Hello from the Ural Mountains

May 6, 2011

Specifically, Tyler and I are in Ekaterinburg, home of a rapidly growing economy, the doorway to Siberia and a small but enthusiastically growing Ultimate scene.

We spent a brain-taxing 16 hours taking 24 players from the 7 area teams through a long set of drills, situations, and game-variations meant to bring out the best in them. Especially, we want to bring out the best in the many young new players they are teaching. These players come from as far as an 8-hour overnight train ride away to participate, and we had a great evening throwing session in the stunning Ekaterinburg city center last night as well.

We could not have been taken care of better, and we are sad to leave this evening. Ural Ultimate is growing quickly with a championships coming this summer, and we hope these new ways of looking at the game will percolate. As usual for us while in Russia, we’ve been fielding fantastic questions.

Traveling with Tyler is fantastic. He got up at 5am to do a TV interview (and got his makeup done for free) and powered through the day of camp, leading defensive drills and then putting his money where his training-mouth is by nearly jumping clean over a taller player for a sky. I’ve been focusing on the team aspect of the game; Ultimate is in many young communities played like an individual sport and I’ve adjusted a few sets of standard American drill-progressions to work on the teamwork parts of both cutting and handling. The gains are incredibly fun to watch. The tired smiles this afternoon told us that it wasn’t just a blast for us.

Back to Moscow tonight, to old-new friends and a Cinco de Mayo celebration. It’s going to be a cultural piledriver. Next after that is my growing need to sleep for 12-20 hours straight at some point. Or just keep playing Ultimate!

For Tyler, I’m Ben saying ‘Paw kaw’.