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Big Brother and BeiBLING!! go to Shanghai

Dark skies and tropical humidity greeted Beijing while visiting Shanghai for the 10th Annual Shanghai Ultimate Tournament: Emperor Overthrown. Beijing Ultimate sent two competitive teams, Big Brother and Bei BLING!.

With a warning of weekend thunderstorms from the national weather service, 18 teams took to the fields for two days of competitive Asian Ultimate.

Big Brother was looking at a strong pool, but felt confident about the day ahead. The first game brought Hong Kong Junk. DaGe felt good about their chances and got the first ‘D’ point of the game, but from there things fell apart. Junk took half ‘6-2’ from a disoriented Big Brother team. Fortunately, half-time gave Big Brother a little time to re-group and the second half proved to me a lot different. A few big plays from BIG Jim Kirchoff helped Big Brother overcome the slow start and the comeback was complete with a final score of 9-7.

But there was no rest as next up was the ever athletic Korean squad. Known for great defense, we knew that the Korea game would be difficult. Fortunately, Big Brother got off to a much stronger start. With both ‘O’ and ‘D’ lines rolling, Korea was never able to build a lot of momentum and Big Brother came out with a hard fought but well deserved victory.

After the lunch break, we had our hardest game of the day. The Ringers of Fire were looking really strong for this tournament and we didn’t expect anything less than a top notch performance. But Big Brother got the first ‘D’ point and was on the door step for another when the Ringers put it into high gear. A number of points went back and forth, but in the end, it was the Ringers of Fire coming out on top with a 10-5 victory.

Big Brothers last game of the day was against Shanghai’s TwoWa. Beijing was just looking for a nice easy stroll to end the day. TwoWa was not so accommodating and a few of marathon points told us that this wasn’t going to be so easy. Big Brother eventually came out on top. The day ended with Big Brother at 3 wins and 1 loss, a very respectable record for a very competitive pool.

On the other side of the bracket, Bei BLING! dominated its Saturday competition. Despite small numbers (four ladies and six men) BLING! came out to beat Shanghai C (11-3) during their first game Saturday morning. Ning Bo B was Bei BLING!’s second victim—crushing them 11-2. After a hearty lunch of turkey wraps, BLING! played Korea’s B team and won 11-3.

Bei BLING! was on a roll crushing teams left and right until meeting Dalian. High from only having eight points scored against BLING! all day, they went into the Dalian game expecting another sure victory. Dalian gave BLING! a run for their money with several exhausting points of 20 minutes-plus. Being the last game, cramping calves took out several BLING! and Dalian players. Finally, the soft and hard cap whistles blew signaling a 9-5 defeat over Dalian.

The end of Saturday’s games was ushered in by ‘FREE BEER’ at the fields. The organizers at this years tournament were very clever in tricking us into thinking that ‘FREE BEER’ meant that it was Sunday. Many Beijing players were fooled by such an intelligent tactic and by the time we had returned to the hotel to clean ourselves up, we had forgotten there was still a party to go to.

But Beijing rallied to get ourselves together and put on a fine version of ‘Conspiracy Monopoly’ for the party. The lesson of the night….don’t land on ‘Water Works’ when Tao has a full bottle of Baijiu in his hand.

Sunday morning…….

BLING! advanced to the championship bracket for Sunday play and played an early game against Freak-Show from Singapore…the winner of which, would play Big Brother. BLING! played at their highest level at the tourney. After the first five points, BLING led Singapore 3-2. This count includes BLING!’s 5’9” Lincoln Cheung’s score over Singapore’s 6’11” Steiner. Boyakashaw.

As BLING! continued their strong offence, their defense slipped ever so slightly and Singapore took advantage. Strong cuts and several lucky hucks sent Singapore to half with a count of 7-3 that soon led to a 13-4 victory over Bei BLING!. All in all, the weekend was very successful for Bei BLING!’s ten-player-deep squad.

Fortunately for Big Brother, BeiBLING softened Freak-Show up. The quarterfinal match up got underway and it was Freak-Show that took an early 3-2 lead. But it was the ‘O’ line that picked up a big point to even the score, and then the ‘D’ line that took over. Eventually the ‘O’ line had to beg to get back on as Big Brother went on a big run. The game was at 12-5 when we figured Freak-Show would just give us the last point. We were wrong. Freak-Show reeled off 4 quick points to narrow the gap to 12-9. Big Brother finally got the last point and landed themselves a spot in the semi-final.

The semi-final match up was against a very strong, athletic and AMPED UP Manila team PULA. The PULA team went 4-0 on Saturday and we knew that this was a different squad than the ones we had seen in previous years. The game started out strong for both teams with breaks going both ways. But in PULA took a 8-6 lead into halftime and never looked back. The final was 13-8 with PULA looking extremely strong.

The final game of the tournament was between PULA and Shanghai HUWA. It was an amazing game to watch with HUWA coming out on top. Thanks to the organizers of this years tournament. It was awesome and we are all looking forward to next year’s opportunity to take a shot at the Emperor.