Julie and I are lucky travellers. We have managed to fall into many fantastic situations by mostly chance along the trip.
Last weekend thanks to Henry “Hank” Konker (of Johnny Bravo, Johnny Chimpo and Bravas fame who mentioned the idea at Lei-Out) we got two spots on the Molly Bravo squad playing in the TEP Tournament in Medellín.
For the non frisbee nerds here’s some context.
- TEP is a semi regular tournament hosted in Colombia where they invite and subsidise the top teams from North America to come play the elite teams of Colombia. This years TEP is particularly important because it coincides with the World Games.
- Molly Bravo is a fusion of the Colorado women’s team Molly Brown and the Colorado men’s team Johnny Bravo, two of the best teams in the US regularly making semi finals at nationals with Bravo having won the thing in 2014.
- The World Games is the Olympics’ little brother where every 4 years they host competitions for the sports recognised by the International Olympic Committee as a testing ground before bumping them up to the real deal. For ultimate (known as “Flying Disc”) only the top 5 teams in the world get to compete along with the host nation.
Our fearless leader and main point of contact for annoying logistical questions was Ian Toner a long time Bravo player with spicy lefty hammers. We had a total of 7 men, with the injured Calvin being our sideline number 8. All were Bravo players bar one who is moving to Colorado this year. All were athletic and could more than hold their own on the field.
Our women however were without a doubt the most impressive part of the team. I’ve never shared a line with such depth of talent. Although in this case it wasn’t a pure colorado team, more of a mixed bag of talent from the best women’s clubs in the US such as Fury and Riot. Four were on the All Star Tour last year (i.e. 14 of the best early 20s women in the US).
All that to say we had bags of talent. Everyone was in Colombia for one reason, to have fun both on the field but especially off the field.
We kicked off the tournament with a 6pm show game at the stadium against the Colombian world games team. Despite going down a couple of breaks we had the confidence and the swagger to get get some blocks and get on with the job. The Colombians retained the disc really well but were reluctant to put it deep and we were able to put pressure on their under cuts and resets to get turnovers. Our offense was chaotic but we did enough to win by 1 goal in a very clean and spirited game. Unfortunately the results wouldn’t continue that way for the rest of the tournament.
Most of the team hit the town hard that night (And every other night), so when we played the same Colombian team again the next day it was a completely different story. Our offense was shockingly bad, and our defense couldn’t keep up with the Colombians. We went down 15 – 2 to the home side in a game I’m happy to forget.
We later played three Colombian clubs Masters Medellín, Voltaje and Macondo. We took care of Masters with ease but the two other Colombian club teams beat us in two intense games where their cohesiveness and hunger for the victory were enough to push them past us.
Our loss to voltaje meant we missed out on a semi final against USA World Games team (aka the best players on the planet right now). That was pretty disappointing but what can you do.
All our women were also playing the women’s division at the same time mixed with the women from the Washington DC club Scandal, meaning they played twice as many games as we did.
They smashed everyone and eventually due to early flights, combined with the other US women’s team, Phoenix to play Colombia U24 in the women’s final. Julie was looking right at home playing with some of the top women in the game today. She even scored a couple of goals and had massive huck assist in the final. Pretty rough on the body though with 5 games on the second day and a total of 15 over 4 days.
Does it work?
Despite being beaten by us in the first game Colombia Mixed defied the odds and went on to beat Canada Mixed in the semi and unbelievably USA Mixed in the final. They showed us that tournaments like these with several top quality games over four days pay dividends. After watching their performance in the final we were asking ourselves how the fuck did we beat them on the first night?
In Europe top teams like Clapham are now regularly flying to tournaments in the US just to get games against top opposition. In Colombia they’ve taken a different approach and they pay the North Americans to come to them. The running of the tournament was far from smooth, the schedule and organisation was a mess, but we didn’t mind because we were being paid to be there. It’s a strange situation to be in. Especially considering the Colombian teams are the ones paying quite a lot to be there and play against these North American teams. The quality of players that made the trip was unreal, and we’re certainly not complaining about getting a little extra funding for our trip.
So we have another random chapter in our trip which is so diverse. It is sometimes hard to remember that it’s all connected. We played and partied with some great people and are very grateful to be able to be a part of the team. Now we’ll probably have to make an appearance in Denver at some stage.
- How have I played ultimate all this time and never heard of buttslap Saturday and Sunday?
- Slim one of our players from Fury is the most positive person I’ve seen on a field since Molica at Lei-Out. If we could find a way to bottle essence of slim and sell it we’d be millionaires.
- One of the best parts of the weekend was teaching the team how to heckle in Spanish. “Bienvenidos a altitud“, “Va al gimnasio“, “intenta otra vez” and “come mierda” being my favourite.
- Huge shout outs to Carmen, the woman who ran a tiny restaurant by the stadium. She made sure we had enough bandejas and beers to keep heckling the show games. “A la orden”
- Once again a noticeable difference between teams I’ve played for at home and this one is the positivity of the US teams.
- Slims selfies are a work of art.
- Our favourite night club in Medellín (Gusto) had more fake tits than I’ve ever seen in my life.
- Mauricio, the TD of TEP gives of vibes of being the Italian Max Vitaly.
- I was asked for a selfie with some kid on finals day because I was wearing my Bravo jersey. Frisbee celebrity status achieved.
- Getting an airport pickup by a chauffeur with a “Molly Bravo” sign was hilarious.
- Here are two Callahan Highlight videos of two team mates to give you an idea.