Greater things than frisbees went flying this past weekend, and my ultimate-enthused companions and I made our way down to Melbourne for the weekend. There, we took part in the Melbourne Hat, an ultimate frisbee tournament in the backdrop of Victoria’s beautiful capital city. It was a weekend full of frisbee, sore muscles, Irish dancing, twins, and as always, a bit of sight-seeing.
And now for the highlights…..
First of all, what is a hat tournament, exactly?
Basically, it’s a frisbee tournament where players don’t enter as part of a team, but instead each person registers as an individual. Teams are then drawn “out of a hat” or in the case of the Melbourne Hat, based upon experience level to allow for the creation of fair teams. Such tournaments are a great way to meet new people, and in my case, to gain more experience with the game by playing with more advanced players.
I am a relative newcomer to ultimate and my limited frisbee skills definitely place me in the “beginner” experience category. Thus, imagine my surprise/horror when I heard my name called out as captain of my new randomly-selected team. Yikes. As the only beginner on a team with many Worlds and Nationals ultimate players, I clearly did not have much to contribute in the way of leadership or expertise, but I did yell out some spirited “hip-hip hoorays” in my unfortunate end-of-match speeches.
Despite my inexperience, my team, Grape Shots, was patient and kind with me, and we played hard through ten 70-minute games over the course of two days. We went 4-1 the first day, but after a loss during our first game on the second day, we were out of the formal tournament competition, and our games became increasingly more fun and light-hearted as the day went on.
Team Grape Shots!
By the end of the second day, I embarassingly was still the only one on our team who had not caught a goal in the endzone, so my team rallied hard for me to catch the final point of our final game. Maybe not as epic as this catch, but it was pretty exciting for me!
Awesome catch, huh?
2. NOT ULTIMATE
Most of our time in Melbourne was admittedly spent on the frisbee field, but we did have time for some quick city explorations.
For example, here is Federation Square, Melbourne’s controversial cultural center and an architectural curiosity. Pretty neat!
But of course, there’s always time to live up the Melbourne Night life.
We went to several Melbourne pubs, including the Bull and Bear Tavern, which hosted the official Melbourne Hat twin-themed party. Unfortunately I left my camera at home so I couldn’t document the amazingly creative costumes we saw there, but you can see that Jonny, Kim, and Zac made a pretty convincing Mario, Peach, and Luigi!
We also enjoyed a rowdy dinner at an American-themed diner…they had everything American, from Elvis to Reese’s cups (a rare find here in Australia!) to Bazooka bubblegum to “exclusive” Sam Adams Boston Lager (for $10 a piece, if you can believe it!). They even had Twinkies!
My Australian friends were overwhelmed by the sheer number of greasy options…
….and our table was soon filled with milkshakes, tater-tots (!), buffalo wings, burgers, chili-dogs, and even a bloomin’ onion! We quickly became friendly with our waitresses, “Peggy Sue”, “Misty”, and “Debbie”, and they joined us on a bar hop around Melbourne’s finest Irish pubs. Needless to say, we partook of a fair bit of Guinness while enjoying some good Irish folk music and dancing.
And finally, it wouldn’t be a weekend in Melbourne without experiencing some of the city’s famous coffee culture. Our walk (and tram ride!) along the hip and happening Chapel Street culminated in delicious flat whites at a local cafe.
Mmmm is that good coffee!
The weekend flew bye (along with the frisbees!) and I am left with good memories and supremely tired legs. I can’t wait to go back to Melbourne- there is so much more to explore!