Month: May 2012

Blog Posts

What Makes a Monster? – Women in Mixed

Last post, my main point was that the men need to be able to throw and not hog the pitch (brief summary…). But what about the women? As a woman at mixed, I’ve sometimes felt like I’m fighting my own team – for the cutting lane, for the deep space, or even just to get them to throw me the disc when I’m free (in my head, I’m always free…). I’m not saying this is a universal experience – just one that I know is shared by quite a few women I’ve played with or against.

I think the players who end up feeling this frustration most keenly are the all-rounders: the women who can ‘do it all’, whether that’s chucking it at the endzone, breaking a mark to start play, winning their matchup in the cutting lane. It’s that feeling of ‘I can do everything, but I can’t do anything’. One reason why the all-rounder struggles is that it’s difficult for the men to remember exactly what she’s good at (“everything” is a tricky concept), which means that she accumulates less ‘trust points’ in any specific area.

Contrast this with the ‘specialist’. “She only runs deep”. “All she can do is break marks.” Often said with derision from the other team BUT within your own team, this helps – because the menfolk have seen you do the same good thing over and over again. They know you can do it, and they know it’s not a fluke. Trust points galore. If above all, you want to be a phenomenal female mixed player, consider specialisation. Pick the thing you’re best at and make sure the team know it. If you’re the all-rounder, you’ve got the joy of picking whatever you want to do most, but I would argue there are some things that are better to specialise in that others.

If you’re a handler, I strongly advise breaks as an area of specialisation. Case in point: Nicole from Brighton. She’s not our biggest lobber of the disc, but when it comes to the endzone, if we have a static disc mid-pitch, it will be Nicole picking it up (or it should be anyway!). She has near unblockable release points and I would bet on her rather than any force that is put on her. Again, breaks are handy in the women’s game, but in mixed they are a great way to hustle your way onto the disc, and give your team the benefit of a potentially less aggressive and mobile force than the male handlers will be facing.

Why not hucks? I hear you cry. Hucks are trickier to use effectively, from female handlers in particular. With breaks, you’re looking for roughly the same areas of the pitch as the male handler, so nobody needs to adjust their cutting style. With hucks, your upfield players need to be cutting for your huck distance, which is likely to be shorter than the male handlers. A key problem we’ve had at Brighton this season is the waste of having so many female players that can stick it but having our deep cuts constantly geared towards the Dougies and Sions of the team (the BIG guns). Our women look off the deep cuts, because they’re (for our throws) badly timed and too far away. The men conclude we can’t stick it and stop cutting deep. Having said that – that’s us sucking as a team. It can be done – if you want to see a team use a female hucker well, check out Brass Monkey’s lanes set from 2006 WUCC. They have a biiiiiig female handler (Lauren Casey, #33 if memory serves) and make sure that she can stick it at their big male receivers by setting up their lanes short, and having her always take bricked pulls – the short lanes mean she can easily get the disc into the space ahead of the receiver, and starting from the brick mark makes it easier for her to hit the endzone.

So yes, hucks on women = awesome, but they require the entire team to alter how they set up and cut to be effective. Breaks are a weapon on women without the team having to alter their set – it’s a chance for you to beat your mark one on one, without the rest of your team messing it up for you.

For upfield players, you’re gonna want to be a big threat deep. Bobbi is probably one of the best female receivers in mixed – and not for the reason you’re thinking. Yes, she’s outrageously quick, but that’s not why she’s so handy. What sets her apart, I think, is her read of the disc and her body positioning. Even if the disc is bad enough that a male poacher can get in there with her, she’ll still box him out, or just plain outread him. The number of times I’ve seen Bobbi standing with the disc in the endzone, curiously looking down at the guy sitting on the floor in front of her, is inappropriately high. If you want to be a deep receiver in mixed, don’t focus solely on sprints. Practice reading the disc and taking it at the peak of your jump, visualising defenders to box out. Practice ‘misreading’ the disc – pulling the male D in front of you for a bid he can’t make, and sneaking off to mop up behind him. You need the speed and agility to beat your own mark and get the disc thrown to you, sure, but sometimes, you’re going to have to be able to go up against the other team’s goons. And win.

Are there other skills that are useful at mixed? Undoubtedly. Is there stuff I’ve missed? Of course. These are just a few points that I think would dramatically help most mixed teams I’ve played on. I also think that we very infrequently talk about the challenges of mixed as a division, especially in the UK, where many people play both open/women’s and mixed and have to swap between them with often a very short adjustment period.

Mohawk Emails

AWARDS DINNER LAST CHANCE TO SIGN UP AND PAY

If you would like to come to the awards dinner then the last chance to sign up and pay is tomorrow (Wednesday 30th May).

The menus are:

Non-Vegetarian option:

Tomato and Basil Soup

Maize Fed supreme of Chicken, served with champagne chive sauce, roasted chateau potatoes, turned carrots and courgettes

Sticky Toffee Pudding

 

Vegetarian option:

Tomato and Basil Soup

Vegetable Tarte Tatin

Sticky Toffee Pudding

The form is below

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDhEX0ZVQUdQcmxVd0JfVlQ5VkdUQXc6MQ#gid=0

Blog Posts

What makes a monster? – Men in Mixed Ultimate

So, with the mixed season over, I thought it was worth a little think about what makes great players in the mixed division, or rather the areas where most players could think about developing to be bigger and better mixed players. Definitely got a future post planned for domination of the women’s game in a few weeks – and of course some thoughts on double-double nationals – but all in good time…

Ultimate is still ultimate in the mixed division. Just thought I’d make it clear that I don’t think that there are no transferable skills. However, the value of different skills changes in the mixed division, and stuff which is ‘a bonus’ in open or women’s suddenly becomes essential for your team’s success.

This was originally going to be one post – but turns out I’m talking too much again. As such, I’ll deal with men and women separately (not that I approve of segregation…). So, gents first, for a change!

Advice piece 1: adjust your bids. Try not to kill anybody. It’s pretty obvious, but in mixed you can’t always make the same bids you could in open. There is far more potential for breakage.

Obvious point aside (and provided you’re not an injury machine at open, you probably won’t be at mixed), I would argue there are two skills that are essential for every male member of a successful mixed team: throwing finesse, and pitch awareness.

Women are smaller targets – sure, they get free by the same amounts as the men, sometimes more so, but throwing to a free woman is more challenging than throwing to a free man. Your margin for error is narrower. In open, distance is a big winner on hucks – you need to be able to get that disc into space in front of your speedy receivers. In mixed, it’s easier to get the disc in front of your receiver, but harder to then get it within a window they can actually reach. Enter finesse.

Two of the best mixed players I have had the pleasure of playing with (Pencil and Steve Balls if you’re wondering) are not the biggest throwers (Pencil might be if he stopped injuring himself…), but it is the quality of their throws that sets them apart: accurate, with touch, and weighted to the speed of their receivers. Obviously, these abilities are pretty damn handy in open, but they are crucial in mixed. In open, there will always be the Ashley Yeos to leg it after your discs – you might even have a few on the same line. In mixed, your completion rates will plummet without touch and accuracy.

Equally important for throwers (ie. everyone) is the mental ability to trust your female players. In an ideal world, everyone on your team is able to throw to your women, deep or under, and has the confidence to do so, even your goons. Another great mixed player to highlight this: Dyno. Ok, he’s a great open player as well (see above re. “ultimate is still ultimate”), but at mixed, his great throws combined with unfaltering trust in his female team-mates is what sets him apart, not just his ridiculous grabs. In lanes with Dyno, you know he’s going to get free, and you know that wherever you happen to get free afterwards he is going to throw it to you. Sounds pretty basic huh? But let me tell you, that’s some motivation for cutting right there.

Pitch awareness is the second skill that pays big dividends in mixed. Having great female deep cutters doesn’t mean a thing, without having male cutters who can keep their big goony defence away from the lovely weighted hucks thrown to those women. Again, pitch awareness is handy in open and can dramatically reduce the number of poach ds opponents get on you. In mixed it is vital to enable you to complete hucks to your women.  Yes, if the disc goes up and you can bid on it as a male cutter (or handler!), by all means go get it – because your man probably can too. The impulse you need to fight is the one to run deep without cutting, with your man right on your shoulder, because you’ve just seen one of the women go past you five feet free of her mark and you’re pretty sure it’s going to go. Maybe it is, but your job isn’t to catch it – it’s to make sure your mark is too busy D-ing you to go get a bid on it.

Pitch awareness is recognising who else is free where, while you’re trying to get free yourself. It’s a challenge in itself, a critical piece of the ultimate skill set. The easy place to start is conditioning yourself to spot other players going deep and dragging your man under or break, before they even know they could go poaching. Think of it as aggressive clearing out.

Pitch awareness and throwing finesse. If you want to be a big male player at mixed, you’re gonna need these.

 

Next week: Mixed Skills for the Ladies.

Featured

Yet more confirmation that we are the BEST!

Hey ‘Hawks.

This is and email from Dave who compiled a system of working out which teams are the strongest in University Ultimate. Makes me so proud to be a Mohawk and I hope it makes you proud too!

Last year, I put together a table consolidating the season’s tournaments at
University level*, across all divisions, to try and gauge the performances
of our clubs from a perspective different to where teams finished at
individual Nationals events, but by taking into account performances by
second/third/fourth teams, across all of open, women’s and mixed. The aim,
therefore is to show the strength of our many university clubs through
their depth and ability to field strong sides across all formats of the
sport.

I accept that this may, of course, be a flawed system, but given feedback
received last year (and the number of people who’ve asked when this year’s
is coming out…!), I felt it a worthwhile exercise once again to see how
our clubs have fared in 2011/12.

Using a points system similar to that used at Tour, clubs were awarded a
certain number of points dependent on their finishing position, and also
the number of teams at a given tournament (coming 15th out of 24 is more
impressive than out of 16), and where second/third/fourth teams were
involved, these numbers were combined to give one overall club score.
Nationals was given double the weighting of Regionals. Also, in instances
where clubs entered in cohorts with another club, both received half of the
points their combined team earned.

The points were all totalled up, and ranked to give a co-efficient for each
club; the top side gaining 1000.00, and lower ranked clubs given a
proportional scoring. The outcome of which is below.

* Incidentally, last year’s table can be found here:
http://www.fysh.org/pipermail/britdisc/2011-June/009420.html

Key highlights:

-Sussex are once again, the strongest club in the country.
-Bristol are ‘most improved’, moving from 30th in 2011, to 8th in 2012.
Credit also to Loughborough, Nottingham Trent, York and Imperial, who’ve
seen massive rises.
-Newcastle, Durham, Leeds & Surrey all drop out of the top 20.
-Southampton storm into the top 2, up from 14th last year.
-Northumbria are ‘best new entry’ coming in at 61st.

1.       Sussex (1000.00)

2.       Southampton (825.7)

3.       Edinburgh (802.2)

4.       Dundee (713.7)

5.       Manchester (702.5)

6.       Loughborough (695.6)

7.       Exeter (689.4)

8.       Bristol (639.9)

9.       St Andrews (623.9)

10.   Portsmouth (562.7)

11.   Cardiff (558.8)

12.   Nottingham (557.2)

13.   Oxford (521.1)

14.   Bath (514.3)

15.   Cambridge (475.5)

16.   Birmingham (458.1)

17.   Imperial (441.8)

18.   Aberdeen (432.9)

19.   York (425.8)

20.   Warwick (411.4)

21.   Newcastle (393.6)

22.   Sheffield (370.7)

23.   Lancaster (355.5)

24.   KCL (354.6)

25.   Durham (332.2)

26.   Leeds (314.5)

27.   UCL (309.7)

28.   UEA (309.4)

29.   Leicester (258.9)

30.   Bangor (253.8)

31.   Liverpool (252.0)

32.   Kent (251.7)

33.   Stirling (250.9)

34.   Cork [IRE] (245.4)

35.   Plymouth (205.8)

36.   Surrey (204.1)

37.   Holloway (178.8)

38.   Glasgow (176.6)

39.   Chichester (176.0)

40.   Trinity [IRE] (175.5)

41.   Nottingham Trent (150.5)

42.   Reading (147.6)

43.   Lincoln (144.7)

44.   Strathclyde (144.5)

45.   Sheffield Hallam (139.2)

46.   Brighton (124.8)

47.   LSE (111.8)

48.   Swansea (107.3)

49.   Heriot-Watt (106.6)

50.   De Montford (98.1)

51.   Brunel (96.8)

52.   Aberystwyth (87.4)

53.   Bournemouth (86.9)

54.   Oxford Brookes (75.1)

55.   Essex (69.6)

56.   Hull (66.1)

57.   Cornwall (64.5)

58.   UWE (56.2)

59.   UAL (38.0)

60.   Leeds Met (28.6)

61.   Northumbria (28.1)

62.   Chester (25.6)

63.   Bedfordshire (25.6)

64.   Huddersfield (23.9)

65.   Anglia Ruskin (23.0)

66.   Roehampton (22.2)

67.   Keele (20.4)

68.   Cranfield (17.9)

69.   Aston (17.9)

70.   Salford (5.5)


Blog Posts

Once a Mohawk, always a Mohawk

All my previous blog posts were written as an ultimate player with no titles. This one is being written by a national champion player. Great title, no? When it comes down to it, it basically doesn’t mean anything. I never played for big titles since I will rarely get them. But what does it mean to be a national champion really? Why will I remember that day till I die? Why will it be one of the happiest memories of my life?

Anyone who knows a little bit about the 2011-12 roster of the Mohawks 1st team knows that I did not get to play much during both regionals and nationals. This was something that at times had brought me down, you might get a medal but you think that you had no part in winning it. But do you remember what I said about being part of a team before? That day, once again and in an undeniable way this time, showed me the importance of being part of a team, being a Mohawk.

As Taxi puts it: "We are, objectively, the best university team in the country. That is all."

It was when I went to hug Rich and he said to me with the biggest smile I’ve seen on his face “this was why you came to the UK wasn’t it Dude?”, we hugged (never hugged a guy that passionately before) and he said “I love you buddy.” and I replied “I love you too buddy.”. Had never said that to a dude before.

It was when Ed was feeling bad about his defence that I told him that the almost-D he got on that dump pass is now in their heads, and they are scared now that they can get D’d at every throw and seeing his face lighting up, gaining trust in himself again. After the final we hugged and he said “Thank you, Dude. I don’t know how but every time you shouted on the sideline I knew it was your voice and I could trust it.”.

It was when Kneetu on the ride back told me that the point we scored together (from a hammer of course) was his favourite point of nationals even though he scored the sudden death point that won us the game at the semi. Rich told me he had never seen such a casual hammer throw and that he loved it when I raised my hands into a V shape (hand signal for a score) when Kneetu caught the disc, it was a great minute to be alive in.

It was when Shimmy came up to me and said “Congratulations champ, you were a huge part of this team, maybe you didn’t play much but you were there on the sideline, not stopping for a second, you were at every practice, working hard with us and helping everyone push themselves to their limits, being part of a team.”. That was when I couldn’t say anything. I didn’t want to start crying in front of him.

Then the cosmos decided to give us another piece of memory never to forget. We came together for the last time in a huddle, Ash said some great things that probably none of us can remember now, we were so full of joy and excitement, all that work in the rain, in the mud, in the wind.. Up the hills, over and over again, thousands of throws, screams and fights, for some, hours at the gym, nights out bowling and drinking.. We were champions. It was over.

1.. 2.. 3.. MOHAWKS!!!

We said, right next to the endzone where the Squaws were trying to score in. Then we heard the Squaws scream.. They had just won the game, right next to us.. Huge group hug of course, Selina asked me what we had done? I said “we won of course”, I don’t know why she had any doubts hehe, we hugged. Double National Champions.

If you think I’m just being poetic or emotional, just watch the video and listen carefully at the 27th second, hear our Mohawks chant.. Oh cosmos..
(the embed does not seem to be working: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuUBsx8KyHE)

Ash was so happy that he didn’t even care when we wrote the results of the F1 race that weekend on a piece of paper and showed it through the window while passing them by in the car. Jazz enjoyed it so much that he congratulated us with a text..

And who can forget the times right before the final, in the changing room, where Football, in order to prove his manliness  beyond any doubt to us by claiming that he can “pull any girl at a 16ers party”.. Man oh man..

It is these and many more small pieces of history that will stay with me, now that my year with the mighty ‘hawks is over, never to be back again. It was an amazing year that taught and gave me so much.

It is all these small things that makes all of it worth it, all the effort, all the pain, all the hill sprints, all the money, all the weekends.. For a team this great, one regrets nothing.

It was an amazing experience being a Mohawk, and sadly it has come to an end, as all good things do.

But you know what they say;

Once a Mohawk, always a Mohawk! 

Mohawk Emails

Kit/Hoody opportunity…

Hey Mohawks,

Brighton 1 are ordering new kit this year. You have the
opportunity to buy one of the new shirts we are ordering. As well as a hoody if
you like. The design is attached to this forum page:

http://www.mohawks.co.uk/forum/bu1-kit-2012-t1258.html

(sorry, struggling with technology) so look at that for reference. I cannot
guarantee prices at the moment but what I can say is that two shirts and a pair
of shorts will be no more than £55 and will likely be less. The hoody with the
big logo on the back will be black with white printing and will cost £20.

If you would like to order something then please fill out the GDoc below before
Friday at 8.00pm. It’s a strict deadline so if you miss it you wont get
anything. You will not have to pay for 3 weeks but must order by the deadline.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AuNjY9RtXDmZdDB0ZFJSRUVSYW1iUVBXYUZ
DQjRac3c#gid=0

The sizing below is compared to FIVE Ultimate sizing to help you decide.

sizing is: S – 36″, M – 38″, L – 40/42″, XL – 44″, 2XL – 46″

(Just to compare that with Five: S – 37.5″. M – 40.5″. L – 44″. XL – 47″. XXL -49)

The sizing for the hoodies:

Size S M L XL 2XL

Chest To Fit (Inches) 38 40-42 44-46 48 50-52
Actual Chest (cm) 102 112 122 132 142
Actual Length (cm) 66 69 71 74 76

The logo is property of 2D clothing (www.2dclothing.co.uk): we do not have
permission to use this in another form.

Any questions just ask Ashley, or myself.

Therapist

 

 

 

 

Mohawk Emails

Reminder – team photo tomorrow!

Hello one and all,

Reminder that the team photo is tomorrow. Our slot is at 13:45 so this means that you’ve got to be in the common room at 13:30, dressed in full Mohawks kit (please bring both your red and black top). The photo is being taken in the Debating Chamber.

See you tomorrow at 13:30. Afterwards Felix will do the training as per the email he sent last week – vital that you’re there if you are going to be at trainings next year!

Ciao for now,
Therapist

Blog Posts

ACL Blog: Part 3 – Months 3 and 4…

25th February 2012 – From the advice of my surgeon, I increased the exercise I was doing in order to continue strengthening my quad and hamstring. I cycled at a quicker pace, with more resistance and for longer. I also started doing more exercises involving my leg. I used the quad and hamstring weight machines in the gym for the first time and used a kettle bell when doing squats to create a bit more resistance than just that of my body weight. I made sure that I was working my leg more rather than sticking to doing exercises incorporating my left leg, but making sure as to not put it under much strain. I was now off of crutches but still didn’t feel much at ease for anything other than a slow walk on flat, even ground.

Deadlines loomed and illness struck keeping me from going to the gym for a couple of weeks which was very frustrating. I managed to keep up with a few of the exercises at home, but when you’re ill you just don’t feel like straining yourself too much. Plus my mind was concentrated solely on the work that I had to do. It was a minor setback, but played on my mind a quite a bit.

I returned home for the Easter break that I had from University and visited the physio. He gave me a few more exercises to do in which to strengthen my leg muscles whilst work on my balance a bit more. These included single leg squats, which really worked my quad as well as helping me focus on regaining balance in my left leg. This was also to help the nerves in my ACL to start interacting with my brain again as when I tore it, the blood supply through the ligament had stopped and this meant that the nerves had stopped working.

25th March 2012 – I reached a massive personal goal and went out for a cycle ride with my Dad for the first time since my injury. It was only a gentle cycle that probably lasted less than half an hour, but to be doing exercise whilst outside in the open air felt much better than being in a gym facing a wall next to some sweaty man I did not know. At least this way I knew that that man was my Dad. It was also nice knowing that I now had another way of getting around other than walking at a slow pace or being driven/driving somewhere as it was slightly too far to walk.

I had also gone out and bought myself a cheap gym (Swiss) ball from the advice of another physio that I had a session with during my time at home. This allowed me to do more towards recovering at home and is also a flattering addition to my already clustered room.

Walking had become much easier at this stage and getting around is much quicker now that I can use stairs without too much of a problem. I no longer have to search out lifts and ramps all the time. I am still finding walking downstairs to be a bit of a problem though; I am not able to walk down at a constant speed as my left leg struggles to cope with the weight when my leg is bent whilst moving my right leg down to the step below.

10th April 2012 – 136 days after tearing my ACL, I ran for the first time. It was not at a very fast pace, it was not for a great period of time, and it was only back and forth in the car park of the physio, but I knew that it was a massive step in my recovery. My knee felt a bit sore afterwards, but I guess that was to be expected with not having used my leg in a high impact manner for 4 ½ months.

The next day I ran a few lengths of my garden as a warm up before I started doing my exercises for the day and felt OK but I was still very wary about every step I took with my left leg. The day after, I was back at the physio and did some interval running on the treadmill, and this time it felt amazing. There was no longer a dull pain in my left knee and I felt more confident about each step so I was able to keep my head up and just run. I probably only managed about 4 minutes of running but it felt natural and invigorating. I didn’t really want to stop.

13th April 2012 – NEW SHOES!

On advice from friends and my dad, I decided that I should get a decent pair of running shoes now that I was at that stage in my rehabilitation. My dad suggested a specialist running shop in Portsmouth where they spend about half an hour thoroughly examining you by conducting a biomechanical assessment. They look at the way you stand, the curve in your knees, bow in your legs, the way you walk (gait) and jog etc, then they give you advice and suggest the correct footwear for you. I now have a pair of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn and they help reduce the strain that my legs take whilst running.

I recommend to anyone who is thinking of getting some running shoes to pay that extra bit more and get a decent pair after being examined by a biomechanical specialist. Especially if you have any sort of current leg injury or are injury prone. It is definitely worth it.

I was extremely excited about the next few months of my recovery; the thought of running really buoyed me, along with the notion of regaining all of the fitness I had lost over the past few months.

Blog Posts

Theory vs. Practice – A Grudge Match Case Study

So, had a bit of hiatus from blogging – 7 straight weekends of ultimate tends to ruin other plans… As a result I’ve got a bit of a backlog of things I desperately want to write about – especially after a rather historic nationals – but this one has been sitting about for a while, and really deserves to get to see the light of day.

Grudge Match 2.0

It was *the* match. The game we’d been hoping to avoid all weekend. And unfortunately we messed up and found ourselves playing it.

Our very own Grudge Match.

Now, having written a post about precisely that sort of game (with exactly the game we ended up playing in mind!), it felt to me at least like there was a fair amount of pressure on us for this game to not completely stuff it up, from a spirit point of view.

So with some wise words from Shim J and Kneetu pre-game we went into it with a new mindset.

No contests. Our aim was to come out of that game smiling, and long, scrappy, rage-y calls (like we’ve experienced previously against that team) weren’t going to help that. We could call stuff ourselves, but the plan was to not spend too long discussing stuff in a potentially bad way and instead to just play ultimate.

Equally, with the aim of smiling and the no contest rule, the pressure was off. I think previously we’ve felt the NEED to win against that team in order to prove that they were making bad calls, that we were better, that we were the righteous. By separating the calls from the outcome so drastically and by giving them so little space in the match, the game felt lighter – even before we started playing.

We went into that game with the aim of being well-spirited. Of introducing ourselves. Of finding a way to connect with a team when we’ve previously struggled to do so. Of calling only what we really needed to. Of complimenting their good plays.

So… what happened?

 

No Contest – Respectful or Cynical?

Me and Robbie were having a chat about the concept of a team-wide ‘no contest’ rule recently. I quite liked it as an idea as I’d never heard of it, and I thought of it in a kind of ‘ultimate respect’ way – you’re trusting your opposition to only call stuff which is true, and when they call it, you take for granted that it is true (plus, my US college crush team implement it, so it must be good, right?). Robbie took the position that it’s actually disrespectful to the team you’re playing against – to an extent you’re saying that calls aren’t worth discussing, you don’t think they can discuss calls properly, and hey, you’ll beat them whatever crap they call, so bring it.

Putting it into practice in a game was interesting. And I think that a no-contest rule has a great application, but not in the way I’d initially thought. And kind of in the way Robbie thought. If you’re playing against a team who are very respectful, and good at discussing calls, who call things in a discursive manner (“I think you fouled me, and I’d like to hear your interpretation”), then there’s no need for a no contest rule. You will inevitably uncontest most foul calls, or agree between you amicably that it was not a foul – or even that you don’t really know what happened even though you’ve both thought about it, so you’ll send it back.

Where No Contest comes into its own is against a Drama Team. I’m talking about ‘drama’ here in the way that Lou Burruss talks about it in his series of posts – a team which thrives off high intensity ‘discussions’, aggro behaviour and general high levels of rage and disgust for the other team. He points out pretty accurately that these teams almost unstoppably ‘drag you down to their level’ of drama, and while they thrive off it – you suffer.

Against a Drama Team (or a team with Drama players), No Contest is devastating. Suddenly, whenever they call foul, it is uncontested. There is no discussion to enlarge, to infect the sideline with righteous fury. Equally, our reduced calls for fouls on ourselves stripped the game even further of instances where drama could be injected.

As an individual who was always going to struggle just a little bit more in that game with spirit, the No Contest rule gave me a framework to follow. If you do not contest a call, it is correct. If it is correct, there is no need to be pissed off about how outrageous it is/how not in keeping with their own physicality it is/how badly it is being discussed on the sideline. It’s just a call. It happens. You play ultimate.

 

Drama’s Arch Nemesis

So, No Contest neutralises Drama, for sure. But what really kills it?

Because some of their players were trying pretty damn hard to generate drama anyway. Maybe this is a personal perception (it may well be), but I struggle to find a more generous way to interpret the repeated suggestion to our players that they “fuck off” (4 times, if you’re wondering).

In previous games, shit would have kicked off. We’ve never gone into a match with them with the aim of being badly spirited, but I’ll be the first to admit that we’ve descended there as we’ve been (from my perspective) worn down by this kind of disrespect and drama-generation. It’s tricky not to be.

The enemy of Drama, it turns out, is humour.  Lots of it.

I have never laughed so much on a sideline of a game I have been playing in. I have never come off from every single point smiling. We joked amongst ourselves on the sideline. It made the occasional bouts of ‘aggression’ easier to deal with. We joked with their players on the sideline, and it was really nice to be able to do that – it’s definitely not something we would have managed in other games when we hadn’t had Drama Reduction as our main goal for the game, and I’m so glad we did.

Because that team has a lot of well-spirited and just generally nice people on it.

Equally, in calls, the introduction of joking about our own failings seemed to throw them a little. It’s hard to call someone a cheating dickhead if they’re already calling themselves that while uncontesting that foul. Drama cannot be born from laughter.

 

Never Lose a Game

We lost. Maybe if we’d played harder, played more intensely, smiled less, we would have won.

But here’s my strong belief: if we’d played harder, played more intensely, we still might have lost. And we would have felt like we lost to bad spirit, and with bad spirit.

It would have sucked.

I realised this weekend that you never need to lose a game to bad spirit.

By not rising to it, by actively playing with almost ridiculously good spirit, you take back control of the game. By denying their drama a space to grow, you make the game yours.

That weekend, we lost to two good teams. There’s no shame in that. One of them didn’t do so good at spirit when they beat us. There’s no shame in that either (for us). They played hard, we played hard, we’re both good teams. It ended in sudden death.

Our biggest fear of losing to them has always been, I believe, that their victory would serve to validate some of their players’ behaviour. Having faced that situation, we know now – it does not. We still know it is unacceptable to tell another player to fuck off. And so do they. They still did it, sure, but I doubt that they would be able to argue that it was acceptable, even though they won the game. The outcome of the game changes nothing in terms of what is spirited and what is not – and that’s good for us to experience.

I won’t say that I am ok with the abuse that some of our players took in that game. I am angry about it, as someone who cares about respect for other players and about spirit of the game. But there is an odd thing going on that while I am angry about that player’s disrespect for us, I have no rage towards their team to bring away from that game, I have no niggling resentment, I have no bitterness about this call or that call.

This is because we went into that game to win spirit and, yes, I believe we won.

 

Note: I had a big think about whether it is fair to talk about another team’s spirit/behaviour, when it’s pretty clear who they are and when I’m not portraying them (or all of them) fantastically well. I then realised that anything I do on pitch that I do not apologise for I should be willing to have examined by other members of our community. Sometimes we all get a little angry on pitch, or frustrated by a call. We discuss stuff badly. Then we apologise for it, talk it through with the other person, learn from it, and do our damn best not to do it again. My assumption is that if you don’t apologise for it, then or later, you mean it. You think it’s acceptable. So you should be happy having it examined by others.

Blog Posts

Paganello Blog 2012

The following blog, tells the story of our Paga experience as juniors, in our first year playing ultimate. Created by Dan and Football.

*To note: If anybody has any additional stories they would like to add, feel free to write a comment below. We would certainly love to read it.

1st Day
The first day mainly consisted of discussing the tomfoolery of those missing the flight, as well as whether Chris would be alive when he did arrive. Smooth flight, relatively smooth train journey, and smooth arrival at Sunflower City. A wee bit of practice/ casual game was a nice introduction to beach ultimate for those who hadn’t experienced it before. Not a huge first night in terms of drinking, due to travel weariness and a generally soporific atmosphere for a lot of people. As we passed one of the women offering a particular service on a corner, Football predictably comes out with ‘Hey guys let’s have a whip-around.’ And then to the nice lady, ‘How much?’…

2nd Day – In Footballs Perspective

A 10.00 Am wake-up call had the entire hostel in excitement, as finally the first day of Paganello had arrived. Everyone could not wait to hit the beach and play some ultimate.

After a grim breakfast, the teams made their way to the beach, practising their side-arms along the journey. With the weather clearing up the day looked promising, a chuck-around, game of 500’s and a few layout drills made its way for the grand finale. A match between Not So Brighton mixed and juniors. Although, the juniors lost it was a good chance to get to know the team and identify its strengths and weaknesses. A particular problem – cutting under when Chris had the disk.

A memorable part of the evening was the adventure of going fishing with Ed, Joe, Tag and Miles. Ed’s “monster catch” was the highlight, as well as spending quality time with friends who kept me entertained through what some people might call it “a boring sport”. Due to Miles beliefs of not killing animals the fish was not kept and thrown back.

Miles to Joe: – “Guys it’s not right to kill it – Look how scared it looks.

(Good observation Miles….)

The day ended with a stroll around Rimini looking for somewhere to eat. The town in my opinion was a let-down. It was dead, no girls, nothing to do and a waste of a valuable V- neck. Who would honestly want to live here? After, an expensive meal, the gang made its way to an Irish pub enjoying the festivities it had to offer.

3rd Day

Remembering the third day is a good time to ponder on some words of wisdom; “He who intakes a bountiful quantity of liquor generates more memories for himself, yet has more to forget. He who forgets more is the likely culprit of the straightened pigs’ tail.” Basically free wine= loads of people getting comically drunk and producing great moments of horseplay, buffoonery and knickerbockery. Football was carried off at one point after spewing a few times, but before this attempted to create some space between Charlie and Lucy, stating to Charlie that he ‘spends too much time with her’. I really enjoyed watching Miles walk off into the darkness, somewhat attempting to do so with purpose but after a few steps stopping, stumbling and crumpling face first. Many experienced a revelation after being told the artist Flo. Rida stands for Florida, where he was born. Jallen made a respectable recovery after spewing midway through the night. Richard the Therapist was in a calamitous condition, luckily for him he’s cared about and was escorted to his room. Sam the Scottish Fairy performed well with around 18 cups of wine and keeping his wits relatively intact. A certain ill-fated event occurred on this night back at the hostel, but this will be kept closed to those who know.

4th Day – Football’s Perspective

Awakening in a bed not knowing how you got there and having no memory of the night before is a scary moment. I am sure I was not the only one. However, piecing together the events of the Paga wine party was particularly amusing. It was after my first ever three pint challenge where I lost any recollection of the rest of the night. As a result, I missed some comedy gold. From Rob Ellis’ highly controversial remarks to Frank’s move on Carolyn are just a few of the hysterical scenes that will be mentioned in years to come,

Frank to Charlie – “Can you persuade Carolyn that swapping saliva with me wouldn’t be too bad idea please?

As the hangover began to subside, competitive beach ultimate was finally played. Our first opponents were Faccia da Gialli a local team from bologna. Although, they beat us 10 – 8 it was an incredibly close game. Even with a sluggish hangover everyone gave 110%, Charlie’s incredible throws and Sam’s astonishing D’s contributed massively to the game. Starzy was by far the 2nd best female junior at Paga, from her layout grabs to motivation on the side-line, would not be missed in future games to come. Also, Benjy’s commitment to make sure his cap was on his head rather than in the sand summed up just how important this game was.

Prior to our second game against Cota Rica 2, a female of a rather mature age had made an aggressive move towards Sam.

Woman from Glitter Bomb – “Who’s that guy with the beard? He is hot! By the time I’m done with him, he will be speaking with an American accent. Hmmmmm  Yum Yum Yum.”

Ed and I stood in astonishment. How the hell does Sam do it?

After a convincing loss against Cota Rica 1 (10 -3), the team made its way back to the hostel for a magnificent dinner made by Lucy and Charlie.

5th Day

Despite this day comprising of 3 losses it was a highly enjoyable day in terms of the ultimate played. Personally our valiant effort in a 15-4(?) loss to Triple T was one of if not THE most enjoyable game. There was a build up to this game after the hostel banter and although we knew they were a very good team, we went out positive and hard and considering how much fitter, experienced and knitted as a team they were scoring 4 points was commendable. Our performance against Red Bulls was slightly tame but still an enjoyable game. Catchup bummed us to put it bluntly, but we still shined with spirit and played with grins consistently. 

 

6th Day – Both Dan’s and Footballs Perspective

With the weather bringing a 2 hour delay, it gave us time to prepare for the match of the day (live).

The Cota 1 game was our chance to beat our seed and push through to the semi-finals. Compared to our first loss to them it was a completely different game. We traded points up to 2 -2 in a very intense, very tight game. Sam’s superb hammer to Charlie gave us the lead at 3 – 2 with only 5 minutes remaining. Consequently, we lost 2 points in quick succession. At 3-4, after the buzzer had gone, Cota needed only 1 point to win the match. Charlie had the disk in our end zone, with a high stall count there was no alternative, but to huck the disk to Dan cutting deep. The disk looked as if it was going out, but an AMAZING grab over two Cota players brought the game to sudden death. A time-out was immediately called, we psyched ourselves up. Allot. They scored in about 15 seconds. A bitter defeat to swallow.

Great game, amazing fun.

With the loss of Cota 1, not allot of thought went into the game against Cota 2. After dispatching them 9 -1 the previous day, it looked like this would be a stroll in the park. With the wind picking up and the opponents winning the toss, little did we know what was in store. After 10 minutes, we were 3 – 0 down. The lack of concentration on our apart allowed Cota 2 to break us upwind. Now we were in trouble. Having Chris on a downward point was important, his hucks were pivotal in bringing the game to 4 – 2. Next thing was to break them upwind. The buzzer didn’t help, as now the game was to 5, Cota needed 1 point out of two downwind opportunities. Moving the disk upwind was not fun. Every inch felt like a mile, especially when being forced side-arm. Turnovers were frequent; a repeated process of losing the disk mid-way and getting the disk back at our own end zone. Eventually, we succeeded in breaking them through a series of handle weaves. Celebration was muted, as we needed to do this twice to secure victory. As predicted, a quick downwind point followed to reach sudden death (4 – 4). Unfortunately, our tired legs could not keep up with the pace of Cota 2’s repetitive Huck and D tactics. A marvellous match with great spirit all round.

Although we lost our seeding, nothing could take away the valiant effort of the team’s performance. In addition, we had the Paga party to look forward too. Again, a big thanks to Lucy who filled our tummies with pasta and tomato sauce. In terms of fancy dress, our idea was to combine with the mixed team and go as Noah’s Ark. Joe used his impressive facial foliage to dress as Noah and the rest went as pairs of animals. Except for Football and Ed, who linked the Zoo theme, with Ant & Dec’s “Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” (by far the best costume).

The party itself was worth the hype, great music and atmosphere. 10 out of 10! The entire Mohawks were having fun. Maybe not Kneetu, but Cake and Longface were definitely taking advantage of the festivities that night had to offer. Football and Ed were not so lucky, walking around in circles trying to find their perfect match. With the party nearing a close there was still time for some late night shenanigans.


Stealing advertisement posters, from the main stadium had the adrenaline pumping. Especially, with Benjy dressed up as a tiger, could easily have given away our position. After, being spotted by a security guard the gang legged it with a valuable Gaia sign that will soon be displayed at Russels Clump.

7th Day

 

Our last game was a predictable easy win against Cota 3, but beating several 12 and 13 year olds is not much to gloat about. Not to forget Benjy’s one inch pull, or Football’s no look backward knife had the audience in laughter. We played every game with exceptional spirit and attitude; we were deserved winners of the Spirit award! Ended the week with a pleasurable meal with everybody at Paganello was amazing and it was a pleasure playing with everyone in Not So Brighton Juniors. A big thanks to Charlie and Ed who organized the trip and captained the team amazingly.
Quotes and funnies:

  • ‘ ‘I say football you say logic, football, logic, football, logic.’ (Football to himself)
  • ‘Hey Dan intimidate me again’ (Football asking me to IMITATE him)
  • ‘When you go in Oceania in Brighton all the guys are like big and hench’ (Football on his reasons for going to aged 16+ club nights and wanting to be the biggest)
  • Jallen turns to me and says Football’s reason for not wanting to do a xxxxxxxxxxx with a girl and a another guy is due to ‘the inevitability that our xxxxx would touch’—‘But Football it’s easy to just stay away from each other’—-‘Yeah but when you like change positions they might brush against each other’