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)