China’s Ultimate Frisbee Community: The Shanghai Open 2013

I’ve been playing Ultimate Frisbee in China ever since I moved to Kunming and learned about the pick-up group here. Only a few weeks into playing with them, one of the leaders asked if I wanted to join him and his team to a tournament in the future. I had never participated in an Ultimate Frisbee tournament before, so I was a bit nervous, but also excited to be invited. Months later the Shanghai Open finally happened! Five people from Kunming, including me, would be a part of the team, as well as other players around Southern China (Chengdu, Wuhan, Tianjin, Hong Kong, etc.). We are called the “Southern Spirits.”

The month before, my team and I trained (though I was absent because of fieldwork purposes) for Shanghai. We wanted to be good. Our team won B Pool last year, and we wanted to win it again!

The day came to head out to Shanghai. I was so excited…I had never gone to the “New York” of China before! Upon arriving, I joined another Kunming Fulbrighter, Jake, as we found other teammates and went out to eat traditional xiaolongbao at a famous restaurant (that I of course can’t remember). You would put the small  soup dumpling in a spoon, tear a sliver of the skin to let the tasty juices out, drink the soup and then eat the meat dumpling. It was so good!

We then went next door to where the Communist Party had their first national meeting. The museum was not too bad for being a highly propagandaed exhibition in honor of the CCP. They showed a lot of the intellectual community that created the philosophies and community that became the new government. The exhibit had rows of old magazines, newspapers, books, journals, and pictures of China back in the 1920’s-30’s. Some of the pictures looked similar to those you see of old New York…China was developing just as fast as the western countries during that time. That changed when the CCP halted the intellectual and economic development of the country with reforms and discrimination against the educated community. If the Nationalist Party had won, would China really be what Taiwan is now? Hard to say. A China led by Chiang Kai-shek would also be disturbing…look into Taiwan’s modern history and you will see that Chiang Kai-shek was a very tyrannical leader.

Afterwards, we ate some delicious western food at a Belgium bar and then took a cab to our hotel all the way in Pudong (a district separate from the city). We would play tomorrow!

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Day #1: Women’s and Men’s Tournament

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Men’s Tournament–Tianjin Speed Wins!

Since there were not enough women, we just played a round robin, easy-going three-game series. While, on the other hand, the men were going at it next door. The last game was pretty intense and Tianjin Speed, an all Chinese national team, won!

Day #2: First Day of Mixed Tournament–Pool Selection

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Representing Souther Spirits!

Since most of my teammates met that first day, our chemistry was not very good for our first few games. We lost two, but won the last one. We stayed in B Pool. Wooh!

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Go Mother Duck! (Erin was our coach for the weekend)

That night, there was a tournament party, themed “Sexy Zoo.” I bought a bear pajama suit, not very sexy, as my other (male) teammates dressed up as a sexy tiger, rooster, and leopard. It was a good time! My calves were killing me though from the two days of intense playing. There were few girls on our team, so I played A LOT.

Day #3: Semi-Finals and Finals–Who will win the bracket?

From the past two days, my Frisbee skills got better exponentially. I began to master all the different kind of strategies (ho stack, vert stack, zone offense and defense). I was also having a lot of fun too! We lost all (?) the games this day, but it didn’t really put me down. It was all for fun anyway. I got to make some cool friends on my team and learn a lot about ultimate. I want to participate in another tournament in the future. I am addicted!

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Kunming Southern Spirits Unite!

We watched finals afterward. It was Huwa (Shanghai A Team) versus Chairman XiaongMao (All-star team). I was cheering for XiongMao because two of the girls were from Kunming. It was a really, really close game. In the end, Huwa won. What a great weekend!

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