Lecco: Ultimate’s Coming of Age

by | October 28, 2013, 5:00am 5

Just a heads up…

WUCC in Lecco will be a coming-of-age moment for the Ultimate community. This will be first Worlds in which space is truly at a premium. A quick history:

2002 WUCC in Hawaii: A far-from-Europe tournament that was among the largest World tournaments to date, if I recall correctly. The lack of European teams made spots available for 10 US teams, including one that did not make Nationals in the previous years. Anecdotally, demand was low enough that a team failed to show up (I know this because I spent an hour warming up for their first game only to be told at game time that they had skipped the tournament and forfeited their entrance fees).

2006 WUCC in Perth: A far-from-everyone tournament that was lightly attended by US teams (although well attended by wonderful Australians). Space was sufficiently available that a non-Nationals-qualifying team was able to attend. Also, demand was low due in part to the November tournament date.

2010 WUCC in Prague: Back to Europe and the accompanying high demand. This was the first time that North American teams were forced to battle for WUCC spots, as I remember vividly from an absolute battle with Doublewide at USAU quarterfinals. The tournament opened extra space late, which helped to alleviate massive pressure for some bids. Anecdotally, Furious George did not attend when their governing body could not find an extra bid for them after they had skipped their national tournament.

This brings us to 2014. Lecco is reachable for European teams, so demand for WFDF spots is at an all-time high. Around the world, there are teams from countries that may be interested that have never before entered a WUCC. Relatively low euro values may make this doable for more teams. The double-dip of the WUJC two weeks before (in the same location under the guidance of the same organizational team) may increase the draw.

As a regressive punishment for skipping WUGC in Sakai, the Swiss governing body has been granted only a single bid. Think about that for a second: for the first time in Ultimate’s history, an extremely consistent and competitive team is going to be shut out of a WUCC tournament just a few hours from their home country. If you see this as a good moment for the growth of our sport, then this is awesome (and you are right). If you stress about the equitable distribution of those bids and the purposes that this tournament services, then this is worrying (and you are also right).

This isn’t a call to arms or anything like that. It’s not an incredibly important milestone. But it is a change.

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