Sunday, July 31, 2016

My 30th World Footbag Championships travel diary - day 5

Montrealers doing well on the first day of competition.

The competition finally started today at the Empire Hotel setup for net. Men singles and Mixed doubles pools were on the menu. Montreal's only representative in singles François Depatie-Pelletier
lost a game but cruised through the match with the second in his pool without further damage and retained his # 5 position to enter the final draw that will be direct elimination. There were no upsets in the top 8 players but the pools 10 and 11 saw some rockin'. In pool 10 the pool head, Tammo Rockel, was upsetted by the # 3 player Benjamin Kanske who also defeated the second Quentin Isaackson. Result Benjamin will have a much better position entering the final phase, Tammo will drop a little but Quentin is out. In pool 11 the pool leader Guillaume Degat is out on injury and the #3 seed in the pool beat # 2. So # 3 Steve Kuntze will move up in the ladder and my doubles partner, Jakub Grabarcyk is still in the contest.

In Mixed doubles our 4 Montrealers are still in the contest. Genevieve Bousquet and Luc Legault won their pool and will move up to # 3 seed in the main draw because of an upset in pool 3. Maude Landreville from Montreal and Andreas Wolff from Frankfurt, Germany beat # 3 seed Arthur Ledain (France) and Lena Mlakar (Slovenia) to advance in the main draw in the top 4 position. In pool 4 again Geneviève and Luc had to defeat Marilyn Demuy (Montreal) and Yassin Khateeb (Germany) that went well and Marilyn and Yassin also advance in the main draw.

As for me I finally got some kicks in in preparation for tomorrow's start of the competition in Open doubles. I played 5 pick up games and feel ready to rock.

Curiosities from Trnava

Now some curiosities from Trnava, I don't know if you've ever seen children parks like that but this one looks awesome to me, I would have had a blast having that in my neighboorhood as a kid.

Children park with aerials in Trnava, Slovakia

Trampoline in the park, Trnava, Slovakia

Better get secured before playing in this park, Trnava, Slovakia

Strong structures to entertain the kids in Trnava, Slovakia
And also another curiosity that I picked during a walk in the city, I like these old cars.

Old car in a backyard, Trnava, Slovakia

Saturday, July 30, 2016

My 30th World Footbag Championships travel diary - day 4

Players check in

Today was the beginning of the check in for the players so Team Montreal is all complete by now. Maude Landreville, Marilyn Demuy, Geneviève Bousquet the three women superstar of footbag net are in the house as well as François Depatie-Pelletier, Luc Legault, Manu Bouchard and I. Lots of Germans, the french teams from Paris and Nantes arrived and Team Finland, Bulgaria, Poland, Slovenia, USA and Switzerland are all safely in Trnava.

With Jan ''Dexter'' Struz, the tournament director and volunteer Nama at the players check in

In the afternoon, as it was so hot I went to the pool, a bit of hot tub to rub the muscles. It's all good.

Opening ceremony

At 8 pm we had the official ceremony at Trnava's town hall. As you probably know by now the mayor of the city is an ex footbag player and he is a major reason why the tournament is here. The city was very intrumental in providing the facilities that we're gonna use this week and by facilitating the sponsorship contacts.
Group of players enthusiastically listening to the opening ceremony's allocution

Jan Struz tournament director - Peter Brocka - Trnava mayor - Wiktor Debski president players association

After the brief ceremony, where the city provided a drink to everyone, we moved on outside to take a group picture near the #Trnava sign that's planted in the middle of the city.
#Trnava - 2016 World Footbag Championships first players in.

Tomorrow the plan is to get some kicks in with my partner after he completes his singles pool, which is one of the earliest. I will also watch my teammates play.
The 3 girls will be in action as well as François.  So tomorrow is the big start of the competition whereas the doubles will start on Monday, I can't wait.

Photos of the ceremony and #Trnava by the tournament organization

Friday, July 29, 2016

My 30th World Footbag Championships travel diary - day 3

July 29th, 2 days away for the start of the tournament, well for me three as I won't play in singles. Today had a theme: Relaxation. So I got up very late, had some sleep to catch up, and then after a brief encounter with the tournament staff preparing the check in, I went to spot the gym were we will play the prelims. It's cool in there so we won't suffer from the heat but sometimes I feel looser when it's warm, we'll see how it goes.

Then in phase 2 I went to the Relax Spa for a massage. 1 hour of nice rubbing helps take the plane and train pains away. Then in the hot tub, sauna and pools. It felt great, I will go back
I came back to the students residences close to 9 pm just to meet with a bunch of newly arrived players including Marilyn Demuy my good friend from Montreal, Quentin from Paris, Heike Koller from Frankfurt and so on. We went to get some food, pretty inexpensive pizza here, and drinks
and then walked a bit around town.

Then back to the droms, I checked to see if the order of the matches was posted. So on Monday the open doubles net action will start with the pool play at 3h15 pm, not too bad considering that I don't like to play early - Here's the link to the schedule of our pool.

We are seeded 2nd in the pool and if we manage to keep this position by the end of pool play we will be up for the real battle as 2 teams advance to the main draw. We have the 3rd place finishers from last year's World Championship and they should be untouchable but you never know, the pressure will be on them, not us. Then we have a Polish team and a French-Finnish team. Let's hope that we can keep our focus high at every turn.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

My 30th World Footbag Championships travel diary - days 1 and 2

Oh boy, this was a long trip! I left the house on the 27th (Montreal, Canada) at 2:30 pm, arrived at the airport at 3:45 where a first disagreement was waiting. I travelled on SWISS airlines but booked my ticket with Air Canada, both are members of the airline group Star Alliance. The people at the counter couldn't find my trip's second leg, Zurich to Vienna. It took them more than half an hour to resolve the issue and as I was later than usual to show up at the airport this made my stress level go pretty high. 

The first flight out of Montreal to Zurich was late so, of course it made me miss my connection to Vienna in Zurich. Lost almost 4 hours there, Plus add 6 hours of jet lag and very little sleep on the plane, a baby cried for the whole duration of the trip, and the body was starting to get weaker. I got a few minutes of sleep on a bench at the Zurich airport though, but you know what airport sleep can be, not the best with all the noise around.

The plane to Vienna was also a little late, good thing that I'm arrving 3 days before the event starts!

In Vienna I had to take a train to the main train station from the airport, from there I had to wait close to an hour to hop on a train to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, change train there to Trnava, add another 2 hours for this part. I finally arrived in Trnava at 4h15. A short taxi cab later I was at the university residence where most of us will stay for the duration of the tournament. I turned around quite a bit asking people about it, including to the man who was in charge of receiving me, and got sent to a few wrong turns before I finally could get a shower after 20 hours of travelling. The guy at the counter spoke very little english and couldn't find my name on his reservations list although one of the organizers told him I was coming just a couple hours before that! I finally got my room, just had time to get a shower before they switched me 5 stories higher when he finally realized which group I was part of. 

A little later I had my first meal in Trnava, I was totally hungry. I then visited a little. Trnava is a charming little city, here's a few first impressions in pictures: 

The tournament starts on the 31 st so I have 2 more days to adjust to the jet lag and the environment, glad I did arrive early.

My Crowdfunding campaign is still alive you can donate at: