Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Collection of Cali Thoughts

Stray dogs in Cali respect and use the lights to cross or not cross the street. Tomas told me this and like magic I saw it happen before my eyes.

Matanga, one of Bogota’s top club teams, translates to "yoinks" from The Simpsons.

Flota Chancle, a Cali open club team translates roughly to: "a stoner slacker dude who doesn’t want to pay for anything."

These name from competitive club teams remind me of American teams like “Burning Couch” or “D’oh” or “Truckstop Glory Hole” or… well, about a thousand of ‘em. it also reminds me that ultimate is universal and its goofy culture isn’t inclusive to any one country.

A group on Flota Chancle are super fans of Deportivo Cali, the local futbol team. They’re like hooligans but not as violent. You can challenge other team fans to fights but you can also turn down a fight if you want to. As long as you don’t have a tattoo of the team — the tattoo means you’re down to fight and pretty much that means it’s on.

Every single Gold, Bronze and Silver medal at the 2013 World Games in Cali, Colombia reads “The Word Games 2013 Cali.”

Some teams in Colombia bend the rules to win and spirit can't stop them because there’s no enforcement policies in place. In other words, it’s the 1990s in the United States.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) made 1000+ green frisbees to give away to athletes who could pass a doping quiz at the catering tent. The discs, made in China by some unknown company, fly quite nicely! (see the rough One Take Crick Shot videos here and here)

Here are my notes from the Opening Ceremony. I walked with Team USA and filmed parts of it with my iPhone and a fisheye lens (see here on facebook)

-- Big crowds all around stadium
-- There’s a corridor for cars outside the entrance and all the teams walk on one side while thousands of Caliuenos line up on the other, separated by those metal police fence-like barriers. The lulls between roars of excitement from the crowd are soon roar-generating when:
-- Dance sport competitors jump into the corridor of asphalt and start dancing, flipping, spinning, whirling and girling.
-- The USA ultimate team jumps in and start throwing hammers and hooking blades
-- A ginormous former USA sumo wrestler climbs the fence and “sumo-charges” to the crowd who roar and giggle in approval. Then he takes his shirt off to expose a juggernaut of bouncy flesh and the crowd roars again.
-- Now we are inside the stadium and circling the track and the 50,000 people there seem to geniunely be loving it. Ryan Farrell jacks a backhand deep into the crowd from the point of view of the television cameras. Sweet action.
-- A politician, the VP of Colombia, has a speech after Jacques Rogge, the soon-to-be-retiring IOC Chairman-Dude. The VP starts off with this rumbly accent and is roundly booed and cheered at the same time leading to some immediate tensions in the air. But he’s a pro. Soon his speech, which mentions “Cali” about thirty times including calling Cali the “new sports capital of South America,” crescendoes into a powerful repetition of Cali this and Cali that and Cali Cali Cali and the crowd has no choice but to approve of the pandering. “Amigos amigas compaƱeros Cali!”
-- A speaker, a karate coach, reads the “coaches oath” which is a lot like ultimate’s Spirit of the Game.
-- He’s followed by a squash coach who delivers a similar speech about the impartiality of the judges and the code of the game.
-- Then an IWGA guy basically praises the spirit of SOTG
-- The ceremony routines are typical: dances, drums, singers, acrobatic routines, etc. But one thing to note: the Colombians are by no means Cirque de Soliel or even Argentinian. They are strictly mediocre when it comes to circus tricks.
-- There is a jump rope segment. Jumping rope is not a Word Games event, FWIW.
-- It's entirely possible Cali will reject the current governor because the world games show was not entertaining.
-- They bring out the circus high chair jump and conveniently the lights to out.
-- Did rugby even walk?!? I couldn’t tell. Maybe.
-- Sumo: 15 countries represented
-- Inline hockey: 8
-- The USA Wakeboarding and Waterskiing dudes and chicas never got the memo to wear something stylish from Ralph Lauren like the other USA teams. The ultimate team, for instance, all wore those Polo jackets we saw at the Olympics. They were originally made for the Paralympic team, according to the inside labels. I think all of the sports here wore hand-me-down duds.
-- The second ginormous American sumo wrestler is clearly the most popular guy at the World Games.
-- Billiard champ Jeanette Lee, aka “The Black Widow” is here. She’s talking to Cara and Tank right now I think.
-- Finally!! One salsa/puente song gets the crowd going. It’s salsa or nothing here in Cali. Forget the silly circus shit.

Robert “Nob” Rauch, the WFDF President who spends a fair amount of time in South America, told me that ten years ago in Cali the (drug-cartel-friendly, leftist-guerilla group) FARC “controlled everything outside centre city. You would be carjacked, period. Bloomberg News had a kidnapping index for Colombia and the reported number was 450 a month in country of 15 million. That’s just the number of reported kidnappings.”

Cricket, Neeley and I pay a visit to Cricket’s Sports Chiropractor friends working the korfball contests. Cricket tells them we are on the wushu team.

Ultimate’s Manifest Destiny is made clear time and time again in every country I visit for ultimate: this sport firmly believes that one day it will be known to every man and woman on the planet and will be well-respected. I will add that ultimate players worldwide have a missionary zealotry that will not be abated any time soon.

If you ask what a cholado is in Cali, a stranger and his daughter will guide you and your friends to a cholado stand and buy each of you a cholado.