Worlds Tryout Wrap-Up

I wrote a bit about Asa’s tryout for Team USA over on our fitness page. Check it out if you’re interested in how he felt about the tryout and want to read a couple great articles from USA Ultimate about the tryout process on the East Coast and meet the final Team. You can find the post over at fitness.halupi.us or just click on the Fitness link at the top of the page.

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Savage Tournament in Buenos Aires

The three of us went to Buenos Aires last weekend for another frisbee tournament. It was a savage 7 tournament which means that each team is only allowed to have 7 players, and for those of you that don’t know, there are only 7 players on the field at a time (i.e. everyone is playing all the time, there are no subs).

The tournament was at the Universidad de Buenos Aires which had nice fields and a great sports complex, complete with tennis courts, basketball courts, handball courts, locker rooms, and cafe.

Matt and Asa put together a team that included a bunch of Buenos Aires all-stars. I’d say it turned out pretty well considering they won the tournament.

I went along for the ride and to be team photographer. We had a great time. Here are some pictures of the boys doing what they do best!

Buenos Aires Public Transportation

This past weekend we found ourselves in Buenos Aires again. There was a small ultimate tournament there that Matt and Asa both played in. Asa and I booked a hotel in the downtown area of Buenos Aires because we didn’t know the field location until two days before the tournament. Luckily for us, the public transportation in Buenos Aires is very extensive and includes buses, subways, and trains.

Buenos Aires is full of buses and anyone can take them for a small fee of about $0.25 US, and they go everywhere in the city. The following are a couple of problems with taking the bus.

1. Figuring out which bus to take. There are more than 100 different bus routes throughout the city. Luckily there is a nice website that can be used to find the correct route, that is, once you figure out how to use the website!

2. Finding change. There is a coin shortage in Argentina and the buses only take change. Stores will ask repeatedly if you have correct change and will sneer at you when you don’t. There are several card payment systems that have been installed in all realms of public transport in the last 5 years. On our last visit we obtained a SUBE card which helped us on our way.

3. If you’re in a hurry, forget it. Take a taxi! Traffic can be really bad in the city and the buses take forever.

The subway in Buenos Aires is fairly easy to take, but it is sometimes very crowded, only goes to certain locations, and can be a mecca for thieves who work together to target tourists. When my parents visited us in Buenos Aires their camera got stolen on the subway, despite being very vigilant.

Knowing these things, we decided that we would investigate train options this time around. We took the train the last time we were in the city and thought it was nice. Upon investigation, we discovered that there are not one, but three different train lines servicing parts of the city. Only one of these lines is included in the website (above) that shows the bus routes. We found the line that stopped near our destination and could get there and back for about $0.30 US each. Trains left every 15 minutes all day long and we could arrive at our destination in 11 minutes. The equivalent bus ride would have taken upwards of 45 minutes.

The train station at our destination

The three train stations are next to each other. Lining the streets outside the stations are vendors selling everything from donuts to alarm clocks to shoes. Beyond the vendors, in the street, is one of the most extensive bus stops I have ever seen. There were more than 5 lanes that buses could enter, which each had approximately 20 stops arranged adjacent to each other. It took up almost two whole blocks.

Only a small portion of the bus stop. Each covered area is the stop for a different bus line.

Here’s to public transportation making our lives easier and relatively hassle free!

 

Espiritu Sudaka 2012 Tournament – Video

Just a quick post for anyone wanting to see a bit more from the ultimate tournament we attended recently in Buenos Aires. This is a little film put together by one of the girls on our team. Enjoy!

Update: We’ve been told this video doesn’t work in the US due to copyright from the audio. Anyone else, enjoy!

Ultimate Tournament Espíritu Sudaka

We were in Buenos Aires a week and a half ago for the biggest ultimate frisbee tournament of the year in this part of the country. Asa and I met the rest of the team at a hostel in the center of the city shortly after they arrived on wednesday afternoon. It was an awesome hostel; close to all the major tourist attractions in the downtown area, they served breakfast, and always had hot water for the showers. They were also able to fit all of us into two rooms!

The tournament itself was held at Parque Sarmiento on the west side of the city and about an hour travel from our hostel via either a subway and bus ride or a train and walking.

The tournament schedule was as follows:

The tournament schedule had clinics on thursday designed to help players with their throwing and defensive skills. It was run by some of the organizers of the tournament. There was also a clinic designed to discuss spirit of the game. They discussed things like interpretation of the rules and how to deal with disagreements on the field in a sportsman-like manner. A much greater focus is placed on spirit of the game and camaraderie here than in the United States, although it still forms the foundation for the sport in the states.

Thursday ended with two showcase games; one women’s and the other men’s. The women’s showcase game was played between the first (and only) women’s team from Buenos Aires (formed last August) and the rest of the girls from the tournament. This gave the Buenos Aires team a chance to play together and start figuring out how to work as a team. The men’s showcase game was between the Argentinian men’s team and 2-3 all-stars from each of the other teams. The Argentinian team will be attending World’s this summer in Japan. I played in the women’s game and Asa, Juanma, Cabra, and Juan Diego played in the men’s game.

Friday and Saturday were pool play days. There was one pool of 5 teams and one pool of 4 teams. The team from Colombia had some travel troubles and had to stay home at the last minute, hence 9 teams instead of the planned 10. We drew a spot in the pool of 5 and had to play Brazzinga (the top team from Brazil) in our first game. It took us a bit to figure out what we were doing and managed to keep the score fairly close. It was a hard game to have first and we ended up losing.

Our second game of the day was against the Cadillacs, a team from Beunos Aires. We worked together really well, with everyone getting good play time and we won. This was the first game that Cimarrón has won as a team!!!

Saturday started out with a game again Del Rial, or the mustachios. They all had drawn on mustaches and were giving gifts of stick-on mustaches. This was a hard game to have first in the day. They had picked up a couple of the Columbian players that happened to make it to the tournament. They were young and fast and moved the disc really well. We tightened things up a bit and made some strategy adjustments and won Cimarrón’s second game!!

Our second Saturday game was against a team from Chile. We rotated everyone through the lines and tried a little zone. Cimarrón won it’s third game!!! This was enough to put us second in our pool and in a cross-over quarterfinals game against the Bahía Blanca team. This team consisted of people from Monte Hermoso where Matt went to play the beach tournament in February, so he knew most of them. The game was a bit rough with calls and was more aggressive than any of our previous games. We stuck with it and Cimarrón won it’s fourth game!!

That put us into the semifinals Sunday morning against Big Red, Buenos Aires’ best team and the team that had won the tournament last year. We came out ready to go. We started playing a zone defense with two ladies in the cup and were able to shut down their offense for a bit. We were down for most of the game and brought the score back to 10-10 with us on defense. We threw our zone and got a turn. Asa sent a deep shot to Juanma who was wide open. Juanma ran toward the back of the endzone and tried to “toe” the line, but to no avail. We set our zone again, but Big Red managed to work the disc all the way back up the field and score. Cimarrón lost the semifinals by one point.

We still had the third place game to play against Sol, the other Brazillian team, but we had worn ourselves out playing Big Red. Cimarrón lost the 3/4 game, racking in a fourth place showing at the tournament.

Cimarrón’s end record was 4 wins and 3 losses, a remarkable tournament for the team and all of it’s players! Other players and teams continually commented on the improvement in Cimarrón’s players and team strategy from last year’s tournament. There was also a general excitement that Uruguay was building it’s ultimate program and actively seeking ways to improve and participate in the region.

Cimarrón also managed to get some awards at the end of the day: Asa won male MVP for the tournament and Randi won Defensor Feminino.

Thanks needs to be given to the organizers of the tournament for a great show. Also, thanks to all of you on the blog who have been with us from the beginning, providing financial and emotional support for the team here in Uruguay. The tournament was a great culmination of two months of hard work and there’s no doubt that Cimarrón will continue to improve and participate in future regional events! Thanks again!

Tournament Practice!

The Uruguayan ultimate team will be playing in a big tournament in Buenos Aires, Argentina April 5-8. We have been helping them prepare by teaching them the fundamentals of the sport along with strategy and plays.

The team normally has practice on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons. Attendance on Tuesday and Thursday is usually scant because people have school and work commitments in the afternoon. Saturday is advertised as a “come one, come all” and learn about the sport of ultimate day. Amazingly, there is usually one or two people every Saturday that are new to the sport. Kids show up to learn as well as teachers, making ultimate an all-inclusive and enjoyable sports experience.

As the teams’ goal is to win some games and do well at the tournament, we as “coaches” suggested that we have a team practice on Sunday afternoon for all the people that will actually be playing at the tournament. We felt that it was important so that the team could learn how to play with each other, and it would be a good opportunity for learning tournament-specific information (like plays).

So last Sunday (March 18) we had our first practice as a team! Carlos was able to secure some nice fields for us to play on at the local military school/base. The fields were nicer than many of the fields in the United States that are used for practice and tournaments. Nice fields go a long way to running hard, laying out, and feeling like a team!

The practice was wonderful! Everyone was focused and eager to learn. We practiced movement and timing of the cuts from a vertical stack, cup movement for zone defense, and reading the disc in the air. It was really productive and everyone had a great time!

Juanma (Carlos' brother and fellow captain) reviewing zone defense for the team.

Chandro throwing upfield.

We had another practice this past sunday (March 25) to work on plays on the field and in the end zone.

We are super excited about the tournament in a couple weeks! There is no doubt about the potential of this team. They have improved immensely since we arrived and have transformed into a competitive ultimate team. There is also no doubt that when we leave they will continue to improve and grow the sport of ultimate here in Uruguay!

The “Ultimate” Opportunity!

Part of every great adventure is meeting awesome new people and this adventure is no exception. As most of you probably already know, the three of us are very involved in the ultimate frisbee community in the United States. We have all played on top tier teams and participate in local leagues and activities. When we decided we were coming to Uruguay, one of the first questions we had was “Do they have an ultimate team?” None of us could imagine 6 months without the sport and community that we love. Luckily, Matt did some research and found the Uruguay national team (the one and only team) and found Carlos.

Carlos heard of ultimate frisbee 3 years ago and has built a team of about 30 people that compete in 1 or 2 tournaments each year and even put on their own hats tournament last year. Carlos has negotiated field space for the Ultimate team to practice on three times a week and organizes community events to teach children how to play ultimate. He even has a small supply of fliers (with him at all times) describing the 10 steps to playing ultimate that he can give to people that are interested. Everyone that we have met on the team has been so welcoming and helpful.

Carlos has picked us up at our house and taken us to practice, which is good because we probably would never have figured out how to take the bus on our own. Carlos and his brother also helped Matt organize his weekend trip to a beach ultimate tournament in Argentina. Everyone has been awesome in suggesting things to do in the city and describing things about the city that would never have occurred to us. Just like any other ultimate community that we have been a part of, I have no doubt that the team will quickly become a home away from home and we’d like to help them in any way that we can!

We are starting to help them achieve their goal of becoming a competitive team (they’ve never won a game as a team) by teaching them as much as we can and helping lead practices. We have already seen improvement in the couple weeks we’ve been here.

Unfortunately they don’t have all the opportunities that a team from the U.S. might have. There are no local (i.e. anywhere in the country) ultimate frisbee companies that can provide discs or jerseys for this team. Uruguay, as a country, does a great job promoting local goods by requiring an enormous import tax on anything being shipped into the country. These import taxes can be up to 60% of the value of the goods. Because of this, getting ultimate related equipment or apparel is prohibitively expensive for the team.

We have arranged a generous donation of discs from the ADFC, Atlanta Flying Disc Club, to be shipped to the team. These will no doubt help the team in their practicing and community activities, as the discs that most of the players currently have are so scratched up they shouldn’t be played with.

Despite the donation of discs, the team still does not have jerseys. As with any sport, looking and feeling like a team is vital to the teams’ success. We would like to help the Uruguayan team look, feel, and play like a team by helping them get some jerseys. We’re doing our best from here, but we need your help. Please visit our Uruguyan Ultimate Jersey Fundraising page. Click the link or find it at the top right of our blog.

Let’s help support our ultimate communities across the world!