Friday, January 31, 2014

USA Ultimate is Team of the Year (2013)

Screengrab of post-voting acknowledgment
After many, many, many reminders to vote and many, many, many submitted votes for The World Games 2013 poll, the winner for "Team of the Year" with 16,744 votes is...USA Ultimate team! Team USA Ultimate played great at last summer's international Flying Disc competition. Wach below for a compilation of captured highlights of this deserving team of men and women:

Congratulations, USA Ultimate Team! 
Screengrab of Team of the Year honors

Updated Logo for S.F. FlameThrowers

The San Francisco FlameThrowers (AUDL) just signed 3 players - Ryo Kawaoka, Cassidy Rasmussen, & Sam Kanner - who formerly played for the S.F. Dogfish (MLU) last year. So, here's a "revamped" team logo for the FlameThrowers...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Literally, for Ultimate players.

Uniform History: Indianapolis AlleyCats

The Indianapolis AlleyCats released a mockup of their new Nike Apparel jerseys. You read correctly! The 2014 Indy AUDL team will be sporting kits with the Nike logo on them.

Here's a look at Indy's pro Ultimate uniforms. Starting in 2012, the gigantic cat head dominated the jersey and the number was misplaced. In 2013, the jersey started to look uniform-like; though, the away jersey's stripes were too busy, and the cat head size was still too dominant on the home jersey. The 2014 jerseys are clean and simplified - one color jerseys, no added design, and the team's familiar logo on both the home & away jerseys.
AlleyCats Away Jerseys (2012-2014)

AlleyCats Home Jerseys (2012-2014)
[All images via AlleyCats Facebook page]

The AlleyCats are the lone team in the American Ultimate Disc League whose uniforms are not made by the league's merchandise company, VC Ultimate. Meaning, the online AUDL Store features every AUDL team, except the AlleyCats. AlleyCats merch is only sold through Indy's 'Cats Store. As told by the AUDL, Indy's team owners decided to work with their preferred vendors based on their years in the merchandising business.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Origin of Bay Area AUDL Team Names

Two 2014 expansion teams in the West Division of the American Ultimate Disc League provide background on their team name.

The San Jose Spiders explains the team was:
"named for the internet term for bots that crawl through the web & collect data for search engines. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the team name is a tribute to the great tech tradition that has been a part of Silicon Valley."

Fifty miles away is their California neighbor. The varied ways the San Francisco team was initially being presented (see below) has since been sorta fixed - "FlameThrowers" (one word, capital F & T) in copy; "FLAME THROWERS" (two words, all caps) in logo.

Screengrab of Fb site [November 2013]

In a December 22nd reply via their Facebook page, the SFFT explained their team name:
"First and foremost, we do not intend to use militaristic imagery. That has never been our intention, and we ask anyone with that kind of message to please find another venue. We do believe strongly in the SoTG, and its goal of non-violence and direct conflict resolution.

For us, the FlameThrower is the athlete—traditionally a pitcher—who "brings the heat" and throws the ball, or disc(!), hard and with authority.

Finally, we've also seen a few snide comments about the FlameThrowers name and the LGBT community in San Francisco. We want to make absolutely clear that language or behavior that makes any members of the SF FlameThrowers community feel unwelcome will not be tolerated on this platform or at any SF FlameThrowers events."

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fool's Fest 2014

Since 1977, the mission of Fool's Fest has been to put on the most Foolish Ultimate tourney on the planet.
When: April 4 - 6, 2014

Where: Fredericksburg, Virginia

Deadline: Regular bids ($600) and due by February 20th. Submit by January 31st to take advantage of the early bird benefits:
1) Save $50 on your bid [$550]
2) Bid protection so your bid cannot be rejected in the early bid selection; only accepted or waitlisted for the 2nd round, &
3) The option of adjusting your team and switching your bid from one division to another (one that may have fewer bid submissions than your original selection), if you so choose, to better your chances for acceptance.

Details: WAFC's Fool's Fest 2014 will feature 3 divisions of play – open, mixed, and women's. Each round of ultimate play will be immediately followed by some act of foolishness - a game or otherwise - conceived by the competing teams. Teams are asked to be as creative as possible and are reminded props are not only allowed, but also highly encouraged! This will be a big factor for both the bid selection as well as this year's Spirit Awards.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Vancouver Riptide Logo

Two Canadian teams were added to the AUDL for its 2014 season - Montreal Royal and Vancouver Riptide. For their original logo, the Riptide paid $799 utilizing a crowdsourced design competition.

Designers were directed to employ colors of the Seattle Seahawks and provided background of "The Riptide name is consistent with the incredible throws that rip the disc downfield and the marine theme common to Vancouver sports franchises. eg Whitecaps, Orcas etc." Designers were later cautioned "don't get too "fishy" - there a few that look like Flipper in the movie and the Shark theme is taken by another team, the New Jersey Hammerheads."

Out of the 369 received designs, the Vancouver AUDL team received some awful entries. Why, yes that does look like a killer whale flicking flipping a green disc!

Eventually, this orca logo was chosen as the "winner" of the online contest.
Riptide's "Orca" logo
Later, the Riptide stripped down the winning logo, retaining only the font (Ethnocentric Rg) design.

Riptide's logo-less logo

In November 2013, Vancouver revealed this strikingly improved logo. Compared to the original, the circle shape returns with Seattle hues, with city and team name positioned as an overlay. The "RIPTIDE" type is kept with nimble changes -- different coloring, edges on the R, D, T & E have less of a cut angle and the P & T touch. 
Riptide's 2014 logo

The AUDL professional Ultimate team Vancouver Riptide, who are owned by Lloyd Sports Management group, got what they paid for with their initial logo -- unprofessional logo designs. Their $800 investment did land them a font type; a font that is available for free.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Cross-League Heckle

It finally happened! The first recorded cross-league communication between two teams from the two pro Ultimate leagues.

On January 23, 2014, a team (San Jose Spiders) from one pro Ultimate league (AUDL) publicly communicated with a team (San Francisco Dogfish) in the other pro league (MLU).
The Spiders' tweeted reply to the Dogfish is a lighthearted, spirited "heckle*" (*USAU definition), in response to the signing of a Bay Area player.

This also provides a glimpse of what might have been if the MLU team San Jose Black Hats existed. And, probably, the exact reason - competing for local players - why the MLU dropped the Black Hats from the 2013 Western Conference.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Tracking Wind for Ultimate Broadcasts

There are two wind factors which  impact an Ultimate game -- speed and direction. Unfortunately, these important elements are under-reported during a broadcast. Viewers can get a general sense of wind strength based on: waving sideline flags, flapping jersey/shorts, blown over cones, and hearing gusts flow through the audio.

This CBS "Wind Tracker" was shown right before the field goal on its NFL game broadcast. I found this gauge helpful providing in-moment factors on the impending play.
TV screenshot of Wind Tracker
The visual of wind speed (in MPH) and wind direction (arrow) appropriately conveys real-time data for viewers. For all Ultimate game broadcasts, this wind measurement tool would be a valuable addition.
[Enlarged View] CBS Wind Tracker

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Anniversary of Wham-O's Frisbee Contract

Today has been historically been observed as the "Frisbee's Birthday".

The truth is it's unlikely that "Wham-O toy company rolled out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs" on the same day (January 23, 1957) it gained contractual rights to the plastic disc. What can be proven is today marks the anniversary of the agreement which made it possible for the Frisbee to be manufactured and widely distributed by Wham-O!
Agreement between "Wamo" and the Frisbee inventor [via Flat Flip]
The January 23rd, 1957 Agreement between the Morrisons and "Wamo" reads:
WHEREAS, First Party (Morrisons) has conceived and developed a new and unusual idea of a plastic flying saucer type toy and
WHEREAS, said new and unusual idea or process consists of plastic molding, suitable for a game.
WHEREAS, First Party desires that said idea or process be exploted [sic] on a nation wide basis; and
WHEREAS, Second Party (Wham-O) desires to exploit same;

So, on this day in history - January 23, 1957, "Wamo" acquired the exclusive rights to Fred Morrison's plastic flying saucer type toy. Morrison's first disc was the Flyin-Saucer (1948), and then later remolded into the Pluto Platter. Wham-O eventually renamed it "Frisbee"® after New England college students who had tossed around empty tins from the Frisbie Pie Company. The Wham-O Frisbee was the disc of choice for Ultimate players until 1991.

While historical details may be sketchy, Ultimate players everywhere should be thankful for this day in Frisbee history.

Happy FrisBee Day

Today, January 23rd, is the birthday of the man - Walter Fredrick "Fred" Morrison - credited for inventing the first flying disc (later renamed the Frisbee); he would have been 94.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

AUDL Teams Up with Discraft

American Ultimate Disc League will continue to use Discraft's 175-gram Ultra-Star discs for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

News (not worthy of a press release?) taken from the Facebook post, released Monday:

Said AUDL Commissioner, Steve Gordon, "Discraft has provided the AUDL with all official discs since our inception and we saw no reason to change that. They've set the standard for competitive Ultimate discs for over 20 years, continue to be the standard and are the only company we had interest in partnering with. We're excited to provide our players with the best disc in the world for competitive play".

Gordon went on to say "In addition, our relationship has expanded to include Discraft as an official sponsor of the AUDL. I believe Discraft's decision to support the AUDL indicates their level of confidence and belief in our league and where we're heading. We certainly feel that away [sic] about them and couldn't be happier about this relationship".

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Frisbee Tracking

What if there was a map showing every Frisbee in the air? Just like this interactive map tracking planes in flight. Except less fewer discs over the ocean.

[via The Guardian]

Odds to Win 2014 AUDL Championship

The American Ultimate Disc League 2014 season is less than three months away, and teams have yet to be finalized. What better time to speculate on which of the 17 teams have the best odds of winning the 2014 AUDL Championship?

AUDL TeamOdds
San Jose Spiders1-2
Toronto Rush5-2
Madison Radicals8-1
Chicago Wildfire12-1
San Francisco FlameThrowers12-1
Montreal Royal24-1
New York Empire28-1
Minnesota Wind Chill30-1
Philadelphia Phoenix50-1
Indianapolis AlleyCats50-1
Rochester Dragons75-1
Vancouver Riptide75-1
DC Breeze80-1
Seattle Raptors80-1
Salt Lake City Lions100-1
Cincinnati Revolution100-1
Detroit Mechanix100-1
UpdatedJan 21, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ultimate High

via Spocial Revolution: The Ultimate Frisbee – More than just a flying disc
By Sushmita Azad, 19

...That's the sort of love that unites Ultimate Frisbee players from across the world. It's that instant camaraderie that springs out of sharing something special that can bring kids from NGO's and international schools together, put them on the same platform and have them leave the best of friends, sipping some elneer[1] outside Kanteerava after another tiring session, knowing that they've found something beautiful.

And that's why I play. Not just for the game, but also for the amazing experiences I have while doing it – at tournaments all over the country, all the interesting people it helps me meet and all the good that I can be a part of , in my own little way. And lastly, but most importantly, because the high that playing Ultimate Frisbee gives me, is pretty damn unbeatable. And the more the number of people that discover this joy, the farther the happiness spreads.

[h/t The Alternative]

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sludgey Award Winners 2013

applsNINTH Annual Sludgey Awards
Celebrating Sludge's 2013 Ultimate Frisbee season

Washington, DC ~ Saturday, January 18, 2014

Congrats to all nominees, participants & winners.

Best Addition Award

Biggest Best Brown Movement Award

World Peace Award

Best Captain Award

Callahan Award

Best Food Offering Award

Best Comeback Award

Best Performance Award

Best Excuse for Missing a Game Award

Best Non-polluting Sludge Award

Best Fashion Award

Michael F.
Best/Most Offensive Play at OBX Award

Most Entertaining Moment Award

Best Host Award

Best Rookie Award

Spirit of the Game Award

Biggest Traveler Award

Best/Most Offensive Play Award


Awards History:  2012 . 2011 . 20102009 . 2008 . 2007 . 2006.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Frisbee Translated into European Languages

Based on this interactive map which translates English into more than 30 European languages, the word "Frisbee" is nearly universal. Otherwise, try sign language.

[via European Word Translator]

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Benefits of a Professional Ultimate Tryout

The 2014 AUDL expansion teams in the West Conference are noticeably specific about what their teams are about. First, the SLC Lions; and now, the San Jose Spiders.

The Spiders detail ALL the "things" to participate in their open tryouts:

"Things you'll get to do at the Spiders tryout.
  • Get a sweet Spiders Practice Jersey like the one in the picture.
  • Get picture taken in front of the new Spiders promo banner.
  • Get to play Ultimate at the home stadium of the San Jose Spiders.
  • Get a chance to make the Spiders team.
  • Get a chance to make the Spiders practice squad.
  • Get a chance to participate in the invite tryout to play against the Spiders team on Feb 1st.
  • Make a name for yourself now and be in the hunt for a contract during the 2015 free agency period!"
Screengrab of "Things"
That's right! The second provided "thing" is a photo in front of their "new" banner. Oh, and being picked to play for the team is mentioned by the fourth "thing"! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Shirt Foul Prevention Flowchart

Expanding upon the original white versus dark issue, a self-check guide to prevent "shirt fouls" while playing Ultimate.

Ask yourself: Is your shirt any color other than white?
[Inspired by Gwen Ambler]

DC Pro Ultimate Teams Tryouts 2014

Tryouts for the two DC professional Ultimate teams are scheduled. The evaluation of players are meant to field a team in time for their opening games on April 12. Both DC teams posted losing records in their inaugural seasons -- Breeze (4-12), Current (4-6); yet, the Current placed second in the Eastern Conference earning a bid in the MLU playoffs.

Tryouts for the DC Teams:
Breeze Current
League American Ultimate Disc League Major League Ultimate
Registration Details Details
Date Saturday, Feb 1;
Saturday, Feb 22 (TBD)
Sunday, Jan 26;
Sunday, Feb 2
Time 2pm - 6pm 5am - 8am
Duration 4 hours 3 hours
Location Cole Fieldhouse at UMD PGC Soccer Dome
Cost $40 / $50 on-site $40 / $50 on-site
Field Turf Turf

Breeze: Two new players - Tyler Degirolamo & Alex Tyler - have joined the team. No announcements have yet been made about any returning players from the Breeze's 2013 team.

Current: Ten players - nearly all re-signings - have already committed to the 2014 team, which leaves open 15 more spots.
REMINDER: 5am start time for Current's tryout

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Breakdown of MLU 2014 Home Jerseys

Many design elements factor into the jerseys of Major League Ultimate. Here's a fashion breakdown of the eight MLU home team jerseys:
MLU Colors: Seven colors make up the jersey palette. The Current and Dogfish share the black jersey color. The other 6 teams have their own distinct color.
MLU Jersey Styles: The "Pulse" Puma style belongs only to the Rumble, while the rest of MLU teams share Puma styles with at least one other team. Three teams (Current, Dogfish and Nighthawks) share the "Spirit" style. The "PowerCat" (Spinner, Stags) features a V-neck cut.

Logo position: The majority of teams (5) have their logo positioned in the center of the jersey, except for the Current, Spinners and Rainmakers.

Numbers placement: This element of number location has the most variety; Rainmakers have it centered, Current on the right, Spinners to the left, and Rumble's jersey forgoes it altogether.
[Based on images of released jerseys.]

Monday, January 13, 2014

Before and After: George Mason Uniforms

The men's Ultimate team (Massacre) from George Mason University became the first non-professional team to be outfitted by Major League Ultimate's Pro Gear Program (PGP). The PGP is a new venture for MLU, offering Puma-designed uniforms to Ultimate teams. The GMU team coach, Daniel Kantor, is also a player for the DC Current.

Massacre's jerseys: Before (left), After (right)
Prior to MLU's PGP, GMU uniforms were supplied for a few seasons by Breakmark - a small Ultimate apparel company founded in 2005.

Apple Founder Tossing Discs to Staff

In this 1999 made-for-TV docudrama, Pirates of Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs (played by Noah Wyle) throws colorful flying discs to Apple employees on a California beach.

Watch the trailer below. The disc tossing starts around the 1:15 mark...

Find it on Netflix <-- a great name for a company offering online videos of Ultimate games.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


The 9th annual SLUDGEY awards are happening for, like, the ninth time!

When: Saturday, January 18, 2014 @ 6pm ET
Where: Joe's MD
Dress: Sludge formal

Homemade ice cream (coffee) and sorbet (Matthew & Eileen)
Sichuan-style hot and sour cabbage (Joe)
Ribs and vegan chocolate cake (Sarah & Steve)
Dessert-y (Russ)
Edamame and Chocolate Chip Cookies (Henry)
Deviled eggs and peanut noodles (Rachel & Michael)
Raw kale salad and a meatless dessert (Jen & Brian)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Promote Women's Ultimate

Emily Baecher's great Ultiworld article has stirred the gender pot. Women playing ultimate is certainly not a new topic, but it's still great to read about positive efforts. Looking back at this spring 2000 UPA Newsletter, the UPA's National Women's Director, Cindy Fisher, dispenses advice on how to promote ultimate to women:
Her advice:
1. Support your local women's college team. If you don't have one, start one. If you already have a string one, then help start a second one.
They are your future.

2. Host some local &/or regional women's tournaments or teaching clinics.
Club players, you have influence, skills, and experience. Help out and support your community.

3. Organize a women's pickup game &/or hat tournament.
Great for league players who have never played single-gender Ultimate before. Plus, it's great for college players to play with club players.

Women's Ultimate promotional poster (circa 2000)
She concludes her article with, "Let's all do what we can for OUR sport. Get involved locally. Promote women's Ultimate."

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Ultimate Doctor

Sign at doctor's office
Trusting that this medical professional - Dr. Ho - knows how to properly treat Ultimate player injuries. And maybe even write some prescriptions, too?

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Discraft Catalog

From Discraft's catalog, page 7
The 2014 Discraft Catalog is the MAXIM of flying plastic. In the catalog, two pages are dedicated to Ultimate while the majority features disc golf; forty-eight golf discs, just two Ultimate discs - the 175 gram Ultra-Star and the under-12 145 gram J*Star), and one freestyle disc (Sky-Styler).

The Ultra-Star is labeled as "Da Legend" and described as "the world standard for the sport of Ultimate. With its contoured grip and aerodynamic engineering, Ultra-Star has set the standard for quality, consistency and performance since its introduction in 1981."

Since 1991, Discraft has been, and continues to be, the Official Disc of USA Ultimate.

Of note from the USAU press release: "Consumers across the country will also notice a new USA Ultimate-branded disc for sale at retail locations. Packaging and disc artwork of all currently approved championship-level discs will prominently display USA Ultimate branding as part of its stock design beginning in the spring of 2014. Additionally, retail packaging of approved discs will include a USA Ultimate membership brochure and information about the national governing body and the sport of ultimate."

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

DC Breeze Hire Ghesquiere as Coach

The Washington DC Breeze announced Alex "Dutchy" Ghesquiere as their new head coach.

Alex was reported saying, "I'm excited about the opportunity to coach the DC Breeze. I like the vision of the team and the dynamic of the team management, and I'm excited about my opportunity to help make the team, and professional ultimate in general, a success."

"Dutchy" has a great reputation in, on, & around the Ultimate field, plus is known locally for recently coaching DC women ultimate team, Scandal, to its first USAU National championship in 2013.

This is the Breeze's fourth coach (Tom Coffin, Tom Johnson, Tim Spiridonov) after only one season in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL).

Science of Competition

Ultimate teams and players can learn a lot from this bestseller.

Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing
by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman

Info: In Top Dog, Bronson and Merryman use their astonishing blend of science & storytelling to reveal what's truly in the heart of a champion. The joy of victory and the character-building agony of defeat. Testosterone and the neuroscience of mistakes. Why rivals motivate. How home field advantage gets you a raise. What teamwork really requires. It's not who practices more; it's who competes better.

Some insights via a W I R E D interview [March 2013].
Connection between stress and performance:
" stressful situations, you want to focus on being excited and challenged rather than worrying that your stress means it's not going well."

Being a team player:
"...there's this concept that teams need to have good relationships between members in order to be high-performing. But a team that's all chummy, with no discord, is often like a couple that burying something and not talking about it. Teams are going to be challenged, and they have to perform - and that sometimes requires yelling at teammates or doing something that pisses people off. Discord can be more associated with performance than harmony is."

Dealing with mistakes:
"We all lose sometimes, so everybody needs a post-failure toolbox....We should avoid ruminating on what went wrong - "If only I hadn't done that" (subtractive thinking). Rather than saying to yourself, "Oh, if only I'd made that [throw]," think, "I have another strategy I didn't use. Next time, I WILL [do this other play]" (additive thinking). If you think about things that didn't happen that you'd like to do next time, you can prime your brain for better performance after a failure.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Cold Weather Ultimate Disc

Keep your fingers happy during outdoor winter league with this Ultimate disc designed with "softer" plastic.

Frostie disc [Daredevil]

Info: Made of a softer plastic that's suitable for colder weather conditions. Excellent for youth ultimate, too. Specs = 27 cm, 175 grams. Temp range: -30 to +5 Celsius (-22 to 41degrees Fahrenheit)

Colors: White, Neon Yellow

Price: $14.12 USD ($14.99 CAD)

[h/t @UltiCraig]

Friday, January 03, 2014

MLU Pint Glasses As Visual Chart

Major League Ultimate posted an staged photo of their new glass pints. Organized by their respective conference, ordered by the end of season standings, and with the liquid representative of how many wins each teams had in the 2013 season.

From left to right: Philadelphia, 3; NY = 3; DC = 4; Boston = 12. SF = 9; Seattle = 8, Vancouver = 3, PDX = 1
[Pic from MLU, #s added by SLUDGE]
[h/t Skyd]

Risk and Reward of Ultimate Passes

In Jim Parinella's special Ultimate feature, InsideOut, he wrote:
"There is an acceptable level of risk associated with most passes, with this risk depending on the game situation, the skill of the thrower an receiver, the inherent risk of the pass and how that pass fits within the guidelines of what we call 'good choices'."

Risk and Reward: Ultimate passes by Parinella
Later in the article, Parinella speaks to a "well-prepared player" with: "You may work out your body so that execution errors are minimized, but you also have to work your head so that mental errors are minimized."

[SOURCE: UPA Newsletter, winter 2001]

Thursday, January 02, 2014

World Ultimate Club Championships 2014

Eight more months until club ultimate teams from all over the globe compete in the Worlds in Lecco, Lombardy, Italy. The World Ultimate Club Championships (WUCC) started in 1983 and take place every two four years.

Recent date and locations:
2014: August 2-9 in Lecco, Italy
2012: July 7-14 in Sakai, Japan
2010: July 4-10 in Prague, Czech Republic
2008: August 2-9 in Vancouver, BC, Canada
2006: November 11-18 in Perth, Australia

Thirteen (13) club teams from the U.S. qualified for WUCC.
UPDATE As of early February, a total of 16 U.S. teams are planning to attend WUCC.

MW: Godiva; MO: Surly, Boneyard, Johnny Encore; W: Scandal, Fury, Riot, Showdown; X: Drag'n Thrust, Polar Bears, The Ghosts, Wild Card; O: Revolver, Sockeye, Ironside. Johnny Bravo.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014