Being a Wild Dog is a Privilege

 

The journey to becoming a Wild Dog for Tokelo Martin Mokhesi started when he attended the Johannesburg trials at the Pirates Rugby Club in December 2016, followed by the Cape Town trials at UCT in February 2017.

Better known as Tee-Kay, the Soweto Ultimate player received an email from Jarid North and Andrew Oliver (the head coach and assistant coach of the Wild Dogs) stating that he has been selected to be in the South African Under 24 training squad. Excited as he was, as the work hard had paid off, he knew that making the training squad was only the first of many hurdles to jump through.

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Playing and being a Wild Dog for Tee-Kay is a privilege, it is an honour to be among the best Under 24 ultimate players in South Africa. It means representing and playing for the people of Soweto and South Africa with pride and dignity. It also probably means that having a national team player from the township will inspire and make the black community show some interest in ultimate frisbee; transforming the sport by getting players of colour to play ultimate.

The most exciting part about being a Wild Dog according to Tee-Kay is playing highly competitive Ultimate with teammates that encourage you, support you and challenge you to perform to the best of your abilities.

By getting to interact and becoming friends with players of different backgrounds and cultures, you gain knowledge, grow and learn as a player and as a person.

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Tee-Kay- Soweto Ultimate. Photo by James Arnestad

Being a Wild Dog has been beneficial to the develop of Tee-Kay’s playing abilities; his thinking in game situations (decision making), awareness, knowledge of the rules, the understanding of different playing strategies – are all improving. It has enhanced his skills and continues to make him a better player. He recently had the opportunity to play at Mixed Nationals 2017 for the East London Hammerheads and was invited by Skyveld ultimate to play with them at the Potchefstroom Ultimate tournament, after which they donated the R1000 prize money towards Tee-Kay’s Wild Dogs campaign. Basically, being a Wild Dog has given him exposure.

Unfortunately, he missed the first training camp that was held in Cape Town due to financial problems but was able to attend the second one in Johannesburg. The training camp was intense and that weekend was extremely cold which made it difficult to throw and catch the disc.  Tee-Kay didn’t take part most of the camp after injuring his ankle during the camp but took the opportunity to get to know some of this Wild Dogs teammates better and asked the assistant coach to explain some of the playing tactics during the match.

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During the Johannesburg U24 training camp at Wits.

Currently, South African Ultimate requires a player and a team to be financially fit to play even at National level as there are no sponsors and the South African Flying Disc Association  is only able generate funds from player fees from sanctioned tournaments like Nationals or Rocktober. As such, while it is great to be a Wild Dog it is also stressful and is very expense. Players are required to pay-to-play for the National team and fundraise personally for their trip to Australia. For Tee-Kay is hard to keep up with the financial demands of being a Wild Dog; he already had to pay R750 for the team fee and there is R4,400 for the player fee which is due in July 2017.

In the community that Tee-Kay comes from they basically have the assumption that Ultimate frisbee is for white people, and is also for dogs, literally a person would throw a disc and the dog would run after it; funny enough the National are indeed Dogs, Wild ones !

Ever since Tee-Kay started playing ultimate for the Wild Dogs and Soweto Ultimate he smiles more often than before, he is disciplined, super confident and has a positive outlook on life-developed a positive attitude and mind-set. The power and influence of Ultimate in changing lives.

Apart from playing Ultimate Tee-Kay is a cricketer for Soweto Pioneers Cricket Club and a final year journalism student at Rosebank College. Having to balance his school work, cricket and Ultimate is one of the most gruelling task. In adding he is a writer for online publications: Fortress Football and The Argus Report. From time to time there are some tough decisions that have to be made like choosing between cricket and Ultimate, sacrificing one of the two and as well making enough time for studying.

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The South African Under 24 squad; Wild Dogs

What Tee-Kay needs to do to get to the U24 World Championships in Australia in 2018 is to raise funds and try to get sponsors as in total the trip will cost approximately R30,000. Any support or ideas from the Gauteng and South African Ultimate community would be much appreciated.

Along with his Wild Dog teammates Lindelani and Sizwe, Tee-kay is hosting a fundraiser hat tournament on the 29th of July at Orange Farm.  Please come out and show your support !

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