Saturday, July 3, 2010

Night Before Competition Starts

Tomorrow: up at 7:30am. Coffee: we have some in the apartment. This is important as the bagel and espresso shop downstairs with some extraordinarily delightful coffees opens daily at 10am.

10am. Evidently that's morning time in Praha 1, near Old Town Square, close to Powder Tower. 10am. That's when the city starts to wake up. Every day, not just weekends.

The hired minivan taking the team of 20+ wives, girlfriends, children and Clayton departs 8:45am. Game time 10:30 versus Helsinki.

Then 2:30pm scheduled game versus Surly. Or is it? With all three American teams in the same pool for the Masters division (out of 8 teams total in the pool) and given the fact that Surly won UPA Nationals two years ago, lost in the finals this year, they were seeded behind GLUM from Canada who finished 5th at Nationals this year and bottom half in 2008. So on one schedule it says we play Surly, on another schedule it says GLUM. They may have switched the seedings to move up Surly, which would make an awful lot of sense for everyone.

However, as Jane Carlen has aptly noted before, "no one cares about Masters." This, of course, is a fact. At least from a spectator point of view.

6:30pm highlight game broadcast live is Women's Hot Beaches (Czech Republic) versus Storm (Montreal).

I went to the cozy stadium today to see where those featured games will be. It's nice. Maybe room for 5-8,000 spectators I'm guessing? One berm side with built-in stands and a long row of press boxes above it. A clear view of the turf field. An orange running track encircles the field.

All around the stadium are smaller field areas which will be lined for ultimate. There are 12 additional fields surrounding the stadium, all on various levels, like conjoining Vietnamese rice paddies.

This is the Vrsovice area, one of two distinct cross-town areas for the tournament. The other is on the "Castle side" of the river and a 30 minute bus ride away. In between is downtown Prague. We've got the city surrounded.

The next few days my bloggotyping will join in with the WUCC newsletter, both online and printed. You can see the link on the right under "Worlds Main Link."

If anyone reading this wants to add Worlds blogs, contact me. its mrtonyleonardo AT yahoo DOT com.

Also: feel free to text me. I have a USA phone number and its easy and free. Email and I will give you my phone number if you don't already have it or didn't already get it from the women's stall at Tenjune.

And finally: a tidbit rumor picked up today was that BULA, the Beach Ultimate Lover's Association, would be joining WFDF as a separate but equal entity (or something like that) and that USA Ultimate was taking a strong interest in the Beach game, anticipating a possible future when the Beach game could become a very marketable and successful part of USA-U. Details to be ironed out, i suppose, but this is basically something I have been advocating (and others, certainly) for about 6-7 years now. So maybe its time has finally come.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Heslo Odeslat Nové?

So apparently when you try to log in to the Blzogger-mat when you are overseas, Google will read your location and begin responding in the native written word, in this case Czech.

It took me awhile to navigate the Dovnis and Odeslats and çûvrk-type but here I am. And my bitching about book sales in my post yesterday? The gods have bitchslapped me by losing my luggage with 60 books. So now I don't know what the F is up, but it feels like I did something to deserve it.

Cleats and shorts, by the way, i failed to mention always bring shorts with you as well, were with my carry-on.

Tomorrow I will have some team and scouting report updates, plus some more about the tournament from the inside after I meet with Carlos who is charge of all the media.

At the gate in Dusseldorf awaiting the plane to Prague I ran into Andrew Lugsdin who told me about a few things I had an idea about but didn't fully grasp. One was that the Furious team and Vancouver players in general tend to skip Club Worlds, preparing instead for the WUGC Worlds and the World Games, which they have been going to, more or less, every other year for 10+ years. The exceptions he said were 97 Club Worlds in Vancouver and Hawaii in 2002 (2001? 2000?).

Lugsdin almost picked up with Skogs, who wanted to basically combine with GOAT and have 7 or 8 players from GOAT on their team (and Lugsdin from FG) but WFDF put the kibosh on that and limited the Swedes to 3 international pickups.

So Lugsdin is with Mephisto, out of Montreal.

He was also talking about the comparison/difference between traveling to Colombia with Furious George to play in their tournament and going to the Dream Cup in Japan. On both occasions the team was invited and local players knew the team well -- he said he signed a lot of autographs. He talked about how fast and exciting the Colombia game is and how much the game is played by the youth and is developed in the school system.

Could Colombia/Venezuela be the first countries to have a semi-pro ultimate league? Quite possibly.

Seems like a pretty good thing happening down there. Maybe I'll see if I can get him to stop in on the broadcast and say a few words on Monday when we do Doublewide versus Bogotá.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Packing For Prague

Obligatory link to newspaper story on ultimate:

Packing list:
ultimate T-shirts to trade
Nail Clippers
Backup cleats?
ACE bandage
Flax Seed+ Acidopolous in antacid container
Tylenol, advil, alleve
Witch hazel?
Contact solution

I'm hauling/smuggling/importing 60 books. At a half-pound each, thats 30 pounds of yellow gold. My hope is that it's possible to sell these at the tournament and therefore afford to pay for beer. Beer is the profit margin on book sales, by the way, for any budding author out there.

In the states, it usually translates to something like a pint of Bud Light Lime at BW3s. Or in my case, three 24oz cans of Busch at the local bodega.

In the states if I bring out 10 books and sell them each for 10 dollars and don't lose, misplace, or give away any of them, i might pocket about 20 bucks. The key here is that i've almost never been to a tournament where I've sold 10 books or more.

When I flew to USA College Championships, i brought 8 books to sell. Then I left them in the plane. Haven't been recovered yet. So that's a loss.

In any case I am pretty sure the publisher is doing ok. I'm selling the books, he sits in a canoe somewhere, automatically has the warehouse send them out to Amazon, B&N or wherever and they send him checks. Actually, I order books with my half-off-cover-price and pay for them on my AMEX. Since the publisher put the price at $14, i get the books for $7 (recently re-negotiated to $6). Then add shipping them to me. Then realize that no one in their right mind would buy this book for $14. It's not even in color!

So I sell them for $10. But for Worlds, I'm going for the gusto: 12 euro. Comes with a free can of Busch. in Prague, that has to be special, right?

Don't worry by Friday night all the books will be discounted to 'cost + Staropramen pint.' And I hear the beer is cheap over there.

Monday, June 28, 2010

More Worlds 2010 Pre-Tourney Hype

It's 1-0 Netherlands over Slovakia at the half. It's the World Cup and these sports teams are here to represent their nation. We can learn a little bit about a country just by watching a few soccer games.

Everything I know about the world, however, comes from ultimate.

A team from Bratislava, the Slovak capital, came to Paganello one year. I got to play against them, talk with their captain, find out a little bit about the split of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. For instance, Vaclev Havel, president of the time and internationally known as one of our generations' more remarkable 'philosopher-kings' was against the split. Prague and the West had more capital and prestige, perhaps, but the Slovakian side wanted to do it and so it was done.

The Slovaks were nice people and it was great to play against a team from what was then a brand-new country. And the Czech team at Paga always had the girls hitting the guys with a bundle of pussy-willow sticks so that they would stop jerking around and come around to fertilizing already. A typical Easter tradition in Prague, of course.

The Netherlands, well, we know Red Lights of course, and the Dutch women's team that made the finals of Paga one year was extraordinarily tall. This means something. Or maybe nothing.

Sure Brazil has a great team but their ultimate scene is dicey at best. Not nearly as large or cohesive as Venezuela and Colombia. Is there a connection? Can a country be good in both sports?

But I digress. We need to hype hype hype the tournament because if it isn't talked about, then WUCC 2010 will have never happened.

With exception, of course, to the 130+ teams in attendance. Which is sort of the point of ultimate sometimes, isn't it? It's for the players. And if you're reading this, chances are you are a player yourself.

So then -- tune in to watch live after catching up on your reading at the main website.

Live broadcasts on July 4, 5, 6, 8 9 & 10. Check it out, hype or not, and whether or not you know the teams playing. Because maybe by watching you just might pick up on a few new things.