Wednesday, April 30, 2008

BPL Round 10

It's the final week of the 'home and away' season, and here's the draw.

Reporting on Week 9 was derailed by Nationals Week, but here's the catchup:

Nationals Round Up

We've been too busy recovering from Nationals here at the stately Brisbane Ultimate Blog mansion to do a bit of a round up, but thankfully the very fine Paul Keighley (Nats and UFNSW media guru) circulated a press release that covers lots of stuff!

More than 500 of Australia and New Zealand’s top Ultimate Frisbee players converged on Coffs Harbour this weekend for a unique sporting spectacle – the 2008 Australian Ultimate Championships.

“This has been a great event,” tournament director Simon Farrow said. “Everyone is having a fun time and there has been some very high quality ultimate for people to come and see.”

The tournament started on Thursday April 24 and concluded with the finals on Sunday April 27. It featured the top 16 men’s and 14 women’s teams from all over
Australia and New Zealand.

Highlights throughout the four days included:

* A Trans-Tasman ANZAC Day match during the evening on Friday April 25, a showcase game at BCU International Stadium featuring the Australian and New Zealand women’s teams. It was a hard fought match, with Australia emerging victorious 15 points to 5. It was great to see some international ultimate to get a taste of what is to come in August, when both Australia and New Zealand will send teams to Vancouver, Canada for the World Championships.

* Finals on Sunday April 27, where the top teams battled it out to be crowned
champions. The Open final was a tough match, with Fyshwick United (from the ACT) and Fakulti (from Sydney) trading points early on. Through some athletic layouts and aggressive defence, Fakulti gained a lead and won 15 points to 12. In the women’s final, Raging Wahine from New Zealand took out an early lead over Wildcard X-Factor (from Sydney) leading 8-3 at half time. Wildcard came back after the break, but eventually the Kiwis were the victors 15 points to 8.

The tournament was one of great contrasts. For example, on Friday the weather was lamentable, with rain and heavy gusts of wind playing havoc with discs and shelters alike. Some fields were turned to mud and some uniforms went from white to brown in a matter of minutes. Players struggled in the trying conditions that posed a significant challenge. The other days featured bright sunshine and little wind.

Mr Farrow said the best feature of Ultimate was the Spirit of the Game, which is highly regarded by all players. “As players referee the games themselves, they must strive for honesty and sportsmanship at all times.” The winners of the spirit awards for this year were The Pass in the Open division and Indies in the Women’s division.

Australian Flying Disc Association President Mel Gangemi said that this was one of the best tournaments that she had ever played in. “The venue is excellent and the
tournament organisers have done an amazing job in making sure everything was run well.”

Photos (Roger Barnes):

Here's a link to the Coffs newspaper's report.

Yep, it was a great tournament, and the Pass, and the two Firestorm's taking out the top three Spirit slots, while all taking home wins in their final games; along with Minx's third in Spirit and Sultry's wins on Day One; made for a good result for the North Region. Next year will be about delivering on all this promise!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Halibut 2008

Halibut 2008 is coming!

When: Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 July.
Where: Kalinga Park, Clayfield (same as last year).
Who: Mixed teams from around Brisbane, Queensland and Australia!

Here's who attended last year. And check out the Halibut tag below for our full coverage.

And try the Halibut08 tag for the latest updates, or just keep reading the Brisbane Ultimate Blog!

Mixed Nationals 2008

The Australian Mixed Ultimate Championships 2008 (aka Mixed Nats) will be hosted by QUDA and held in Brisbane.

Where: Kalinga Park, Clayfield (site of Halibut 2007)
When: Saturday 18 to Monday 20 October.

The Mixed Nats Qualification policy can be found here. It defines how teams can qualify from different regions, and how individuals can qualify for these teams.

For more information, keep checking the Brisbane Ultimate Blog, or click on the MixedNats08 tag below.

Firestorm into NUFL2008

So Brisbane's own Firestorm have been confirmed again as one of the teams to compete in the 2008 National Ultimate Frisbee League (NUFL).

With the number of guys who've been training with the Club in the leadup to Nationals, plus Adelaide being confirmed as a feeder-area for Firestorm (Adelaide not being selected to send its own club to NUFL), competition for these places was very tough!

But today aL announced the Brisbane part of the squad:
Mike, Johny Mac, aL, Stuart Austin, Dean, James, Beej, Wetnose, Jangles, Andy, Julian and Spinner. Well done lads.

NUFL1 will be on 17-18 May 2008. NUFL2 will be on 7-9 June 2008. Both events will be held in Sydney at Centenial Park (convenient to Sydney Airport). NUFL events are cost shared amongst the teams competing, including airfare costs. So Brisbane players will be up for about $150-$165 for each weekend - this includes airfares.

Go Firestorm!

This Pop Life

Happy Birthday Jon

Monday, April 28, 2008


Scan by Michelle Davie. Click to embiggen.

So a few people saw the above on page five of last Wednesday's issue of Brisbane's mX (the free afternoon newspaper distributed to Brisbane city commuters).

As a few readers may know, where here at the Brisbane Ultimate Blog have many more ideas that we can get around too, but I figured we'd share the tale of this one for others to emulate.

So anyway, I catch the train and see the mX fairly regularly. Its colourful and I suspect fairly cheaply run (ie a lot of the material is taken from elsewhere - not just Sydney and Melbourne, but it feels very like the London mX I used to read), but also appears very interested in what it's readers have to say.

It was about a week before Nationals, and thinking about what their production timescales might be like (I figured they gathered local stuff a few days before printing, where other papers might have a daily or weekly timescale) I figured to do something.

So I dug around to find the editor's direct email address (tip here - always find the highest individual email address you can find for direct access - I think this gets better success than emailing a general email box and sent the following email on the Thursday the week before Nats:

Dear Editor,

I think its great that you've continued from day one to cover the local arts scene - plays, shows, music - on a daily basis.

It's great to have a Brisbane focus on what's on.

But how about a little love for the local sports scene? I'm not talking about the Broncos or Bulls - but sport that's happening at the same level and involving local people, particularly the alternative, quirky, interesting, off-the-radar stuff.

Here's an idea for you - the Brisbane Ultimate Frisbee Teams - Firestorm (mens) and Sultry (womens) are having their final scrimmaging session this Sunday 23/4 from 3pm at Dorrington Park in Ashgrove, before going off to the National titles in Coffs Harbour next week.

Send a photographer down - its colourful and energetic.

Give me a call if I can help.

But if Ultimate Frisbee isn't your go or this weekend's no good, I'd still like to see some local alternative sport in there, as well as the arts scene.

Keep up the good work.

Phone Number
I'm sure you can see what I was getting at.

Anyway, it proved very successful as within 10 minutes of hitting 'send' the Editor phoned me asking to set up a photo shoot. I then talked to the photographer and talked about possible times and places.

Alas, they didn't do weekends, but with a bit of quick emailing we managed to line up a few Firestorm lads to meet at UQ around lunchtime on the Monday (I couldn't make it due to work, although plan b was to use the City Botanic gardens and whatever city workers we could get ahold of).

I made sure the photographer had a handful of mobile numbers for the boys and the lads had the photographer's numbers and there was a clear indicator of time and place via joint email.

A quick phone interview gave a journo some words to go with the picture (alas, I was unprepared and at work, but it turned out ok I hope - and I think Firestorm have forgiven me for the assumption that I'm one of them, and now made me honourary Firestorm Media Manager or something).

Anyway, the photography went well (well done lads!) and Wednesday afternoon there we were! Just in time to grab a handful of copies to take down to Nats for all.

We'll try to chase the photographer this week to see if we can copies of some of the other shots, and post them here and at for the duration.


So we're back in the saddle after Nationals. Bit tired though. Posting will be a bit erratic while we catch up here at stately BUB mansion.

Here's the results as floating around the interweb, with a bit of bracketed extras:

Final standings...

1. Fakulti (won final 15-12)
2. Fyshwick United
3. I-Beam
4. Eastern Territories
5. Heads Of State (love ya, Rueben and Piers)
6. Sweet Chilly
7. Taipans (Go Badman)
8. Sublime
9. Firestorm Zippo (six above seeding)
10. Karma
11. Firestorm Troopers (voted sexiest team, apparently)
12. Barefoot
13. Wollongong
14. Hot Chilly
15. The Pass (beat seeding too) ----------Spirit Winners
16. Fakulbee

1. Ragine Wahine
2. Wildcard X-Factor
3. Southside
4. Wildcard Jokers
5. Factory Girls
6. Team Box
7. Bush
8. Honey
9. Sugar Magnolias
10. Sultry (did well early but ran out of legs?)
11. Primal
12. Indies ----------------- Spirit Winners
13. Hills Angels
14. Minx (had a great time)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Going Long

So we'll be at Nationals and probably not posting, so will have a lot of catching up to do on return.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nationals is Only One Sleep Away!

Nationals week here at the Brisbane Ultimate Blog has been slaying them in the aisles ... so lets check out the final Brisbane team heading down to Coffs today/tonight/before dawn tomorrow - the venerable Sultry!

Unfortunately, while many Bothan spies died trying to gain information from the Sultry camp, their security is tighter than that of the mighty Empire itself. This is all we've got. I'm probably risking something posting it.

I should note that our dark reflection, Simon Ballaratbot, has tipped against Sultry rolling Honey or Wildcard on Day 1. More fool him, I say! MORE FOOL HIM!!

Anyways, safe travels to anyone heading to Coffs.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nationals is Only Two Sleeps Away!!

Day three of the thundering juggernaut that is Nationals Week here at the Brisbane Ultimate Blog continues, and even Tom 'F*** U' Watson and Tiger have turned up for some punch and pie!

Today, lets check out the other other side to Brisbane Ultimate, the Women-folk, starting with Minx. Despite what you may have seen elsewhere on the Brisbane Ultimate Blog (there was the Harry Potter logo, and the Jaguar logo), Minx do have a true and honest and original logo, designed by none other than Sam Challis. But its being kept under wraps until the funky red and black team outfits make their first catwalk appearance at Nationals.Minx trainings have been twice a week for the last two months, with many of the squad also playing at least one league night. All this fitness will be the key to the first day, against the fACTory Girls (yet another failed logo!) from Canberra, then hardcore gang Southside, before facing up to the friendly Indies chicks from Adelaide. Educated observers will consider that Minx will use the first two games to iron out a few kinks, and then bring a whole forty-four gallon drum of points home against the South Australians.

This will be particularly the case for some of the old hands like Shoes and Arnae who are likely to be the real workhorses of the team. A couple of great new players in Amanda and Jenn (who will be playing her first 'real' game of women's ultimate on the morning of day one!). A couple of Newcastle pickups round out the squad and will presumably add some drinking capacity. The last minute loss of Amy Thurber(UQ) due to injury will be keenly felt, but the late inclusion of Sandra 'SuperMum' Poon will stiffen resolve (in between feeds!)

Most importantly, Minx have been staking their claim as potential party winners. With connections to the Pass (noted for their dancing), I-Beam (noted for their slow hands) and Firestorm (noted for their .... well, lets just say they've got Stef), obviously Minx will be the centre of many social events.

Nationals will be Minx's first foray at a big tournament - so they'll be on the lookout for big fun and spirit.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nationals is Only Three Sleeps Away!

Day Two of the Unstoppable Nationals Week here at the Brisbane Ultimate Blog, and its all I can do to stop my face from exploding in excitement!

Today, lets check out the 'other side' to Firestorm - Firestorm Zippo!

The Zippo squad looks big and bad and all sasquatchy, if you know what I mean. Our spies tell us they have been training well and are looking significantly stronger than at Regionals. Seeded at 15/16 at Nationals, a few opponents are likely to make the mistake of underestimating the Zipps. FOOLS!

Nonetheless, their Day 1 pool is 'unkind' to say the least, with games against hot-tip-to-win-Nats Fakulti, other-hot-tip-to-win I-Beam and the who-knows-what-will-happen Chilly B.

I wonder how much of an influence BPL will have on this team. Will there be a lot of Fergs to Challis, Liam to Mike, etc action?

Zippo I'll tip to make the biggest move up the ladder between seeding and final result.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Nationals is only Four Sleeps Away!

That's right readers - its Nationals Week here at the Brisbane Ultimate Blog.

Your regular blogger is off to Coffs in the dashing Ford Liamanator on Wednesday night, so normal blogging may be disrupted (unless a volunteer suddenly emergeth!). But until then, lets talk Nationals!

Let's start with Firestorm Troopers.
Being the Northern Regionals Champions, the Troopers go to Nationals seeded 9th. Day 1 (Thursday) will see them up against:
- the Taipans (the Australian Masters team - preparing for Worlds and featuring blog-favourite Badman) who are seeded fifth (mostly due to the strength of the East region in past years);
- the Eastern Territories (a fair chunk of the New Zealand Open team, also preparing for Worlds) who are seeded 8th (mostly due to their winning Nationals back in 2003); and
- Karma, seeded 11th and the South Australian champions.

It'll be a tough to get a win over either the Taipans or the Kiwis, but I reckon they can do it by coming out tough and hard in the 9am game, while their opponents are still working out where in the world they are. Some will assume an easier time over Karma, but every time I look in the sandgropers direction I see improvement on improvement, and the Troopers will be playing them in their third game in a row so the Karmic enthusiasm and roster of 20 may be a problem.

Which brings us to the big challenge for Firestorm which, perhaps surprisingly, will be numbers. Alas, Will Larkin is almost certainly out, pending results from his MRI late last week, which gives a team of 13 ... of those, several players are returning from recent injury, so fitness may be a concern (though skill, looks and charm are not). *Late mail - hardcore training fiend and blog-groupie AJ Joshi has had the call-up to the Troopers front row - nice one!*

Owen Shepherd has pointed out over on Ulti-talk that the teams which have won Nationals the last few years have taken rosters of 18+ to help them to run all four days. But then Firestorm have indicated their priority will be getting lots of field time for all their crew, perhaps in preparation for a true assault in 2009.

Watch for Brock-star Cunliffe to make some waves if his shin splints come good or he realises that Vitamin I can be useful for non30+ers.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Doing Some Duty

I noticed recently on the South Australian website that all their league draws include a "duty team".

Given the load League Directors and Captains are bearing (particularly as our leagues continue to grow), I wonder if we should consider something like this in Brisbane.

The idea is that at the start of each season, teams must nominate a minimum of two of their players to be the duty team – so people know their responsibility well in advance. If for some reason and individual's plans change, they can get another team member to take care of it.

Importantly, competition points lost when a duty team doesn't do its job right, which makes for a good motivator.

Each week, the duty team gets keys and so on from the previous week's duty team and arrives early to turn on lights, set up fields and scoreboards, pass scoresheets out to Captains and such.

In Adelaide they have regular clubhouse access, so the duty team then opens a little shop for cold and hot drinks and sausage rolls and stuff while games are on – as you can imagine this makes for a very social atmosphere (we don't have that access here yet, but we *could* do something like this if we wanted to – look at the post-BPL esky that happens sometimes – and we now have some lockable space to leave things at Annerley). At the very least there'd be an easy place to sell discs!

At the end of the night, the duty team collects all the scores and collates and emails them to the LD the next day, along with keeping the shop open for bit. Meanwhile, next week's duty team picks up the cones and such and gets the keys for the following week. (The LD hangs onto a separate set of keys, just in case).
Where a League has a bye, then the team on the bye provides the duty team, but if there's no bye then in Adelaide with their shop, teams sit a couple of players out to man it (for a half I think – and then rotate some others off).

While we're now well on the way to teams paying fees collectively, if for some reason we went back to individuals paying fees, then for the first two or three weeks of the season you'd have two lots of duty teams on duty – one doing the stuff described above, but the other providing a fee payment desk (with LD support).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Further Historical Imagery for Education of Masses

Recent excavations at a site along the Brisbane Corso in Yeerongpilly unearthed a small rusted metal chest containing several documents and pictorals showing the Brisbane Ultimate scene circa 1976. We are pleased to present these to a recent audience to further understanding of the glorious history.

The Lovers of Ultimate at the University of Queensland was one of the most ancient and respectful orders of frisbee in the province. Note the cultural change - while the rules of Ultimate have usually involved 'seven-a-side', the macho culture of the times dictated that only four or five players would take the field - UQ players celebrate this still today, by 'throwing to nobody'. Historians suspect the 'wandler' on the left with hands on hips is a young Mattias Boevink.

Old even when the chest was buried, this photo is the earliest evidence of the Moreton Bay Bugger team. Ultimate teams in Brisbane were originally formed around occupations and ethnic groups rather than via the modern 'random' approach. The Buggers were state champions in 'Ultimate Fish' for an amazing twelve years from 1935 to 1947 (the outbreak of war not disrupting play in the slightest). Their run came to an end with the invention of the modern flying disc and the phasing out of the traditional 'throwing flounder'. Many Buggers still today have difficulty catching plastic items, but the naming of the Halibut tournament harks back to olden times. 'Mind the Gap' also has its origins in the fishermen of the time punching each other's front teeth out.

Brisbane has long been a destination for Frisbee-tourism, as is proved by the discovery of this "Player-Card" from Adelaide's Fertile Ultimate Evolution grouping, seated on rocks at Toowong Reach.

BPL Round 9

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Townsville League Week 2

Last night's results from the Townsville Ultimate Frisbee League (TUFL) sees the undefeated FKA (aka the Donkeys) taking top of the leader board. The newly-renamed 2nd Skin / Team Good Looking (aka Team GL) draw came from the lights going out before anyone getting to 15 (unreliable lighting is a plague upon any new league, but also a reminder to make sure you start on time).

And in further news from the North, apparently the Sunday A-Grade Pickup is looking good too.

Plastic Spoon

I had a long post going about substitutions in Ultimate, but bugger it got lost so I'll rehash on another day.

But one quick bit - a simple technique for getting everyone to manage substitutions that I'm surprised I don't see often is just letting everyone on the team know the maths, so they can make decisions about staying on or getting off or getting on or staying off.

Take the number of players you can have on the field (seven if its Open/Women's, or 4/3 if Mixed). Divide by the number of players you have available. This gives you a rough idea of how many points you should have on and off.

So if you arrive at Women's League and have 10 girls and want to share the load fairly evenly, people should be looking to play about seven of every ten points or roughly two points on, one point off (or four on and two off, or something like that).

If you're at Monday Mixed and have eight guys and four girls and are playing a 4/3 split, then the guys should know that roughly for every point they play they should have a point off, while the girls know they should aim at three points on and one point off.

If you're got a key super fit player that the team wants on all the time, then you can modify the maths. So say aL is one of your eight guys in the Monday Mixed. Keep him on all the time and change to seven guys available for three spots on the field - play roughly three on and four off.

Dancing Dozen

12 Songs your Ultimate Frisbee Party Must Have

Hey Ya - OutKast
Love Generation - Bob Sinclair
Are You Gonna Go My Way? - Lenny Kravitz
It's Raining Men - The Weather Girls
Love Really Hurts Without You - Billy Ocean
Sunchyme - Dario G
The Salmon Dance - Chemical Brothers
Rock Lobster - The B52's
My Name is Prince - Prince
Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley and His Comets
Thunderstruck - AC/DC
The Gambler - Kenny Rogers

Agree? Disagree?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Historical Imagery for Education of Masses

Just cleaning out some space - here's some old pics.

Portaloo Ultimate from 'Share the Love' 2006:

Stolen from somewhere, but still valid:
Red Peppers Mellow Yellow 2007:
Halibut Logo for 2002:Sexy Crusaders - Brisbane Ultimate League winners back in 2003 I think?
Queensland Men's Teams, Nationals 2003:
Dom and Jon back in 2003?
Not really sure what's going on here:
Halibut 2002 Winners:

Sultry 2005 I think?

Flaming Galahs at Pub 2005, starring the transglobal Dan Berry:

Gold Coast League

Looks like the regular Gold Coast pickup session is going to have a go at morphing into a Gold Coast League!

When: Wednesday 30 April to 28 May, from 6.30ish
Where: Broadbeach United Soccer Club, Chelsea St, Broadbeach
How Much: $10-$15
Contact and Rego: guultimate at gmail dot com

Teams will be formed 'hat' style to promote some tight Ultimate and extensive socialising.

Friday, April 11, 2008



It seems a pet cat was run over next to the Annerley fields last night.

This is awful. Poor thing and poor owner.

And bugger that'd I'd posted the 'god kills a kitten' thing not a few hours before, and then mentioned it to Rawhide at lest before our game.

I feel sick.

Poor cat.

BPL Round 8 Results

Edit: The table has been fixed after an error this morning.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Ultimate Equivalent of Fiddling with Yourself

NZ 2008 Nationals Results

Drifting even further from the Brisbane Ultimate Blog's mission statement than yesterday's news from Townsville, here's the results from NZ Nationals.

I'm posting these because I know some readers are looking for them elsewhere without success, and Owen was kind enough to forward me the email from the NZ list.

Hmm, well I guess its relevant as I think The Pass will be playing both FU and HoS in their first two games at Nats - so we'll call this some early intel.

1. Fyshwick United (Canberra)
2. Auckland B (Auckland)
3. Heads of State (Melbourne)
4. Spy (Wellington)
5. Christchurch Men (Christchurch)
6. Kiwifruit (Wellington)
7. Steve's Mom (Auckland)
8. MUD (Palmerston North)

Winner Men's Spirit - Christchurch Men
Winner Male MVP - Brennan Coulson

1. Christchurch Chicks (Christchurch)
2. Wetapunga (NZ/Aussie pick-up)
3. Artemis (Wellington
4. Disc-Oh Mistress (Auckland)
5. Athena (Wellington)
6. Matariki (NZ pick-up)

Winner Women's Spirit - Disc-Oh Mistress
Winner Women's MVP - Sarah Rice

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Townsville League Kicks Off

Sure we're all about the state capital here in stately Brisbane Ultimate Disc Blog mansion, but it's exciting to see that the Townsville League officially kicked off on Monday night.

Props to Matt dW and the crew in the engine room for getting it all happening.

BPL Week 8

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Lordy! The Size of That Thing!

Just to cut and paste from an email that came through this morning on the World list:

News from Japan
< Japan over U.S.A. at 2008 Ultimate Dream Cup in Japan. >

One of the largest annual Ultimate event in Japan (even in the world) "2008 Dream Cup" was held at Fuji city in Japan on March 14th - 16th by Club Jr. Inc., which is the flyingdisc-related company with a history of over 20 years, with backup of JFDA.

For 10th anniversary of the event, Sockeye and Fury (2007 UPA champions) were invited to play at Dream Cup. There were more than 2,000 players and 141 teams(including Korean & Chinese Taipei Teams) in Open, Women's and Mixed division.

To be expected, the finals were Japenese Buzz Bullets (2006WUCC Open champions) vs Sockeye, and Japanese Women's National team vs Fury, and well done to both Japanese teams for taking it over the U.S. teams.

Buzz Bullets won by 14-13, and Japanese Women's National team beat Fury at 15-9.

Chinese Taipei got 3rd place in Mixed Division, which was otherwise dominated by Japanese combos.

Once we get through Worlds2008, I guess Australian Ultimate should consider seeing if the Japanese would like to invite a couple of Australian teams - either our National teams or our current National champions!?

Lords of the Eastern Territories

For those who missed it, our friends in Canberra, Fyshwick United, won the New Zealand Nationals tournament over the week. Well done FU - with this and the success at Eastern Regionals, you've certainly put a target on yourselves!! ;)

More intriguingly, they defeated Melbourne's Heads of State in the final. Yes, our trans-tasman cousins had the displeasure of watching two Aussie teams battle it out.* semi-final. FU then went on to roll over Auckland B in the Final.

Given the debate here about New Zealand being offered a slot at the Australian nationals each year (going back to when they won the Australian title back in 2003), I wonder if the Kiwi's are having similar feelings about perhaps discouraging Australian teams from coming and pinching their silverware? [Edit - I mean this is amusement - I am both sure and understand the Kiwi's welcome guests, and welcome people keen to add to the competition there!]

On a tangent - I see the Friday evening feature game, a tradition at Nats, will be Australia vs New Zealand. Good on the NZ team for stepping up for the extra game. And highly appropriate given it will be ANZAC Day. If I may roughly quote the fantastic memorial in Canberra to the Australia/NZ wartime companionship - it takes two handles to carry a basket.

*I normally don't bother correcting posts, relying instead upon people's comments to show up errors, but rarely have we received such a torrent of email as on this one!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Lords of the North

Are the following past winners of Northern Regionals correct?

2005 Moreton Bay Buggers
(over Dojo Mojo, Byron Bay, Fringe (Pickup), Sultry)
2006 Dojo Mojo
(over Moreton Bay Buggers, '74 Flood, No Panda, Nice Shoes Wanna Huck (Pickup)
2007 Firestorm
(over Thor, Firefighters, UCup (Pickup))
2008 Firestorm Troopers
(over Firestorm Zippo, Thor, The Pass, Barbarians (Pickup), Firefighters (Pickup))

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Anything that can fit in their mouths

I'm sure its not too early to start mentioning Halibut - I mean its only less than three and a half months away!?

With Brisbane hosting Mixed Nats a couple of months later, this might be the biggest still of Australia's best Mixed Ultimate tournament?!

Wet your appetite by wrapping your oculars around this oldie from Youtube. Spot any famous faces?!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Razor's Edge

Congratulations to Brock Cunliffe and William Larkin on their selection in the Australian under 19 Open team! The lads will now spend the next 18 weeks continuing up the preparation curve for the World Ultimate and Guts Championships in Vancouver in early August.

Australian Juniors go overseas every two years (they compete at Worlds every four years, but there's also the World Junior Ultimate Championships in between - this maximises exposure while players age from @16-19) so the memories associated with these groups are very fresh (and in some ways the coaching and administration of Aussie Juniors is getting to be continuous).

But I hear that this time around competition for places was at its tightest. Commiserations to the Stone brothers of the Byron region for missing out this time around. Guess we'll have to show them at Nats!

Queenslanders Piers Truter and John McNaughton have been prominent in the back-room of this campaign so far, and they deserve a big pat on the back for the effort they're putting in.

The Aussie Thunder (as the Junior lads are known) just missed out on Bronze a couple of years ago. I think everyone agrees that a medal is on the cards this time again - but there's a lot of work to do between now and then! So any help you can offer Brock and Will ... I reckon they'd love you for it.

And check out the trivia section under "Thunderstruck" over at Wikipedia.

Tournament Play - Victim of Its Own Success?

This is more a bit of a ramble aimed as the southerners than fitting into our Brisbane Ultimate remit, but what the heck.

I note with interest that the April Fools 2008 tournament has practically folded due to lack of interest (except from three women’s teams), despite the best efforts of the fine folk of Canberra.

It’s a bit frustrating for me, as it was only 12 months ago that the AFDA Board was taking a heap of flack for the perceived lack of tournaments for Open and Women’s teams.

Fools 2008 was going to be an Open/Women’s tournament which acted as a high level warm-up to Nationals. But it seems nobody wanted to go.

What’s going on?

A bit of history first. Back in the day April Fools in Canberra, along with Seeds of Doom in Sydney and the Border Classic at Albury, were the key tournaments of the Open/Women’s season leading up to the climax of Nationals.

Back in 2004, 13 Open and 12 Women’s teams attended April Fools.

Two obvious and two less obvious things have happened since then.

First obvious – NUFL. A few years ago the elite end of Ultimate got big and hairy enough to come up with the idea of getting just the cream together to play hard and fast – NUFL 2005, NUFL 2006 and NUFL 2007 have been the result. For various reasons, these tournaments have been held during the January-April time period, and the drawing away of the top 200 or so men and women from other teams lessened interest in organising and attending the traditional tournaments.

Second obvious – Regionals. Around the same time Nationals started to grow beyond its capacity and so Regionals were introduced in 2005. Back in the day if you wanted to go to Nationals, your attendance at Nationals was assured, so warm up tournaments could happen right up to the weekend before Nats. But with the need for an organised qualification process and the uncertainty of not qualifying, Regionals has taken up centre space six weeks from Nats. Other nearby events of seeming lesser importance have withered.

Before going further, I should note that I (and I think most people) reckon these two things are excellent. NUFL and Regionals have really cemented themselves as great elements of the Australian Ultimate scene. Regionals I think will keep growing and establish a strong history and brand and it won’t be long before we see more teams not qualify for Nats than do qualify, and more teams going to Regionals with no real intention of going to Nationals. Regionals will be the climax of the Open and Women's seasons for many people.

But I wanted to also note two less obvious things that have happened.

First – training. With the need to qualify for Nationals and the growing formal coaching scene within the sport, teams and clubs are now training much harder and better and more regularly. I suspect the top ten clubs in each division at Nats this year will have had periods when they’ve trained twice a week for a few hours a go, with a proper session schedule and such, going back to at least November last year, in addition to multiple opportunities for local league play.

It wasn’t that long ago that training for Nats involved a few disorganised sessions in December-February, plus maybe weekly session for the six to eight weeks before Nats. In some ways, in the past, people just wouldn’t really turn up regularly to training. A few years later, I think a lot of people are enjoying training. I think this is where warmup tournaments came in. The players then preferred “to play” rather than “to train”. Training used to be what you did until someone insisted “let’s just play a game”. So to get ready for Nats you got everyone to a warmup tournament and played together.

Today you’re already spending heaps of your time training at home, and the training is so good, so why travel to a tournament? So where you’d think people from Sydney and Melbourne and surrounds would be queuing up for April Fools, instead they’re thinking that they’re already doing heaps of prep for Nationals, so why bother with all that getting organised to travel stuff.

Second – growth. All this comes together when you think about how much Ultimate has grown in the last few years. Intuitively perhaps you’d think with heaps more people playing Ultimate, there’d be heaps more and heaps bigger tournaments. And yes there are in some ways. But if you think about it, tournaments are what sports have when they don’t have enough local legs to play regularly at home – so you have to travel to find quality opposition. Martial arts, horse-sports – stuff like that. Ultimate used to be like that. Back when there was only a thousand or so people playing regularly in Australia, maybe a hundred in your local area and maybe only a dozen or so in your skill range, you were really keen to play with some different people, and the only way to do that was to travel and have tournaments.

Today there’s multiple leagues in most capital cities with lots of people you don’t know, and an increasing number of people at each skill level. Open players in Brisbane get a cracking run every Thursday, plus opportunities to play Mondays and Wednesdays and train in addition. Why go to Sydney or Canberra or Melbourne then?

So April Fools couldn’t garner the interest in my mind for a few reasons, nothing to do with the fine Canberra folk. Because people are already training hard and enjoying that training – they don’t need a warm-up tournament. Because they have access to heaps more Ultimate than they once did, and the elite players also have NUFL - they don't need it. And Clubs focus on Regionals instead because its about qualification these days.

So what’s the future for tournaments?

Really good actually. Tournaments still have one great thing going for them. FUN.

And this is where, while perhaps Open and Women’s tournaments have dried up over the last few years, the University and Mixed seasons are the ones getting more and bigger tournaments.

Aussie Ultimate players like their fun, and at the moment they connect that with Mixed and Uni Ultimate. Tournaments themselves, with the chance to catch up with old mates and make new friends, with the partying and the travel and the mixing of the boys and the girls, will remain popular, and if anything I reckon we’ll soon start to see mixed tournaments leaking into the traditional Open/Women’s season, to fill that space below the elite an the qualifiers.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Firestorm haz a website

Still in nappies, but check it out.

BPL Week 7

When these teams met back in Round 2 of this season, the results were Messy over Slippry Bugs 13-8, Dojo over Rawhide 14-11 and Passion over Lovers 15-8. Expect these rematches to be a lot closer this time around I imagine!

And just to catch up, here's the current table: