Chicago Machine scrimmaged Japan's elite men's ultimate team, the Bunka Shutter Buzz Bullets on Wednesday night in Chicago. The Bullets were staying in downtown Chicago on the first leg of their trip to Madison for the Bro-Flight Finale taking place this weekend. Helping coordinate the logistics were an English speaking representative of the Bullets, and Machine's Walden Nelson, a native Japanese speaker himself.
Spectators came out in support, and lined the entirety of both sidelines as the Buzz Bullets loud and boisterous warm-ups built a sense of excitement for the home town fans.
Machine had a capable squad, but were missing 9 players due to the unusual timing of the scrimmage. Despite arriving earlier that morning from a 14+ hour flight, the Buzz Bullets did not take long getting up to speed and started off the game with a break. Strong and gusty winds aided the Bullet's clammy zone, featuring active downfield switching, and often leaving throwers unmarked. Machine took advantage of the unmarked throwing opportunities early, hitting accurate shots to tie the game at 3's.
The Buzz Bullets then began to find their groove, connecting on several mid-range away blade hucks that hit receivers in stride. The slightest bit of downfield separation was rewarded with pin-point strikes through the wind, and quick throw and go motion made it difficult to stay behind receivers. This was coupled with a series of uncharacteristic Machine drops and throw-aways, which were quickly capitalized on, as the Bullets ran away to a 7-3 lead.
In the second half, Machine's defensive pressure increased, forcing several high stall situations that led to errant throws from the Bullets and some uncharacteristic drops of their own. Machine slowly chipped away at the lead, moving from 9-5, to 11-8, then 11-11. Trading points moved the score to 12-12, setting up universe point with Machine pulling. Machine's Craig Poeppelman exploded for a lay out under D, but a miss-communication near mid-field on a handler upline gave the disc right back, and the Buzz Bullets would patiently work their endzone set until finding a short break throw for the score.
Final Score: Buzz Bullets 13 - Machine 12
After the game, both teams joined for a spirit circle to show their appreciation for the other, and then thanked the fans in attendance.
After the teams left the fields, a handful of the Bullets joined Machine for socializing and drinks on an apartment rooftop overlooking the city. The Bullet's came bringing gifts (and costumes?) for their hosts, shared stories, laughed a lot, and played several games before departing back to their hotels to rest up for the following day's scrimmage against the Madison Radicals. Prior to leaving they provided shots of sake for the hosts, and were in return provided shots of Chicago's finest drink: Malort. "BAD TASTE!!! BAD TASTE!!!!" (Before, during, and after photos below).