There's nothing more fun than spending a weekend at a tournament playing with your teammates. You get to explain ultimate to strangers on planes, explore new cities, stay with family, play ultimate all day, take ice baths together, and get to sleep before your normal bedtime. At least, that's what we normally do. Our trip to Eugene this past weekend proved to be just that and so much more.
Going into this tournament, we knew we were going to be shorthanded. Neither of our coaches would be able to attend and we were going to have a total of 13 ladies, which meant a lot of playtime for those 13 sets of legs. So, we started hydrating early, sending each other photos and videos of ourselves chugging our water bottles, challenging our teammates to do the same. Thursday night's practice was spent reviewing our systems to make sure we were all on the same page. Friday finally came after little sleep (too anxious and excited), and our first tournament weekend began.
We are incredibly lucky to have family willing to take us in for the weekend, despite the smell of our stinky cleats. Sim's family made sure we had a place to stay, a car to drive ("Killer" the truck), and a beautiful reservoir to swim in. One crew of ladies got up to Eugene Friday morning and spent the day exploring, getting field food, and preparing for the weekend. Meanwhile, another group was stranded in the Phoenix airport for 5 hours waiting for their flight, but made the most of it with beers, snacks, and smiles. They finally arrived at the house when the sun was up at 5am Saturday morning. These ladies got a relaxing hour and a half sleep and somehow managed to be ready to play four tough games of ultimate that day!
Saturday morning, we arrived at the fields with our 13 ladies. The sun was out, the weather was beautiful, and we had a full day ahead. We only had one familiar opponent on the agenda, so each game was going to be an exciting, new experience. We had a great first game against Wendigo (Vancouver). We were able to get points on the board early and converted on turnovers, winning 13-1. Next, we had our Southwest powerhouse, Fury. We were very pleased with our first half performance, using some quick handler movement to get a few points, and going down 3-7 at half. In the second half, Fury utilized their dynamic offense and tough D to get the next 6 points, taking the game to 13. In our third game against Seattle Underground, we lost 4-13. We had some great looking points, breaking through their zone a few times, but felt that we could have done a lot better than we did. A fourth round bye allowed us to refuel, do some yoga, and get some shade. Then off to our final match of the day, Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, a new team out of the Bay Area that we were really looking forward to playing (mainly because their name rivals with ours). It was an excellent last game for us. We utilized our deep throws a little more and were able to run our offense more smoothly, getting continue throws to cutters when we had difficulty with that early in the day. We took the game 8-5 and can't wait to face them again later this year.
After finishing our fourth game, everyone was feeling pretty zonked. We did some cool down yoga to stretch out and headed to the other fields where the showcase game was being played between the U23 National Teams from USA and Canada. I would tell you more about the game if we actually got to watch part of it, but our minds and stomachs were set on getting food. We had an awesome Vietnamese dinner, provided by the tournament, and spent the rest of the time enjoying the lovely beer garden they made. Noam had worn a fit-bit type bracelet throughout our games and informed us that we ran 11 miles on Saturday! With only 13 ladies playing, we were definitely feeling it by the end of dinner, so we went back to our house to immediately take an ice bath in the reservoir. What's nice about the Northwest, is that the sun doesn't set until after 9pm during the summer. We had the beautiful lake to ourselves while we took full advantage of letting the freezing water tend our sore muscles and sunburnt shoulders. Then it was a carton of mint chip ice cream and our sleeping bags finally called us to bed.
Sunday morning meant pre-quarters to decide bracket play. We went 2-2 on Saturday and we kept our seed as #3 in our pool of 5 teams, placing us in a crossover game against the #2 team from another pool, U23 Team Canada. They had a much larger team than us with much younger players, but were able to open up our game a bit with some deep looks. After our loss to them, we faced off against another Canadian team, Zephyr. We had discussed how to fix some of our cuts downfield and our flow on offense, making for a much better game. In the end, we lost 5-9, which meant we had to drive to another field to play our final team, Loco, from Seattle. Off to the turf field we went, where "Killer" wasn't giving Sim the keys back (turns out a car needs to be in Park in order to take the keys out), and the temperature seemed to rise 10 degrees once we stepped foot onto the turf. By this point, every one of us was feeling the exhaustion of the weekend, but we took advantage of being able to "play while tired," as we say at practice. One of the hardest things is playing while being physically exhausted, without making mental errors on the field. However, I was very proud that everyone left everything they had on the field and finished out the weekend with a smile.
We walked away from Solstice feeling that we made a lot of improvements over the weekend, but we know we still have a long way to go to reach our full potential. This season, we have such a wide range of experience on our team, from ladies who have travelled around the world to play and ones who have played at nationals, to ladies who have only played league and who are joining a club team for the first time. That's the beauty of our team this year. We're developing. We're building. We're always learning more about ourselves, our teammates, and how we can work better as one unit. Now, we can't wait for our next tournament to see how far we've progressed and to bond even more as a team.
Our Weekend Totals
Games played: 7
Miles ran: 19
Ladies playing: 13
Hearts painted on thumbnails: 26
Dips in the reservoir: 3
Items lost: 2
Tattoos given to other teams: 14
Packets of fruit snacks eaten: 80
Wow, our 2015 season is just around the corner and Venom has been anxiously preparing! We just had our off season fundraiser, an awesome indoor hat tournament! Thank you to everyone who came out and participated! We had a blast and hope you enjoyed playing ultimate, eating burritos, playing lawn games, and our beer garden! Also, we raised enough to pay for our first bid fee of the season! Wear those Venom tattoos with pride :)
Up next, we have our tryouts! Tryouts will be at Mansfield on May 9 from 11-1. Please come for a day of awesome women's ultimate, even if you're not sure about club this summer. Be sure to bring water, a dark and a white jersey, cleats, and a smile!
We can't wait to start the season off strong! Stay tuned for details after tryouts!
Last night we had our first Venom fundraiser! We had more than 50 players from Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, and more! Everyone came together at Himmel Park just as the sun was setting around 7 to get things started. After everyone registered and found out what team they were on, we geared up in all our glow sticks and started playing! There was a beautiful full moon, but it actually made it a little more difficult to see the disc and other players. Everyone played three games and had a blast chasing that light up disc in the dark. If you have never been able to play in a glow tournament, I highly recommend it. It looks like Tron out there because you can't tell who anyone is and all you see are glow necklaces and bracelets floating and dancing around. Trying to guess the genders of the players on the line across the field is an added challenge, but it makes for a hilarious game. After the games, we decked out our bikes in the leftover glow sticks and had a glowing bike gang over to La Cocina for some dancing and fun to end the night.
We're so appreciative of all the support from the community at our tournament and want to thank everyone who came out to play. Venom is looking forward to our indoor tournament and extravaganza later in July so stay tuned for details!
Wow, what an unforgettable night! Last night we hosted our first (of hopefully many) bike gangs. The theme: 80s, 90s, NEON. It was an absolute blast! We had lots of Tucson ultimate friends come out to join us in the fun. Good friends, fun biking, and ending the evening with dancing made for an incredible event and a great excuse to get everyone together. Thanks to everyone who rode with us and we hope to see you at the next one! Here are some pictures from our little photo shoot at Deb's house.
We are so excited for our upcoming season! This year, we decided to get started really early with our tryout process to get a jump start on our season. We were stoked with how many ladies came out to our open tryouts a few weeks ago. We had ladies from Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff this year! After our closed tryouts, we are happy to announce that we have 20 amazing ladies on our roster for the 2014 season. Check out the "Roster" page for full details. This year, we're hoping to attend two or three tournaments before the series begins in September. Venom is also going to be hosting a few fundraising tournaments, along with other fun events, like bike gangs, in order to get the Arizona ultimate community involved. Lastly, we're looking forward to using our new social media outlets to keep everyone in the loop and help build up women's ultimate!