by Reid Kleinberg
A couple of things right off the bat, I had no idea what to expect at this tournament, expectations were as they should always be at Ultimate tournaments, completely open to anything and everything. In the tournaments I’ve been to in the US I’ve seen- propane explosions, pants-less points, civil-war reenactments, drum circles, and multiple, multiple, impromptu dance parties… I digress.
At the Dutch Indoor Open National Competition day 1 in Eindhoven I was lucky enough to get to play in my first Dutch and overseas tournament with eventual number one ranked team (I never get tired of finding ways of mentioning that) , Ultimaas. While there may have been a (somewhat) lack in shenanigans, Ultimaas partook in a considerable amount of winning.
Our day started by meeting at the train station where, in classic form, it was only until ten minutes to before our train to Eindhoven left that the majority of the team showed up. Digression, my freshman year we had a player oversleep and miss the carpool and have to take a greyhound bus four hours to the tournament. While nothing as comical happened with our travel arrangements we did leave without one of our players who caught the next train and made it just in time before our first game. By Ultimate player standards a very well executed and efficient commute.
Upon arrival to Eindhoven we walked the short distance to the sports complex, found our way to the basketball courts and began to throw and warm up for what felt like hours. It was maybe actually an hour and a half and as other teams began to arrive I scouted (read: stared at in a menacing fashion) the competition to try and get a fix on everyone’s skill level. While the arriving teams broke into drills and warm ups, we dipped to the lobby of the sports complex for a team meeting to go over strategy and for coffee, caffeine is always the answer.
First game against Panic, I think the caffeine boost really paid off as we were all adrenaline straight from the go. A lot of pressure on defense by Ultimaas, which would be our staple throughout the day, and we forced some early turns which we were able to punch in for points. One thing became clear from that first game, in terms of intensity, confidence, and athleticism Ultimaas was heads and shoulders above the competition. Panic pushed us towards the end of the game as we lost focus and put some points on the board to close the score gap. Final Ultimaas 10, Panic 6
Some quick notes on play style- Indoor is typically fast paced, but the zone we threw a 2-1-2 with a middle force really put pressure on the other teams. Whether it was the lack of experienced handlers for our competition or our execution the zone was probably our biggest advantage as teams struggled against it all day.
Second game against Ultimus Prime was definitely our most competitive of the day. These guys were experienced and had a large team. They opened things off with a patient score on offense against our zone. The next few points were spotted with some technical, but reasonable, foul calls. After the opening points there was no looking back as we out fought and out finessed Ultimus Prime to a 9-3 win.
Third game was against Force Electro we went in guns blazing after our previous big win. These were from what I was hearing in the huddle mostly new players with one experienced and talented player. The game plan was simple, keep the disc away from their better player and capitalize on their mistakes. In a spirited and competitive contest we bested Force Electro 15-0.
I don’t remember much of the fourth game against UTKA Ultimate except that we won, and instead of flipping for pull I introduced both teams to pokey, which I found unbelievable that no one knew. We sent one of our rookies against theirs and it took about a dramatic five minutes before ours bested it theirs. After the (actual) game we played another spirit game version of charades which was quite amusing (UTKA was definitely the most spirited team we played that day so shout out to them!).
Some highlights of the day: Just making the train on time leaving Miki behind, Pregame coffee and strategy, winning all of our game, Leo catching everything in the end zone, my diet of the day consisting of a container of turkey and cheese, Tim constantly falling over from getting hit by discs (my bad Tim), David and Miki playing in their first tournaments, Sander and Paul being generally awesome, Danyel with the leadership and strategy (and some sick hammers), and post games beers. All being said I had a great time with some great ultimate players and friends and rocked the first day of competition for Dutch Indoor Ultimate Open Nationals.
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