Monday, 4 August 2008

Day 2 - Columbia is the new Japan

We've made it through the first day of proper play and what a day it was. At a first glance, outside of the showcase matches, the schedule looked as if it was going to provide a series of expected results that would be far from news worthy. How wrong could that have been!

Columbia was the team to beat today. We personally witnessed the Columbian junior women's team defeat the USA junior women's team by a 3 point margin with full pitch rush celebrations for each and every point while simultaneously the Aussie junior girls took away the Canadian scalp. Those two victories left the junior girls division wide open.

In the open division we saw GB face off against the Columbian Open team and as tipped by Brian Gisel the tournament director for WUGC, they were more than a surprise package for the brits. In a controversial match filled with little disagreements the GB men offered a rocky start which the quick to go airbourne Columbians enjoyed. Great Britain tightened it up stretching the points difference at the tail end of the game to end it 11-7 in their favour. The left feeling a bit rattled, and more determined to return on Monday in force.

The New Zealand women's team seem to be taking advantage of what appears to be a mis-seeding (14th) by taking down everything in their path. They're going to continue to upset teams on their way to a potential quarter final.

Good news for us today was that Ultivillage seem keen to extend their webcast service by adding live webcasts each night from the Spirit Enclosure pitch showgames. That'll be a huge benefit to those at home and should be great fun for us as they want BlockStack back on the commentary. Spread the good word about that and register for UVTv asap at

Don't get me wrong here, we did some many expected results from, Japan destroying the Netherlands to USA's Sockeye taking Finland to school.

All in all a great day. We found the beer garden, talked with loads of people for the podcast and even got permission to film ultimate for the show again. Ep3 should be great.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Day one round up

What a great first day. Highlights include:-
  • Bangra lessons with 4000 people all doing the moves at the same time
  • 20 Mexican waves
  • 4 hour live web cast literally watched around the world
  • Philipino dancers
  • Parade of Athletes
Giving out an email address to the people watching the webcast wasn't something we had planned, it just seemed like a good idea. It turned out to be one of the best things about the opening day, for me personally.

Being able to get the instant feedback from people enjoying your work from Columbia, Dominican Republic, Malaysia, Netherlands, Great Britain, Australia, as well as right across Canada and the USA, was amazing. It really made the experience.

The opening game between GB and Canada was good fun to watch. I think GB surprised a few people. They certainly took points from Canada with some ease when things clicked.
Both teams made quite a few errors, GB just made a few more. Canada won 17-15.

Canadian handler Kira Frew and utility player Brandon Wong were the stand out players. GB had great performances from Mark Davin and Anna Wilkes, but there were no weak links. If GB eliminate the mistakes they can do amazing things.

Send us your comments if you saw the webcast.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Journey to Vancouver

Travelling has become less enjoyable for me lately, not quite sure what it is but I think it's a combination of, tiredness, crampedness, dread at what I might have forgotten or might go wrong, and massive guilt about the amount of carbon I'm releasing.

I was tired, and I was terribly worried about the US immigration, but after a drive down to London, a Taxi to terminal 4, check in, a drink and some duty free shopping, we crossed the threshold to board our flight to Seattle and settled into NWA's comfy and well appointed seats. Each seat had it's own media player so you could pick from around 30 movies to watch at your leisure, pause and rewind too.

When NWA released "Straight out of Compton" I thought they could do no better. But since Ice Cube and the boys have started their airline they've gone from strength to strength.

The real fun started when we got to the US border. For those who haven't visited the USA in the last 5 years, they now use both fingerprints and a photo of your face to make sure they know who you are. When Cat (my wife) scanned her finger the computer raised it's eyebrow a little and went hummm. Soon we had a large red card stuffed into Cat's passport and were sent to go and sit in the naughty kids room with the other dodgy looking characters.

Security Officer Webb found the situation quite amusing which is a good job really or we might have just been turned around. The story goes like this. Last time we visited the USA was in August last year, we travelled with my Brother and his wife Clare. At the immigration desk Cat and Clare's finger prints and photo had been mixed up. So when we arrived at Tacoma International Cat scanned her finger, and a crack anti terror squad was put on high alert. It took a bit of explaining and a photo of Clare on my phone to convince Officer Webb that we weren't a threat to National security and it was in fact one of his Boston based colleagues that had ballsed up royally.

Photo of Tom next to Microsoft signOur stay in Seattle was brief but very enjoyable. Our hosts Al and Xumin, are friends of Steve and Alli, and made us all feel very welcome. We had a trip to an American Dinner, and a drive around Redmond, home of Microsoft. I have a love hate relationship with Microsoft, but it was very cool to see the campus.

We entered a Top Gear style race from Seattle to Vancouver. Steve and Alli were catching one bus and we were on another. Both buses were timed to leave and arrive within 10 minutes of each other so we had a "loser buys the beer" bet which we lost by such a massive amount that Steve was already supping his third pint with a smug Jeremy Clarkson face on when we arrived.

Our Quick Shuttle to Vancouver was neither quick or capable of orbiting the earth, but give me chance to have a good chat with John Liddicoat from Australia open. Fascinating to hear his opinion on Aussie chances, Japanese threat, North American tactics etc.

UBC is a dream university Campus, watch the show for a guided tour. There is secure Wifi everywhere and kick ass net access in every room. A better venue for our needs is hard to imagine.

Last night we had more sushi than 4 people could eat, for $49 dollars. That's ridiculous. Awesome value.

Its a big day today, I'm so excited to see GB Mixed play Canada. We are also doing the commentary and interviews for the live webcast on Ultivillage. You need to register but that's free.