With last year’s announcement that the 2016 Ultimate Frisbee nationals, the Canadian Ultimate Championships, would be hosted in Edmonton, there was a lot of excitement and interest by local Ultimate players, myself included, wanting a chance to be a part of a nationals in our home town. This spring, Edmonton ran try outs and formed the city’s inaugural women’s masters’ team: Throwback. I was excited to have made the team and have the chance to play with a group of women with so many years of competitive playing experience.
Being that it was our first year as a team, the goal set out in the pre-season was to win regionals for the one spot to represent Alberta at nationals, and finish in the top four. At our first practice, this seemed a big enough feat, but as the season went on and we played some tournaments, our team started to gel. A mid-season highlight was a narrow miss by one point for first place at the Vancouver tournament, Flowerbowl. Whispers then started amongst the other teams that we could podium at Nationals.
As August approached, our regionals behind us, we knew we’d be representing Alberta, but most importantly to all of us, Edmonton at nationals. As the season rolled along, more and more of us felt that we had the ability to not only finish in the top four, but at the top. Ultimate Canada then seeded us second for nationals in our division. The word was out and now we wanted that first place finish.
Nationals started with round robin play where our team did well losing only to the first place seed, Eclipse, from Ontario. We knew going into our final day of play we’d be playing in the semi-finals. What we didn’t except was such a close game. Quebec’s X-Squad came to play and more than halfway through the game we were down by three points. With what I can only describe as just downright awesome grit and determination, our team was able to make back that deficit and then some to win the game by one point in sudden death, what we in the Ultimate world call winning by Universe. Onto the finals. Our team knew that at worst we’d finish with a silver but the gold medal was calling to us. After such a fiery semi-finals, we were charged and ready for the finals against the first seed, Eclipse. Points were traded back and forth, but we pulled ahead taking half and then steamed through to win 15-11 in the end! Adding to our excitement, the rest of the Edmonton teams finished strongly as well. The men’s masters’ team, Carbon, and the women’s team, Flurry, both finished with bronze medals and the men’s team, Alberta Flatball Club finished fifth, one place ahead of their seed going into nationals!
What a journey it’s been. Having been to nationals before with other teams, I never thought when I started this season that I’d be finishing it as a gold medalist of the Canadian Ultimate Championships, and I couldn’t think of a better group of women to share it with. With this win, our team has qualified for the Pan American Club Championships being held just outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina in November 2017. In the meantime, we hang our cleats up for a well-deserved post season break :).
Learn more about Ultimate here: Ultimate Canada
Joyce Wong, PT