Sunday, August 17, 2014

Goodbye and thank you

Saturday or Sunday or whatever day comes six days after finals day. 

It's all over for now for the Colony boys. After a grand year of effort we have completed our World Club Championships 2014 campaign. It is the end of the road for some of our players, and it marks the beginning of a road for some of our hopeful new players. For the club, I guess it is some sort of middle - the end of the beginning perhaps. Colony formed in 2010 and has achieved success at the National Championships and now success of sorts at two World Clubs. 

What happens now will be interesting to see, more of the same or a revamp and shift in direction. The current status quo obviously generates some good play and some quality learning opportunities for new players in Sydney, there is much to be proud of. 

The questions of "is it good enough?" and "how do we bridge the gap above us?" will be asked, and the answers will be interesting for Colony and for Australian Ultimate in general. 

For the men who worked through this year with the team; took the momentum from Nationals 2013, trained on, then travelled to Kiamana for a historic win. Battled through the 2014 season and then kept on training, when it got cold and dark, kept on training. Journeyed to Europe and forged and bonded. Then played in Lecco and demonstrated that we were a cut above 'the rest'. For these men there is pride and satisfaction. 

These is of course a gnawing feeling of discomfort, a niggle of disappointment. It is probably a mix of these feelings, pride, doubt, joy, ambition and optimism that will bring many of us back. It is this universal collection of experiences that bring all players to the game at a high standard. 

This is the journey of anyone who has found a goal to pursue and has marshalled their resources and their courage to go out and chase. We share this journey will everyone who has followed along with this blog. The team has felt the presence of our friends, family and followers on our adventure and we say thank you. Thank you for reading and thank you for adding value to our adventure and pursuit of a goal. 

Enough of the Colony for now, foreign lands and new adventure abound. We'll see you out there sometime. 

Danke richtig. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Everest, with Sir Sacha Percival Hilary


The Himalayas are the world’s tallest mountain range, driven upwards by the force of the Indian sub-continent slamming into Eurasia.

It seems like a good analogy for Australian efforts in international frisser.  Like Everest, Worlds, in all its forms, is a long way away (even when it was held in Australia).  Getting there is a major undertaking, requiring time, money, lost passports, lost players, and every kind of drama and mischief.

Everest represents the pinnacle of both mountains and mountaineering…but can also be experienced, at least from afar, by relative newbies.  In retrospect, the tours before my generation (rookie in 1996) really were breathless walks on the tourist trails.  Andy Morris remembers an early tour when players were stunned to see other teams throw forehands…the next tour everyone could do it.  In 1996, after a few years of Jim Garvey, Stu Marcoon and Doug Bergensen teaching us how to stack, hold the mark and throw hammers, we were better, but still got no further than Base Camp. 

By degrees we’ve ascended higher and higher, becoming more skilful, stronger, better organised, more focused and more strategic.  In some divisions, for the last decade, we could make a case for being the ‘best of the rest’…the leading challengers to North American, and particularly US, dominance.  To extend the analogy we have been successfully reaching higher and higher camps on the way to the peak.

I’ve day-dreamed for some time about signing off from competitive frisbee with a speech hailing a successful summit – not necessarily by winning and planting the flag, but by being competitive with the best…by seeing the frisbee world all around us…from above. 

We performed brilliantly this tourney, fully utilising our limited preparation time, capitalising on our strong seeding and benefiting from the shortened tournament structure (which made the power-pool a virtual knock-out round).  We have ended up above Iron Side and all Japanese, Canadian and European teams, not to mention the other Australian teams. The frisbee world knows our name.

Our path to the semis was certainly made easier by Phoenix sending Buzz Bullets to the other side of the draw to battle Ironside…and by Heidees knocking out both Mephisto (15-13) and Phoenix (14-11).  But the score sheet shows that besides the chippy Italians, the teams we played until day 5 could not stay with us.  I can’t find point by point stats, but I think they would show we won first half for our first 7 games…mostly easily…a huge credit to the D team.





Otso (Fin)





Lucky Grass (Rus)





FĂ©nix (Mex)





Ragnarok (Den)





CUS Bologna (Ita)





Nomadic Tribe (Jap)





Heidees (Ger)





Sockeye (US)





Johnny Bravo (US)




But the dream is unfulfilled, the summit not reached.  Like Masters in 2012 and the Crocs in 2013, we won against other teams but were not competitive against the Seps.  Maybe I’ve got this wrong but I think Sockeye broke us at 2-2 and then must have had a 12 point run from 4-3 to 16-3.

We recovered pride in the 3-4 playoff and the score sheet reflects some great play, but we didn’t really threaten Bravo, still clearly deflated from a close loss to Revolver.



The Marngrook Footy show covers Australian football from an Aboriginal perspective.  In most respects it is like other footy shows but it has an interesting segment where they interview former AFL legends.  Some are doing well, some just alright, but when asked what they miss about the big time, they all say the same thing: ‘just hanging out with the boys’.

It goes without saying that we did some quality hanging out with the boys.  There is a rich Aussie tour history and this fortnight has added to it out of all proportion.

Schnitzel and apfelwein, Cupcake’s Drought, northern evenings, the music festival, the Alpine reveal, cheese soup, The Isola of San Guilio, The Inside Flick of Saint Julio, Tommy Lamar’s first overseas vacation, the triumphant return of Mike Neild, Magneto (Oli D), doppelkopf, Casa Angolo (times 6), Gus’ moustache, Will’s moustache, all the other moustaches, the return of Gus’ angry cutting, Vidler retiring expectedly, Pillar retiring unexpectedly and a party with many moments too memorable to be committed to type.

It was a great campaign.  But the job ain’t done.


The dead zone

Everest is big business now.  You can buy a chance of a summit for $25k if a reasonable mountaineer, $40-60k if a gumbie needing more support. About 500 make it.

But it’s still tough.  It’s very cold, very exposed, quite steep and air pressure is 1/3 sea level.  Above 8,000m climbers can only survive three days maintaining enough energy to manage the descent, even hiding form the weather in a tent.  10 to 15 punters die each season…and few bodies can be retrieved.  Tourists trudge through a narrow grave yard.

Many have failed where you must succeed.  To get to the top you’re going to have to plan very carefully, get very fit, be ready to adapt to new developments at a moment’s notice, and continue to work well as a team…including the leadership which is a team within the team.

I’m sure the young frisbee-frothers can add to this list, but to my eyes the top US teams:

-          are a bit faster and stronger

o   you can easily make too much of this…though it’s certainly true that without threatening speed, a savage chop step (or a handlebar moustache set to angry) you simply can’t get away from these guys

o   all round strength and flexibility is important…but their dudes look ripped rather than huge…go easy on the big weights cvnts…it’s still 90% free running and turning and only 10% basketball wrestling

-          throw better (all the way down the line)

o   rather than having a handful of top throwers who are throwing near the margin of their capability, they have 7 great throwers on field at all time throwing well within their limits

-          are better drilled on

o   quickly breaking the mark (both insides and around backhands…and lefties and overheads to a lesser extent), and

o   quickly hucking…which allows brief opportunities for movement and big gainers to be capitalised on;

o   drills include:

§  really long (50m!!) thrower-marker  

§  upline breakforce dump drill

§  leading pass down line breakforce drill

-          are more physical defending against cutter

o   sockeye drill:

§  defense player maintains contact with offense - ‘offense’ player has to spin and weave to break contact in order to cut

-          have thought more about structures to maximise offensive opportunities - revolver particularly maintained regenerative movement and flow with an arrangement of cutters that is not a simple stack

-          played with a relentless discipline, especially when it was tight.


Work out your list for personal and team capabilities. Share it with all Aussie (and Kiwi?) club management and let anyone who’s interested in Dingos or Mundies know. 

You’ve got 2 years including 2 nats campaigns to prepare yourselves for your next few days in the dead zone…days 5, 6 and 7 of world champs 2016.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Happy, sad, massive feelings.

The on field portion of our adventure is over. We played eight good games, one complete dog and finished fourth. 

There is both satisfaction, disappointment and motivation in this result for is. We played some excellent frisbee and there were moments of a golden hope. I think Australian ultimate can be proud and optimistic based on the performance of this Colony team. 

We failed horribly in our semi final against Seattle's Sockeye. It was one of the poorest performances I've been a part of at this level. Imagine rank, then double it. 

Seattle played great and they should be proud of their return to the final. 

It took some doing however the true leaders in our team, the men with big hearts and strong wills got is back up to play again. 

Our play off for third was against Jonny Bravo from Colorado. These guys were good at frisbee too, who isn't at the business end of the tournament. 

We played with passion and confidence, there were some fairly sweet hangers. Our offense however couldn't achieve the extremely high level required to score every single point, and the D while tenacious didn't quite get us out of it this time. 

The final score was 17 to 14 or so. Are fair return really. We were close but not close enough. 

The mood right now is good, we did good. We think next time we will do better. The mood right now is also fairly boozy, I get the sense the boys are going to send it tonight. 

We'll have some wrap up posts coming, it has been a great event for us. Thanks for the support readers. Love to you and, "to Gus' room for the pre party."

The Statue of David, with our statue of Gus guy

Read on for a day 3 report and a cheeky reflection. 

David, the mythical fighter of giants, immortalized in Micheal Angelo's David. A fine specimen of the human form, in perfect proportion even though the statue stands at 5m tall. But one has to wonder what drives a man to take on a giant? Courage? Maybe but its most likely lunacy. Yep, let's face it David was a can short of a six pack.
So after the short tour and musings about great Italian masterpieces, I'll get on to the games we had today. First up was Ragnarok, a Danish team with a few american pickups. Unfortunately I don't usually take to much notice of what's happening on the field (those mountains are pretty distracting) so this will be brief but what I do know is this was a day for D. They stepped it up and we took down the Danes even with a few miss steps from O. 14-8.
Next up was the Italians from Bologna. We knew these boys would be fired up playing on their home ground and especially after we snubbed playing them in Heilbronn. So, a little background on Italian ultimate frisbee. From past match ups we knew they have their own David, or as they pronounce it Davide. Like the statue he has a great physical form and like the myth he has a screw loose .... or maybe 5.
The game started well, D was on fire, soon we were up by 5 breaks. Unfortunately then O got on the field and the Italians started to come back. Next came the calls ... and Davide with screws definitely loose. Shua (abra's bro) was translating his spiel, something about 'you', 'butts' and '@#!!%'. Good thing he left the slingshot at home. Game ended 11-8 after time cap, too much talking to get anymore points in. After a memorable spirit circle with references to fishing we bid the Italians 'arrividiece'. On to day 4 and round of 16. Boom.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Elimination day with Owen

The fourth day of play was business time for the team. A pre-quarterfinal and a quarterfinal. Win and we advance. Lose and there are only placing games. 

Each day we start by sprawling around our hotel lobby, taping, stretching and chatting. Then it is on to the coach with Johnny Encore or Fury or Rogue or Eastern Greys. It's good to share a few tales with other teams. Or learn about your teammates. Such as one outspoken Colony individual: "If I were WFDF president, I would make such good advices". 

At the fields we trudge through mud of varying gooiness to our field - there are 33 of them. We walk across planks acting as bridges over small trenches. And the Alps gaze down upon us. 

First up today was Nomadic Tribe from Japan. 

As the game started, Colony D was a hungry beast. A few high counts lead to a few breaks for our team. We took half 9-3. 

Nomadic Tribe were very judicious with their hucks, only sending a few during the game,  but with great precision. They are shorter than most of us. Their handler iso was super effective - they could have used it more. 

They were also very conservative on D, often playing a loose zone, in the hope that 20+ passes by Colony would provide a turn. However, our O was solid. 

For the Tribe, #1 was dropping 40m pinpoint hammers, smiling throughout the whole game. A worthy MVP.

Colony prevailed 17-11. 

In the post game circle, the Japanese were gracious in their comments and Abra got to take home a DVD on Japanese culture. 

Next we faced Heidees of Heidelberg, Germany. We had played them a week early in Heilbronn and won by a single point. This rematch would be fun. 

A crowd was gathering. Spectators had gathered in the nearby shade (a limited resource). 

We Aussies took confidence in our experience with Aussie summers. Bring on the sweat. 

Both teams were vocal - at times, we had competing chants echoing around simultaneously.  

Once again Colony D stepped up to get some early breaks. 

And our offence intimidated the HeiD - they played a lot of zone for a still day, trying to reduce the threat of our tall deeps. 

Half was 9-6 to Colony. 

Highlights included Julio's sneaky poach block, a big Konrad sky grab and Joel, Abra and Mark orchestrating the offence. 

Colony won 17-11.

Our reward is a semi final match against Seattle Sockeye. Several of the lads have had games against the Fish before on Australian teams. We are hungry for more. 

Lastly we are thinking of Nick who is bedridden with a bug. It lead to "probably the worst night of my life". Get well soon. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bloody English teachers, also day 2 action

Prologue -

If, as Shakespeare so insightfully penned, 'brevity is the soul of wit', then consider me a simpleton, as this is due to be a lengthy diatribe full of twists and turns and adventures; like one of those visit Victoria ball of string adverts. So buckle up and enjoy :) 

Chapter 1 - the magical mystery tour bus trip. 

The boys were excited after a good show on Day 1 or 2 - hard to keep track. Word on the street was that Putin had been 'putin' a lot of funding into Russian sport and our first team, 'Lucky Grass' would be a tough opposition. (Post-script: Abra has already organised a shirt trade with this team; I wonder why...). Some keen banter on the bus showed that the boys were ready for a big day ahead. Abra set himself up early as a shirt broker, claiming he could wheel and deal any shirt trade. Sweet-as' eyes lit up at this prospect, though Sarah seemed unsure of putting her beloved in Abra's debt. Oli D, as ever the international diplomat, decided that Abra's Jewish heritage accounted for his dealing aptitude. No doubt everyone was thinking: 'if you prick us, do we not bleed...'
Abra was not to be outdone by Will, spirit captain, who demonstrated his keen sense of decorum with a joke about a Greek, Italian and an American - and a truckload of casual racism...something, something, punch line: insurance fraud. 
Meanwhile, Cuppers decided that as the team were not lovely enough he would impress with his dulcet tones as he beat out a rendition of 'Lose Yourself' followed by some random squealing in a creative interpretation of death metal. But the true joy came from sharing our first bus trip with Rogue - or at least the half that aren't squared away in the Sector 14 cargo crates. As Kylie held aloft a portable speaker an aura of joy seemed to settle on the bus as one and all the team began singing - 'I wanna dance with somebody, I wanna feel the heat with somebody...with somebody to love...' Spirits were high as we pulled into a slightly drier, but not less churned up and muddy Lecco sport fields. 

Chapter 2 - The artist formerly known as Soviet Union

The sun was out, casting the mountains in an ethereal haze next to spiritual. A peaceful aura was interrupted as Joel debated the pros and cons of observers. Mark agreed he would happily eat shit if everyone agreed it was the done thing. Joel was persuaded to accept the potential benefits of observers due to this profound argument.  
Game 1 in an hour and a half against 'Lucky Grass'. Ironically, there was very little grass on the fields. So the odds seemed in our favor from the start. With an hour to game in humid, verging on sweltering heat, the Russians began warming up. Conditions were slightly different from their Siberian alpine passes, but this did not stop them pumping out a full hour long warm-up. Too much energy. 
The game began with O. The boys looked calm and considered and put it in. Defence took an wary break, Julio pumping it long for Jimmy to run 3/4 field and then layout full stretch to reel in the huck, landing squarely in the mud. Up. Accepted by Defence though photographic evidence after the event suggested down. Observers needed in Ultimate...?
A few highlights involved Konrad getting a poachy layout D on main handler and almost destroying him in the collision. And Calan, virgin on the D line, decided to cement his awesomeness by getting a massive layout D past his player to set up another cheeky break. 
Offence looked solid throughout, finding connections and exploiting the Russians fear of our D game. A slight lag in the middle from O and D allowed 'Grass' a couple of cheap goals, but better effort and choices, and some healthy 'heave ho' saw us steady the Colony machine to take the game 15-9. Much tougher game than day 1, but the team brought great intensity on D and pretty flow on O to seal it out comfortably. 
Fun fact - 1) Will can speak Russian - convincingly - leading the end of game talk fluently.  2) Cuppers can drink Vodka - convincingly - skulling in one a hip flask sized Vodka bottle gifted to him as MVP. Even the Russians were worried for his health and hydration so we know it was an impressive effort. 

Chapter 3 - Downtime

Lunch. Crucial after a big game in warm and moist Italy. New system required tokens to get food. Tokens required captain. Captain not in sight.  This series of events led to an Abra rampage. After almost curb stomping a volunteer in fury he demanded to be shown to someone of import who he could either vent his anger or perhaps eat in place of his meal. Luckily I managed to find Joel and our tokens before things got bloody. Food was heartily consumed. 
Hot day outside meant most chilled / slept in the player tent while we waited for a 5pm game. A terrible live singer made sleeping challenging, except for one poor girl who was passed out on a couch near us in a less than glamorous fashion... To add insult to injury, the tournament, at the hottest point of the day, seemed to run out of water. Yeah, it's been a bit like that at this tourney. Still, there was free ice tea. Silver linings. 

Chapter 4 - South of the border. 

Like the ever moving glacier we slowly moved towards field 28 at the far end of the complex for our final game of the day. Tommy, Cuppers and Mikey were gifted with an afternoon in the shade, while the rest of us cleared up for the game. 
It was a bit of a scrappy affair. Some uncharacteristic turns early and O looking a bit rushed. However, we reigned in our wayward throws on O and put the foot down on D. In the last three points D determined not to let the O line back on and stayed true to form ending the game with 3 breaks. 15-7. 
Scrappy, muddy but convincing in the end. 
A captain leads by example, and so in the spirit circle Joel put on hold his vegetarianism to shot a mescal worm. A fitting end to a messy game. Meanwhile Jimmy, gifted with an MVP Mexican skill toy proved how inept he was at catching the colourful sphere on a stick, while Marky revealed his Mexican roots doing it in two attempts. Marky would later be rather inconspicuous with the team mescal bottle in hand. Fun night I'm sure. 

Chapter 5 - trade night: waiting for the bus 

We strolled back to a tent full of over-keen young and old trying to offload shitty jerseys. Most of us, confident in the value of our shirts, chilled out drinking bevvies and eating whatever food we could find, while waiting for the 8.30 bus home.  Fun news was that Bad Skid who we expected to play tomorrow were knocked out in a three-way with Italy and Colombia. Word goes that they were up 8-4 on Colombia to lose 11-9. One point shy of getting through the pool. Ouch! Meanwhile our friends at HOS, who we thought out for the count, managed to win a game by 6 point to be up 1 over all in their three way tie to make it through.   They were all smiles, especially Smiley. Two Aussies into next round of Opens. Colony and HOS up; Sublime down. 
Tomorrow we play Ragnarok and Colombia. Big day ahead with a 6.30am bus ride to the fields. Heave, Ho. 

Epilogue -

So ends your epic adventure. But stay tuned, as the Colony machine is just beginning to fire and more stories will follow. Big days ahead. 


Monday, August 4, 2014

We played today and it was good.

Day (2) 1 at WUCC with Colony. Here is Konrad to tell us all about it.

Konrad here.  After a leisurely breakfast at our hotel we cruised over to the fields in the Colony bus.  Hype was building and the lads were ready to froth.  Mark and Konrad had finally been dethroned from an epic Fussball winning streak by Rory and Julio, Rory however needing to either celebrate the victory or circum to the heat by removing his upper body undergarments as we clambered onto the bus. As the fields got closer the nervous sense of excitement building from the fact we were to play our actual first game at worlds came to a head.  It’s that first look at the fields of day 1 (well, 2 in our case) as the bus swings round the last corner that goes straight to our veins.  The fields are vast, this tournament is big.  The fields are also water logged.  Apparently vacuum water pumps and helicopters can only do so much.  As they always say though, every team is in the same boat and we still have a job to do: beat the Finnish on the Showcase field and kick off our WUCC tournament with a bang.

It’s warm, the sun is out, there is no wind and the field is trash.  Large mud patches are being temporarily salvaged by piles of sand as we start to throw and fill our water bottles.  Our time draws closer and we loudly pump out our best warm-up yet.  The noise, the intensity and that special glint can be seen and felt around the team.  It felt good and I was stoked to be here with this awesome team and group of guys.  We were also introduced to a very professional seeming ‘game advisor’ who ran us through his role and gave us a watered-down taste of playing under the USAU style of observer.  A few cracks of the whip on some off-side calls aside, all went smoothly.

Our opponents are a team called Otso from Finland.  They are seeded second in our pool so will likely be our toughest opponents of the 3 initial games, but like the other teams we really don’t know anything about them.  The wise gem from the brains trust warns of a tradition of inside breaks to downfield targets, so with the adjustment in mind a fired-up man D-line takes the field.

We generate turns early with big blocks from Julio, Jimmy and Nick D, and set a dominant tone for the game.  On the way to finding our grove we unleash a couple of wayward decisions but ultimately the O lines proves itself too strong and holds on to resist getting broken. 

Some early hucks from the Finnish demand some slight adjustments, but tight D around the muddy field consistently creates the pressure we need to get the disc and score breaks.  Cupcake and Julio serve up some dimes to our big boys deeps, Sweet As having a cracker with 3 huck goals.  Our Yank Tommy Lamar also found a versatile role throwing a hammer for a goal and laying out big late in the game to block one going the other way. 

O line faced an interesting poachy/zone look but were solid and patient working the disc in using all their members.  Henry popped up regularly when we needed him and helped deliver the disc downfield.  Marky cruised around downfield getting some goals including a hammer and massive exciting laser backhand from Cal.   Joel and Abra and Oli Jung rocked it as usual.

It was a solid 15-7 victory and start to Worlds and the lads are in a good space.  After the game we enjoyed a pretty decent serving of tournament food and were able to sneak in some further game viewing as Rogue went down to Bristol after some vigorous sideline passion from Pete and Joel regarding a dicey call from the Brits on an up line cut for a goal.  Sarah Hammer proudly kept her cool. 

In mixed, Roadkill took on some Germans on one of the more terrible fields and some hearty sideline banter was had.  Over at the Hippo/Black Sheep game a bunch of the boys cheered and heckled members on both sides in what developed into a bit of a huck-fest.


Hard to say no to your first day at worlds.  It’s good to be here!