Czech Frisbee team earns silver at European Ultimate Championship

Photo: www.euc2007.org

Frisbee ultimate is a fast growing sport. Even though its rules are somewhat similar to those of American rugby, it is non-contact, which makes it less aggressive. Mixed teams are therefore a popular category, and the Czech national team has built one of the strongest mixed teams in Europe. Dita Salavova has the story.

Czech frisbee team, photo: CTK
Southampton in Great Britain hosted the European Ultimate Championship recently, where Czechs finished in second place. They were defeated 14:17 by the domestic British team in a closely-matched final. I asked Iva Klimentova, who has been a member of the Czech team for several years, to describe her views on the tournament.

"I knew about three more teams, which would play a pretty good game, but every game at that championship was very intensive and very smart. Everybody was playing their best Frisbee ultimate."

Besides being on the Czech mixed team, Nathan Heilmann is a coach of the juniors. Coming from the United States, he has now played Frisbee in the Czech Republic for five years, making it easy for him to compare two distinct Frisbee styles.

"Offensively, we can be very conservative with the Frisbee. We choose to posses the Frisbee instead of throwing it long and taking chances. There are other teams, especially in the United States, where the game is exactly the opposite. You'll be on a club in the United States, and you'll have three people, and the only thing they ever do with the Frisbee is throw it as far as they can whenever they touch it."

During the tournament, team captains agreed on an "evaluation system" ranking other all teams on the spirit of their game. When the points were added up after the tournament, Czech Republic's mixed team was awarded the title of Spirit Winner. Nathan Heilmann again.

"There is a spirit of the game element to Frisbee that's unique, and a lot of players are attracted to this. There is no official on the field, so it's all self-officiated. Which means that if you want to cheat, you can just go out there and cheat as much as you want. But if you do that you are not gonna gain respect from the community, and you are not gonna have fun. So basically anyone who is only involved in the sport for winning's sake, is gonna find themselves isolated and not really benefiting from the best part of the sport, which is the personalities, who are out there and the community that's developed."

Frisbee is not only a sport, but it is a lifestyle. Iva Klimentova again.

"You just have to have the passion to pay for your tournaments, and to pay to buy your new cleats every year, and to buy your new dresses. You just have to love it, and you love it when you start it, and when you're in that community you can't stop it. Although it takes you a lot of time because there are about two trainings a week, and you have to work hard almost all the time. You participate in those tournaments because of the lifestyle. When you go to the tournament, you know you will meet several people you'll like, and you know you'll have a great time."

Next summer, the World Ultimate Championship is going to take place in Vancouver, Canada, and once again - barring financial difficulties - the Czech national team will be hoping to take part.