Category: <span>Blog Posts</span>

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Be Ready for Regionals

Regionals is a big deal. Some of the more seasoned ‘hawks may give off the impression that it’s a nuisance, but trust me it’s not. It’s the time of year where we get to see all our hard work developing the club and working as a team come together, and usually with some very positive results alongside them. Now that the event is looming (I know it feels like it’s snuck up on me somewhat), a lot of people will be wondering how to be the best they can be for this big event.

Firstly, make sure that you get all of that pesky uni work done and dusted before the weekend. It isn’t good to have a ‘what I should be doing vs what I want to be doing’ debate while you are there. Being distracted will not help you focus on the task at hand, and may even lead to you not enjoying yourself because you spent the whole weekend stressed. If you plan out what work you need to get done now, chances are it will be easy to get it done in time.

If you can, get throwing around this week. Try and work out any of those little problems you’ve been experiencing in your sidearm/backhand. Maybe your knee has been getting in the way, maybe you’ve got a bit of an airbounce, maybe you weren’t getting enough spin on the disc in the wind. These are all things that can be dealt with in a relatively short amount of time, if you can spare it. Throwing around will make you a lot more confident.

Next up, make sure you come prepared. Yeah, the weather forecast may say one thing, but trust me anything can happen. Don’t be that guy (sorry Toto) that gets hypothermia, come with thermals, bring a hoodie or something to wear between points to keep you warm. Bring some waterproofs in case its wet. We all know the weather is variable, don’t get caught out. Bring some food to snack on too. It doesn’t have to be particularly healthy stuff, the body needs a whole lot of nutrients during a tournament weekend.

Something that happens every year… Someone sleeps through their alarm and makes the whole team late. Rumour has it we may be taking a bus there together. There will be people on that bus that can’t afford to be delayed, and you may get left behind. Party responsibly on Friday, or risk being that guy (sorry Sim/Frenchy).

Probably the most important point of all, remember that you are part of a team. Do everything you can to be part of that team, because if you do, it will make the victories all the sweeter, and there will be people around you to pick you up after the defeats. What does this mean?

  • Prepare alongside the team. Throwing around, warming up, pre-game drills can all be done together and help turn you from the individual superstars you are, into a steam-rolling team of death.
  • Make sure you celebrate your scores, you can’t win a game without scores, and there’s nothing more intimidating than a team that loves scoring.
  • At the same time don’t criticise your teammates too harshly. In the past we’ve always done better when we are happy with each other, and that’s because we don’t make players feel like they are being called out. Most of the time, someone knows if they’ve done something wrong, and if they don’t talk to them quietly about it, rather than making a big deal.
  • When you are on the side-line, help your teammates out, they can’t see everything on the pitch, and an active side-line can really be an eighth man on D. What’s more, it can help keep you focused. I know that I struggle to keep my game composure if I’ve been off for a few points, but if I’ve been actively investing myself in the game from the side-line, none of the doubts have any time to seep in, and I’m ready to go back on as fierce as ever.
  • Touch lots. Studies have shown that teams that touch more tend to be more successful.

Importantly, remember to enjoy yourself, a whole lot of Frisbee players never get to experience being a Mohawk at a Uni tournament, you guys are of a lucky few who get to be alongside one of the biggest teams with the best atmospheres of any club in the UK. Chances are, even if you’re bricking it and you think you’ve had an awful day, there will still be plenty of fun to be had with some of the hundreds of ‘hawks that are there.

Finally, make sure that you go and support the other Mohawks teams that are there, regardless of how experienced you are/aren’t. It means a hell of a lot to have a big side-line which other clubs can’t match.

One of my favourite moments at a tournament ever was last year. (I think this makes my top three). Our second team had been having a fantastic weekend, beating a lot of first teams, and ended up in the game to go to division one nationals against disc doctors. It was cold, it was wet and it was the last game of the day. Despite this, all three of the other Mohawks teams were there on the side-line in force, drowning out the chants of dD and willing the seconds on. The atmosphere was absolutely incredible, there’s video footage of the game (maybe just the winning moment, I’m not sure) on push pass. Felix can give you more details on this, but if you can watch the game, I’d advise you to prior to this weekend. On the back of this, and some great performances all round, the second team beat dD and took their spot as the third best team in the region outdoors. (Unprecedented and exceedingly awesome).

I’ll see you all soon!


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Tis the Season…

Some words of wisdom from your Mohawk Elders to help make benefit to enjoy the festive season…

Christmas is a wonderful, magical time of the year. But it is easy to stray from the path of righteousness, and the time-honoured ways of the past. So here is some advice from our more senior members on how to enjoy the festive season.

Go to Christmas Practice. Do not leave uni before then, and for the love of god do not plan on going home that evening. Missing your train/plane/ride is probably the best outcome from that decision.

Now that you are going to Christmas practice, do not take beer. Or cider. Mohawks are not anti-beer or anti-cider, but rather beer and cider are anti-Christmas. In order to be full of Christmas Spirit, you must, logically, be full of spirit. It is a necessary condition, if you will.

However, should you choose not to consume alcoholic beverages at this session, we are of course a club that supports your arguably better lifestyle choices. You will also enjoy Christmas practice – mainly because everyone will be so terrible at ultimate that you feel like a god, but also because you will be spending fun and special time with a pretty sweet group of people.

Christmas is the season of giving and sharing. Scientific experiments have shown that people who give are happier than people who take. Give, and share. Bring a bottle of spirits, and do not expect to take any home. If you have some left at the end (assuming you are capable of recognising a bottle by the end), this is a bonus. Share spirits with your friends and teammates and be merry.

There have been some tragic misunderstandings of tradition in recent weeks. Stu valiantly saved the grand tradition of Falmer bar socials after people were confused and thought ‘Falmer bar social’ meant ‘staying in the bar for a bit then clubbing’. By the courage Stu showed in the face of the Dr Who society, and some epic Ro Sham Bo skills, our glorious tradition lives on.

But I digress. My point was – next Wednesday is not a day for clubbing. If you go clubbing, or out in town, after Christmas practice, one of two things has happened: either you are far too sober and have not committed like a true Mohawk to Christmas practice and the ensuing festivities, or you are far too drunk and should not be allowed to make decisions by yourself, lest you end up losing your phone, keys, wallet, bike lock, bike lights, jacket, iPod and other various necessities. Friends don’t let friends leave Christmas practice for town – I’m sorry we let you down, Fetu.

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Alright Darlin’

You could certainly say that a lot of Frisbee has been played in these last couple of weeks; degrees have suffered, better halves have endured and washing machines have worked over time, but hasn’t it been a grand, roll-curve-ercoaster of a term. I personally have found myself reacting to victories and losses in ways that I have never found myself reacting to competition before.

Let’s start with a low; the arena – Moulsecoomb Leisure Centre, the battle – Coathangers vs Knifecrime, the fallout – heartbreak and a seemingly inescapable abyss of disappointment and self-loathing. What could bring Geezer out of this draining sulk-pit? One thing did – Pride. Two days later around 40 lovely Mohawks strutted/fell in a fluster into the sports dome in Chichester. All 4 teams did amazingly well. Mo1 took the trophy, Mo2 took the plate, MoGee dealt with Maggie all weekend, MoZer took the spirit prize and the majority of people eventually got the moGEE-moZER joke! So thank you everyone for lifting the shadow that fell over me.

The next weekend was Open Indoor Nationals, and it was absolutely mad. For the second national tournament in a row we had two teams represented in the first division. This stat has been thrown around a lot, but just think about it………………….. pretty good, right! Dramatic Frisbee was played, emotions were toyed with, that American dude that sounded like a foghorn became steadily more famous and in the end we won Spirit which, in such a hotly contested tournament, was actually a very nice consolation prize that I think we should be very proud of, especially with Football on the team, celebrating like Eric Cantona and all that. I am now so pumped for the outdoor season.

In the club’s third tournament weekend on the trot, the Women took on Nationals. They finished higher than they have since 2006/7 and, by default and accident, won spirit, leading many to believe there must be a conspiracy that Sussex Frisbee teams cannot leave tournaments without silverware, even when they don’t win any.  Let’s not complain eh.

The Christmas meal was last night, and whilst everyone gathered around for President Jessie’s presentation, I was stood at the back of the crowd by one of the few tables that civilians were occupying. They ushered me over, obviously interested as to what the commotion was all about. “Who are you all?” one of them asked. “Us” I said as I looked around at the crowd, seeing old faces, familiar faces, fresh faces and finally Kota’s ecstactic, formerly mustachioed face as he looked at his card (we’ll miss you buddy), “Us………….We are the Mohawks”.

Needless to say this poor woman is none the wiser as to who we are, but I feel great for saying it so that’s fine.
Well done to everyone this term and Merry Christmas.

Love from Geezer

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Oh lovely, what a lovely weekend.

As I am such an active user on the Mohawks website (as you can see from my lack of picture), I decided I would write a small summary of the weekend and how talented, strong, lovely, creamy and sexy our team is.

Let’s think about this. If you were 3rd team at the weekend, you’d probably be picked for most other uni’s 1st team. What? That’s mental. It’s incredible to see people playing for weeks and then going to Regionals and dominating people from other teams who have played for years. I love that we have the motivation and ability to train people like that and blow the competition away.

My personal experience this weekend was great. The main thing I enjoyed was the last 3 games of Sunday. For the Kent game Hayden often played our ‘stronger lines’ to guarantee the win and that game really cemented our playing style together. I felt I played well and everyone else was so calm on the disc playing against the zone that we proved we should be amongst the top 1st teams in our region. I came out of that on a high and was ready to smash our way to Div 1 in the next 2 games. Hayden spoke to us before Sublime and emphasised that we had made nationals and from then on we would go back to everyone playing as much as possible because it was unrealistic to play the strongest line the whole time. The amazing thing about our team is that this didn’t affect anything and probably made us stronger. Our weakness on the Saturday had been our O, but in the Sublime and Surrey games we barely made a mistake, you wouldn’t have been able to tell we had freshers on our team with Glen orchestrating a lot of the up-field play and Andrew throwing a perfect knife assist. Even though sublime went to sudden death, the game didn’t feel that tense because all our players were keeping their heads and still running their hardest on D.

Overall, it was one of the best tournaments I’ve played and we all showed we deserve our spot as one of the best clubs in the UK.

Love, hugs and bumsex,

Jallen xxxxx

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Titillating, Really Quite Titillating- A short message regarding recent…

As you read this, it would have been a number of hours since I decided, in a playful and unpremeditated fashion, to write this short message regarding recent times. The recent times at hand concern Skunks Beginners Tournament. What a gorgeous, thrilling, exciting, and just awfully positive way to start the year. When using the preceding adjectives (or in some cases, verbs) I am referring to all aspects of the weekend; gorgeously executed throws, thrilling exchanges of conversation, and exciting tying of shoe lace. The newcomers were outstanding, the oldcomers were splendid, and the current-comers were exemplary. At no point this weekend did I think, ‘you know what, this is actually quite boring and pointless, I could be at home not having spent quite a lot of money and be catching up on missed seminars’, and albeit controversial I fail to see how that is anything but a good thing. I don’t wish to blow the horn of my own generation, but the experienced play, especially that of the winning team was just titillating, really quite titillating. Ultimate….nay, Frisbee….nay, my university frisbee team….nay, the team I play with at university….nay, Mohawks, have, by a medium-to-long shot, become the biggest part of my Uni life. This weekend irrevocably justified that. And I can envisage many of the freshers feeling these feelings when they’re feeling things in couple of years time. Feelings. Fin.

(Post message notes- Unstructured, Unplanned, and quite possibly uninteresting, yet an unbiased, truthful and titillated response to events)

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The Mohawk Lifestyle – Reflections on five years of…

I’ve thought about this post a lot, an awful lot. And often wondered about how I can possibly fit 5 years worth of reflections about my time as what I will call a student Mohawk (because, as our motto says, I will ALWAYS BE A MOHAWK) into a piece of writing that people will be bothered to read to the end. Truth be told, I don’t think I will. I believe most readers will start reading this, switch off and find something better to do. That’s not a challenge, nor a call for you to read it all to its bitter conclusion, merely my thoughts on the matter.

If the reader has themselves a cup of tea and a comfy seat, or a while to kill on a train ride, then maybe, just maybe, they will finish my drivel. Either way, I’m writing it.

I hope that this blog comes some way close to summarising my time as a student Mohawk and the absolute joy it has given me. I’ve so many memories, some of which will feature, and have met so many incredible people who I will consider friends for the rest of forever – I hope the reciprocal can be said from them, from you. I’m not sure whether I would have gotten through university without the Mohawks. Many people say that their degree got in the way of playing Ultimate; they’re right and I wholeheartedly agree with them, but equally I think without the Ultimate I would have struggled to get through the degree itself!

Year 1. 2008-09. The start

For those of you who don’t know, officially I am a failed Sussex footballer. I came to university intending to try Ultimate frisbee out but definitely wanted to play football. I didn’t even make the third team (I still maintain that this is their loss, but I’m delighted). So I went to my first session, had a chap called RimJob teach me to throw sidearms and then had Duncan MacDonald as my captain (for the Lewes Court team). I had no idea if I was doing anything well or not, I just remember feeling shattered BUT I did score on Felix for the win in the final. Ask him about how that felt, he might come up with some story about it being a pick.

I was told that day that I was pretty good at the sport and I became hooked. I signed up to the beginner’s tournament, got given a nickname on the way to it and have been referred to as that forever more (I will exclude writing it here, for the obvious reasons and maintaining professional dignity). Despite the horror of the name, it is mine and there is a part of me that smiles everytime I hear it, because it shows me that I belong somewhere.

Something I have often struggled with in life is not wanting to be left out. So for somebody like me, who didn’t go out all that much for a while, to have an identity felt amazing. People knew my nickname who I hadn’t even met yet which was unbelievable and eventually, this acceptance into the club, made me come out of my shell and start embracing every second of Mohawks I could.

The year ended in a blur, being made Open Captain for the following season, the awards dinner and then playing my first season of Tour with Brighton Ultimate. This was it. This was now to be my life. I have to, at this point, thank Nick White for being my first ever Mohawks captain. Whilst I was always be indebted to Longface and Bob for captaining my beginner’s team, it was Nick who was Mohawks captain for my first season, and I will always be grateful for that.

Year 2. 2009-10. The Stress

The second year of my university studies will always, I believe, be the single most stressful year of my life. I was a fairly clueless Open Captain but somehow managed to blunder through and end the year with some BUCS points! This was all to be eclipsed by Beezer’s Open Captaincy the year after but hey, I am one of many proud Mohawks Open Captains.

I can look back at captains before me and be humbled to be included in the same list as them, then I can look forward through the list and see some phenomenal people and to be a part of that is incredible. I know as well that the longer the list goes on there will be so many people who I don’t deserve to have preceded, but somebody had to and I’m lucky enough one of those folks was me. And nobody can take that away.

People have complimented me on my year as Open Captaincy and said what a good job I did do, but I was just part of the machinery. The club has seen extraordinary growth since then, as demonstrated by the end of season photos, but that could have happened with anybody else in my position.

I always, always strived to put the club first, and endeavoured to ensure that the members were happy but then that’s what I assume everybody else did, too. So I don’t consider myself special for doing that. It is true that nothing came before the Mohawks that year, and still doesn’t now if I can engineer it, perhaps to the detriment of my studies and friendships outside of frisbee, but it was completely worth it when, at the end of the year, I was finally able to look from the outside and see where the club can come to. I was just a part of that year, and I’m delighted I was, but so many people had probably more of an impact.

I cannot thank Beezer enough for his support during that year. The simple act of going to the pub with me (Park Crescent, still one of my favourites) and letting me destress onto him was something I can not thank him enough for. Couple that with Callum joining the club, quickly becoming one of my best friends and reminding me that, when trying to study, frisbee was still more important made the year bearable. And it wouldn’t be far to talk about my second year with mention to an American friend of mine so thanks to Kristen to, for helping to keep me sane and grounded. These three people, along with others (particularly my three amazing housemates Becky, Carly and Kat), helped to make that year one that I am immensely proud of and will always look back on it with a big cheesy grin and tell everybody I meet that I was once Open Captain of the Mohawks, please bask in my glory.

Year 3. 2010-2011. The successful Mr. Beezer

Making Beezer my successor for Open Captaincy was a good decision. Results certainly confirm this as, finally (in our eyes) Mohawks Open won some nationals. It was tough but we had the drive, the desire, the belief, the ability and now the leadership to succeed on a national scale. That first gold medal is still one of the first things I see when I wake up in the morning and helps me start everyday knowing that I can accomplish stuff. It might take three years but I can.

I also, finally, managed to captain a team to national glory in St. Andrews in the outdoor mixed division. What a team that was and that tournament was easy, because of us. That trophy, and those memories, sit high up in my mind of achievements.

I don’t recall much else from the year, to be honest, it was massively successful on pitch with the club winning 4 of 6 national titles (never bettered? by anyone?) and a joy to be a part of in that sense, but we had also grown a fair bit and so were dealing with larger numbers. It was an exciting challenge and I know the current committee are playing a difficult balancing game with this in mind, but from what I’ve seen, they’ve done great as shown by the 50+ people at the AGM.

Ah! The only other stand out memory from the year was cycling to Burla. I’d say that ranks alongside those nationals in terms of life accomplishments. I know Beezer has taken cycling to the next level, so he would probably spend half the time getting to Italy now and so might be embarrassed by the 9 days it took us, but I’m still living off of that brag.

Year 4. 2011-12. The year of Mr. Yeo

Having been overlooked by me for captaincy the year before, Ashley stepped into the shoes left by the Scottish defector Beezer and, by all accounts, did brilliantly. We had lost Beezer, Bumfluff and Nick from the year before which are not easy people to replace. But Ashley managed to get the team playing the way he wanted, whilst showing us all exactly what sort of efforts was required off the pitch. His Open team successfully defended our outdoor national title – boom.

The year was odd for me, in many ways. The boys whom I had grown up with were gone. Callum, Robbie and Kneetu were soon to be going, too. The team of people who I had captained and had around me had left or were leaving, and I was sad. It had been, in my mind, some sort of mini-era and it seemed to be coming to a close.

That’s not to say that I wasn’t excited for the next year, my final student Mohawk year, and nor is it to belittle the pride I took in being President of the club for the year, but it was certainly noticed by me. I should definitely add that being voted as President was a huge thing for me. I absolutely love the club and wanted to help out and support in any way I could, officially or not. I was delighted to be President and hope I did the job with the respect it deserves. It’s a strange role, because for all of the grandeur in the title, the President doesn’t have all that much power and I hope, more than anything, I didn’t overstep my mark at any point.

Despite the on-field successes during the year the proudest moment for me came at the awards dinner. As much as Rear of the Year 2012 is an award I am wonderfully happy with, being told that I was Spirit of the Mohawks was without doubt the best memory from the year.

To be recognised by my clubmates as somebody who put in everything for the club whilst trying to run after plastic in a dignified manner, is something that brought an emotion I’ve not experienced before to the forefront of my being. I honestly did not know what to say, such was the humbling nature of it. Having been somebody who got to decide on Spirit of the Mohawks previously I knew just how important this award is and I still struggle to comprehend winning it.

Year 5. 2012-13. Stepping back

Having been a committee member for the previous three years, therefore having a say in how the club was run, I knew that this year, my final as a student, would be tough. Not only that I had to step back from the running, but also from seeing people due to essentially having a full time job all of a sudden. This could have alienated me, easily.

Luckily for me, the captains for the year (Lawrence & Ed and Shimmy) made me feel very welcome and like a part of their respective team and as though I could contribute on the field of play. Whilst Open results weren’t quite what we wanted I can always look back on this particular year as the year when I won my “missing” national crown – mixed indoors.

I would like to make a special mention to the job that Lawrence and Ed have done with the Open team this year. Having to captain a team containing the like of me, Frank, Ashley, Shimmy, Hayden and others whilst being less experienced on paper is not an easy task – and they did admirably. I hope that they both, along with all captains of the Mohawks from time gone by and in the future, will look back on “their” year with a smile and know that they have contributed to something special.

I don’t know how this year will end. I am writing this before the awards dinner so that I can claim that I haven’t cried when thinking back to over my time because I know that I am almost certain to that night.

A special thank you

I’m going to try and sum up my thoughts and feelings on the five years in a moment or two, first I need to thank a few people specially. There are many, many more people I should thank and I hope that everybody reading this feels some appreciation from me because chances are you’ve contributed in some way to my time as a student Mohawk, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Felix. My coach. Thank you.
Bumfluff. One of my boys and somebody who always helps me to enjoy my Ultimate.
Eunuch. My first ever Open Captain.
Beezer. One of my best friends, helped me through my Open Captaincy and then captained my to Open glory.
Jimmy OB. The nicest, warmest person I think I will ever meet.
Skinny. My first ever captain on a Wednesday. And he was great company on a drive to Glasgow.
Bob & Longface. My beginner team captains.
Ashley. The most dedicated man I’ve met, an inspiration.
Kneetu. The best hugger in existence, and he saved regionals for me in year 4.
Kristen. Became one of my closest friends despite only being here for a few months.
Megan. Another completely dedicated, inspirational person who is excellent company for cups of tea.
Easey. Lived with me for two years! Has become a truly wonderful friend.
Shimmy. Captained me for my missing national title!
Tom White. For shouting abuse at my poor play – I will always better myself when he is around.
Becky, Kat & Carly. My first ever housemates at uni, for two years as a collective! Despite not playing Ultimate they supported me no end and put up with a lot from me
Callum. I don’t know where to begin. This man is incredible.

Final thoughts. Impossible

Trying to sum up everything coherently is nye-on impossible. I know I have focussed mostly on Open but every club member who I have encountered, past or present, is a somebody I hold in high regard, because they are a Mohawk. And Mohawks are special people.

I have no idea where this final chunk is leading to. I cannot express in any words in my vocabulary what it means to have been a student Mohawk for five years. I’m not sure that they words even exist! What I do know, though, is that whenever ANYBODY asks me about my Ultimate frisbee the first thing I will say is that I AM a Mohawk.

I will always be one.

When I look back on the five years I cannot find words to begin comprehending what this club has done for me. Socially, confidence, physically. It is unbelievable. It has caused me to become me, if I’m honest, and without it I don’t really know what sort of a person I would be. I am sad to go and leave student ultimate but I do so with my head held high. Most importantly, however, whilst I have a tear in my eye, I also leave with a huge level of excitement for the future of this club.

The club has given me so much, and so much more than that, that to have been even a little part of it is something incredible. I hope that you, if you have read this far and are affiliated with Mohawks at all yourself, appreciate how fantastic the club is and revere it as much as I do whilst knowing that you, too, are always a Mohawk.

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Being Observed at Presidents Day – Stars and Stripes…

Last weekend we had tiring 3 day tournament in San Diego called Presidents Day. It was a 10 hour drive down, not that far from the Mexican border. The weather was warm, not too hot, around 20 degrees and the wind had a few gusts but mostly perfect playing conditions. We were staying in a really nice house thanks to a team-mate that lives there and so we could start each day reasonably fresh. His parents also cooked us so much food which we were very grateful for.

On the Saturday we had an early start against Brown University. We were pretty shocked when we got to the fields because our pool had been kicked off the main playing fields and we had to play on these really uneven dusty fields. We warmed up carefully and did our best to prevent ourselves against getting any injuries. The game went well and we controlled most of it, my friend Sean got a point block on their 3rd pass of the game and we didn’t really look back from there. The later games against Colorado College and Long Beach went similar ways. We were tested at points but more often than not our big players produced some magic.  We were set up for the final game of the day which was supposed to decide the winner of the pool since it was against Santa Barbara. Davis has a good rivalry with them and that was who they had battled for a spot to Nationals last year with. We also lost to them a few weeks ago on their home turf which we were disappointed with.

As it turned out they had lost one of the games already, meaning they had to win to stay in the championship bracket. The game was very close and I think we went a couple of breaks up after half time. They had a good comeback but we punched in the winning point on Universe (Sudden Death). The game was unfortunately marred by one of the worst injuries I’ve seen in ultimate, and it reminded me of what tragically happened to Robbie. My friend Kramer put in a big vertical bid but somehow landed with a straight left leg that crumpled beneath him. Later on we found out he had broken 3 bones around his ankle, including snapping a fan of ligaments. He’s uncertain if he’ll make it back to play any part of the season and he will be missed by all of us. It was a scary reminder of how fragile your ultimate season can be.

So, Sunday we had progressed to the power pools and had to play Berkeley and Cincinnati. Berkeley have not shown any of their normal prowess that makes them one of the best in our region but we ground out a hard performance to beat them. Cincinnati were also tough but we had found our rhythm and got the win. This meant we set up the quarter-final for the last game of the day vs University of Washington. We knew the game would be tough as they had done better than us at the last tournament and they also had some star players returning from international trials. But the main exciting point about this game was it was going to be observed. 80% of the team were used to this from playing at college nationals but for me and 4 freshmen it was a new experience.  After a briefing from our coach Cissna we took the field and it turned out to be a fiery encounter.

We were matched neck and neck and break for break the entire game. There were some great highlight plays from both sides and there was nothing really to separate us. The observers were getting involved, and I don’t feel like they had a negative impact on the game at all. The biggest difference I found was that it sped things up. Not every call that is made has to go to them, but if you think you are right (which you should if you made the call) then it makes sense. We got caught offside from the pull twice which meant they started with that point with the disc on the half way line, a small penalty but enough to make u stay behind the thrower. The observers were good for calling in or out calls and important endzone toe-ins etc allowing the players to focus on the disc and not have to watch their feet. It could have been my untrained eye, but I was a little worried that in some circumstances the observers would just guess on foul calls and then try to even the decisions out. We only had 2 observers, at opposing corners when some games have one on each corner. Later on there was a play on a disc in a crowded end-zone, and a foul was called and contested. The crowd of players had obstructed the observer and he declined to rule either way meaning the disc went back. Quite a few people got annoyed by this no decision.

It was great when calls were made and the observer almost instantly confirms or overrules it, and the players get back to playing without a lengthy discussion. But I was still glad that the observer didn’t feel pressured to give a decision when he didn’t know. Instead of guessing, he was honest and did not rule on the play. I think that is a really important point with observers, they are not there to rule on every throw or catch, but should be used to avoid tensions escalating between players and improve the accuracy of calls. In other words it’s not the perfect solution but I enjoyed playing with them.

This game also went down to universe point which we started on D. After 2 or 3 passes they fumbled a pass right in in the chest. We then converted with a simple cut for the win and putting us into Semis.

Monday morning we were playing Minnesota Grey Duck, a regular at nationals and so an important test for us. We started well and forced them into some turns, almost breaking them on their first O-point but the huck floated out the back, only to be greatest back in with the flattest greatest throw I’ve ever seen, but it was sadly D’d at the front of the endzone. They were extremely clinical when they turned us and controlled the game because of this. It finished 10-15 to them. We ended the weekend with a similar game for 3rd place vs Colorado Mamabird. They are a really strong team and we went on a run of 3 points at the end to bring it to a 12-15  loss and leaving us 4th place. Aside from the injury, this was a really good tournament for the progression of our season, we are not at the national level we want to be at in May, but we are improving and had bright glimpses of what we can achieve. The next big tournament is 3 weeks away at Stanford invite where we will meet even tougher teams. I will also hopefully be visited by Fetu by then 🙂


“Once a dog, always a Mohawk”

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Indoor Zone: What’s the point?

In previous years, my thinking about indoor zone has gone a little like this. What’s the point? A good offence will always beat zone, because there are spaces, and often there is less pressure than an intense man defence. Pressure gets you blocks, so why give it up?

This statement is true apart from one specific point. That phrase doesn’t work with ‘a good offence’ – it only is true with ‘a perfect offence’. And in uni ultimate, and probably the rest of ultimate, there is no such thing as a perfect offence.

Equally, not practicing zone means that we don’t really get that much practice of playing against it, which means we struggle when we come up against it at big tournaments.

This year, I’ve come across several fantastic opportunities, where we really should have played zone but couldn’t, and some very clever uses of it by other teams. Put frankly, I still don’t like it as a defence, and it sure as heck makes games boring to watch, but as a club we need to be realistic: zone has its uses, and we need to be able to beat it.

Before going into the details of any particular zone (we’ll be teaching one or two this week), I just wanted to outline what I think the ‘point’ of zone is, especially indoors.

There are three main points of zone (indoors), as far as I see it – though I’m very open to other suggestions (comments below!). The first is to eat clock. The second is to get cheap blocks. The third is to just plain screw stuff up.

Clock Eating

This is a purpose which is almost entirely unique to indoors. Indoors, when the buzzer goes, it’s game over – meaning that once you get a lead, keeping it is enough to win the game. Being ahead when the buzzer goes wins you the game. Outdoors is different, because to win the game, you have to score the winning point (in Europe; the US have some crazy time cap stuff, which I have no experience of so won’t comment on).

A good man offence against a good man defence often scores relatively quickly, but a good zone offence against a good zone defence generally has to wait far longer to generate chances at the endzone, meaning that even a good team can take a while to score against a competent zone. Clock eating becomes really useful when you have a lead in a game, and you just want to slow down the other team, and make sure they don’t score too many points too quickly – Nottingham pulled this on our women’s team at indoor nationals this year, while up by about 3 points, and it was a great call, making a comeback almost impossible in the time window of an indoor game. It’s also useful if a team is mounting a bit of a comeback against your man defence, and you want to break up their flow.

A good example of a zone well-suited to this, for people who have experienced it, is the classic ‘force-middle’ or ‘force-poach’ Mohawks zone, which is also played by Sublime. There’s always a free pass – it’s just a boring one to the other handler. If you’re playing a patient team, this zone is a poor choice when you’re down – you’re letting them do the thing they want to do, which is play catch indefinitely until time is over. If you’re up, it’s a great call, regardless of how patient a team is – their patience will work against them, as time runs out and they end up taking too long to score each point to mount a convincing comeback.


Cheap Blocks

Another pretty handy purpose of zone is that it can get you cheap blocks. At university level, lots of teams will have several less experienced players on their team, and it takes experience to clock a zone as it comes down at you. Often throwing a zone can put a team off-balance, and cause them to turnover as they attempt to organise their offence and adapt to a new D.

An example of this is a zone we used at women’s in previous years – while the ‘force-poach’ zone above leaves relatively few holes upfield and gives up a lot of easy passes around the disc (which lets the handlers buy time while upfield clocks onto what is going on), this zone encourages the disc into a high-pressure area of the pitch (the line) and clamps down on easy short passes, looking relatively similar to man defence for the handlers. Upfield, there are more spaces, and looser defenders – but if upfield don’t realise early on that it is zone, the handler with the disc is pretty stuffed and has only a high risk pass to a cutter who may not even be looking at them. Mostly, we got our turnovers on the first pass of possessions with this zone – either the high-risk throw gets blocked or the handlers turnover between themselves.


Oh No, I Need to Think

Some indoor offences are very slick, and very difficult to defend against effectively in man. A good example of this is playing a team quicker than you, which runs a fast-moving handler weave (where two or three players work the disc quickly between them up to the endzone). However, this kind of slick offence comes from extensive, and often almost exclusive, drilling of this offence. Chances are this team has no Plan B – if they can’t run you into the ground, they’re not entirely sure what to do.

Playing zone can be an effective way to screw up highly planned and structured offences (like handler weave) – by forcing teams to think and adjust to your defence, you dictate the speed and flow of the game. Even for teams who don’t rely on one very structured offence, forcing them out of their offensive plan is a good move. Mixing up defences is often very effective, as forcing players to think and adapt can disrupt their ability to generate flow. At a recent one day indoor tournament in London, Mo 1 Mixed played zone for every first defensive point – not because we love zone, but because it disrupted and unsettled the other team’s offence. We didn’t always get blocks, and we didn’t always convert our blocks, but it was pretty effective at putting teams on the back foot from the start.

There isn’t a specific zone that is great for throwing spanners in the works of offences – really, any zone which surprises your opponent should do the trick. If you’ve been playing the same zone all weekend, for every point, anyone who does any scouting or talks to any team you’ve played will know to expect it: nobody in our region is shocked when a Kent team plays zone on them. But if you throw it randomly into a game, sometimes even swapping between zones, boy is that gonna freak out the offence.


So, hopefully that starts giving you some idea of why zone is actually, in spite of how boring it makes games, quite useful indoors, and are convinced that you should show up on Friday so we can teach you a couple…


Friday, 2-4pm, Sports Centre.

Blog Posts

Stars and stripes and flying discs part 2

The first term really sped through, so fast that I couldn’t keep you dearest hawks updated and for that I apologize, I can only try and do better this term.

There was not a whole lot of exciting frisbee related things happening last term, it was the off season (no indoor) so just a couple of relaxed, fun tournaments, which the captains used for scouting out A-team players. Some pretty decent people got cut when the final

2 Buck Huck
2 Buck Huck

squad was announced but I was lucky enough to sneak through. In the last couple of weeks before the holidays we got properly introduced to our coach Kevin Cissna. He is a Davis alumnus, and made it right to the top of the sport, playing a number of years with Revolver. He is a no nonsense kinda guy, that is certain to get you running your hardest.  He really knows how to get the most out of trainings and makes every drill as efficient as possible.

Over the winter break I was lucky enough to do a bit of travelling and got a double dose of mohawks. I recuperated my senses and money after a blurry stay in Las Vegas by visiting Kyle “Thor” Shurtz’s for 4 days in Boulder, Colorado. We got out on the local disc golf course, but I really couldn’t get to grips with proper disc golfing discs, and just about held my own with an ultra-star. Putting into the chain net baskets things was really difficult since the actual putters that disc golfers use are smaller and fit inside it a lot easier. All in all I preferred the wonky fence post or skinny tree targets I’m more familiar with.

I flew from Denver to Oakland on Christmas Eve, and was met at the airport by non-other than your fine women’s captain Sarah McCann. I had a really enjoyable stay with her family and we got to throw around a bit on the beach in her home town San Luis Opisbo. It was all fun and games until Sarah got a bit over enthusiastic chasing down a dodgy wayward throw of mine, and ended up lying on the shoreline, fully clothed and being lapped by waves which she couldn’t avoid due to a twisted ankle :(. You’ll have to ask her about the ensuing heroism but really I was just trying to make up for initiating it with a rubbish throw.

I made it back to Davis just after new year’s and straight away had the Davis Hat tournament to go to. This was really fun, I was on a team with very few people that I’d ever met before let alone played frisbee with. I found it really challenging to cut and throw accordingly for people when you have no idea of their abilities or tendencies. I enjoyed it a lot and really recommend hat tournaments to anyone that’s never been to one, you learn so much! It also opens up a lot of ultimate doors for you, since it was here I booked my spot on a team at the upcoming beach tournament, Lei Out.

They sold it to me as claiming Lei Out to be the closest thing California has to Paganello. There are a lot of similarities, they are both played on sand, use the same rules, and involve an unhealthy amount of pitch side drinking. However Lei Out this year had 184 teams alongside the Pacific Ocean, basking in Santa Monica’s gorgeous L.A sunshine. It definitely fulfilled my beach ultimate fix for the year but I’ll still be extremely jealous of anyone heading to Rimini this easter. It wasn’t fancy dress sadly, but the party was still epic. They had hired a huge warehouse on the top floor of the mall which had a couple of hundred people in and space for a couple hundred more. We ended up doing pretty well since we won all our games on Saturday but this moved us up to a slightly higher bracket which we then got knocked out of at the quarter-final stage. By this time we were having so much fun that placing didn’t matter. Our call involved a wine tasting challenge (the name “2 buck huck” was a pun on “2 buck chuck” the equivalent of supermarket own brand red wine). We also had a shot belt with 18 shots of skittles vodka strapped to it and that got refilled a number of times. It was a very sleepy 6 hour drive back up the west coast to Davis but so totally worth it.

Back in Davis Trainings have really started to get ramped up in intensity now, just 2 days off a week. This includes track workouts, (8 laps of sprinting the straights and jogging the bends) and gym workouts. We had a squad of 24 but due to some unlucky circumstances we are now down to just 19. Compared to the other colleges this will be smaller but we are hoping being a close nit group can work to our advantage. I’m so excited about the season kicking off this weekend, the first officially USAU college sanctioned event is the Santa Barbara invite. Seeing the Dogs creep onto Skyd magazine’s preseason power rankings is really spurring us on and we hope to cause some upsets. Be sure to check up to see how we do, results/ write up will probably go up on Skyd early next week.
I’ll leave it there for now and I hope you are all wrapping up warm with that nasty white frosty stuff about. All the best for the new season!

Peace and love,


“Once a dog, always a Mohawk”

Blog Posts

The Term in Preview: Spring 2013 and beyond…

It’s going to be a busy term, but one that I am certainly relishing. It’s a great time to be a Mohawk, with lots of opportunities to play at all levels, whether just for fun or to push yourself as hard as you can. So here’s a little preview of just some of the ultimate-related events happening this term (and a bit about this summer) for you. But I couldn’t cover or predict everything – stay tuned to this website for news of extra practices/tournaments!


“Hardcore Hove” Monday practice restarts on the 7th (and then every Monday), 7pm-9pm at Hove Recreation Ground. Despite the “Hardcore” label, this practice is open to everyone and all Mohawks are encouraged to attend. It will give you the chance to get to know the players from Brighton Ultimate and meet more of the Panthers in a friendly, development-focussed environment.

The 13th is the first Longface Sundays practice. Come along to Stanmer Park to work on whatever you want to, do a couple of simple drills and then play a game. A great opportunity to get some extra training in with a top quality player/coach there to guide you.

Local open tour team Brighton are also holding trials for their open team over the weekend of the 19th and 20th. They are looking for athletic, young and talented players (Mohawks are always a good choice!) to better their 4th place finish at UK Club Nationals 2012, and 9th place in Europe. Sign up! There’s even rumours of the team being re-branded under a new name!

Meanwhile our GB U23s (Lawrence, Ashley, Kim, Emma) will be away making the Mohawks presence felt at a training camp, amongst the best young ultimate players the country has to offer.

And adding to a bumper ultimate weekend, the 19th also sees the inaugural Mohawks Campus Halls Cup, part of the student union’s multi-sport league where players from each of the halls (and off campus!) battle it out to win points for their hall. The details are just being finalised, but it may be run as a women’s event, with the aim to cast a wide net over campus and introduce more women to the sport. But watch this space – sign-ups for that event will be available in due course.

Mohawks regular Wednesday practices begin again on the 23rd January, on the clump. Keep your eyes peeled for updates to this website as there may be other informal sessions before then!

Our mixed teams are preparing for indoor nationals, with a one-day tournament in London on Sunday 27th January. The tournament is being held in an enormous sprung-wood hall, created as a training venue for the London 2012 Olympics.


The 2nd/3rd is the first GB U20s trial for both the women’s and the open teams. If you were born on or after January 1st 1994 then you should sign up! If you make the squad you will join a long history of Mohawks who have represented GB at Junior level, including Ashley Yeo and 2010/11 Grand Slam-winning Open Captain, Jack Beezer.

Two teams of Mohawks will go to university mixed indoor nationals in Wolverhampton on 9th/10th February, with a team in Division 1 and another in Division 2. As ever, updates during the weekend will be available via Twitter.

The following weekend sees the Brighton Ultimate Draft Indoor Tournament. The brain child of our coach Felix Shardlow, and follow-up to last summer’s very successful Draft League, BUDIT will begin with an exciting live draft night on Friday 15th at The Druids where captains will select their rosters from the available players. These teams will then play the tournament over the weekend. Sign-ups are open now.

If draft ultimate isn’t your thing then come down to the sea front on the morning of Sunday 16th to watch at least two Mohawks (your humble mixed captain and Helen Brunt) running in the Brighton Half Marathon. For those who fancy running it – normal entries are sold out now but you may have the chance to get a charity place. I am raising money for Sane and will be badgering you all to sponsor me soon.

Finally, on the 23rd a team of 15 open players will travel to Ireland to represent Mohawks on the international scene in a high-level open tournament. Other teams competing include Ireland’s Under 23s and Belgian Champions, Gentle. The Siege of Limerick promises to be a tough challenge for a development team keen to make the most of playing on the smooth, grippy 3G pitches out there. We’re very grateful to Sussex Sport for helping fund this trip through the Focus Sport scheme.

Perhaps our new kit (to be worn with pride) will arrive at some point during February too…


The 9th/10th sees the first of the university outdoor tournaments – open outdoor regionals. As with every year we will no doubt be looking to field several Mohawks teams so everyone gets a chance to play a competitive outdoor tournament. Sometimes it snows!

There’s no rest for the wicked, and the very next weekend (16th/17th) is university mixed outdoor nationals. Mohawks will be looking to field at least one strong team (hopefully two), and hoping to improve on last year’s 4th place finish. Selection for mixed outdoor nationals will occur in early March, and will be based on performance at practice so everyone has a chance to get on the team!

Luckily our Easter break comes around just in time to hop on a plane to Italy to play in the most prestigious club beach tournament in the world – Paganello. There are several Brighton-based teams representing across the open, mixed and junior divisions, playing against some of the best players and teams in the world. From the red wine party on the Thursday night, to Felix inevitably conducting the crowd during the finals on Sunday, ever year is filled with the promise of more epic memories and embarrassing anecdotes.


The first weekend in April (6th/7th) sees the first of the Mixed Tour events run by the UKU. Tour is a series of large national-level club tournaments bringing together the best clubs from around Britain in high-level and enjoyable competition. Mixed tour runs in the spring and Open & Women’s tour in the summer, providing crucial preparation for UKU Club Nationals in late August. There will surely be several teams entering from Brighton, so get yourself involved with Brighton Ultimate if you are interested in pushing your play to the next level, or just want to meet a bunch of new players, through playing tour. Every year there are many Mohawks and former Mohawks playing in top-teams at tour.

The end of our term dovetails nicely with the end of the university season, with Open & Women’s University Nationals on the 20th/21st April. This is the tournament we have been building towards since September. The Squaws and (subject to qualification via regionals) the open team, will both be looking to uphold the fearsome reputation of the Mohawks on the national stage. There is a fair amount of pressure on our teams, being holders of both the Women’s and Open titles for the past two years. Once again the alumni cup runs alongside the university divisions so expect some former Mohawks to grace the tournament with their presence and banter too.

and beyond…

The last tournament of the university season doesn’t mean it’s the end of your season, though. There is still mixed tour, open/women’s tour, hat tournaments, international tournaments, beach tournaments, UKU regionals, UKU nationals, Club Euros, the World Games, U23 Worlds, U20 Euros, and Beach Euros all to look forward to. And if you aren’t playing in all of these, many of them can be watched or followed online. You will probably be able spot at least one Mohawk, or former Mohawk playing in every one of these events. Whether you want to be on the pitch making a game-saving block on an international stage, or the life and soul of the party at a hat tournament somewhere in Asia, you will be joining a long line of Mohawks all contributing to the history, success and reputation of the name.

With such a calendar of university events, and Mohawks playing in every major competition this summer, we should be especially proud to be Mohawks this year, and can all share the successes and triumphs of every Mohawk, at every level of the sport. Every one of us should look forward to doing our bit to uphold the Mohawks’ reputation for elite performance, spirited play and all-round love for the ultimate community. See you on the field.