Potchefstroom Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

by Katy (Ultitude)

At the crack of dawn (well more like 7am), Mad Max (well more like JP) was flying down the highway at 200km per hour from Johannesburg to Potchefstroom. What could motivate this insane rush? What could bring that steel blue gaze beating down on shuddering tarmac? Of course, nothing less than crepes. Yes, that is right, Crepes. Not just any crepes. The best crepes this side of the sun… Served warm with cinnamon and soft spun sugar on a sunny Saturday morning. Crepes and the Potchefstroom Ultimate Frisbee Tournament.

2x times former Potch Ultimate Tourney champion participant Ellie herself put together a mega-formidable team bent on having illicit levels of fun combating Frisbee players to spinning disc, elbow grazing, rugby tackling (not officially endorsed), sky throwing ruthlessness. She selected a motley crew made of cream from Skyveld, bread and butter from Ultitude, and super starlishness from Soweto. The team came together like an oasis spinning in harmony on top of roving plastic. In other words, we rocked. We tore through the naïve hearts of less experienced players and conceded only one score against us in our first 4 matches taking away in excess of 40 points. Did I mention the ruthlessness?

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There were 16 teams in total. That morning the field was vibrating with vibrations of sporty people and also not-so-sporty people (because Frisbee takes em all). There were innovative competitions all commentated and organised in Afrikaans over loud speakers leaving the sout piele net sommer sunbathing. One such competition was won by one of Ellie’s team. The dream team. The cream, bread and butter, sparkling water team. One of this team won the first competition of the day. Some say that he was fed off a Frisbee disc for the first formative years of his life. Myth has it that his first ever throw was a reverse hammer under water that travelled 9000 miles and broke the sound barrier. We might never know the truths and falsities of the mystery and legendry that surrounds Justus, but what we do know, is that on this fateful Saturday morning he spun a Frisbee from over halfway a rugby field through rugby poles thus wining the accuracy competition and stealing the coveted cap reward. Out of a good few numbers of pro-competitors, Justus was the only one with the trifecta: the gaze of a hawk, the twist of a Tiger and the socks of the rok spinnekop. There were other competitions, won by other people. Great people, who I don’t know. Strange competitions encouraging body to body contact, limp discs and unwarranted aggression towards cones.

You might want to know how Ellie’s dream team did in this tournament. You might even want to know what her team was called. With the kind of creativity that makes Ultimate famous, her team was called “Ellie”. Not “Ellie’s team” or “Ellie’s gespan” (as was heard whispered in awe in shady spaces that day). Just “Ellie.” And ‘Ellie’ was taking no prisoners. It stands to reason they made it to the semi-finals. This was one helluva highly contested match with the ‘something combras’ or perhaps ‘mambas’ – a snake of sorts anyway – it was a local potch team. They were all dressed like the Matrix revisited in sunnier conditions with hunger games eyes. Both Ellie and Snakes fought hard to end the match on a draw. It was tight, quick game. All the games had short halves and small end zones. Real zippy stuff. Pressure was intense. You get it. So to break the draw there was a death match – the first to 2 points. Nobody quite knows what happened during that death match because it all happened so quickly. A blur of movements. All we know is….Ellie was through to the finals.

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Of course, there was money on the line. This isn’t mickey mouse stuff. We play for real cash that smells like dirty overly touched crumpled paper with ink. We play for the real makoya. So who did Ellie meet in the final on that fateful day? Well…actually it is quite a story. Some fella named Jarrod Banks, aka JB (original right?), is rumoured to have wanted to put together an ALL-STAR team of cherry picked players from all around Gauteng. So he got his cherries. All 9 of them. Some of the fastest, some of the tallest, some of the fittest players known to South Africa. Each had more than a few accolades under their belts and stripes on their shoulders. They had a silly name. I can’t remember what it was. Maybe Wild Hucks. And Wild they were in a very tame, domestic kind of organised and calm way. And that is how they played on the field against Ellie. Calm, collect, organised, and in control. The athleticism was something to behold….but had they met their match? 1 for 1, each team Ellie vs. The Wild Hucks scored against each other in a nail-biting final that absolutely no-one was watching because everyone had gone home or was packing up. Before you knew it, half time was upon us and one team was one point down (I think). Then a suddenly as you could say “like lightning” it was time up, game over and after the second half it was a draw. Point for point each team had scored 4 each. 4 hard won, battled out points. There was the one time that one player did this one thing that I can’t recall. I remember nothing but the blood pounding through my heart. And how to decide the final victors? Everyone had travelled so far for this, waking up early, beating traffic, generally unwanted things ….and so it was decided there would be a sudden death point to decide the victors of the Potch Ultimate Tournament. And a sudden death it was as The Wild Hucks seemed to effortlessly pass the Frisbee into the end zone like ballet dancers wheeling in the green – conceding second place to Ellie. Everyone got money though so it is okay. And crepes. And bags of sweeties. Well only the top 3 teams that is. So well done Wild Hucks for winning. I am sure you guys have an interesting story too, but this story is about everyone, The whole tournament. All I saw that day was people smiling, laughing, flirting and taking life by the horns. I saw the inexperienced players dramatically improve their game from point to point. I saw rolled up doughy crepes being relished by many. I saw things…. things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die. Um…er…I mean…there are reasons rubber hits tarmac to tackle the asphalt highways to Potchefstroom on an early Saturday morning. And now you know why. Crepes.

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