deep game. 

Brazil had a smaller roster but they made up for it with their athleticism.  Both teams made some amazing catches and layout D’s and the final score did not reflect the intensity of the game.  We finished the day with three wins and were thankful for that.  Rest was in order - we had targets on our backs and two tough opponents in line for the following day. 

As a team, we had discussed the meaning of Spirit of the Game and some of its interpretations in the Ultimate world, especially with many of the European players.  I really enjoyed the interaction with our opponents, both on the field and on the sideline, during games.  Complimenting your opponent on a good catch, a good D, or just telling them how hard they were to cover was not new to me and it is certainly something I want to remember to do more of.  Even in tough, tight, competitive games, it's a reminder of why we play. 

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.

  Grand Masters
Mixed Masters