Monday, November 14, 2011

Un torneo en Valencia: Saturday

This is post one of two about el torneo en Valencia.

On Saturday morning I was up at 5:30am to go to an ultimate tournament in Valencia.  I had visited Valencia once before, in December of my study abroad year.

The cities that had teams attending were Valencia, Madrid, and Barcelona.

Hannah had rented a car, so four of us from the team could drive to Valencia.  I think three other cars of Madrid teammates went as well, but those were cars that they owned.

In the car ride on the way there, it came out that we'd be playing on the beach.  I learned this meant there was no need for the cleats I had brought; you play barefoot.

It was completely different playing beach ultimate - something I'd never done before.  The field was smaller than normal, and we played 5 on 5 (2 girls, 3 boys / team) instead of the normal 7 on 7 (3 girls, 4 boys / team).  It was very windy since we were right there on the shore, so luckily we got there early enough to practice throwing around.

Throwing around between games
With advice from teammates and lots of bad throws to Hannah, I finally figured out how to change my backhand throw into the wind.  I never had a good forehand into the wind that morning though; those would just catch air and float around and turn and crash...far away from Hannah.  I'll have to practice them at some point -  it's just hardly ever windy in Madrid.  Until the next beach tournament I guess!

Apart from all of the wind, the most difficult part of playing on the beach was probably running in the sand.  I have no experience doing athletic things on the beach, so I hadn't realized how hard it would be.  I'm not fast to begin with, but I felt so slow during the games.  To cut well you need to be fast and sprinting, but in the sand we had to adjust to the slowed running pace.  Even after a short point of only a few minutes, I'd come off the field out of breath as we rotated players.  My conclusion: It's really hard to run in sand!

As I've mentioned in previous ultimate posts, after post-game circles we usually play some sort of game with the other team.  One of these games is called "Ninjas," and I was finally able to capture pictures of people playing!

Playing Ninjas after our first game
You all begin in a circle, then on the count of three everyone takes a huge jump back, landing in some sort of ninja position.  One person begins, and they can make one movement towards any direction, moving the arms, body, legs, whatever.  You can move all of those things at once, it just has to be in one swift, fast motion.  The purpose is to hit the hand of one of the other players, but to not let your hands get hit by others.  If you hand gets hit, you're out of the game.  If the person to your left or right makes their movement towards you, you can make one defense movement, moving your hand away from them as they attack.

We played two ultimate games that afternoon, as we only had the space on the beach until 5 something.  But it was just fine with me that we didn't play 4-5 games like at the other tournaments I'd been to, as playing in the sand was exhausting, and my left knee wasn't in the best shape.

Los Quijotes in Valencia
At some point after 6, we had a late lunch with all of the players, cooked by one of the Valencian ultimate players.  Afterwards the five of us that were staying the night (the other Madrid players drove back Saturday night) drove around in search of our hostel to check-in and take showers.

It was another Hostelling International hostel!  Too bad my free year-long membership when I worked for the hostel in Madison has since expired.

Hostelling International!
After taking showers and changing, we headed back down to the other side of town, where Valencia's ultimate team had organized a night at a local bar.  We paid 12 euro each for unlimited beer, wine, sangria that night, as well as snack-y foods (tortilla española, ham, patatas bravas, etc.).

Hannah, me, Caroline
It was a fun night, though we didn't get back to our hostel until 4:30ish (am)... so it was nearly a 24-hour day for me!  Needless to say I was exhausted.

Would we play a hat tournament on Sunday? Or see more of Valencia before returning to Madrid?  Was I impressed by the city's graffiti or lunch?  Stay tuned!

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