The line’s been called; they’ve pulled. Game on. Shaun picks up the disc, but doesn’t take the early offload. He’s held it too long now and he’s looking to me for the dump. Where to cut? The obvious option is an international perspective on Ultimate in Scotland. I can see Shaun’s suggested it so I break in that direction. But it seems every team I’ve played for (and against) since arriving here only ever has a token Scotsman. I’m coached by Kiwis, captained by a Pom, and they put an Italian in charge of the finances. I break and go straight back the other direction: a wee perspective on Ultie Down Under. It’s a novel cut and wide open. I take the disc; it’s my turn now.
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It might seem an obvious difference, but then it was the British that sent all their convicts to paradise so maybe it’s worth pointing out. The thing about Australian weather is it’s only good when you’re on holiday; when you’ve got time to go for a surf, get a tan, ride your kangaroo down the pub for a Fosters. The rest of the time it’s just fuckin’ hot. So what does that mean for us Ultimate players?
Well for one it means we do most of our Frisbee-ing at night. It also means we can take a much more laid-back approach to our Frisbee. No under layers and over layers to deal with the snow and the rain. No multiple pitch surfaces to deal with all those weather conditions. No buying several pairs of boots so I can still cut in the mud, on that precious 3G or on frozen Astro-Turf. Just throw your cleats in your kit bag, maybe pull on a hoodie cause it’s a bit nippy out, and away you go. No worries mate.
The other thing there’s plenty of Down Under is space. Just big areas of the country with bugger all in ‘em. Roads that go 90 miles without a bend or corner. And the result of all this space and fine weather is that we don’t have the foggiest about Indoor Ultimate. I think I heard of an Indoor HAT tourney being organised one time to mix things up, but there’s no mention of an Iso at training and no learning catching styles that don’t involve crocodile snapping at discs. TWO HANDS!
I suppose the other result of all that space is we don’t have to wait for a tournament to play some frizz. In fact we’re not that big on tournaments at all. Our uni team only plays two: one is the annual uni-games carnival that all sports play at, and the other is our annual warm-up trip to Singapore. Instead every eager beaver in the club plays two games a week. Monday nights they play in the internal social league, leading a team of freshers or non-frisbee club friends (and probably practicing their handling). Wednesday nights they’ll play for one of the uni teams against local clubs in the regional league, pushing their skills and tweaking team strategies.
If I was going to give some advice to Ultimate in Glasgow it’d be to consider this system. As great as regular practice with world class coaches is for developing skills, there’s nothing like regular competitive games for practicing strategy and bonding a team into an elite Frisbee-ing unit. The other drawback of being all practice, no play is that your freshers and old-hands have different practice needs. However this needs the keen bees to get involved. So if you’re reading this because you stumbled across Glasgow Ultimate and are thinking of trying out Ultimate, do it! Do it now!
I see Curran cutting under. Wide pivot, low disc to the chest. Momentum’s built, what you got Rory?
Written by Richard “Dick” Grice