SushiLog

Wondering, wandering, and making sense of the world.

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Playing in the world championship for Ultimate Frisbee (I’m not kidding)

The center field, not all fields are like this (there are 17 fields)

I am currently in Royan, France for the World Championship of Beach Ultimate (WCBU), a biennial event that brings the best Ultimate players in the world… or something like that.

“Wait, Sushi, you’re saying that you’re on the Japanese national team?”

Yes. I am playing on the Japanese Mixed Masters team. I am actually representing my country in SPORTS!

“What the heck is that?”

Ultimate is normally played in three divisions, Open (anyone can play which means almost all guys), Women, and Mixed where both genders play on one team at the same time (the only team sport to do this that I know of).

“And Masters?”

That’s the division where you have to be over 33 in order to play.

Parade around town before the opening ceremony

“… Is it actually competitive?”

Depends… The best players almost always play on the Open or Women’s team, not Mixed, and older people who can still keep up with the young ones play in the regular division, not Masters. Besides Grandmasters (where you have to be older than… I dunno, Bon Jovi?), Mixed Masters is the easiest division to play in, but it’s still very competitive with some very over-the-hill experienced players taking part.

“Did you even try out?”

Not at all. In fact, we barely had enough people to put together a team. Like many Mixed teams, we had a hard time finding enough girls, and I even contacted friends in different countries asking if there was a player that would be eligible. Definitely not how you would imagine a national team being put together. We also have eleven players, much less than the fourteen or fifteen that most teams are bringing.

“I’m guessing you have no chance of winning?”

The Europeans have an advantage since it’s much easier for them to get to France both in cost and time, and they have many, many more vacation days than us Japanese folks. In fact, it’s really hard for Japanese people to take so much time off and attend a tournament like this. This isn’t the best Mixed Masters team that Japan can field (I definitely won’t be on that team), and I don’t think we’ll be winning too many games, but we’ll definitely be having fun. How can you go wrong being on the beach in France after all?

“That’s true, it does sound like a good excuse to be on the beach.”

Well, we are going to be running around on the beach, not just hanging out… but yes, it’s a nice time off from the crazy 10 city, 16 flight, 27 day work trip that I just finished. It will also be cool to catch up with old friends from around Europe who are at the tournament. I already met some and I’m so happy they didn’t forget me!

“Will the results be online?”

Yes. You can check them out at http://wcbu2017.org/ and they even have personal stats at http://live.wcbu2017.org/player-stats/mmix/jpn (I’ve asked them to not use my real real name, but I can’t seem to get this changed). Furthermore, one of our games will be broadcasted online on day 4, this Wednesday!

The game is at 14:50 France time which is 05:50 in California and 21:50 in Japan (Okay, I don’t expect any of my American friends to be watching). The link for the livestream is: http://www.fanseat.com/event/3598

I think you have to sign up for a one month free trial to access this stream. If you just want to check out what beach ultimate looks like, the games on field 1 is available without any extra steps at: http://live.wcbu2017.org/

Some girl wanted to take a picture with us during the parade

“Okay, this look fun, how do I start playing?”

Are you in Kyoto or Osaka? Perfect! Come join us for one of our practices. Locations and details are on our website at http://www.kyoto-ultimate.com/ and please like our Facebook page while at it: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=kyoto%20ultimate%20鴨川ビックルズ.

Not in Kyoto or Osaka? Just Google your hometown and Ultimate Frisbee and you should find something. In big cities in countries where Ultimate is popular, there should be regular pickup games where you can just show up and start playing. In smaller cities or places where Ultimate isn’t so common, you’ll probably find a team nearby that you could join, and most teams are very open to beginners (how else would you start?).

“Any last words?”

Yes. Ever heard of Currier Islands? No? Check out their Wikipedia page. It’s the most Ultimate thing in the history of Ultimate. I swear you won’t be disappointed.

Also, so many thanks to my teammates who made this possible, especially the captains. I never, ever imagined I would be playing on a NATIONAL team for Ultimate.

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