If, as Shakespeare so insightfully penned, 'brevity is the soul of wit', then consider me a simpleton, as this is due to be a lengthy diatribe full of twists and turns and adventures; like one of those visit Victoria ball of string adverts. So buckle up and enjoy :)
Chapter 1 - the magical mystery tour bus trip.
The boys were excited after a good show on Day 1 or 2 - hard to keep track. Word on the street was that Putin had been 'putin' a lot of funding into Russian sport and our first team, 'Lucky Grass' would be a tough opposition. (Post-script: Abra has already organised a shirt trade with this team; I wonder why...). Some keen banter on the bus showed that the boys were ready for a big day ahead. Abra set himself up early as a shirt broker, claiming he could wheel and deal any shirt trade. Sweet-as' eyes lit up at this prospect, though Sarah seemed unsure of putting her beloved in Abra's debt. Oli D, as ever the international diplomat, decided that Abra's Jewish heritage accounted for his dealing aptitude. No doubt everyone was thinking: 'if you prick us, do we not bleed...'
Abra was not to be outdone by Will, spirit captain, who demonstrated his keen sense of decorum with a joke about a Greek, Italian and an American - and a truckload of casual racism...something, something, punch line: insurance fraud.
Meanwhile, Cuppers decided that as the team were not lovely enough he would impress with his dulcet tones as he beat out a rendition of 'Lose Yourself' followed by some random squealing in a creative interpretation of death metal. But the true joy came from sharing our first bus trip with Rogue - or at least the half that aren't squared away in the Sector 14 cargo crates. As Kylie held aloft a portable speaker an aura of joy seemed to settle on the bus as one and all the team began singing - 'I wanna dance with somebody, I wanna feel the heat with somebody...with somebody to love...' Spirits were high as we pulled into a slightly drier, but not less churned up and muddy Lecco sport fields.
Chapter 2 - The artist formerly known as Soviet Union
The sun was out, casting the mountains in an ethereal haze next to spiritual. A peaceful aura was interrupted as Joel debated the pros and cons of observers. Mark agreed he would happily eat shit if everyone agreed it was the done thing. Joel was persuaded to accept the potential benefits of observers due to this profound argument.
Game 1 in an hour and a half against 'Lucky Grass'. Ironically, there was very little grass on the fields. So the odds seemed in our favor from the start. With an hour to game in humid, verging on sweltering heat, the Russians began warming up. Conditions were slightly different from their Siberian alpine passes, but this did not stop them pumping out a full hour long warm-up. Too much energy.
The game began with O. The boys looked calm and considered and put it in. Defence took an wary break, Julio pumping it long for Jimmy to run 3/4 field and then layout full stretch to reel in the huck, landing squarely in the mud. Up. Accepted by Defence though photographic evidence after the event suggested down. Observers needed in Ultimate...?
A few highlights involved Konrad getting a poachy layout D on main handler and almost destroying him in the collision. And Calan, virgin on the D line, decided to cement his awesomeness by getting a massive layout D past his player to set up another cheeky break.
Offence looked solid throughout, finding connections and exploiting the Russians fear of our D game. A slight lag in the middle from O and D allowed 'Grass' a couple of cheap goals, but better effort and choices, and some healthy 'heave ho' saw us steady the Colony machine to take the game 15-9. Much tougher game than day 1, but the team brought great intensity on D and pretty flow on O to seal it out comfortably.
Fun fact - 1) Will can speak Russian - convincingly - leading the end of game talk fluently. 2) Cuppers can drink Vodka - convincingly - skulling in one a hip flask sized Vodka bottle gifted to him as MVP. Even the Russians were worried for his health and hydration so we know it was an impressive effort.
Chapter 3 - Downtime
Lunch. Crucial after a big game in warm and moist Italy. New system required tokens to get food. Tokens required captain. Captain not in sight. This series of events led to an Abra rampage. After almost curb stomping a volunteer in fury he demanded to be shown to someone of import who he could either vent his anger or perhaps eat in place of his meal. Luckily I managed to find Joel and our tokens before things got bloody. Food was heartily consumed.
Hot day outside meant most chilled / slept in the player tent while we waited for a 5pm game. A terrible live singer made sleeping challenging, except for one poor girl who was passed out on a couch near us in a less than glamorous fashion... To add insult to injury, the tournament, at the hottest point of the day, seemed to run out of water. Yeah, it's been a bit like that at this tourney. Still, there was free ice tea. Silver linings.
Chapter 4 - South of the border.
Like the ever moving glacier we slowly moved towards field 28 at the far end of the complex for our final game of the day. Tommy, Cuppers and Mikey were gifted with an afternoon in the shade, while the rest of us cleared up for the game.
It was a bit of a scrappy affair. Some uncharacteristic turns early and O looking a bit rushed. However, we reigned in our wayward throws on O and put the foot down on D. In the last three points D determined not to let the O line back on and stayed true to form ending the game with 3 breaks. 15-7.
Scrappy, muddy but convincing in the end.
A captain leads by example, and so in the spirit circle Joel put on hold his vegetarianism to shot a mescal worm. A fitting end to a messy game. Meanwhile Jimmy, gifted with an MVP Mexican skill toy proved how inept he was at catching the colourful sphere on a stick, while Marky revealed his Mexican roots doing it in two attempts. Marky would later be rather inconspicuous with the team mescal bottle in hand. Fun night I'm sure.
Chapter 5 - trade night: waiting for the bus
We strolled back to a tent full of over-keen young and old trying to offload shitty jerseys. Most of us, confident in the value of our shirts, chilled out drinking bevvies and eating whatever food we could find, while waiting for the 8.30 bus home. Fun news was that Bad Skid who we expected to play tomorrow were knocked out in a three-way with Italy and Colombia. Word goes that they were up 8-4 on Colombia to lose 11-9. One point shy of getting through the pool. Ouch! Meanwhile our friends at HOS, who we thought out for the count, managed to win a game by 6 point to be up 1 over all in their three way tie to make it through. They were all smiles, especially Smiley. Two Aussies into next round of Opens. Colony and HOS up; Sublime down.
Tomorrow we play Ragnarok and Colombia. Big day ahead with a 6.30am bus ride to the fields. Heave, Ho.
So ends your epic adventure. But stay tuned, as the Colony machine is just beginning to fire and more stories will follow. Big days ahead.