Swinburne Hat Tournament 2016

by Lionel Spilkin

For many years this tournament has been the crown jewel in the Ultimate year, 2016 was no exception! Those of you who haven’t been must surely wonder why everyone who has been to a Swineburne hat tourney is fanatically adamant that you should go, know what I mean? Want to know why?

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On Friday you arrive at a beautiful place overrun with happy frisbee players, a large expanse of grass borders the accommodation, the dreamy green hills and valley on the one side and the magnificent surreal mountain on the other makes us feel like we are on Lysergic acid diethylamide without actually taking anything.

Without getting all spiritual I must mention that the hat tourney has a unifying effect on everybody, you will play with people from different clubs and regions, the tension of a team based tourney is simply not there, you are here to have fun and your body knows it! Peace reigns supreme.

The evening is filled with saying hello to all the special people who make up the community of ultimate players. Speculation on the teams is fuelled by moderate intake of beer and whiskey and late arrivers are met enthusiastically by well lubricated friends. But people are not there to get drunk, we all think that just maybe our team has the mix of talent that will bring us victory.

Saturday morning starts with coffee and breakfast and the games begin, on time surprisingly, but with Ellie there was there ever any doubt? This year was special in that the ultimate was of a high level and very competitive,  fantasy frisbee dreams of victory are dashed for some teams when they are schooled by a better team but generally nobody cares much about that. Kids are running around having fun, babies are lurching and falling onto soft grass.Much of the fun is to be had when the cheeky hecklers on the sideline weigh in on choices on the field, mocking, encouraging, chiding, teasing, encouraging, some very funny stuff. I swear that by 2PM I felt like I had been on holiday for a week. So in my case I went for a nap and missed the goaltimate and traditional Gauteng VS Natal game which Gauteng managed to take this time. Another tradition from Rocktober has made it’s way to Swineburne, music and the pool!

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Saturday night was the braai and party, it was great but I think the board game players had more of a rave than anybody else because they played until just after midnight. Sunday was sublime, hard frisbee and a final that was neck and neck between epic players. I’m running out of superlatives, you simply cant describe the experience adequately, you have to come and experience this for yourself.

Ask anybody who’s been, they’ll tell you, you have to do this! Forget what other people say, take it from ME, I’m on year six and wouldn’t miss it for anything. See you next year!

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