We chatted with the Gentleladies just before they defended their Belgian Nationals title (huge kudos to them!) about their preparations for WUCC. They’re thrilled to be attending club world’s as a club team for the first time in their history, and excited to see if they can play to the best of their team’s abilities in a pool full of tough competition.
Cover photo: Gentleladies with a cup full of TOKAY pressure at Tom’s Tourney 2018.
Year club was founded: Gentle was founded in 2004, Gentleladies in 2009
City, Country : Ghent, Belgium
Best Results :
Outdoor: 5-time national champions
Indoor: 5-time national champions
Continental Championships: 1st at EUCR-C (2016 and 2017), 7th at EUCF (2016).
Gentleladies playing SYC at Tom’s Tourney 2018
Photo Credits: Nele Masschaele
What are the goals of the team at WUCC and beyond? How are you preparing to accomplish these goals?
Since we have never been to a world championship before it’s hard to set a goal for ranking. We have just started to measure ourselves on a European level by playing international tournaments and competing in EUCR and EUCF. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make it to EUCF last year so it’s hard to say where we stand in the European ranking. We would like to end up in the better half of the European teams but let’s just say we are looking to play a decent tournament where we feel we did everything we could and if that means that we end up lower or higher it doesn’t really matter. Building experience to bring back home and learning from other teams is key for us!
Spirit-wise we’re focusing on respectfully communicating with the other teams. We have really taken the ‘I trust you’ campaign from Colombian World Games coach Mauricio Moore into our hearts and feel like this is the best way to play ultimate, apart from knowing the rules.
Gentleladies playing the Dutch U20 Women’s Team at Tom’s Tourney 2018
What should the world know about your team and its journey to Worlds?
We never actively planned to go to Worlds, but were thinking about it when word got out that WUCC might be organised in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands – which is very closeby for us. But once decided it would be in Cincinnati, we stopped thinking about it – too far, too costly, too far reached. Some of the (young) girls on the team however, thought this would be the chance in a lifetime – running as Belgian & regional champions for three years in a row (but never really able to compete with the full squad at EUCF – difficult dates & locations made this impossible for the past two years, and the one time we went, we had to take pick-ups with us & had to leave valuable people home). So we got our minds set to raise as much money as possible, form a team that would be able to perform and started the season off with Cincinnati on our mind ?.
Gentleladies facing Mantis at Tom’s Tourney 2018
As a coach, captain, player (and founder of Gentle), I never thought going to WUCC with a Gentleteam of our own (without far fetched pick-ups and mainly Ghent-based players – Belgium is so small, we could easily have created a kind of national team that we call ‘Gentle’) – so I see this as one of the biggest achievements of the club. However, I believe ‘the getting there’ has been the most rewarding up until now: creating the team, seeing players grow & getting confident, connecting with each other and seeing that we are getting results. Not by creating the ‘best’ team with the ‘best’ players, but a team in which people find their place and find confidence in themselves and their teammates. That in itself, has been the biggest reward already. Windmill & Cologne gave us the confidence to know that we will be able to put up against the big teams, by getting the best out of ourselves – which will be the main challenge in Cinci.
Gentleladies swinging and hucking at Tom’s Tourney 2018
What can your opponents expect from you this season?
We have a very low seed – and one could say that’s unfortunate – but if you see the teams we’ll play in the pool, we can only be so happy to meet a team like Revolution, known as the best team in the world, with those incredible Cardenas-twins and a coach that carries Spirit very high. We get to play Mud & ChChchicks, two teams that come from the other side of our globe, and will be challenging to play and strategize against since we’ve never met each other. We’ve only met Atletico for the first time at Windmill, and are looking forward to meet them again in Cinci. So we embrace our pool and consider us very fortunate to play those teams and compete with them at the highest level.
We are playing the Belgian Championships coming up next weekend*, but we’ll be all set & heads-on to Cincinnati. Worlds, we are ready, and we can’t wait to meet with all of you in three weeks!!!
*this interview was conducted before the Gentleladies successfully defended their title at the Belgian Championships
Gentleladies competing against the Dutch U20 Women’s Team and YAKA