Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Canadian Ultimate.. Something to be proud of!!!

Nation,

If you got the chance to see the Worlds Open final, you saw an incredible match that capped off a great worlds for the whole country and the global ultimate scene.

What was your favorite moment? Was it the shocking results of the Columbians in junior play? Was it the full emergence of the Japanese as an elite country? Canada's results?

Canada had great results in most divisions. Winning Open gold was unexpected.. as the Americans were represented by current UPA dynasty Sockeye. As much as the outcome was shocking and the play of the Canadians was awesome, I was really impressed by the sportsmanship in defeat by the great American team. It says a lot about them.

Personally, seeing Derek Alexander come back from devastating injuries) that threatened his ability to do day to day tasks) and be a go-to offensive handler was pretty remarkable. We're starting to take for granted his ability again, but 'fans' should remember that he didn't have fully operable wrists, elbows and knees last year.

The Open team can thank it's selection committee for keeping the great Furious core and going out and combing the country for Key additions. Players from Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal all played a huge role in grabbing gold.

The Masters team selected significantly less players from outside their region (Toronto) and fell to a great USA team (DoG with some other stars from Condors.. etc). A silver medal in a strong worlds year is good, but in falling short of gold by two points, one wonders if there were some Masters players who could have helped make the difference.

Our Mixed team might have been our youngest Worlds entry ever (outside of juniors). The squad, comprised mostly of Vancouver's TFP, always seem to be underrated as a bunch of kids. However, they just keep winning titles. Most of the players could play in another 2 Worlds before the age of 28... which is crazy!

The Women's team collected bronze. Traffic won the right to represent Canada fair and square, beating what many thought to be a superior Capitals team at nationals in 2007. They had to face the evenutal champs in the semis, and that's the luck of the draw. I think the ladies have to be proud of the way they rebounded and took 3rd place so strongly.

Jr Open lost to a super strong USA team in the finals. I always wonder what will happen to these juniors, and are they in fact the leaders of tommorow. I am sure the coaching staff made sure that learning what it takes to be a champion in future worlds was taught to these players.

Jr Women finished fifth, and they along with the United States probably learned a valuable lesson about the world and the strength of future global rivals. We don't have a monopoly on talent anymore, so team selection, coaching, and planning will be key to winning in in 2010 and 2012.



Trends- Where is Canada Headed?


Here is a medal comparision from Turku to Vancouver
Open - Gold (2004) Gold (2008) Women's- Gold (2004) Bronze (2008) Masters- Silver (2004) Silver (2008) Mixed- Silver (2004) Gold (2008) Jr Open- Silver (2004) Silver (2008) Jr Women- Gold (2004) 5th (2008)

We seem to have replicated similar results from the last worlds, but these results provide just a shell of the real story. I think Canada has to pay close attention to our juniors performance, and take a look at the difference in pts score/pts against differential in each division.

We should be proud of Worlds 2008, but the work for 2012 begins now....



3 comments:

Daniel Fassina said...

Why do the Masters have to second guess their silver medal but the Women can be proud of their bronze?

I'm sure that having a strong juniors program can translate into good results in Open/Women/Mixed/Masters down the road but do you think that not having a strong juniors program will hinder future success in those categories? (I'm not saying that we don't have strong juniors).

What do you expect us to learn from looking at the differential between points scored and points allowed? Similar to the goals/assists stats, it doesn't really give you the whole picture.

Sport Management Steven said...

Hey Dan,

-From what I know, Toronto Masters decided to keep most of their roster from last year's nationals, and added a very select few members from outside (PK, DJ, Shaggy, You, etc). They reached out to less of the outside community than other teams. For this reason, they might have second guessed themselves when they fell oh so short. Or maybe they don't think that they can make selection mistakes. I'm not sure.

-Hopefully ultimate will remain a sport where Canada aims for gold first, but I always try to applaud the teams that bounce back to play well in the bronze. It's not an easy task. (See Canada in 1998 Olympics, men's ice hockey)

-Point differential from 2004 to 2008 might tell us a little about how the gap between North America and the rest of the world is closing.

-I agree about the goal/assist thing. It doesn't tell us much about winning. It tells us a lot about who scores a lot for respective teams. Notice how poorer teams have a heavy reliance on specific players?

Sport Management Steven said...

And I fully understand there are some masters players who might of helped, but were not worth the pain of dealing with!