Sean was joined by DP and Hani to talk about the news that WUGC 2021 has been cancelled by WFDF, and that Great Britain have qualified for the World Games through the backup qualification process. It morphs into a discussion about where we might go from here and what ultimate might look like when we all come back, and ends on a pretty positive note!
The 2021 international calendar has been cleared. Is this the right call? Is this the right time? (0:28)
With whom should this decision lie, is it one for the players or should the federations be making these decisions? (4:21)
The 2022 calendar looks packed now – how tough will it be to fit all of these tournaments in? (09:51)
How much pressure does this all put on players? What’s the impact on them? (11:41)
The good news (if there is any): Great Britain is in the World Games field. Do we deserve it, and how excited should we be? Features wild speculation! (14:45)
How might qualification for WUCC 2020 work, what will ultimate look like if nationals can’t happen as normal this year? Come for the considered views, stay for *someone* moaning about Irish teams (20:00)
What benefits might we see from the new normal following the pandemic? (26:14)
Final thoughts on trying to ensure the local set-up isn’t London-centric, and trying to harness the social trend of people leaving London, a ‘sinkhole’ according to one guest (31:33)
Si Hill, CEO of UK Ultimate, described the news as “sad and disappointing”, but said that he thought “on balance, I agree with the decision and I agree with making the decision now”.
Hill added: “I think certainty is good for everyone. Making the call on this tournament, as well as on the beach and under-24 tournaments, is the right thing and I think it shows that the decisions have been made based on safety. It’s sad to have to cancel another world championships but I’d encourage the players and everybody else to take some time to think, and to give people the benefit of the doubt on the motives driving their decisions. These decisions are really difficult for everybody and a great deal has changed even in the last six weeks, not only in the UK but globally as well. It’s a tough situation but I think this is the right decision.”
He added that the WUCC qualification element was something that UKU have not looked into in any great detail, but that he remains optimistic that some ultimate can resume by summer.
“We remain somewhat optimistic that we can play somewhat competitive ultimate in summer,” he said. “It might not look like tournaments but we intend to run a national championships in some form. It might be based on fixtures involving two or three teams playing fixtures locally rather than weekend-long events, but we think that we’ll be able to run something. We have a provisional booking for Nationals at the usual time but it’s impossible to know right now whether we will be able to run that event in the usual way.”
The World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) today announced that it would not be holding any events in 2021 due to the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic. The decision means that WUGC in Leeuwarden and WU24C in Limerick, both scheduled for later this year, have effectively been cancelled.
A press release issued by WFDF said that it was “primarily concerned about the health and safety of athletes, volunteers, and others involved in planning and holding events” in making the decision to clear the 2021 calendar. It added: “WFDF has concluded that it is simply not feasible to plan cross-border events through 2021, due to varying regulations and restrictions. There can be no certainty as to the ability of athletes to travel and compete safely in various events in 2021.” WFDF confirmed that money paid by teams in 2021 will be fully refunded as soon as possible.
The decision was made following an extension to lockdown conditions announced by the government of the Netherlands on 12 January. The measure was extended to 9 February with ongoing border restrictions part of the response to the virus.
WFDF President Robert ‘Nob’ Rauch said: “While the development of several safe and effective vaccines is good news, the limited availability and slower than expected distribution plan guidance by governmental authorities suggests that a return to whatever our ‘new normal’ will be on a global basis is not going to occur until late this year. After taking into consideration all of the data available to us, in consultation with our event organizers, our review of WHO and other international guidelines, the status of the distribution of a vaccine, and the advice of our medical team, WFDF has concluded that it will not be possible to run large-scale events in 2021 in a way that protects the health and safety of all participants, and it is not even clear that travel and other governmental restrictions will be lifted until late in the year.”
The decision to not hold events in 2021 has a number of effects for the ultimate calendar in 2022. First, qualification for the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama in July 2022 has, according to established WFDF rules, been based on the last completed qualification tournament – WUGC 2016 in London. That means that Great Britain have qualified for the tournament, alongside hosts USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, Colombia and European rivals France and Germany.
The other events scheduled for 2022 include:
World Ultimate Club Championships (WUCC), which will be held as planned in July or August
World Beach Ultimate Championships (WBUC) which had originally been planned for November 2021 but will now be held in April 2022
The second edition of WMUCC, the master’s version of WUCC, in June or July
The World Junior Ultimate Championships scheduled for July or August
Rauch went on to talk about the possibility of more ‘local’ events being able to occur in 2021, adding: “Although large cross-border championship events will be slowest to return, we are hopeful on behalf of our national federations that local and national level competition can resume within the next six months. While athletes have been able to continue to participate in individual disciplines like disc golf, which grew exponentially this last year, we expect a gradual phase-in of team and large event activity, starting with personal training, socially distanced team practices, smaller local events, to full blown competitive events and tournaments.”
As part of that gradual phase-in, WFDF has already spoken to a number of federations who have taken the early decision to cancel their 2021 national championships, events that would effectively serve as qualifiers to WUCC 2022. WFDF says that it will spend time working with federations to find ways that teams can be selected while keeping local and national health guidance in mind.
WFDF also confirmed that, having paused bid processes during the pandemic, it has engaged with potential bidders for 2022 events and will be moving forward with evaluations. The UKU has previously indicated that it will bid for WUCC 2022 in Nottingham, using a venue very close to the traditional WindFarm fields.
The 2020 season has been scrapped due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It feels like none of us have left our houses for more than a quick walk around the block for months on end, and the last time there was a sanctioned ultimate tournament in the UK was August 2019. In the midst of this fallow period for the sport, we decided to take a look back at the last decade to reflect on what we saw, what we learned and how far we all came.
Sean spoke to a variety of people in the sport – from commentators to players and writers to those who run companies relating to the sport – to get to grips with the main topics that came up in the 2010s. You can listen to all of those reviews here, or find them wherever you listen to podcasts.
Episode 8: Tom Styles on the performances of the decade
To kick off the decade review series, Sean is joined by the voice of ultimate Tom Styles to talk about the best performances of the decade, as well as reminisce about some of the less glamorous experiences they’ve had working together.
2:00: What Tom has been doing during the pandemic.
4:12: What are you looking for in a great performance?
7:34: GB’s performance in hosting tournaments last decade.
10:45: The performance by a number of parties in improving media and fan access to the sport.
15:38: The role of Game Advisors, and their performance.
21:52: GB won a number of tournaments that they came into as favourites – how do you assess those?
28:43: GB’s performances on the beach, particularly in 2015 and 2017.
34:20: Bristol and Leeds winning UK Nationals.
36:20: Geo-focused mixed teams, particularly Reading, performing well throughout the decade.
39:45: The inevitable Clapham discussion and how you rate a team that doesn’t lose.
44:31: A brief discussion of the best university performances (stay tuned for more).
49:08: GB reaching great heights but not necessarily performing as they’d like once there.
53:38: The red letter year for Irish women’s ultimate in 2019.
58:32: Tom struggles to pick a performance of the decade.
60:36: BEST LINE – Tom picks a best mixed line that asks an awful lot of the female players.
Episode 9: Jon Pugh on fashion in ultimate
In this episode, Sean speaks to Lookfly manager Jon Pugh about the fashion changes of the 2010s and what factors have changed what we all play in, including technological advances, more divergence in how people want to look while playing and the effects of more gym work! There’s also some chat about changes Lookfly are making to how they describe their merch, and Pugh picks a best line.
How has the pandemic been for Pugh? (1:15)
How have things been since joining Lookfly? (2:10)
What changed for frisbee players in the 2010s? (3:35)
Have the designs and colours that are used for kit become more reserved? (8:33)
A change in socks – where have the long football and hockey-style socks gone? (11:20)
Let’s talk about shorts (and a shoutout to the skort wearer). (14:10)
Talking about the change to cut descriptions following a survey in the summer, changing to non-gendered descriptions. (19:16)
Why have there been so many changes with the different cuts? Features some advice for Valeria Cardenas. (23:23)
What’s behind the rise in tanks? (27:00)
What’s the coolest kit addition that Pugh has ever seen? (30:50)
What about the kit that has moved things on and been the most impactful? (32:30)
A moan about numbers! #keepthingsboring (33:59)
BEST LINE: Pugh picks his best line that goes against many of our rules and blames Sean for doing so. (35:19)
Episode 10: Fiona Mernagh and Dominick Smyth on Irish ultimate
The decade review series continues, with Sean speaking to Fiona Mernagh, a player in the silver and gold medal winning Ireland teams in the 2010s, and Dominick Smyth, a longtime player and coach in Dublin, about what the last 10 years looked like in Ireland, how things changed over the course of the decade and what changes are being put in place to capitalise on the huge steps taken in that time.
How have things been since March? (1:42)
Where was Irish ultimate at the beginning of the decade? (4:12)
Was there a point where things started to change, or has it been a longer development road? (7:18)
How much has the college scene impacted the development of the clubs in Ireland? (10:08)
How important has it been that there’s more than one base for ultimate – Dublin, Cork and Limerick all developing teams and communities to push each other? (12:31)
Has there been a particular emphasis on physical conditioning, and being able to maintain fitness throughout a tournament and a season? (15:57)
The impact of the GAA and the foundation provided by Gaelic sports (22:21)
Is it fair to say that the depth across divisions isn’t there at the moment? How can that be changed if so? (25:25)
Are you seeing the younger generation of players coming through into the sport now? (28:00)
What plans are being put in place to ensure that the last few years haven’t just been a ’golden generation’, and that development continues? Features a discussion about the importance of good coaching (31:25)
BEST LINE: Fiona shares her best mixed line (36:35)
BEST LINE: Dominick shares his line, an open one (38:36)
Episode 11: Harry Mason on university ultimate
Sean is joined by eternal student and longtime ShowGame uni editor Harry Mason to discuss the decade in uni ultimate, and work out who the best teams of the decade were using a highly scientific process. They also discuss the impact of BUCS, whether the quality is better now than it was in 2010 and the proliferation of divisions within the uni game.
Harry has finished his studies, finally (1:20)
What has been the biggest change in the last 10 years in uni ultimate? (02:18)
The impact of the difference between BUCS league and the usual ultimate structure (03:15)
Is uni ultimate better than it was the previous decade? (05:18)
There are a lot of divisions (08:25)
What would Harry change? (09:03)
THE COUNTDOWN (10:39)
11th and 10th (11:27)
8th (and this team’s legacy) (18:42)
7th, the only team with medals in two divisions and not all three (22:31)
6th and 5th, starting a run of four Scottish teams in a row (25:31)
4th and the biggest surprise to both of us (29:51)
3rd, the most consistent team of the decade (33:12)
2nd, featuring a special guest (36:18)
1st, which is probably quite obvious (51:13)
Who is the best single-year, single-division team of the decade? (58:08)
Episode 12: Hannah Pendlebury on the players of the decade
In this final decade review episode, Sean is joined by Hannah Pendlebury to talk about the players who defined the decade. While the open and women’s division discussions are pretty straightforward, there’s some disagreement about who to pick in mixed and plenty of chat about which played shaped the decade in UK ultimate and who might do so going forward. Also Hani moans about losing to draft champion Sean in 2017.
What do you factor in when thinking about the best players of the decade? (2:48)
How have the changes to the way ultimate works in the UK complicated this discussion? (4:52)
What attributes are you looking for in a player, is it playing style or team success or anything else? (9:32)
How do you factor in the mixed division? Features bitterness from Hani about historical events (12:07)
OPEN: Who is the best player of the 2010s in the open division, and is it really as simple as it seems? (14:03)
WOMEN’S: Is the discussion here slightly more complicated? (18:44)
What’s next for our two picks? (24:30)
MIXED: A much more complicated question given how transient success has been in mixed – is it even possible to pick someone here? (27:51)
Do we need two players for mixed? (38:42)
Who’s in the frame on the male side of the mixed division? (40:50)
What about on the female side? (45:04)
Who might be the players of the coming decade? (50:38)
BEST LINE: Hani picks a mixed line of people she’s played with in the UK (61:11)
Sean is joined by commentator, WFDF athlete commission chair and TD of next year’s planned World U24 Championships in sunny (?) Limerick, Liam Grant. They talked about all those things, what it’s been like organising a tournament under the shadow of Covid, and how much they both loved Japan. Liam also turns in a stellar performance in BEST LINE, throwing shade at everyone else’s line and claiming multiple players for Pelt.
How’ve you been during the pandemic? (1:24)
Under 24s next year in Limerick (3:30)
Why did you decide to put the bid in for this tournament? (4:11)
Is there anything else you might try to get there, any larger strategy? (7:15)
What are the facilities there like? (8:27)
How weird has it been organising this during Covid? (11:25)
Anything unexpectedly difficult? (16:38)
What’s it been like on the athlete’s commission? (19:20)
On commentary, has there been any event that stands out? (25:12)
Sean spoke to Brummie, the founder of ultimate coaching resource Flik, longtime player and coach of several GB teams. Brummie talked about his experiences at the World Games, World Championships and what people can do during the lockdown to improve as players.
– How lockdown has been (1:00)
– Starting Flik, and how the journey so far has been (4:09)
– What’s been the biggest challenge so far? (6:39)
– What can people do during lockdown and periods of other restrictions? (9:20)
– Importance of video analysis (12:16)
– The change in the availability and wealth of video footage, and researching opponents via ex-pats (16:58)
– What’s next for Flik, and what else can you do? (18:57)
– What thing has changed the most during Brummie’s brief, almost two-decade career? (24:21)
– And what hasn’t developed as much, and how to improve at it? (26:34)
– LA28 reaction and multi-sport event experience at the World Games (29:41)
– What one thing is Brummie most proud of? Contains existential discussion on the nature of failure in sports (39:03)
– BEST LINE: Brummie picks his best line and blames Sean for any omissions he might have made (48:40)
Sean spoke to two University club presidents this week to get a sense of how they’re dealing with the restrictions and how uni players in general are feeling about the lack of a season so far. Emily, from Strathclyde Uni, and Charley, from Nottingham, talked about how their clubs have adapted, trying to look after everyone’s mental health and what might come next.
– Intro about new regulations (0:11)
– How has it been running a club in these uncertain times? (1:57)
– Has it been more difficult to recruit beginners? (3:34)
– What about teaching them to play? Has that been harder outdoors given that the indoor season is gone? (7:52)
– How have trainings been with all this uncertainty going on? (11:14)
– How is the club off the field, how have you been keeping track of everyone’s mental health? (13:10)
– What comes next in terms of tournaments, have you had any indications? (15:53)
– This isn’t what you expected when you ran for these positions at your AGMs, right? (18:11)
– How do you avoid this year being a lost year for uni ultimate? (19:15)
– The unexpectedly high workload in keeping a club going this year, and the importance of the people at the unions (22:05)
– BEST LINE: Charley picks his mixed line up (25:53)