Aiy, Aiyiyi, Aiyiyiyiyiyiyi. Thats the sound of Colombia marching. In our last report we mentioned that Colombia was off to a good start. We did have a factual error, saying the team had finished 8th last Worlds, when they actually finished 7th. But they dont look like theyre going to finsih 7th or 8th this time. In the first half of the tournament, their record against the top 4 finishers from the Sheffield Worlds was 1 win, 2 ties, and 1 loss (by 1 goal). These guys are for real! Theyre going to have to learn how to win instead of tying, but in the playoffs there are no ties, so something will change.
One thing that the South Americans will have to change is their frequency of penalties. In their game against the defending champion Kiwis, at one point they had 3 in the penalty box. And they still came out with a 2-2 tie, with the cartel scoring just as time ran out.
Speaking of the Kiwis, at Sheffield this reporter suggested that this was the team of the present AND future. With the strength of their youth development program, I considered the possibility that they might lose a GAME for several years. Apparently the New Zealanders werent paying attention, as theyve already lost one and tied two this tournament.
Nope, the team to beat this time around appears to be Australia, coached by the greatest forward ever to play underwater hockey (oops, aquachallenge), Arnie Piccoli. But you can bet the locals have different thoughts, and the Frogs are right in the mix.
Which brings us to our biennial cheer review. The most memorable cheer, of course, is the Columbian chant referenced above. Simple, as all the best cheers areAiy. Aiyiyi. Aiyi yi yi yi yi yi, Colombia. Once youve heard, youll never forget it. And the audience tends to pick it up, as everyone seems to root for the Bogota gain except when theyre playing the rooters own team.
But theyre certainly not the only team cheering, and some of the others are able to keep up with the enthusiasm of the Medellin gang with sheer numbers. So here are a few of what youll want to listen for
Auzzie, Auzzie, Auzzie, Oy, Oy, Oy.this is, naturally, the Aussies. The words are repeated in several different combinations, led by a cheer leader. Simple, loud, memorable.
Allez, allez, allez, allezThis from the French. We havent heard this much this tournament, but the playoffs havent yet started. It translates roughly as "Go. Go go go. Go. France.". Or something.
[Insert sound of annoying loud horn here]this is what the South Africans have come up with. They dont seem to have any traditional cheers (other than a loud song the Junior Mens team sings in the locker room before a game, which sounds a bit like "Deutschland Uber Alles"). But they have some of those grating plastic horns which resonate loudly in the pool building. Sound a bit like what youd expect to hear if a Cape Buffalo were mating with a Rhinoceros.
There are probably more cheers well be hearing, as the round robin games are nearing their end, and the playoffs begin shortly. Hopefully this short guide will help you in identification.
On a playing note, history has been made. The US Open Masters team has had its ups and down over the years. It has had World Championships where they didnt score a goal, and they won the championship (the last 3, as it were). But this tournament the team accomplished something that no team has ever done in an Underwater Hockey (er, Aquachallenge) World Championship. They lost 3 games in one day. Aiyiyi!
- Just a reminder that the Thursday night 7PM pre-hockey session is happening tonite. If anybody needs a ride from BART just let me know.