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.
Lucky Grass (Rus)
CUS Bologna (Ita)
Nomadic Tribe (Jap)
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.