For some of the older players, and those not affiliated with or who did not make the squads of entering nations, it is an opportunity to enjoy the game at its highest level, writes Ali Khaled.
Have frisbee, willing to play: Currier Island team brings global appeal to World Championship of Beach Ultimate
When, in 2004, Americans Ivan Cestero and Minh Le could not make the US team for the first World Championship of Beach Ultimate, they decided to create their own nation and Currier Island was born.
The confused organisers, eventually allowed the fictional nation to enter and have done so ever since.
For some of the older players, and those not affiliated with or who did not make the squads of entering nations, it is an opportunity to enjoy the game at its highest level.
“I’ve been playing for 15 years, but I’ve never played for the US team,” American David Street said yesterday at Day 2 of this year’s tournament in Dubai.
“I’ve played for club teams in the United States, like Cosa Nostra. It’s my first time in the beach World Championships but I have played for Mexico.”
The story of how he joined the Currier Island team sums up perfectly the role it plays in Beach Ultimate.
“I was able to contact the captains and they were looking for players from all over the world, trying to make a global team,” Street, 36, said.
“I sent them some information about myself. My fiancee plays for Team USA so I was going to be here anyway, so I told them I’ll be here and if they take me I’d love to play for them.”
He did. The team lost its opener to India but the team “had a lot of fun anyway” according to Street.
“India had amazing spirit, they’re a really great team,” said teammate Matt Wright from Denver, Colorado. “They beat us but it was a lot of fun.”
The 35-year-old Wright was another who answered the Currier Island call for international players.
“They put out a call, I signed up and volunteered to help organise our Open Masters division team,” he said.
“So I flew over just to play in the World Championships of Beach Ultimate.”
It’s an opportunity he is making the most of.
“I got here three or four days before the tournament started and I did a little overnight desert camping trip down to Liwa Oasis, checked out the big sand dunes down there and spent a night in Abu Dhabi.”
Both players said that meeting new teammates so late is not ideal preparation.
“Our chemistry is starting from scratch so I think that’s a big disadvantage,” Street said. “But everyone has a great attitude so that plays on our side.”
“It’s probably the hardest part for us,” Wright said. “The first match we really had to learn each other’s style, all of us met on the beach yesterday and practised for our first time together.”
A beach in Dubai that is, not on Currier Island.
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