Friday, October 28, 2011

Un torneo en Rivas-Zaragoza

You may want to read Part 1: Ultimate in Madrid before continuing with this post.

Two Thursdays ago after our second game of the fall league, I was told the driver of the car in which I'd be going to the tournament, and the location/time of our car's departure from Madrid.  An email went out that night with all of the cars and passengers, and locations/times of their departures.

My car was to leave at 6.20pm on Friday afternoon (2.30pm - 7/8pm is afternoon in Spain, then night.  Yes, that means at noon and even at 1pm you would still say "good morning").  I found my driver and his car at the predetermined location.  There was another car going to the tournament that was also waiting in the same spot.  At about 6.30 our car was waiting for two more people.  The other car had all of its passengers and decided to leave, since someone needed to arrive before 10.30pm to do the check-in at the hostel.

A few minutes later the other two passengers in my car had arrived, and we start driving out of the city.  About five or ten minutes after leaving, our driver received a message via Wassap (an online messaging service that many Spaniards use in place of text messages, since you only have to have monthly internet on your phone instead of paying for every text that you send).  Our driver let out some curses, and something about an accident.

Then I noticed the traffic slow down and we were nearly to a stand-still.  Thirty seconds later two police cars with their sirens on attempted to make their way through the tight, slow traffic.  I heard our driver say to the front-seat passenger something about how he had told the first car to leave Madrid that we needed to hurry to get to the hostel by check-in time.  The front-seat passenger told our driver you can't think of those things, that it wasn't his fault.  What wasn't his fault?

As more messages were received via Wassap, and through conversation between the driver and front-seat passenger, it sounded more and more like something had happened to the first car that left Madrid.

And then we drove past the accident.  Sure enough, there were five of our players standing on the side of the road next to the car that had left Madrid five minutes before us.  There were two other cars involved - one in front and the other behind our teammate's car, in the far-left lane.  Behind the third car were the two police vehicles that had passed us earlier.  Our driver pulled over to the far left lane in front the first car for a few seconds, but then decided not to stop for fear that the police wouldn't allow it.  

So we pulled back into traffic and took the next exit on the right off of the highway.  We waited at a gas station for over an hour in total, calling the other cars and trying to figure out what to do.  Our car had room for one more person, as did another car that eventually joined us at the gas station.  We also had to figure out who was already in Rivas, and ask them to do our check-in.  In the end, two of the girls from the accident-car each joined one of the two cars waiting at the gas station.  The other three from the accident went back to Madrid and decided to drive in early Saturday morning.

I guess what happened is that the car in front of them braked for no apparent reason on the highway, so our teammate braked as soon as he could and only slightly tapped the first car.  However, the car behind our teammate's car didn't slow down soon enough, and rammed into the back end of their car, which caused the majority of the damage.  (Don't get worried parents, I always wear a seat belt -- especially while in Spain, and I rarely travel in car here.  You should wear your seat belt too, Andrew!)

It was a very unexpected and unfortunate beginning to our trip, but everyone was okay.  We ended up leaving from that gas station located a few minutes outside of Madrid near 8pm.  The car ride felt longer than I'd expected.  We got to Rivas sometime between midnight and 1am and quickly dropped off our bags at the hostel.

I was really excited when we first drove up to the hostel and I saw this sign, since I worked at a Hostelling International hostel in Madison a few summers ago.

We then ate dinner at a place where the Zaragoza ultimate team was eating.

Dinner in Rivas-Zaragoza
We drove back to the hostel after dinner, and I was super tired and ready to sleep; I would need the energy for the games the following day.  But alas, this is Spain!  Mostly everyone was going out for drinks, and thanks to team bonding (or playful threats from the captain: "If you're on this team, you will come out!") I went with them.

Melanie (Germany), Maria (USA), Hannah (Canada), Me, Caroline (USA)
I only had one drink, and left with the group that returned to the hostel the earliest - yet this didn't happen until 3am.  

We brought two teams with us from Madrid.  The first team had a game at 10am on Saturday, and my team didn't play until 11am.  This didn't really matter though, as we all woke up around 7:30am to eat breakfast, pay for our beds, and check-out of the hostel.

It was great to play on grass instead of our usual Madrid fields of sand/dust.  I had no idea how many games I'd end up playing that day, nor the schedule.

Rather than play to 13 points, the games in this tournament were 40 minutes long with no halftime.  Halfway through the Quijote - Almudena's game at 10am, my team (Quijote - Aluche) started warming up for our 11am game.  Since I was so tired from lack of sleep, that first game left me even more physically exhausted.  I was not expecting to hear what I did when we finished our first game: Our second game began immediately.

Look, grass!
We were running low on water, but we started and somehow I made it through another game.  After that second game both of the Quijote (Madrid) teams had a break for lunch.  We refilled our water bottles from sinks in the bathroom and ate bocadillas de jamon and fruit.  Each team got a homemade tortilla española.

Quijotes - Aluche eating lunch

More Quijotes eating lunch

After lunch my team had another game.  Then another.  And then our final game.  Three games in a row with no breaks!  It was exhausting, but nicer to go into it blindly.  Had I known I'd be playing so many consecutive games from the beginning, my mind may have played tricks on me.

Quijotes (Almudena) vs. Quijotes (Aluche)

In my first frisbee post, I wrote about how we forced "grafiti" or "árboles" where we play on Saturdays.  At the tournament, we forced either "pueblo" (town) or "río" (river).

Most of the post-game routine was similar to what I'd experienced at our fall league games in Madrid, minus an unexpected addition.  After our first tournament game that morning, players walked around to shake hands (or so I thought).  A guy from the opposing team stuck out his hand, so I shook it, and then he leaned in for some besitos -- the kisses on each cheek.  I was not expecting this at all, so my first couple hand shakes and sweaty besitos were a bit awkward, not sure where to put my hands on them while besitoing.

After all of the besos, we got in a circle like we do after fall league games, and each captain spoke.

Post-game circle
Then each team forms a circle, one inside of the other, in order to give hand-fives by walking in opposite directions in the circles.  Sometimes we'd play a short game afterwards too.  For example, after we played the other Quijotes team and finished our post-game rituals, we played the looking game.  Sitting in a circle, everyone stares at the ground and someone counts 1, 2, 3.  On the count of three everyone looks up, staring at someone else (but not the person directly to your left or right).  If the person you decide to look at is also looking at you, you both dramatically "die" and fall to the ground.  This repeats until there is only one person left.

 Near the end of the day, there were some spectators from Zaragoza to support the hosting team.

Spanish spectators

After our fifth and final game, someone from our team informed Hannah (a Canadian and fellow auxiliar) and I that we would be representing our team in the "wine race" after the award's ceremony.  What?!  We had no idea what this would entail...

A little after 8pm, once all the games were done, came the wine race.  There were two lines of orange cones, maybe 7 yards between the two lines.  Four people from each team lined up behind their orange cone.  Sitting at the orange cone 7 yards away from each team was a plastic bottle of wine (though I feel like it might have been sangria?  There was no time to look at the bottle, just time to taste it... though I think it wasn't as strong as normal wine).  

Someone has to tie a bandana around the first person's head, and then they run to the wine.  He or she has to do a little dance, singing something about la señora de guadalupe -- I don't remember the song at all.  Then you click your heels together and drink as much of the bottle as you can.  Then you have to spin around five times and run back to your team.

You take off the bandana, and once you have tied the it to the second person's head, then they can take off and do the same thing.  The first team to finish the wine and run back to their cone wins.  

At first, I thought we just keep rotating until the wine was gone.  Right before we started, I realized the fourth person in line had to finish what was left -- that each person only went once.  Poor Hannah, she was last.  I was third.

When it was my turn in the relay, I ran and tried to remember the song.  Did the weird dance/shoe clicks.  Then I drank as much as I could, but you're trying to go fast, so after I thought I'd drank enough, I spun around 5 times and ran back to put the bandana on Hannah.  We left too much for her, and she was still drinking when the first team finished.  Oh well, we had some good laughs.

Then the winners of the tournament were announced: Quijotes Almudena took first, and our team was third.  Winners of the wine race were announced as well -- Quijotes Almudena!

We left around 9pm; it was really chilly and we were all exhausted.  Luckily I passed out and slept for the last 2-3 hours of the car ride, and woke up just as we were getting to my part of Madrid.  I got dropped off right outside of my apartment, showered, ate something, and slept a good night's sleep.

More photos from the tournament can be seen here.

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