Friday, 18 June 2010

Iceni and Boston

Quite out of the blue and a welcome surprise was an invitation to join the London-based team, Iceni, for worlds in Prague and a tournament in Boston the following weekend. After my initial surprise I jumped at the chance to join a local team heading to worlds. We pulled out the
stops and although we won't have the TV we wanted for a while, I went to Boston for 4 days.
This was an amazing experience and my first US tournament with UPA rules.

I found Boston very clean, open and safe. I spent most of Friday wandering along the Freedom Trail, a tourist route of historic sites, and nowhere along the line did I feel at risk, even when I left the trail. It may be the city, it may be just where I went, but my impression is that Americans (or at least Bostonians) are very patriotic. Everywhere there are American flags and one guy, after asking where I was from said, "We showed those Brits". Admittedly, he was one of the costumed tour guides along the Freedom Trail and the comment was probably in character.

Photos of Freedom Trail coming soon.

On top of that, the Americans I came across were also very friendly and courteous. I chatted to one couple at the airport gate, as well as a 16 year old heading to be a leader at a summer camp. On the plane I sat next to a friendly Bostonian who liked to be out on the water - a keen fisherman who had just been on a European cruise. He described how the GFC had resulted in a massive reduction in his work as a painter/ wallpaperer and meant he had to sell his house. There were also moments I witnessed such as, a guy scanned a train ticket for an elderly woman. It was just nice and people were comfortable talking to strangers.

The tournament was on Saturday and Sunday. Iceni did not win a game. However, our purpose was to gel as a team and practise our plays against multiple, tough oppostion in preparation for worlds, which we achieved.
My personal perspective for the team is:
- we need to work to set our own intensity and standard of play independent of the opposition
- we are struggling to find the balance between structure and organic play
- the idea of each player taking responsibility on the field is used, but I'm not sure that people understand what that means
- our initiation of pull play can and should be much faster and could use the opportunity to make ground
Although I was disappointed with how I personally finished the tournament, with unforced throwing errors, I believe I played well overall. I'm really excited to be joining a really fun group of players and look forward to getting to know them more both on and off the pitch.

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