Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dear Diary ... Danger Illustrated

Firestorm are thundering along towards Regionals (register now) and Nationals! Here's the latest from the team training diary, this time featuring Andy and Damian:

Another week of hard training under our belts, taking us another step closer to the light at the end of the tunnel!

From a team player's perspective, as a returning player, I'm very excited to see such a talented, keen and enthusiastic bunch of guys turning up each week for training.

I think back a couple of years ago when Johnny Mac approached me with the idea of starting a new, fresh team for Brisbane men's Ultimate, with visions of being a reckoning force in a couple of years time. Well I think you should be very proud John, to see your vision taking form! A couple of years ago when Firestorm took shape, it was exciting to be part of the team from its conception, and after 6-12 mths away from high-level Ultimate it's even more exciting to be back as part of the team with what's shaping up to be a very promising season.

From a personal perspective, as a returning player, I've found the start of this season quite tough. After World Club Championships (November, 2006), and a year of increased family and work commitments, my lax eating discipline, and lack of exercise really shone through during the first training session at Oakman Park . I remember the first time we kicked off the training with the 3 laps, and in the third lap feeling like I was running under water with concrete shoes on! That was my wake-up call and personal catalyst needed to fire me up and carry me through the rest of the training session.

I wasn't able to make the first Thursday night session, and to be honest at the time I was secretly a little glad I had an excuse of a family dinner as I was feeling quite anxious about what I'd heard was going to be a killer of a fitness routine. Then week 2 came around and indeed it was a killer session, however the feeling afterwards of a sense of achievement was amazing, and knowing that the benefits were going to far out weigh the pain. Not to mention the feeling of camaraderie after sharing the experience with the rest of the guys. So leading up to week 3 and I was actually (a little sadistically perhaps) looking forward to the Thursday night killer fitness session. I must admit though when I heard that not only were we going to do the usual 2x rounds of exercises, but then some games also, I was a little dubious.

But something happened to me Thursday night after the usual fitness routine, which reminded me that the body has much more resilience than the mind would like you to believe. We'd just finished the routine, I was feeling absolutely exhausted, managed to throw a disc for a few minutes with my wife Suze, but really didn't know how I was going to stand up during the game that we were about to play, let alone cut or sprint! Then, as we were walking to the far end zone, ready for the first point, I felt 'tingles' going up through my whole body, which I can only put down to the adrenaline kicking in, but it was an awesome feeling! And low and behold I found myself faking hard, cutting harder, and playing some of the best points I'd played in weeks! That was it for me, the realisation that the body will handle whatever you throw at it (excluding injuries obviously) and that really these training sessions are all a battle of the mind and spirit.

There are too many awesome things going on at training to mention, so just one quick thing that I think we can all work on: during the drills which require a long cut to finish off, really concentrate on running back to the pack as hard and fast as you can, to ensure that the initial throwers stack remains populated at all times and avoids delays in the drill. I know it's hard, after making a long cut downfield and feeling pretty knackered, to then have to sprint back to the start ready to throw again, but it's a perfect example of how in a game, you can't afford to rest unless you're back in the ideal stack position, i.e. never stop to rest when you're in the cutting zone!

In summary, as a returning player, I'm very excited about the road ahead with Firestorm. Let's all keep up the good work, and get fired up ready for week 4 !!!


And now over to Damian (we don't have a photo of him handy ...):

Being out from competitive Frisbee for the last two years, I was a little apprehensive in joining the trainings for Firestorm. 3 weeks into it and I asked "What have I been doing (for Frisbee) for the past two years?!"

Trainings have been awesome and the two key things that really impress me are the levels of intensity and encouragement. Everyone was so pumped (even during the circuit training, believe it or not), laying-out, cutting for the disc, running long etc. What is more important is the encouragement that comes from everyone - circuit training would have been really HELL if not for the constant bombardment of positives. Thanks guys!!!!!

The drills were extremely helpful especially working on the timings and getting to know each other better in terms of speed, quickness, type of throws etc. I believe these drills will certainly build up our understanding of teamwork and chemistry.

Circuit training was really good last Thursday at Annerley especially with the incentive of some ultimate after the session (tho my legs were dying from the lunge jumps!). Games were competitive and made me aware that there are still many aspects of the game which I need to work on to get to the next level. So, would certainly appreciate any advice to get better - positioning, throws, defence etc or even a shout on the field if I'm going after my man on defence!

Bring on the next training! Firestorm rocks.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Why does Ultimate have 'Open' and 'Women's' Divisions?

Why does Ultimate have 'Open' and 'Women's' Divisions, rather than Men and Women?

Anonymous brought up the old chestnut in a comment the other day, which is along the lines of "Men can't play in the women's division, so why was there a furore last year when women weren't allowed to play in the BPL?"* Well, hope you'll forgive me for getting on the soapbox (which we normally try to avoid here at the Brisbane Ultimate Blog).

There's a lot to unpack here, but I'll have a go with a short analogy.

Think about age divisions in junior sport (leaving aside issues of a child's judgement and maturity here). Imagine an under 17 player who has the ability to compete with older players and wants to do it – they're allowed to play in under 19s.

That's why they call it "under 19s", rather than "18 and 19 year olds". And the under 19s treat this player the same as everyone else.

Going in the other direction - it's rightly considered unfair for an 18 year old to try to play in the under 17s.

For the under 17s being as a group, physically weaker than under 19s, insert women. Its fair to have a competition exclusively for women. And its unfair for a stronger division to deny entry to individuals based on the traits of the group.

Ah, but you might say, as some did during the BPL debate last year, "Under 17s are more likely to get injured because they're physically weaker", or "I as an under 19 would be worried about injuring a physically weaker player".

The answer to the first of this is that these people (when they are adult women) get to make their own decisions about the risks they face (just as physically weaker men make such decisions before going on the field (hello Alfie Langer) - typically they become more skillful.

And the answer to the second of these is to me the real killer, particularly in the future as the standard of BPL continues to rise. A women who was genuinely weaker than EVERY male in BPL would be the first one cut from a team, just as would any guy who was the absolute weakest player in the League would be cut from a team (this will become more common as the League continues along its increasing-competitive curve).

And can I just add that if any guys out there believe you can't avoid injuring another player, I suggest you drop out of Ultimate and find another sport.

This is why we have a division limited to Women, and why the other division should and will always be Openopen to all, open to the best.

*For those who came in late: for a season of last year's Brisbane Premier League (the highest level Ultimate league in Queensland), the captains decided to ban women from playing (a small handful of elite women had variously played in the BPL in the past). This was rescinded the following season. The ban was hotly debated. The desire to ensure enough players to create a sixth team for the following season may have been a factor in the change back, although I personally like to imagine (as an outsider to the decision) that reason and reflection prevailed.

Oi Oi Oi Roundup

On Saturday the ever-fantastic Maylin hosted the Oi Oi Oi Hat, a hot afternoon of organised pickupery Ultimate over at the Yeronga AFL Club (site of the Monday night Yeronga Ultimate Frisbee League).

It was a really fun afternoon. A half day seemed to suit everyone (perhaps a monthly Sunday arvo Hat is what we need in Brisbane? People want some tournament play, but don't want to travel interstate for it, but we're not big enough as yet for regular tournaments?). And with team names like Corey Kernigan, Mango and Grundypants people seemed to get into the Australia Day mode. Being broadcast via Briz31 was pretty cool too!

Huge props to Maylin and friends for getting it organised. Here's a few photos to tide you over - I'm sure there are better floating out in the ether (not Eather, as in Adele).

Adelia gets in the mood:

Geoff and Tom get warmed up:

Oh, and there was some Ultimate, starring blog favourites, Shagger and Al:

As always, click to embiggen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Women's League to Start 4 March

Eireann has started spreading the news:

Who: All you lovely ladies

What: Brisbane Women's Ultimate Frisbee League (WUFL)

Where: Oakman Park, Toowong

When: 4th of March - 27th of May (Two weeks of Learn to Play, then 11 week season)

Time: 6:45-9pm

Cost: $40

Brisbane's Women's leagues has been coming along in leaps and bounds over the last 12 months, and I suspect with the advance notice allowing some good promotion, 2008 could be the year that it becomes solid on the scene.

*Registration is good because a) there is a record, which can be useful if you get injured and want to make an insurance claim and b) it really helps organisers to know who/if/how many people are coming.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sultry Select

Brisbane Women's team Sultry has started the process for selecting its team for Nationals 2008, with a call for nominations for Selectors.

Contact Coach Matt or Eireann is you have a view.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Australia Day

Keith and Danielle - showing the green and gold in Brazil a little while back - photo from Shawn Robb.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Help Wanted

The Brisbane Ultimate Blog is a fabulous thing and is seeking a regular University scene reporter. Maybe a weekly blurb. Looking for fresh voices. Must be able to write, and not ramble on endlessly giving smack talk of the Jangles/Chris style.

Dear Diary ... Funkin' Instigator

Firestorm training continues ... this week starring Chris and Spinner!

Well the torch has been passed to me this week to jot down some of my thoughts about Firestorm and some of my past experiences, and Mikey has asked that I reflect on what I think about "team culture" and "attitude".

So I didn't really know where to start, though I knew I wanted to share one of Firestorm's highlights at last year Nationals. It was a game against Fakulti, the team that eventually came second at Nationals last year, so obviously a very strong team. Anyway the conditions were very tough, it was our third game of the day, it was very windy with fading light, and more importantly, we were down 14 - 9 in a game to 15 in a game where no one was expecting us to win. The entire game we had played within ourselves; we hadn't been out classed we had just slowly let the score get away from us with a couple of untimely errors in poor field position.

Now like in every great comeback story, there is a point where the penny drops, where realisation sets in that you can still win if only you believe you can win. There was a definitely point in the game where happened for me...I was standing on the line with Al Don and the rest of the Firestorm boys - these were all guys that I had trained hard with for the last 3 - 4 months, busted my balls for, and with some of them like Al Don, John McNaughton and Brett Matzuka I had a long history of grinding victories and narrow losses countless times before whether it was at BPL, Mixed Nats, Uni Games, World Clubs etc and when you have that common experience all it took for the penny to drop for me was the simple look from the steely determined Al Don and that was enough to speak volumes and that game was still ours to be won.

For me there was something special about running off a line and trusting all your team mates. As I ran down the field I just knew that they were not only going to do their job, but that they'd be doing everything they could to make my job easier by shutting their man down, putting harder marks on the disc, and just running the hard yards. You just knew that there was no way they were going to let you down.

In hindsight it is funny that despite having played in countless games where I have lost, there is only a select few times where there was this sort of unspoken comradery that you knew you could rely on when the going got tough, and it was definitely present when we were 5 points behind against Fakulti with all the odds stacked against us, yet in that game the notion of losing never creep into my mind. I can honestly say at 14 - 9 down, I still thought we were going to win.

Anyway to continue the story, for those final 6 points of that game I was marking a guy named Ant Dowle, one of the best receivers in Australia standing 6"4 tall and by no means a slouch for speed and can jump like the best of them. In the windy conditions we were marking the unders fairly aggressively with some mongrel straight up D on the thrower (our traditional mongrel man defense). Fakulti was on an upwind point, and Ant Dowle with some fancy footwork from the front of the stack cut long on me and had me fairly well beat when the throw went up.

I hated myself as the throw went up as I realised I had let my man get free, but as I scrambled after Ant none other than Al "the little general" Don, the most unlikely character to see poaching off from the back of the stack, sprints long and out positions Ant for the disc despite only standing only 5"10 in stature and I'm sure possessing a slightly less dramatic vertical leap!

With commitment like this throughout the last 6 points from every player on Firestorm we managed to come up with the win and I believe set the precedent for the attitude/culture that the club is looking to carry on for the upcoming Nationals season.

Before I round this Firestorm diary entry up I thought I would just quickly touch on my personal "attitude". Now for me I believe in a fairly simple motto: "success is a choice." That's it; it's not complicated. For me success in anything is completely achievable if I want it bad enough and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it.

Now I was also lucky enough to be able to attend the National Selection Camp down in Canberra on the weekend, and I think one of the AIS strength and conditioning coaches touched on it when he said, "the difference between success and failure is so slight that it is so often just the little things that make the difference between being the champions and being just one of the pack."

So for me the little things aren't just showing up to training, they are putting in 100% when at training. They are setting small challenges within training like completing the 100 throws with zero drops personally, running the last lap of the warm up bloody hard, or not turning the disc over or being scored on in the scrimmages, treating the training drills like they were a game making genuine cuts and attacking the disc, getting advice from more experienced players about your throwing technique or the purpose of a defensive/offensive strategy. It is the focus on these little things combined with the right attitude that will get us to where we need to be to be competitive at Nationals.

Anyway I'll leave it at that. It's been an awesome last couple of weeks and I'm really starting to get excited about the potential for these two teams this year!

And now over to the new man ... Spinner!

"Every man experiences pain - either the pain of hard work or the pain of regret"

Cheesey i know but i am a man of cheese and with this thought in my mind i started tuesday night training pumped up for a big night. Tuesdays are great for me, as a beginner in every throw but backhands in terms of being in a situation to work on different types of throws (100 throw drill) with hopefully having someone catching the throws that has had some experience at the crazy throws (scubas, push passes etc) that can help me with the techniques of these.

That being said, if you consider yourself pretty good at a certain type of throw and you can see your partner struggling feel free to give some friendly advice, i would definitely appreciate it and i reckon most of the beginners would too.

After this we worked on focussing our cuts on up and down with not much side to side which was also excellent for the newer players coz it seems obvious to go for the most open spot, sometimes not realising that is not the best spot to set you up for the NEXT throw. The ground was in excellent shape for a bit of a game which finished off the night nicely.

Thursday!!! : With less people training and Mike and Chris keeping an encouraging eye on those of us waning in the second set, it was on! From what i saw everyone eeally pushed themselves and this night is so good for team spirit and of course learning how to push through those imaginary(?) pain barriers that your mind sets up. Don't believe your brain!!! After all was done with a thorough warm down i got home for an ice bath. I promised myself i would stay in it until i at least finished
my beer and i did but i reckon i got through my beer pretty quick. maybe next
week i should try to stay in for two beers? after i warmed up and my penis came
out of hibernation it was out and straight to the table for a big pesto pasta
(prepared by my girl) and a big sleep. Bring on week 3...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Puttin' on the Minx

So the rumours seem to be true.

After years of Sultry "domination", Brisbane now has a second Women's Ultimate club.

Minx is headed up by Peta McNaughton, and coached by Mat Ryan.

With these two on board, its clear the focus will be on having a good time and improving one's Ultimate skills. And giving the 'old ladies' of Sultry a run for their money!

Hump Day

After some pestering by unnameable* sources, the Brisbane Ultimate Blog will turn its mind away from its hard and fast focus on Brisbane Ultimate to a closely related activity – drinking – and the review of such drinking.

Every second Wednesday after work a certain group of folks get together in a fairly disorganised manner for Hump Day Drinks. Hump day celebrates being over the hump of the working week.

Last night the crew visited Union Jacks on Charlotte Street, and was pleasantly surprised to discover half-priced (or about that) happy hour jugs from 5.30-7.30pm (bit rough on the people who were there at 5.15pm buying jugs at full price, but then as was philosophised by the Philosopher King, this motivated some heavy happy houring to lower the average cost price per jug). The wide range of beer selections kept the Skipper and the Engine Rob entertained.

In attendance: myself, the Skipper, the Engine Rob, Shagger Good, the Sultry Lady, his drinking majesty the Philosopher King, Speedy Bob, a limping Astrocristy, Rune and EPAngus (the latter four putting in their first appearance for 2008 for those keeping track at home).

Food war reasonable. Drinking was moderately heavy to heavy. Happy hour very timely.

Next meeting is planned for the German Club on 6 February.

*I don't mean this in the Cthulonic sense

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Google Crazy

So after a long time getting around to it, I've started to use the Google analytics tools to find out about the sorts of reader traffic we're getting here at the Brisbane Ultimate Blog.

Two weeks in and there's some interesting stats.

Tuesday is the most popular day for reading the blog. I guess that's because the weekend is for Ultimate, and Monday is for recovering from Ultimate.

About half the traffic comes from search engines, which surprised me. I was expecting people to have us in their favourites and click here directly, but it seems only a quarter of visitors do that. I guess most of you are wanderers, rather than creatures of habit.

The other quarter come here via links from other sites, which also surprised me. After and (the latter would have come from links on the bottom yahoogroups emails I guess), high on the list was the US College site Cultimate – its probably helpful that they do their links alphabetically, and some curious readers there seem willing to click on anything ('Wonder what this "Brisbane" thing is?'). Disappointingly, nobody seems to be clicking through from Seppo's Ultitalk (where I post occasionally) or Rueben's blog (although Owen seems to find us from his site). Hi to too.

But it’s the search terms that lead people here that are the most entertaining.

First, there's the obvious and expected: "brisbane ultimate disc", "dingoes ultimate disc", "frizby toowong club brisbane", "ultimate disc blog", "firestorm ultimate", "mixed hat Brisbane" and so on.

Next there's a surprising group that find famous Brisbane Ultimate folk by googling them.

Clearly we need to increase our coverage of one particular guy – "Alistair Don Brisbane" was in fact the most popular search term that brought people to the site. Yeah Al. We'll be arranging the photo shoot as soon as possible.

Then there was "maylin chuah ultimate" and "ultimate Brisbane maylin", "jenny beard Brisbane", "Jason de Rooy blog", "jonathan potts Frisbee", "shawn robb Brisbane", "big mike neild ultimate" and "the ultimate john mcnaughton" (perhaps looking for the best Johnny Mac available). For these, finding this here blog was probably useful in some way or other.

Plus there seemed to be a few to not have a particular Ultimate or Brisbane bent – "emma bendall" (searched for several times) and "rena kuwahata" (still greatly missed) – perhaps these two have global fan clubs or something. "Mel Gangemi" has a fan too it seems. We'll obviously need to increase the Emma, Rena and Mel content on the site.

Then, there's a bit of a tangent into what the internet and search engines seem to do best – search terms of perhaps dubious intent.

"Danielle love" – well, I can understand that one I guess – Danielle is lovely.

"Aussie beach sex" and "Aussie ho" – well, I flagged that when we posted about the women's beach team.

"Brisbane ultimate sex" seems reasonable if misdirected, as does "spirited sultry women", although "Maylin Ultimate sex" seems slightly more concerning.

Unfortunately it goes (entertainingly) down hill from here. "shagger good Brisbane" – ok, sure, we have some Jon Good around, but then "wet jangle Australia", "spiderpig fucking" and "wet nose sex Brisbane" are encouraging me to revise the use of certain words.

My favourite search that brought someone here? "Is halibut safe?" probably brought a surprise for the searcher. Let me assure you, the Halibut tournament is excellent.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Haven't had much loldisc action lately. Welcome back John.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Death of Richard Knerr - Populariser of the Frisbee

Richard Knerr, co-founder of Wham-O Inc., which unleashed the granddaddy of American fads, the Hula Hoop, on the world half a century ago along with another enduring leisure icon, the Frisbee, has died. He was 82.

Full obituary here. And the Wham-O story, over at Wikipedia, includes some Ulti-history.

I don't remember why, but when I first started playing Ultimate my first disc was a Wham-O, much to the amusement of the Ultimate-kids. But today I look back at that frisbee and wonder what I did with it in the end.

If you could have half as much fun in your life as this guy seems to have had, you'd be doing well. Wake at the UQ Staff Club this afternoon.

And it became magically fertile!

A few random thoughts triggered by recent posts and comments.

BPL Future: We talked to Jon about the future of the BPL, and he was looking forward to the day when players really compete to get onto the six teams. But an alternative to keeps Open Ultimate growing in Brisbane, is, when the number of players are there for around eight teams, it might be time for two divisions, with four squads each with an A and B team. So we'd have a BPLFirsts Division with something like BuggersA, UQ1, DojoA and Rawhide1, and a BPLReserves Division with BuggersB, UQ2, DojoB and Rawhide2. There would be rules to limit but allow for a bit of movement between an A and B team - something like squads would need to nominate a number of players to be their A team at the start of each season (say 15), and they must field most of these for an Division A game (say 11), while only a few (say 3) of them may ever play a Division B game. This allows players to drop down or go up, depending on form, injury, development, etc.

In summary, having two divisions rather than limiting teams would let Open Ultimate keep growing while keeping the standard competitive.

Professional Ultimate: I posted about how if you had the money, you could spend it on enabling 'professional Ultimate', but discussion (as below and elsewhere) often turns to 'where does the money come from?', and people seem to always assume 'sponsorship'. This is crazy, really. For most professional sports, sponsorship is a minor 'top up' in terms of their income sources. I guess its because sponsorship is so tied into profile that we think of it first. But really, (leaving aside income from media sales, which only the top sports generate money from) most sports clubs generate income via general fundraising, memberships and local fees and commercial enterprises (like owning a Leagues Club or leasing your fields).

If you ever wanted to take the first steps towards professional Ultimate in Australia (primarily with the aim of generating a product that can increase the profile of the sport), I reckon your first bet would be to get local associations to put some money into the Clubs. So QUDA buys Firestorm and Sultry its jerseys and provides training fields and maybe one day subsidises airfares each year, and recoups the costs via government grants and increased QUDA fees. And one day QUDA gets some fields and builds a clubhouse and gets a liquor license and we all drink there and money is raised that way. But I suspect Ultimate players like to dream of sponsorship because it means someone else can go and work hard on something, and everyone can reap the benefits.

Edit: New Layout: Well, the addition of comments to the front page seems to have provoked some comment! Jangleicious ... if that's your real name indeed. We'll see how civil you can all be anyways.

Ramble out!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

OiOiOi Hat - Saturday 26 January

Register for the OiOiOi Australia Day Hat at
What: Mixed hat tournament (3 or more.. short games). Post tournament shenanigans to be confirmed.
When: Saturday 26th January (Our day of national refelection and green and gold!) 1:30pm till dark.

Wouldn't miss it for quids!

Linkety Link Link

We've discovered that our colleagues at the US College Ultimate blog, Cultimate, have included ye olde Brisbane Ultimate Blog on their blogroll (and Owen's blog too - which you really should be reading and Owen should be posting more on).

Go check them out, and tell them we sent ya.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

He Can Huck the Disc Just Like Ringing a Bell

In our endless search for quality content for you readers out there, we've stumbled upon the idea of posting the occasional interview. So we thank the gracious and enormous Jon Good for stepping up to the keyboard and getting us going.

What is there we can say about Jon in terms of an introduction, that hasn't been said better by someone somewhere else? Well, Jon makes for a great boozing partner, for one. And he organises the Brisbane Premier League exceptionally well. Handy to have on your team, be it Ultimate or anything really. And apparently a fantastic shag (this is speculation, but then, I'm sure you all read that article about Ultimate players and shagging). Um, anyways ...

Brisbane Ultimate Blog: What is it that really suckers you for Ultimate? Is there anything specific or central to the sport that has you?

Jon Good: I started playing because I was fed up with the egos which dominate all of the other team sports I played. Now I’m not saying that there aren’t big egos in ultimate, but they make up a far smaller proportion of the players and the spirit of the game does a pretty good job of keeping them in check. So I’d say it’s a combination of the central aspect of fair play and the type of people this tends to attract.

BUB: Do you think being an organiser at Ultimate changes the way you play or understand the game itself?

JG: Other than a much better understanding about roster sizes, I don’t think running BPL has changed how I see the game. It’s certainly made me far more appreciative of the precious few others who take the time out of their lives to organise events.

BUB: What stands out in terms of differences between Ultimate in the UK and Ultimate in Australia?

JG: You guys don’t have an indoor season for one! I think that lack of the smaller, faster version of the game means that Aussie teams tend to be a bit more huck-orientated and less fond of the scuba and blade than UK teams. Cups in zone defence also seem a little easier to get through over here, maybe because you get a better understanding of space playing indoor tournaments on pitches the size of 2 badminton courts.

BUB: Now that we're in 2008 – how do you think 2007 went for Ultimate in Brisbane?

JG: We have a city full of world and national champions, so I’d say it went pretty well. All the leagues seem to be growing in stature and it’s great to finally see the development of a potential new ‘home of ultimate’ at Annerley after loosing UQ. A lot of guys seemed to get engaged and/or pregnant too, must be something in the water.

BUB: Where do you see BPL by the end of 2008 … and if its not stretching the imagination too far, at the end of 2010?

JG: We have some pretty exciting things in motion with Annerley Junior Soccer Club at the moment, well, exciting if you’re an admin geek anyway. By the end of 2008 I’d like to see this translate into a 6 team league where there is genuine competition to get on every roster, games being played on fields so well lit up that you’ll want to buy shares in Energex, and hopefully some growth of potential sponsors to bring the costs down for the players.

By the end of 2010 I’d like to see BPL being run even better by someone else!

BUB: There seems to be a sense that BPL is producing some very strong Open Ultimate in Brisbane – why isn't this translating to greater success on the National stage?

JG: Coming from the UK system, it’s always seemed strange to me that Brisbane throws together teams of ‘all-stars’ for nationals rather than having a concrete club structure. John, Mike, and Al have made a good step forward with the way they are running ‘Firestorm’ now and I think this should improve performance at Nationals. Personally I think it would be better in the long run to have guys playing as a team every week in BPL, and take them to Nationals. Now part of this is selfish as I’d like to see BPL be as competitive as it can be, but surely a team of guys who play together on a weekly basis and then add in some extra training sessions would perform better than guys who play on different teams with different structures each week? The logic seems to work for the USA teams at World National Championship level, although they would struggle logistically with a country wide ‘all-star’ team.

BUB: Do you ever find much time for nostalgia? Thinking about the 'old days' in Ultimate?

JG: Ah yes, back when I had hair, had never been injured, and could run guys into the dirt. I started playing in 1994 for a Juniors team which competed against 7 others at the UK National Junior Championships, looking at how much recognition the sport has now it seems like a very long time ago. It’s great to see some young natural athletes gravitating towards the sport, rather than the kids who sucked at everything else – it was much easier to get open when teams were made up of those kinds of players though. I’m sure once I hit Masters eligibility age my fondness for nostalgia will increase!

BUB: Can you name a couple of Brisbane Ultimate players you consider 'under-rated'?

JG: Playing both YUFL and BPL with him, Shawn Robb would come pretty high on my list – nothing too showy, does whatever he’s asked to do to the best of his ability every time he’s on the field, a real workhorse in the James Larkin sense. The other guy I admire a lot is Andy Lankowski because he does the kind of handling job that doesn’t get you much praise – sure he may not throw many spectacular (or speculative) ¾ field throws, but he’ll get open on most guys for a dump and you’ll be able to count the throw aways he has at a tournament on less than 3 fingers.

We also have a load of young talent coming up through BPL at the moment, and some guys can get lost amongst the Jules’ of this world. I’ve always been impressed by Pete Allen, particularly last season when he stepped into the lead handler role a couple of times and did a really good job. Sam Challis will also be a name you’ll hear more and more in Ultimate, usually followed by the words “… did an unbelievable job of running down a wayward huck by Jon Good”!

BUB: Thanks Jon!

Readers - if you know someone who we should interview, or want to be interviewed yourself, leave a comment or get in touch!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Dear Diary ....

Firestorm completed its first full week of training last week, and Mike had the clever idea of getting a few people to write up a few reflections, and then of suggesting I post them here. Even if you have nothing to do with Firestorm, these are interesting reads to discover what all this 'training' thing is about.

First up we have the ever awesome Liam:

Tuesday 8 January saw the first training session of Firestorm for 2008, and the first training session ever for FS for some people. Although there were some new faces in the crowd, the mood was just the same. Everyone rocked up early, got in some early throws, and then the warm up was back on. The pace was surprisingly good for a first session, although the shock to the system was more than usual with the January heat, compared to the August “heat” of last years training sessions.

After a quick talk from Mike “Space Needle” Neild it was into a hundred throws drill. This drill didn’t have the same running and other rewards between throws as last year, but that will undoubtedly come with time. After this drill we were told that there would be no “reward” tonight for the completion of that drill but were told this would also come later, the rookies don’t know the fire and hell their legs are in for, look forward to it boys!

After some long huck drills (boys, remember to cut up the middle of the field!) and a few games of “3-points” it was determined that neither yellow or black had won, therefore no one deserved the rewards that were on offer, and everyone was resigned to doing 100 star jumps, a very aesthetically pleasing activity…NOT!

While the session make-up was very similar to last year’s sessions, the enthusiasm was higher than I had expected. This reflects the make up of the squad and, while we may not be the most highly skilled team in terms of Frisbee experience, we will certainly beat a number of teams based on raw heart, athleticism and height, lots of height.

Special mention to 2 “rookies” from the night. Ben “Beej” Blackman (who is only a rookie in terms of games played for FS) with a huge layout D that he later admitted he was trying to mack into the endzone (only about 20metres away) and Julian “Jules” Sacre with the only other block on the night.

FS is looking good, I’m feeling pumped and I think with the height and heart of the team, we can perhaps adopt Thong’s motto of “Too big, too strong”.

And then, from the Fantastic Jules:

So Mike has asked me to reflect on the first week of training from a “first-season” player’s perspective. I fear that this can only strengthen the “Rookie” tag that Spinner loves to throw at me, but anyway…here goes.

The first training of the year on Tuesday night saw a pretty impressive turnout. No doubt, people were pretty keen to feel a disc back in their hands – if you are anything like me, withdrawal symptoms from lack of frisbee were definitely an issue over the christmas and new year break and the prospect of getting back to playing some high level men’s ultimate was exciting. During a few warm-up laps, many of us took the opportunity to introduce ourselves to other guys on the team, and while most of us knew each other, it was good to finally put some names to faces we have previously only seen on opposition lines at BPL.

With almost all of my frisbee experience pretty much limited to our various nightly leagues during the week, it was a new thing to turn up solely for the purpose of training for frisbee, rather than going to play a game. And it became pretty clear that organised frisbee training is very different from your warm-up drill before league or going for a casual throw on the weekend. We completed an extensive throwing drill, a hucking/deep cutting drill and some gameplay. What I found really beneficial was being able to practice some skills that you normally wouldn’t try in a game. I guess being presented with a challenge forces you to improve, and that in turn makes you a better ultimate player which is what this is all about.

The night concluded with some gameplay – short games of 3 points from O and D. I think it was at this point that many of the guys were starting to feel the effects of the repetitive sprinting - and possibly regretting the indulgences of a few weeks of overeating and long periods on the couch watching cricket. Fatigue probably contributed to a few turns and some competition for spots on the sideline, but overall the standard was kept high with some impressive plays.

In case we 1st seasoners needed reminding that this isn’t YUFL, Thursday evening saw a bunch of us get together under some grey skies in the Roma St parklands to thrash out Beej’s ultimate fitness program. Very challenging, but there’s nothing like sharing some pain to promote a bit of team bonding. I was impressed with how specific the circuit was to ultimate – a lot of lunge-type power exercises and short sprints. It was good to do that stuff in a group too – I’ve always received some strange looks when I do those pivots with a disc on my own in the gym.

So, overall a great first week. I’m sure I speak for all the Firestorm ‘rookies’ in saying that I’m looking forward to training hard over the next few months, learning from some of the best players around and playing some high level ultimate.

Hopefully Jules and Liam will be able to keep up the diarising as the Firestorm campaign goes forward!

Monday, January 14, 2008


So I've put a new design template up.

I think this will improve readability, and printability (apparently, someone wants to print this stuff).

I'll try to fancify the heading rectangle sooner or later.

Comments, as always, welcome.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Queenslanders (and Byronites) Make Aussie Juniors Squad

Congratulations to Brisbaners Brock Cunliffe and William Larkin, and Byron Bay dudes Issac Stone and Abraham Stone, for their selection on the Australian Open Juniors Squad leading up to the World Championships in Vancouver in August.

Nearly 50 under-19 fellas (plus a horde of supporters) have been down in Melbourne for the last five days participating in the biggest Ultimate youth camp ever. (Tip of the hat to Piers Truter and John McNaughton for getting down there too.)

The Squad will now be training their asses off, before meeting again (in Sydney I think) in March, where the final team for Vancouver will be selected.

Friday, January 11, 2008

On this Day in 1968 ...

Word reaches me that on this day in 1968, a great sage and Ultimate player was born.


I'll leave it to you readers to do the math as to why this is an extra special one.

But on behalf of all of Brisbane Ultimate - CHRIS BURWELL - YOU FRICKI' ROCK!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Nationals Allocations for Northern Region

So the allocations for slots at Nationals are out.

For the Open division, it looks a bit tough for us – Northern Region only gets one slot. (But there is good news down below).

Why is this so? Well, the process for allocating the 16 slots goes like this.

In the first round of slotting, each N/S/W/E/NZ region gets one slot for a total of five (so North gets one automatic slot at every Nationals, no matter what).

Then in the second round of slotting, the results of the top eleven teams from last year’s Nationals are taken into account and allocated accordingly (so Firestorm’s 8th last year confirms that automatic slot, but Thor’s 15th doesn’t get one of the second round slots).

Then the South Region gets an extra slot for being spread across three states. AFDA gets a discretionary slot (in the past, this has ensured the host club automatically qualifies).

Leaving two Wildcards. The Wildcards are allocated based on the ‘size of the region’ as demonstrated by the number of players turning up to Regionals. The ratio is [number of players / (number of slots + 0.5)].

Fortunately, it looks extremely likely to me that Northern Region will secure one of the Wildcards, and has a chance at getting a third if it wants it.

I had a look at last year’s player numbers for South and East Regionals, extrapolated from there and added some other numbers, and reckon that if we get around 45 players to Northern Regionals 2008 we’ll probably get the first Wildcard, so that North Region gets its second slot.

It is also possible for North Region to snag a second Wildcard to make a third slot! First, if West Region just looks to send one team, and doesn’t bother to hold a Regionals then it won't grab a Wildcard, making it easier for us. Then I reckon if we get around 70 players at Northern Regionals then we’ve got a good shot at snagging a second Wildcard. These odds are increased greatly if NZ's slot and/or the AFDA discretionary slot are added to the Wildcard pile.

(Quick tangent for the Women – they’ve been allocated two slots based Sultry Dazzle coming in 10th last year. Two teams I think is the plan for Nationals 2008, but for interest, I estimate if they get 55 or so women to Northern Regionals they’ll snag a Wildcard for a third slot, if they want it - and Coffs isn't that far to travel.)

All this comes down to one thing for Ultimate in Queensland – we need to get as many people as possible to Northern Regionals!!

[Quick note too for individuals trying to work out their options for getting on a Nationals-bound team. If the team you are registered on for Regionals qualifies, then you must go to Nationals with that team. If your Regionals team doesn’t qualify, you may be picked up by a Nationals-bound team (at their discretion).]

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Professional Ultimate

Its always a fun bit of what-if-ism for people to talk about 'professional ultimate'.

Part of the attraction is the idea that professionalism means that a sport has 'made it' (although its probably more accurate to say that once a sport generates significant spectators it has 'made it' and can then start paying players).

Part of it is also the hard-core players who dream of a world where they do nothing but play Ultimate - having to keep an income happening doesn't get in the way.

I wonder though, given that Ultimate players have a tradition of being cheap, if the minimum threshold for a what a professional Ultimate player would expect to be paid would be a lot less than elsewhere.

What do you think YOU would need to earn to be calling yourself a professional Ultimate player?

$50,000 per annum?
$30,000 per annum?
A job pulling beers at the local Ultimate Clubhouse?
$10,000 per annum?
Having your travel, accommodation, uniform and event fees paid for?
Getting a uniform for free?

I guess this is the ladder, and I suspect that people getting to play for free (ie having travel, accommodation, uniform and event fees covered) would be several kinds of awesomeness for most of us.

How much better do you think the level of Ultimate would be with each of these levels? How far up the ladder do you need to go to attract people from outside the sport?

I wonder when the Australian and Queensland teams will start to aim for that. Some will say 'maybe one day'. But I really reckon you *could* start working on it soon.

Sorry for the questioning ramble. I have another post ready, but waiting on the embargo to lift. And I haven't got any new photos recently to massacre ...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"For Those Who Play Ultimate, Sex and their Favorite Sport are often Entwined"

Tip of the hat to Seppo over at Ultitalk, for pointing this one out, although most of you have been aware of this for some time (hello aL, you sexy love machine).

Link: Catch and Release - Sports' Secret Hotbed: the Ultimate Frisbee Circuit

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Aussie Beach Ho's

Well, that title ought to lift our google-search-traffic (not that I approve of such language).

Once a week we're looking to give the Brisbane Ultimate Blog over to a guest blogger, and this week we have the delightful 'Queen of Diamonds' herself, Danielle Smyth, who is recently returned from the World Ultimate Beach Championships in Brazil. Take it away Danielle!

“You know you’re in trouble when your face goes numb” (Bree Edgar)...with a comment like that, this was going to be one hell of a week at the World Beach Ultimate Championships in Brazil.

I arrived in Maceio only to find that my bag decided not to, but as Notty had my playing gear and…hell no cleats were going to be needed…it was time to just kick back, have a beer and enter tourney-land! The Aussie teams were staying opposite the fields…well done Matt Ward for organising this piece of strategic genius! The two main playing arenas were apparently cemented football areas, so they knocked down the goal posts and flooded them with sand (it definitely felt different to run in than the beach fields). The three beach fields were therefore on the beach (how novel)...and all had a slight incline, which made it interesting!

Funniest/greatest bits:
Winning bronze and winning spirit with FULL POINTS!

Supporting ‘our’ boys (so many proud Qlders) to victory in the final against the Philippines!! Both teams were often playing at the same time during the week, so we didn’t have many chances to see them in action…they were awesome!!

Mica emailing the team the week before saying that she had been in a car accident and may be wearing a neck brace, but don’t worry, she has since played some Ultimate and can still layout…during the week Mica was a layout queen!!!

I had brought some green and gold zinc to get all patriotic, everyone got into the spirit and wrote OI down their arms…but as I walked towards the team I innocently asked why we are all writing ‘HO’ on our arms…we then referred to ourselves as the Aussie Ho’s for the rest of the week and incorporated it into many game chants.

Singing Waltzing Matilda at the top of our voices before our semi-final against the USA and Leanne and Kaz (Karen Palmer) creating a couple of songs for us to sing to the other teams after a few of the games!

The final party night: So many stories, here’s a teaser: food fight, Brazilian reggae band, naked Ultimate, Club 504…

From a personal experience, being the least experienced on the team (and, cough, the oldest), I was inspired beyond belief by how supportive everyone was towards each other. It was clear from the start that we were all there to play great ultimate, improve as a team over the week and were dedicated to having a great time. Leanne King was a fantastic choice for captain and was cool headed and consistently came up with positive strategies for when things got a bit hectic on the field. Apart from being awesome on the field, Notty also got landed with being manager for BOTH teams (and did a brilliant job) and also got some sponsorship from her workplace! The final time the team got together we sat in a circle and passed around a coconut to drink from. The idea was to say something about a person who inspired you throughout the week and pass them the coconut to drink from…we could have sat there for hours, the team really clicked and it was clear that everyone played their all and got inspiration from everyone else…awe bless!

Danielle and Notty have heaps of photos over at Facebook ...

The Women's Team with their US Semi-Final opponents:

The Open Team:

Bit of laying about:

Friday, January 04, 2008

LotDIII - the King of Clubs and the Queen of Diamonds

Thanks for the comment for more Dan. We live to please. I can think of no better King of Clubs for the Lounge Lizard Deck.

And no, I haven't had the chance to gather any particular Brazil news, but here's the definite Queen of Diamonds.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Firestorm 2008 - the Campaign Begins

Well, to be correct, the current Firestorm campaign pretty much started late last year, but its 2008 now, and John MacNaughton has just started rounding the Fireys* up, so here we are. If you're a guy and new to Brisbane, or looking to lift your game in 2008, getting involved with Firestorm will be a great ticket.

Firestorm are building up to Nationals 2008, which will be 24-27 April in Coffs Harbour (about a 4.5 hour drive south of Brisbane). To qualify, they'll be playing Northern Regionals here in Brisbane on 15-16 March.

Firestorm training is looking to begin on 8 January and run weekly on Tuesdays right up to Nationals in April. There will also be training on Thursday nights for the next month or so, until the BPL kicks off (mid-February if I recall correctly).

I suspect training will be open to all men interested in a good run (at least until selections happen), whether or not you are keen on Nationals.

Firestorm expect to select (around early March) two large and even teams to take to Nationals this year, so you'll need to contact John McNaughton, Mike Neild or Al Don before then to express your interest.

*Correct me if there's some other abbreviation or nickname.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Back on the Sidelines

We're back on the sideline here at the Brisbane Ultimate Blog.

Hope you had a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanuka, a Kwazy Kawanza, a solemn Ramadan or some sort of agnostic/atheistic Summer holiday. And a Happy New Year.

Not much is happening on the Ultimate scene, but the comments section is open.

Tell me what you want to read about.

Meanwhile, at the Brisbane Ultimate Blog Control Centre ...