Today was my favourite day of the tournament so far.
The weather was perfect, everywhere you looked there were happy faces and the play was electric.
Yesterday I felt exhausted, which was disheartening as it was only Tuesday and I had many more days to work still this week. These week-long events are tiring for all those involved but the second wind you get when play starts to get more exciting is so real.
I absolutely love power pools. It gives and opportunity for teams who finish a bit lower in the pool to have a backdoor to the top bracket and it also gives us a look at what could end up being the semi-final and final matches later in the week. Especially from a media perspective, it also allows us to develop story lines and build the excitement for the championship games. Today we got to see what will likely be the top four in the women’s division compete against each other with the USA still looking dominant in all their games. Tomorrow will be the biggest test as Colombia and Canada will battle it out for who has to play the American’s in semis… that is, unless Japan beat the USA tomorrow in their final power pool game.
Power pools were in full swing in the mixed division as well with the top two teams from pools A and C facing off against each other this morning. When I played with the Canadian mixed team in Perth last year, we had to face off against the USA in the semi-finals. It was a game that when it came down to it, we weren’t mentally prepared for. So today, my heart skipped a beat when I finished commentating my game this morning and checked my phone to see that this Canada v USA mixed game was tied at 9s. My co-commentator Benjy Rees watched as I proceeded to yell at my phone desperately searching for more updates. Finally, they came—Canada 14, USA 14. The Americans were able to close out the came on universe point but even though the game resulted in a loss, it was an incredible result for Canada. It also proved that I might have been wrong with my earlier prediction that no one here can beat the USA mixed team. I think other teams, including the Canadians, will look at this game moving forward and will now be confident that anything is possible.
I have talked a little bit about the long hours we work at these events and how tired I have been at points of the week, but I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the incredible work that the rest of the crew puts in to make these streamed games happen. While we all work a lot of games, as commentators we are lucky to get breaks. The camera and production crew here from Ulti.tv and Ultiworld work through every round of the day with no games off. They put in hours of work in set up and take down, as well as spending their evenings working on highlight videos and prep for the next day. In addition to their work, they are always checking in on each other and the rest of the team to make sure everyone is doing well. Offering coffee runs, massages and general support. They work so incredibly hard and nothing I do would ever be possible without them.
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