AWOL team report… by Carlton Gajadhar
Let’s begin the story with our journey to Wolverhampton’s legendary AWOL Ultimate Frisbee competition. Brixton was not a stranger to this tournament as the club played several times in the past, but with a brand-new team, this would be an epic competition for our club to win. The team was made up of seven club members, in no particular order, Jacqui, Will, Jon, Carlton, Sean, Soni and Anthony, who brought their individual expertise to the team. We did have two other team members (Ben and Sylvester) who played for other teams on the day but “fully supported” us throughout our journey. We were all excited about playing together and ready to share and create moments that would be, AWOL 2015.

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The epic Brixton team finally assembled in Wolverhampton around about 21:30 and started bonding over a couple of alcoholic beverages with pizza and curry. Jacqui did a sterling job in organising our hotel at the Holiday Inn, which included us staying in Executive Rooms with access to the Jacuzzi, sauna, and swimming pool, well done you! With an early start and a late finish, we all decided to go to bed at a respectable 23:30 so we could be pumped and fired up for our upcoming games.

Day One of Tournament

As we do every training session, we started our warm up with throwing around the disk. This got us ready for our first game with Dean Ultimate. We started seeded 18 but due to the randomness of the scheduling, there was every chance of us competing in the top brackets.

Game 1 – WIN, Brixton 5-2 Dean Ultimate

First win, first game, not bad. We were really happy about this, however as a team, we made some silly mistakes and made a lot of drops and unfocused throws during this game. But as a team we improved throughout.

Game 2 – LOST, Brixton 2 – 5 (Old)OatCakes

After having a team talk to try and iron out our individual and team issues, we played Old Cakes who were a very experienced team, have played together for years and that showed when playing on the pitch. As a team, we played much better than the first game and started to introduce ISO plays that worked well in the beginning but slowly crumbled. Our concentrations dropped, and there was a lot to learn from this game. We did have a great call from Old Cakes, playing cricket with a bat as a Frisbee and a nerf gun with foam bullets made it very interesting and a funny call.
Game 3 – WIN, as the other team didn’t turn up, not complaining!!

This gave us a fantastic opportunity of practicing our different formations such as 1-3-1 and ISO play, which gave us more time to help us understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We did have a glimpse of other team’s plays as players from all different teams decided to come and join us in our pickup game. During this time, our mega-fans turned up in the form of Jacqui’s mum and dad who came to watch and support the team which was great.

After all of that, we had a massive gap, so we decided to go and get some food as the majority of us didn’t even have breakfast, mistake! Some highlights of our rest period included enjoying Jacqui playing piano with Anthony, and played a great game which simulated drug dealing which taught us great lessons on trust and capital punishment.

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The time approached for us to start getting ready for our fourth game of the day. We were fed, well rested, stretched and had a couple of cheeky throwarounds before this match, so we were ready for action.

Game 4 – LOST, Brixton 3-7 Chesham Kites

Brixton started amazingly and took the opposing team by surprise with our loud shout outs, fast cuts and moving into open spaces; it was looking promising, but after two long points, we kept on getting broken and that left some of us very frustrated at the end of the game. After the match, we did get praised on our short game and how the team was scared of our intimidating war cry provided by Jacqui, and they didn’t know what to expect. This was a highlight and kept this spirit of being loud and positive into our next games.

Game 5 – LOST Brixton 5 – 11 Birmingham Ultimate

Oh my gosh, this was a hard game for everybody, but equally fun. We started playing much better together as a team. We weren’t winning, but that didn’t matter at this point. We slowly realised that every game ahead of us would become harder and harder and longer which meant we needed to step up fast and be sure of our formations like the back of our hands and forcing in the right direction. The main problem we had been on turns – not reacting fast enough – however this was another thing we needed to work on as a team. These two losses weren’t going to stop us as we entered our final two games.

Game 6 – LOST Brixton 3 – 9 Omega3

Happy that we moved up seed from 18 to 16, now we had an opportunity of playing a team that was seeded second. These guys were fast, on point, and ready for anything. But the question was, were Brixton? Yes, we were, and we fought hard. We started to gel much better as a team, our formations were looking much tighter, we began to integrate the 1-3-1 formation better.
It took Brixton a while to get a point, but with Carlton being in the right place at the right time with an assist by Anthony, the team got their first score that raised the team’s morale. We decided to play zone, which definitely through the opposing team off quite a bit. But there were very quick to break our zone the second time we pulled it off. This team’s advantage was adapting to the opposition and learning the team’s strategy that they sussed and adapted very fast too, which was something we were still working on as a team. Overall, this was our best game and most enjoyable to finish off the day.

With great support from Ben and Sylvester throughout the day, we still had high hopes of getting some more wins under our belts on the next day, but we wanted to go out and enjoy the evening ahead as it was Halloween weekend. We had a team dinner at Chiquito’s which became very eventful as we played “tell her”!! which became very funny and eventful for Sean and Carlton. But especially for Sean, who a cynic might accuse of playing Tell Her badly just to have an ‘excuse’ to flirt with girls. After dinner, Brixton donned their Halloween costumes. If there was a prize for the best-dressed team, I’m 100% sure that we would have won it; with a combination of our zombie cheerleaders, Sean’s bespoke mummy costume made with toilet paper, Will’s handmade ‘necromancer’ stuff and epic costume, and Jon.

We made our way to the party and realised very fast that we were the only team up for a party. But that did not stop us having an amazing time. The DJ was amazing and Soni, Jacqui and Carlton could not stop dancing. This was an interesting evening, a bit short, but still fun. Will pulled a guy who obsessively loved his costume, and Will managed to talk him out of his shirt and get a couple of drinks bought for him in the process:

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Day Two of Tournament

With battered bodies, tiredness slowly creeping in and make-up on our faces we were ready for another action packed day of Ultimate. With our first game at 9 AM, some of us were all fed with a nice full English breakfast and some of us still looked like zombies when entering the taxi that would bring us to our location for a second day of intense games. With a grand team talk, spirits high and focus on, we were pumped and ready for battle.

Game 1 – LOST Brixton 1-9 Rhinos

Overall, this game was okay, Jon did a great inside out throw to Soni for the only Brixton point of the match, however, the same problems kept creeping up, getting broken on defence, ,a couple of drops, and dodgy executions. Something had to change, but how? We all knew how to play Frisbee, but we all had individual issues that needed major attention if we wanted to progress through this tournament. After having another detailed team talk, we were ready for our next game, and it was interesting.
Game 2 – WON Brixton 8 – 7 Wild boars

WE WON!!! But we fought hard for this. We really stepped up a gear in this game. The intensity of this game was extremely high, and we made the other team run hard. Trading points, Carlton was the highest scorer for this game, and with some amazing catches by Jacqui, Anthony. and Will assisted by Soni, the team was looking really good, and we were so proud of our achievements in this game. Even prouder we’ve moved from 16 to ninth seed and our next game was for the plate semi-final. We were buzzing, and so excited that we started to gel as a team and understood everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and played towards that. So this is what we brought to our next game, as well is loads of positive reinforcements on the sideline.

Game 3 – LOST Brixton 3 – 9 Chesham Kites

After playing this team yesterday, we were determined to beat them, and we did give everything we had to ensure that they didn’t completely bagel us, which they didn’t. We fought hard and strong, but the same patterns were re-occurring, we started really strong in the beginning, but decreased our performance throughout the game. The interesting thing about this game was it felt like a totally different game compared to the first time we played this team. We were more on fire, more on-point and very strong in our short game, but needed to work really on our ISO, which still wasn’t working to our benefit.
During this game, Sylvester realised that Brixton was now in a higher position than his team JDL, but tried to hide it from us as we would not have noticed! Sylvester, how could you!!!

For no reason:

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Game 5 – WON Brixton 11 – 6 Lemmings

What a way to finish the tournament, this probably was one of our best games we played together as a team. Brixton was a unit, we put everything into practice in this game and it paid off, being patient on the disc, taking our time, forward-thinking where we need to be on the pitch and short discs play with some of the tactics we used and it worked! We couldn’t explain how happy we were, we added so much pressure to this team who struggled against our strong defence. An overall great game, with an excellent result for Brixton. This left us finishing 11th overall!
Our journey through this tournament was like a roller coaster ride, with some amazing highs and some frustrating lows, but we all came out much stronger players, understanding the game better and how we interacted as a unit is a priceless experience and play time that we would not necessarily get during training. Playing at a minimum of 11 games over two days, which doesn’t include some pickup games, playing against highly experienced teams, actually added some intensity to our game that only made stronger as a team. Most importantly, we finished higher than Syl. Better luck next time!!

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Most Valuable Player (MVP) – Will

Most Spirited and Improved Player (MSP MIP) – Jacqui

Congratulations to you both. Interestingly, Jacqui thought she won most valuable player and got very excited, however, fast realised it wasn’t her. You can’t win everything Jacqui…!

Here are some random comments that were made throughout this tournament:

“Two ho stacks, can you have a square stack” – Will

“Save your energy for tomorrow…” Jon to Ant and Jacqui

Jacqui says to Anthony, “it’s a two handed job” while holding a massive water bottle.

Carlton