Thursday, December 06, 2018

San Francisco FlameThrowers: AUDL Trailblazer

It came as a great shock that one of the more successful American Ultimate Disc League teams was folding.  San Francisco FlameThrowers posted a 45-25 (.642) regular season record, advanced to the postseason 4 of their 5 seasons, twice finished 1st in West Division (2016, 2017), had an interesting mascot, participated in the first semi-pro mixed ultimate game, and won the AUDL title in 2017.


Beyond their on-field performance, the FlameThrowers were an exemplary franchise. Let their stated values and mission live on as the benchmark for all current and future AUDL teams.


OUR VALUES: Passion, Excellence & Improvement

Passion

We are passionate about the sport of Ultimate. A team sport played with a flying disc instead of a ball. A team sport played by athletes of all kinds, across gender formats. We love playing it, and we love watching it. And we are equally passionate about creating opportunities for the sport of Ultimate to have a positive impact on society by promoting teamwork, "Spirit of The Game", equity, and conflict resolution.

Excellence

We believe in striving for excellence on and off the field. On the field, we will strive to win through the effort of our players, the intelligence of our strategies, the energy from our fans, and the sheer joy of play embodied in the Spirit Of The Game. Off the field, members of the Flamethrowers organization strive for the same levels of excellence across all areas of our lives. We believe that the pursuit of excellence, in and of itself, is at the core of success, and that all associated with the team will be proud to be a part of that pursuit.

Improvement

We acknowledge that the sport of Ultimate reflects the imperfections in society at large. Male participation is significantly higher than female participation, and there is a severe lack of racial and economic diversity. We believe that striving for gender, racial, and economic diversity is critical to making the sport of Ultimate the best that it can be. We intend to play a positive role in helping to improve access to opportunities for everyone to play at the highest level and showcase their talents to the world.


OUR MISSION: Grow, Unite & Sustain

Grow The Sport

We believe that growing participation in the sport will increase the positive impact of Ultimate, and we believe that showcasing the best athletes, competing at the highest level, will inspire new participation. We want to grow the sport of Ultimate at all levels and across every division (open, mixed, and women). We also believe that spectators and sponsors can provide the support to fund the growth of the sport at all levels, and in all communities, and we intend to continue and increase our efforts to bring new players and fans to the sport.

Unite With Others

We cannot grow the sport alone. You can't play a team sport without teammates and a team can't play a game without an opponent. To accomplish the first part of our mission we must work with others. This means supporting organizations like the Bay Area Disc Association (BADA). It means participating in a professional league, the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL). Working with others inevitably involves compromise, but it also allows us to achieve more than we could alone. We look forward to expanding our partnerships with Ultimate organizations whose mission and values align with ours. It also means working with the Ultimate community, particularly the youth in our community. We are committed to the SOTG and we insist that our players, coaches, and staff model that behavior on and off the field.

Sustain Progress

We want to bring our sport to hundreds of millions of new players, and it is simply not possible to do that in a few short years. It is the Ultimate community that will sustain us over the course of this long journey, and it is the participation and support of the players, coaches, parents, fans, and countless others that will enable us to succeed. All of the owners of our organization have been members of the Ultimate community for decades, and it is an integral part of our passion for the sport. We cherish the opportunity to give back to the sport of Ultimate, and we are always searching for new partnerships and creative new solutions that will help us to bring Ultimate to as many people as possible.

In a parting email, the FlameThrowers continued their graciousness. Their email text in full:

Dear Friends of the FlameThrowers and the Bay Area Disc Community,

As some of you will know by now, the FlameThrowers will not be playing in the AUDL in 2019. We are sad to have made the decision, but we just did not see a way forward to create a sustainable business in this market.

When we contacted Josh Moore over 6 years ago and began our journey with the FlameThrowers, we had a vision of professional ultimate taking its place alongside the great spectator sports. While we always knew there would be challenges along the way, the FlameThrowers ownership group believes that those challenges warrant a pause.

We are incredibly proud to have represented San Francisco ultimate and the Bay Area in the AUDL and to the world at large. We are delighted to have been at the forefront of providing women opportunities to play on the same field as men. We are thrilled to have won the 2017 AUDL Championship and seen our players featured on ESPN’s Top 10 as well as receive numerous AUDL accolades. And we consider ourselves fortunate to have given those amazing players an opportunity to showcase the joy of the sport.

For those that think about Ultimate as a spectator sport, here are some of the key things we’ve learned on this journey. First, Ultimate is incredibly spectator/fan-friendly and we continue to believe people will watch it. Second, the Ultimate community by itself is not large enough (even in the Bay Area!) to provide the fan base necessary to support a team financially, but broader awareness of the sport still lags far behind, as seen in the difficulty in landing a significant sponsorship after several years. Finally, operational excellence takes time to build and requires great relationships with service providers and partners; we thank them from the bottom of our hearts for all they did over the years.

Our hopes for the future include continued involvement in spectator/fan-focused ultimate, particularly in a more gender-equitable format. We have advocated for more local flexibility in game formats and believe that experimentation at this stage of spectator Ultimate’s development is critical. And we have long hoped for coordination between the AUDL and the USAU to ensure player safety and reasonable workloads over the season.

We wish all those competing, producing, and otherwise involved in the AUDL all the best in 2019 and beyond. And we again thank all the players, partners, youth groups, Laney College, Bay Area Disc Association and countless others for supporting us along the way and helping make the FlameThrowers a reality.


The FlameThrowers sign off with "Flame On!"


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Former AUDL Teams

The 2019 AUDL season is projected to have 21 teams in 4 divisions across the United States and Canada.

There have been 14 teams that used to play in the American Ultimate Disc League; they are:
Buffalo Hunters
Charlotte Express
Cincinnati Revolution
Columbus Cranes
Connecticut Constitution
New Jersey Hammerheads
Philadelphia Spinners
Rhode Island Rampage
Rochester Dragons
Salt Lake City Lions
San Francisco FlameThrowers
Seattle Raptors
Vancouver Riptide


Monday, November 26, 2018

Nashville NightWatch and San Francisco FlameThrowers Cease AUDL Operations

According to the American Ultimate Disc League announcement on November 21: "Nashville NightWatch and San Francisco FlameThrowers franchises will not return to play in the AUDL for the 2019 season. Effective today, the owners of both franchises are ceasing operations."

Coincidentally, NightWatch and FlameThrowers are two of the three AUDL teams that compound their two-word team name into one with including capitalizing the second word. AlleyCats are the remaining compound team name.


Statement from San Francisco FlameThrowers:
Although the FlameThrowers ownership group remains passionate about the future of spectator ultimate, we struggled to realize our vision of support across men's, women’s, and mixed in the current environment. We will continue to be involved in the sport's development and look forward to the day when we can present and promote ultimate in the most inclusive way possible. [Ultiworld]


Statement from Nashville NightWatch:

We would like to thank our players and supporters from the last 4 years. Going forward we will not be playing in the AUDL. We are going to turn our efforts into building our community through club efforts and focusing on our Professional Women’s team, Nashville NightShade.

Both organizations have indicated interest in a women's (semi)-pro ultimate league.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Maplewood, NJ Proclamation Honors the 50th Anniversary of Ultimate Frisbee

The township of Maplewood, New Jersey, honors the 50th anniversary of Ultimate Frisbee with a proclamation declaring November 22 and 23 as "Ultimate Days."

Maplewood, NJ proclamation [photo via The Village Green]

Whereas, in 1968 Columbia High School student Joel Silver introduced to the student council the idea of (Ultimate) Frisbee.

Mayor Victor De Luca declares November 22nd and 23rd as Ultimate Days in the Township of Maplewood.


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

College Goals

When you instill strong family values, your children's college priorities are set high.

Hi & Lois comic [June 10, 2018], abridged
Question: What are your goals when you get to college?

Chip Flagston: Make the Frisbee team.


Multi-panel reformatted to fit


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

MKBHD Schools Joe Rogan on Ultimate Frisbee

MKBHD, wearing a black WFDF hoodie, gives a primer on Ultimate (Frisbee) to Joe Rogan on the Joe Rogan Experience episode #1186. While MLU highlights roll, MKBHD coolly explains the ins-and-outs of the game, history of the sport, and the (semi-)pro league.

WATCH: Marques Brownlee Explains Ultimate Frisby

Joe Rogan: Do you play, like, that Frisbee...disc golf?

Joe Rogan: "I did not know this was even a thing."

Joe Rogan: If you asked 'When was ultimate Frisbee invented?' I would have said: "A couple of months ago."

Joe Rogan: "This actually looks really fun."