Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Weeeeee are the Champiuuuuuuns my Beautiful Chemnitz

Last weekend the MPI-CBG and friends ultimate frisbee team
Ring of Fire competed in a tournament in Chemnitz (more on Chemnitz below).

This was our first tournament as a team, and I have to say, we had especially low expectations. Mainly stemming from a combination of the facts that a)we "practice" on a field about half-regulation size
b)we are usually out there for fun and don't spend alot of time on rules and strategy and c) we've never actually played all together on a full size team. So to our amazement we went out there and gave a good show. Actually from the beginning we were winning convincingly. Like 6-3, 7-1, 5-2 types of scores. In fact we didn't lose a game and took the championship with a closely fought and dramatic comeback (against another Dresden team) in the last game. Down 2-4 with 5 minutes left, reeled off 3 scores to take it. It was a great sports moment.

Now there were only 8 teams at this tourney. And this clearly wasn't the best Germany had to offer as far as ultimate. But people were traveling from as far away as Munich to participate. And we actually did a very good job as coming together as a team, sticking to our game plans, remaining calm, playing tough defense, and going close to 100% all the time with
frequent substitutions.
Our rewards included a couple of bottles of Sekt, which Sanni and Albrecht quickly made
good use of at the awards ceremony:
And a small trophy in the shape of the head of Karl Marx:

Which brings me back to Chemnitz. Chemnitz is a city of about 250,000 about 45 minutes southwest of Dresden. I'd never been there before, but heard things about it, all of it bad. As in, basically a crappy place nobody would ever want to go. During East German times Chemnitz was named "Karl-Marx-Stadt" and was basically the quintessential communist DDR city. The trophy above is a replica of a giant stone head in the city:

As you can see, it's freakin' huge (see person at base). If this scene isn't communist, I don't know what is. Unfortunately, Chemnitz hasn't come a long way since reunification. My first impression was that is was a quite green city. Then I realized that was from trees and grass growing up through run down, abandoned buildings. Communist type buildings are everywhere, and most streets and buildings remain in a state of disrepair. Unemployment in Chemnitz is among the highest in Germany, and birth rate is the lowest. There are ongoing plans to restore the city center, but it will be a slow process.

but back to ultimate. Which I will never get used to saying. I don't know what hippie came up with this name, but I still cringe to say we're playing "ultimate frisbee". One nice thing is that it offers a nice chance to practice some sports photography:

These are from our regular Sunday games in the Grosse Garten. More pics are here.
Wow, long post....So I'll leave you with the aftermath of a long Saturday

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