by Loki (Ah Ouh Puc Ultimate)
What is Ultimate ?
If you are an Ultimate player, you have to answer this question a hundred times in your life. So you have prepared all your sentences -you could make a t-shirt- and with enthusiasm, you repeat :
- “There is a disc, but there is no dog”,
- “Yes, you run a lot, yes, with cleats”,
- “There is no referee” then “and it works quite well” then “no, no cheating, no more than in soccer I guess”,
- “You can play in open or women division, but also you can play in the mixed division”,
- “On a soccer field, same length but a little less wide”,
- “7-7 on grass, 5-5 on the beach or indoor”…
- “Yes there are many clubs, and more and more every years” 😉
We all have our short way to present our favourite sport, but we keep for us all the little secrets only the ultimate community knows :
- Playing tournaments with your team makes you become a family
- Travelling almost every weekend across the country or the continent brings you a lot of souvenirs you can’t share on Monday at work. In short, “Yes, it was a good weekend, what about you, did you find mushrooms in the woods ?”
- Getting back to work after a 4 day tournament on the beaches of Italy, under the sun can only lead you to a violent Post Tournament Depression
- In your team, you don’t care who is CEO in the world company, student, nurse, unemployed, lawyer, you just love your mates for what they bring to your team : energy, magic throws, crazy layouts, Calahan, being exemplary, leadership, jokes, positiveness, Spirit of The Game…
- You can go everywere in the world, you can bring your cleats to practice with the local team !
I know you are thinking about all you best souvenirs of tournaments and little details you love so much in our favorite sports.
Who is Ah Ouh Puc ?
Well, one of my greatest pleasures in Ultimate is to be part of Ah Ouh Puc, Paris France Ultimate main club. This is my house and heart club and I can’t count the friends I made there, the good times I shared. Seriously, living in Paris is really better having this people around you ! You are welcome anytime you want !
So we realised we are a 10 years old club (actually, we realised it last year 😉 and decided to do something huge, something that has never be done in French Ultimate and decided to attend the Rocktober Tournament in Johannesburg South Africa.
The idea generated tremendous enthusiasm, and 30 people who had one day written a page of the club joined the project from 10 countries : France -of course-, England, Germany, Nederland, USA, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Ivory Coast.
Let’s Go to Heritage Day !
We didn’t know yet that we were going to have a special time organised by our host the incredible Ellie and her crew of Gauteng Ultimate. She told us to come in Soweto on Monday the 25th of October for the ‘Heritage day”, explaining to us briefly we’ll play against the local team “Dream Team” and practice some clinics with children from the area. She also explained to us how difficult and expensive it was for Gauteng Ultimate to get equipment and challenged us to bring 70 discs for this day. What we of course accomplished as we are challengers 🙂
So here we are, in a very early morning, arriving to Soweto, realising what are the town ships throught the car windows. On the field along a school, over 50 children are starting theirr practice, while Gauteng Ultimate and local team “Dream Team” welcomes us warmly.
We play two games against Soweto Dream team, and I can’t remember the scores (we took the games ;-), this does not really matter.
What is the experience during this day ? I won’t upset anyone saying that the place we were was very far from our occidental standards. As we are French we love complaining about everything -grass is too short, air is too dry, it may rain tomorrow, I didn’t have a good night at the hotel because my pillow is too soft etc, etc… We had a good lesson of humility and were dazzled by the meeting of our cultures. Thank you so much Dream team for this moment, you gave us great oposition and the game against your team was really a special moment ! We’ll remember you Fresh, Katlego, Tee Kay, Jovis and all team (can’t remember everyone’s name) !
About the games :
- Dream team is very young and run like crazy
- They play very quick and putting a defense on their flow is not easy. Fortunately, they also play too fast for themself sometimes, making preventable turnovers
- Good legs make good defense , so we had to give our best to set a flow.
- Whatever was the score you kept on challenging every disc and every throw, laying out many times !
About the Children :
- They all play ultimate as if they play everyday !
- We had “only” 50 children for this Heritage Day tournament, but we heard about many more ! Learning early is the key, be sure you’ll have a great future in South African and World competitions ! Rocktober 2030 will be yours guys !
- They all had a good throwing ability for short as for long throws, good defenses and seemed to have a lot of fun in playing games after games
- The mixed gender approach of the game was perfectly embraced by every child, playing mixed ultimate where everyone got to touch the disc.
About the Spirit :
- Lesson of the day : you’d better run instead of complaining !
- When South African pupils start to rib you, you get your money’s worth (isn’t it Frangin?) !!!
- Doing a South African hand Check is really hard !
- Celebrating is an art for the Soweto youngest. I try to explain : you jump, then you land in a squat position, then you get up quickly with a stretched leg… then all your line do the same many times. You can guess “Invalides” from Ah Ouh Puc are too old for this and could be seriously injuried if they try.
- It was great to huddle with first Zulu speech then English one, we could answer by a French speech then English one. It’s not allways easy for us from France to catch the melting of cultures in SA. We all have some notions about South Africa history but it was important for us to realise that the rainbow nation is still young and being built day after day.
- And we all really appreciated to have first a huddle with our own team then a mixed teams huddle, it’s good that the captain can collect the all team points of view before he tells it to the other team.
After everyone had enough Ultimate in the legs, Baden, Ellie, George, Justus and the Beautiful People from Gauteng Ultimate gathered everyone to see if the pupils collected all informations they had to learn : On what continent is France ? What is the capital of France ? What are the colors of the fFench flag and what do they mean (good reminder for us too !)
We had the luck to end the day with Gauteng Ultimate people at the foot of the Orlando Towers to experience our first Braai with Pap, further livened up by free falls inside the old cooling towers.
We feel lucky !
It was an incredible day. once again our common passion for Ultimate permit us to cross new borders, meet new people, feel that the spirit of the game is really bigger than sport fields !
We all now have a special souvenir from this unique day, and will make us propose other teams from France and Europe to make this trip and challenge you on the fields.
See you soon Dream Team and Gauteng Ultimate ! You are welcome anytime you want in Paris !
team Ah Ouh Puc