Friday, May 29, 2015

Sarah Itoh, First Woman to Coach a Win in AUDL

On Sunday, May 24, 2015, Sarah Itoh became the first woman to coach a win in a professional ultimate game. Originally hired as Assistant Coach for the Breeze in March 2015, Itoh acted as Head Coach for the American Ultimate Disc League team from Washington, DC, the last two games. The Breeze played two games over the weekend - in Toronto versus the Rush on Saturday and against the Dragons in Rochester the next day. Sunday's 26-25 win for the Breeze over Rochester Dragons was DC's 3rd win of the 2015 AUDL season.

DC Breeze team photo after their 26-25 win over Rochester.
In red shirts (l to r): Team owner Don Grage, Coach Sara Itoh
SLUDGE: How's it different winning as a coach than as a player?

Sarah Itoh: It's always gratifying to come out with a good win, or even to lose yet perform well as a player, because you know that you made a direct impact on the field and with the outcome of the game. As a coach, I felt like my contribution was not as important to our win. I think it really came from the team, and especially from the captains and veteran players. They really stepped up. I was very happy to be a part of it though, and I've got much to take away from the experience.

SLUDGE: Were you aware of this win as a milestone?

Itoh: I thought of the win as more of a milestone because we were coming off of a hard game and loss against Toronto. We knew we had to change things up a bit so the captains and I, along with a few other players, had a meeting after the game and we talked about implementing a new rotation for Rochester. It worked well for us and I think it had a lot to do with our win.

It was also my first time at the helm so I wanted to do as best I could. Honestly, I felt like I could've contributed more and been more vocal about my expectations, but I think I did alright with line calling and timeouts. As a coach, I don't really consider it my job to ensure a win. I think of a coach as more of a role model and leader, someone who will keep you on track with your goals and to help build confidence in the team so that they can go get the job done. As a player, I think that when you have a great coach, someone that you really look up to and admire, it makes you want to work that much harder. So, I think I really do have a long way to go but this was one small step in the right direction.

Congratulations, Sarah!

[Photo via DC Breeze]

RELATED: Sarah Itoh's Breeze tryout (March 2014).

San Jose Spiders (7-1)

Once again, San Jose Spiders start their season with 7 wins and 1 loss. The Spiders [7-1 (4-0 home, 3-1 away)] started with a 7-game winning streak, and most recently lost on the road. (They have yet to play Seattle Cascades.) San Jose is first in AUDL's West Division with 6 more games remaining in the 2015 regular season.
San Jose Spiders 2015 Schedule (first 8 games, thru 5/24)
APR 12: win 32-26 vs Vancouver
APR 18: win 29-26 vs San Francisco
APR 26: win 31-18 vs San Diego
MAY 2: win 23-21 @ San Diego
MAY 3: win 20-19 @ Los Angeles
MAY 9: win 20-18 @ San Francisco
MAY 15: win 20-15 vs San Francisco
MAY 24: loss 31-24 @ Vancouver

San Jose Spiders Record vs West Division Teams
SF (3-0) +10
SD (2-0) +15
LA (1-0) +1
VAN (1-1) -1
SEA (has not played yet)

[DATA via SJS, chart by SLUDGE]

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Nick MacLeod Inspires New Home Products

New home products inspired by UNC sophomore Nick MacLeod are available for presale after winning the Division-I Ultimate Championship. The limited-edition set is meant to be both stylish and affordable for ultimate players on an ultimate team budget.

From the Nick MacLeod Collection...

  • A rounded mirror with an eggshell Frisbee plastic border. Can be hung on the wall, or easily gripped as a hand mirror.
  • An innovative shaving razor with a black plastic disc for a handle giving it a warm and neutral feel.
Watch Nick MacLeod (#14) with the memorable post-score celebration during the championship game which inspired the new products:

Experts predict these new products from The Nick MacLeod Collection will be in the running for Best New Home Product Awards by Better Homes and Gardens.

UNC Darkside recently won the 2015 College Ultimate Championship held in Milwaukee. Darkside went 6-1 at the end-of-season college tournament and eventually won the men's championship game by 9 points.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Replay of 2015 College Ultimate Championships

A condensed replay of the 2015 college ultimate championship "games" will be broadcast on ESPNU with Evan Lepler and Jim Barbar in the booth.

Here's tonight's schedule on ESPN's college sports channel:
Highlights of USA Ultimate College Championships Semifinals @ 8pm ET
USAU Women's Championship @ 9pm ET
USAU Men's Championship @ 10pm ET

Also, the icon used in the channel listing is a shirtless gentleman on the beach tossing a green Frisbee; N O T the sport of ultimate! Tsk Tsk!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Anniversary of Frisbee Trademark

On this day in 1959, Wham-O Manufacturing Company's request to trademark "Frisbee" was officially registered by U.S. Patent Office. Frisbee (trademark #679186) was described as "toy flying saucers for toss games". The plastic flying saucer toy was originally sold to Wham-O in January 1957.

By trademarking the name Frisbee, it can be used only for the flying discs made by Wham-O. The toy manufacturer also uses the recognizable name for games.

D-I College Ultimate Champions (2015)

The finals of the 2015 D-I College Ultimate Championships were completed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Sunday May 25. The results:

Women's Division: Oregon Fugue

Oregon Fugue (#1) over Stanford Superfly(#2), 13-11
This is Fugue's 3rd USA Ultimate college championship in the last 5 years. [via]

Men's Division: University-North Carolina Darkside

UNC Darkside (#3) over Oregon Ego (#15), 15-6.
After a 2nd place finish in 2014, this is Darkside's first National USAU college championship.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

ESPN to Broadcast Ultimate "Games"

Another year and still no recognition by ESPN of ultimate as a sport. ESPN3 has a history of incorrectly categorize the sport of ultimate -- first as "poker," then as "entertainment," now as "games."

Perhaps Frisbee trickshots are to blame for demonstrating a disc is more toy than a piece of sporting equipment?

Maybe Evan Lepler can talk to someone at one of the ESPN channels?

How many times does the sport of ultimate need to make ESPN's SportsCenter Top-10 list to be embraced as a sport?

Until the sport is recognized by ESPN3, the USA Ultimate College Championships can be found listed under the Sport and Shows drop-down menu as "GAMES."
screengrab via ESPN3

All of the college ultimate's semifinal games (4) will be livestreamed today and both of tomorrow's championships - at 1pm ET & 3:30pm ET.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ultimate Beer Mixed Six Pack

With the unofficial start of summer approaching (Memorial Day weekend), here is your guide to a mixed 6-pack for the beer-loving ultimate player(s) in your life.

Eight Point IPA by Devils Backbone Brewing Company

Wanderlust by Breakside Brewery

Fresh Cut by Peak Organic Brewing Company

Lucky 7 Porter by Evolution Craft Brewing

Huckleberry Wheat Ale by What the Huck

Beyond the Bricks by Four Hands Brewery

Still not "ultimate" enough? Pour the beer(s) into a large shallow cup & drink from the disc.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

[MAP] Top D-I College Ultimate Teams (2015)

USA Ultimate's Division-I College Championships start this weekend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. College teams from 23 different states and 1 Canadian province will be represented at USAU 2015 College Nationals. The state of Florida leads with representation of 4 college teams playing at this year's Nationals.

There are 6 D-I schools represented by both the men's and women's ultimate teams - Central Florida, Colorado, Florida State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, and Texas.

A map of state/provincial locations for the 40 college ultimate teams competing at College Nationals:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Skyd Magazine Cover Jinx?

You have heard of the Sports Illustrated curse? Well, Skyd Magazine (print version) might be to blame for ruining Peter Prial's consecutive winning streak in Major League Ultimate over 2 seasons.

One issue version has Prial going up for the disc on the magazine cover. On the issue featuring Kurt Gibson on the cover, an article headline cites "Peter Prial: The Undefeated Champ."

The print magazine was delivered in early May 2015, and shortly thereafter the DC Current lost to Boston (May 9) while Prial; and then again(!) the next day versus New York.

What else could explain how he all of a sudden loses after winning 20+ straight MLU games??

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

D-III College Ultimate Champions (2015)

The finals of the 2015 D-III College Ultimate Championships were completed in Rockford, Illinois, on Sunday May 17. The results:

Women: Rice University Torque

Rice Torque (#1) over Bowdoin Chaos Theory (#10), 8-6

Men: Franciscan University of Steubenville Fatal

Franciscan Fatal (#1) over Brandeis TRON (#2), 13-9.

Here's the skinny on the inspirational background on why their team is FATAL (Fat Al):

Monday, May 18, 2015

Jessi Jones, First Woman Player in AUDL

On Sunday, May 17, 2015, Jessi Jones became the first woman to play in a professional ultimate game. Wearing #50 for Raleigh Flyers, Jessi was introduced before they took on Nashville NightWatch.

Watch/listen to her introduction:

Her published game stats: 1 Catch, 2 completions on 14 points played/15 minutes of game time (all on defense). [via]

On the 4th point of Sunday's AUDL game, Jessi saw her first game action on the defensive line. The Flyers setup a zone for her D points where she played the wing position.

Her first touch of the disc was under a minute of the first half. Jessi had a chance to catch a score, but the throw to her on the give-and-go was off target at the endzone line. (For the record, the game data shows neither a throwaway for the thrower, nor a drop for the receiver on this play.)

Raleigh won the game 33-22 over Nashville.

Congrats, Jessi!
Published active roster for the 5/17/2015 game

Friday, May 15, 2015

Q&A with Raleigh Flyers Co-Owner Mike Denardis

Mike Denardis, a co-owner of Raleigh Flyers, took time to explain their organization's player donation program which was publicized in early April.
Flyers' players can give double their salary in Five Ultimate gift certificates to any youth girls team, clinic, group, and/or TFDA youth girls league. Raleigh plans to recognize individual players on the team that chose this option during their May 17 game, which is planned to highlight women in ultimate with a girls clinic and a Phoenix (women's club team) scrimmage at halftime. In theory, if a $25/game player agrees to donate their entire season's salary (14 games) then they would be gifting $700 in gift certificates.

[NOTE: this interview was conducted prior to the signing of Jessi Jones]

SLUDGE: This is a great idea. How did this donate-your-salary-&-double-your-gift option come about?
Mike Denardis: This idea originated by the Five team. Ring of Fire has a relationship with Five and began discussing extending it to the Flyers, the program was discussed.

SLUDGE: Makes sense. Are any other AUDL teams offering the same option?
Mike: Not that I know of, but I imagine as the program gains momentum, more teams will want to offer it out. Who wouldn't really?

SLUDGE: So, what was the reaction from players when presented this option?
Mike: A great deal of our players were excited about the program. Almost immediately, we had several players contact us and discuss their desire to donate some or, in 1-2 cases, all of their salary.

SLUDGE: How many players would you estimate have chosen to participate?
Mike: I don't have exact numbers, but I'd guess 60-75% of our players will participate in the program in some regard.

SLUDGE: Explain why female participation in ultimate was targeted for this donation option.
Mike: It was Five's recognition of some inequity in the gender ratio of our sport. We have way more male players than female. This was a way of trying to close that gap some.

SLUDGE: How does the program work?
Mike: All players will give us a percentage at the end of the season in which they want to participate in the program along with naming the entity they are donating to and we will make the donation on their behalf.

SLUDGE: Does the team offer any other incentive options to players?
Mike: We have several incentive based programs that involve sponsorship.  Year one was a little bit rushed, but after having some discussions over our road trips and through the season, I think we will be well equipped for them to capitalize in year 2.

SLUDGE: Thanks for your time. Have fun on Sunday, and good luck the rest of the season!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Raleigh Flyers Sign Jessi Jones

Raleigh Flyers, a new American Ultimate Disc League team in the 2015 season, announced the signing of a new player to their roster. An accomplished player as Team USA's 2013 U-23 national team and Team USA's 2015 Beach Worlds team, Jessi Jones joins the 27-man person roster on a one-game contract with plans to play on Sunday.

As of today, the tweet announcement of adding Jessi Jones has gained 50 retweets and 50 favorites. In comparison, Justin Allen - the team's first player signing announcement - had 13 retweets and 31 favorites.

Congratulations to Jessi Jones! Flyers have touted this roster addition as signing of the "First Female Professional Ultimate Disc Player."

Possible jersey for Jessi Jones (Flyers) 
(In actuality, Jessi Jones wears #5 with club ultimate team Phoenix, but will wear #50 for the Flyers.)

D-III College Teams for 2015 Ultimate Championships

Sixteen college ultimate teams from each division - Men's and Women's - have qualified for USA Ultimate's D-III College Championships. Teams will compete at College Nationals over May 16-17, 2015,  in Rockford, Illinois.

A color-coded breakdown of each region's qualifying teams:

Six schools are represented by both the men's and women's teams - Georgia College, Claremont, Truman State, Carleton College, St Olaf, and Bowdoin.

A map of state locations for the 32 college ultimate teams competing at College Nationals:

[DATA SOURCE: USA Ultimate; image by SLUDGE]

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

First-Ever College Nationals for Ultimate (1984)

On this day in ultimate history in 1984, the first-ever College Nationals was played at Tufts University (Medford, Massachusetts). Stanford won the 1st annual Ultimate Frisbee College Nationals over Glassboro by the score of 21-18.

[POSTER IMAGE SOURCE: Ultimate "encyclopedia" / Dan Ackerstein]

Ultimate Player Elected Village Mayor in New York

Congrats are in order for...Tim Rogers!

Rogers played for several New York City-area teams including captaining Brooklyn Ultimate and playing on the mixed club ultimate team 7 Express, was elected Mayor of New Paltz, New York. Rogers won the May 5th election by nearly 150 votes.

Screengrab via 7 Express Fb page
Tim Rogers - a New Paltz native - will officially become village mayor and score the title of "His Honor" on May 30th.

[h/t Soren Tischler-Leonardo]

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

AUDL 2015 Season Tickets

American Ultimate Disc League has 25 teams that sell/sold season tickets ranging from $32 to $75. Madison sells the least expensive season ticket in the AUDL, while San Francisco and San Diego offer the most expensive season tickets. Of the 10 teams with the most expensive season tickets, six are new franchises in 2015.

7 = # of regular season home games

Average season ticket price = $55.66 (~$4.00 reduction compared to 2014.)

Season Tix Prices [Ranked lowest to highest]:
Madison Radicals $32.00
Detroit Mechanix $35.00
Rochester Dragons $40.00
Pittsburgh Thunderbirds $45.00
Ottawa Outlaws $47.04^
Indianapolis AlleyCats $49.00
New York Empire $49.00
Raleigh Flyers $49.00
Vancouver Riptide $49.07^
Cincinnati Revolution $49.95
Philadelphia Phoenix $50.00
Minnesota Wind Chill $55.00
Nashville NightWatch $56.00
Chicago Wildfire $59.00
DC Breeze $59.00
Jacksonville Cannons $59.99
Montreal Royal $60.88
Toronto Rush $62.48^
Charlotte Express $65.00
LA Aviators $65.00
San Jose Spiders $65.00
Seattle Cascades $69.00
Atlanta Hustle $70.00
San Diego Growlers $75.00
San Francisco FlameThrowers $75.00
^ = prices for Canadian teams were converted into USD.

Single Game Tix Prices [Ranked lowest to highest]: 
$6, Madison Radicals
$7, Rochester Dragons
$8, Pittsburgh Thunderbirds
$8.78, Ottawa Outlaws
$8.95, Chicago Wildfire
$9.30, Montreal Royal
$9.92, Vancouver Riptide
$10, Detroit Mechanix Indianapolis AlleyCats, New York Empire, Cincinnati Revolution, Philadelphia Phoenix, Minnesota Wind Chill, Nashville NightWatch, DC Breeze, Jacksonville Cannons, San Jose Spiders, Atlanta Hustle
$10.70, Toronto Rush
$12, LA Aviators, San Diego Growlers, San Francisco FlameThrowers
$12.99, Raleigh Flyers
$15, Charlotte Express
$17, Seattle Cascades

AVERAGE single game ticket price = $10.39 (1¢ more than in 2014)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Nashville Mascot To Become Hamburglar

Mascot for Nashville NightWatch quits the AUDL team to become McDonald's Hamburglar.

In a seamless transition, the NightWatch's mascot swapped in a yellow band on his wide-brimmed black fedora. Now as well-groomed Hamilton B. Urglar, the new fast food chain mascot sought to thank the NightWatch fans for watching day and night, but could only mustard muster what sounded like "Robble, robble."

No comment yet from Nashville NightWatch on a replacement mascot, or logo update.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Alec Baldwin to Narrate Flatball Film

Flatball: A History of Ultimate recently sent an update about their flick project.

screengrab of email update

ALEC FLAT-BALLDWIN will narrate the documentary about the ultimate sport!

According to IMDb, Alec Baldwin has narration experience before.Watch & listen to a sample of Baldwin's voice work in this Thomas & Friends short.

Or, listen to this remix of "The Many Sounds of Alec Baldwin"...

Friday, May 08, 2015

Spikeball Scheduled for Shark Tank

Spikeball - the ubiquitous game on ultimate sidelines - is scheduled to make an appearance on ABC's Shark Tank next week. Plan to hear company execs pitch their fun game, and watch if any of the sharks will bite.

When: Friday, May 15th; 8pm ET, 7pm CT

Where: on ABC

Obviously, the ultimate question is whether they get funded. Also of interest is whether the Spikeball pitch includes the mention of frisbees and/or the popularity of the game among people who play ultimate.

Watch the full episode.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Rainmakers Attract Seattle Musicians

Last weekend's sighting of a popular musician at the Seattle Rainmakers' pro ultimate game is not new. For a music hotbed like Seattle, it should be news when a rock star is not in attendance.  Hey, SUPPORT KEXP!

In April 2014, Chris Ballew (Presidents of the United States, Caspar Babypants)...
UltiPhotos: Full Coverage - San Francisco Dogfish at Seattle Rainmakers - 4/19/14 &emdash;
Chris Ballew (left).
And in May 2015, Dave Matthews + family took in a Seattle MLU game...

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Ultimate Funk by Stanford Superfly

Hot Damn! Superfly (Stanford's women ultimate team) produced this excellent parody of 'Uptown Funk' into all-out ultimate classic, "Ultimate Funk."

RELATED: 'I Hucked It'

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

College Teams for 2015 Ultimate Championships

Twenty college ultimate teams from each division - Men's and Women's - have qualified for USA Ultimate's D-I College Championships. Teams will compete at College Nationals over Memorial Day weekend in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

A color-coded breakdown of each region's qualifying teams:

[Data via USAU, image by SLUDGE]

Monday, May 04, 2015

Results from 2015 USA Ultimate Beach Championships

The 2015 USA Beach Ultimate Championships concluded yesterday in Virginia Beach, VA. Of 56 teams, the 5 winning teams in each division of the inaugural event were:

Men's Division
(1) AND THE WARHAWKS over (2) Humiliswag, 13-7

Grand Masters Division
(3) Alchemy over (1) No Country, 11-9

Mixed Division
(6) Pointbreak over (3) No Tsu Oh, 13-11

Mixed Masters Division
(1) Swamp Rats over (2) Over The Hill, 13-10

Women's Division
(2) Skeeahreet over (1) The Mussels 13-12

[SOURCE: USA Ultimate; photo via Trey Katzenbach]

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Pro Ultimate Goal Celebration

Timmer Farrell (New York Empire) with the sweetly executed dropkick-self-catch kick brush* after catching a score in today's AUDL game versus Ottawa.

Apologies for the name misspelling in the Vine, Timmer.

[video via Ultiworld]

Friday, May 01, 2015

USA Ultimate Beach Championships 2015

The inaugural USAU Beach Ultimate Championships happens this weekend (May 2-3) in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Men, Women, Mixed, Mixed Masters and Grandmasters are the five divisions scheduled to play. A total of 56 teams from around the country will compete during the 2-day beach division tournament.

  • 21 states are represented at 2015 USAU Beach Nationals
  • Virginia sends the most teams in Men's division (5)
  • California sends the most teams in Mixed division (3)
  • States with the most teams: (7) Virginia; (5) Massachusetts, North Carolina

NOTE: Team location lifted from Event Guide. It is acknowledged that some rostered players do not necessarily represent the stated city/state.

Good luck to all teams at the 2015 USA Ultimate Beach Championships!