After a long week, the World Under 24 Ultimate Championships are finally heading into the last day of play.
Earlier in the week it felt like we would never make it here. With the long work days, there can be a weird feeling of moving in slow motion and at full speed ahead at the same time. But here we are on the eve of the gold medal games and it is shaping up to be a stellar day.
The semi-finals day here is always an exciting one with all the action going down simultaneously on two pitches. Unfortunately for Canada, only one of our teams was able to make it into the finals. The women’s team battled hard against Japan but were left having to play for third, where they successfully brought home the bronze medal. The mixed team bounced back from a disappointing quarterfinal to finish strong in fifth place, and the men’s team made their semi-final against Japan look like easy work as they locked down their spot in the finals.
For today’s highlights, I want to share some of my favourite moments as well as something I have spent a lot of time thinking about this week.
After losing in tough semi-final games today, Singapore and Latvia were left to face off for the bronze medal in the mixed division. Both teams were clearly still feeling the effects of their prior loss but had no choice but to come together for this game. At this point in the day, most teams had either left the pitch, were playing in their own consolation games or were busy trading jerseys. There weren’t a lot of players watching the game and it felt a bit anti-climactic to begin with. Even with the subdued nature at the start of the game, the two teams gathered on the center line to face each other. Singapore then sung their national anthem, arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders. It is a sign of respect to sing their anthem at the beginning at the game and it was a simple but beautiful moment before the game.
I think Lindsay McKenna could be the best player in the mixed division. She is so dynamic and so purposeful in every movement she makes. Not only does she have the height and athleticism that is so dominant when she goes deep, if you take away the out she will burn you under and put up a perfect huck to the endzone. McKenna has also been pulling for the USA mixed team on many of her defensive points, which is not something you usually see in the mixed division. She has been a joy to watch and commentate, and will surely have a big impact on the final tomorrow.
One of the things I’ve noticed a lot this week is the masses of travelling fans that seem to accompany the Canadian and American teams. It is great to see so many families and friends coming all the way to Germany to support their teams. But over the course of the week I have really noticed the difference in the number of fans here with the North American teams compared to the rest of the tournament. There is a good number of European fans, but for other countries to have to travel as far as North American teams, there is a huge contrast. It has made me think a lot about the inequalities and barriers that face countries who are trying to come compete on the world stage.
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