The Nebraska Lottery is one of the best friends an Ultimate community can have, having sponsored the Lincoln Ultimate Disc Association since our inaugural league. The Nebraska Lottery's sponsorship has allowed LUDA to consistently provide seasonal leagues with amenities such as custom designed discs, shirts, and other shwag, thus giving LUDA the freedom and ability to invest in ongoing community efforts (including LollapaLUDA to benefit cancer research), liability coverage, and insured fields. We recently conducted an interview with Brian Rockey, the Nebraska Lottery's Marketing and Communications Director, in order to discuss the Lottery's ongoing relationship with LUDA and their efforts in the community.
LUDA: The Nebraska Lottery has sponsored the Lincoln Ultimate Disc Association since our very first season in Fall of 2008. Why has the Lottery chosen to support LUDA for so long?
Brian Rockey: When we first started our relationship, one of the first things we talked about was how the Lottery looks for new audiences that we can engage for a number of reasons. One is that it's a busy market, and our core customers have a lot of messages bombarding them all the time, so anything that we can do to put our message out into different channels is a good thing. The other part is, of course, one of the audiences that we hope to reach more frequently is the people between 19 and 29. We refer to that as the "emerging market." I know I couldn't run around and probably compete with you folks, but I'm guessing that a lot of your participants are closer to that 19-29 range. And I think there are some affinities, just in terms of general interest with your participants and the Lottery from the standpoint of being interested in our beneficiary programs and that sort of thing, so we thought it was a good fit. We appreciate the treatment of our brand and getting us in front of people.
LUDA: I know our players have appreciated it from the very beginning as well. They always thought it was really cool to get a sponsor on board, especially someone involved in the community and looking out for our interests as well.
What other community efforts does the Lottery support?
BR: The year before we started working with LUDA, maybe two years, we started working with Psycowpath Mountain Bike Racing, and then of course the more traditional sports sponsorships are the University of Nebraska. We also do some work with Nebraska Wesleyan and UNO. It's not uncommon for a charitable organization trying to raise money for some particular cause, whether it's the non-profit arm of a long term care facility, or a group that wants to provide scholarships for high school students. If they stage a golf event or something, we try to participate and offer pin prizes or sponsor a hole. The reason we do that, and coming back to LUDA in particular, is we want to put a face on the Lottery for people beyond just what they see at retail. We are a public business, we are a statewide business, we have retailers everywhere. But because it is such a busy world and there are so many messages, unless we or any other brand can find a way to personalize ourselves, it's a little harder to reach people early on, so that's one of the real values of working with programs like LUDA.
LUDA: Do you have any personal background in athletics or community organizations?
BR: I do. Of course in high school, I grew up in a small town so everybody did: football, wrestling, track, golf, those kinds of things. You know, it's funny, in high school, after wrestling and all the running we had to do, I never wanted to run anymore. Then when I was at Creighton a hundred years ago, I get into running just as something that I could do. More recently, the last four years, I've been training in Shotokan Karate, and I love that. My son, who is thirteen, did it five years, and I would go to the dojo and watch and decided that I'd like to try that. Community-wise, I'm involved in our church, and I've been involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters in the past, I was on the Board for a long time and was paired a couple of times. My son is involved in Boy Scouts right now.
LUDA: We'll have to get him involved in Youth Ultimate when he gets to high school!
BR: Yeah! I think something like LUDA would be good for him.
LUDA: What would you like to see happen with organizations such as LUDA in the future as we continue to grow and reach out into the community?
BR: Well, I think the operative word there is "grow." One of our common interests, obviously is you want more participants, and the more participants you have, then that's a larger audience for us, or any sponsor you work with, and that's a great thing. It's nice too for the Lottery to be able to help an organization find its beginnings or find its legs, if you will, and build itself up. When the Lottery first started 18 years ago, it was something completely different; it's not a traditional government role. It is a gaming activity, and not everybody was comfortable with that. Most people were, because they voted for it, but it took a while to get general acceptance. As it has grown in sales and publicity, the types of games that we offer, the number of winners, and the amount of money that we raise for our beneficiary programs, it has, over the last several years, become more recognized as a corporate citizen, and opportunities to engage in sponsorships have come along more regularly than they used to. That's something that we appreciate because we feel like we are a good promotional partner, and we like the opportunity to help organizations meet their goals. And as I mentioned, we do appreciate the treatment that our brand has received from you and your receptiveness to having our street team come, and when we worked with the retailer a couple of years ago with sample cards – the retailer really liked that. That's another nice piece that we can bring to the table, particularly for our retailers. Anything that we can do to drive traffic to them and build awareness of their locations is a good thing.
LUDA: You mentioned beneficiaries a few times, and it is well known that a lot of the Lottery's proceeds go to schools. What else does the Lottery money support?
BR: 25% of everything that is spent goes to our beneficiaries. The Nebraska Environmental Trust is the largest single beneficiary. The percentages get complicated, but they get 44.5% of everything that we raise. They fund conservation programs, tree replanting, habitat preservation, recycling, parks here in Lincoln. For example, Holmes Lake when they did all that work out there a few years ago, they got a lot of money for that from the Environmental Trust. Pioneers Park, you name it, Parks and Rec are a big thing. On the education side, education in general gets 44.5% of the proceeds, and that's partitioned by the legislature then a little further. Part of it goes to the Nebraska Opportunity Grant Fund, which is a need-based college scholarship program. That's through the Post-Secondary Education Coordinating Commission in the different colleges' and universities' financial aid offices. They make ten or fifteen thousand grants per year to students all over the state. The other chunk of education money goes to the Department of Education, and they use it for the Education Innovation Fund. The uses vary every couple of years, most recently it's gone to help school districts upgrade their technology. A lot of schools have computers and what-not obviously, but in recent years, connectivity to the Internet has become more of an issue as the Internet has expanded and grown and speeds have increased, so they are helping schools to work through that. The State Fair gets 10%, and it takes a lot of money to stage a big event like that. That's an interesting thing because it's a statewide gathering of talents and skills, people with lots of different interests. We like supporting that. Liking to eat stuff on a stick helps too.
LUDA: That's always fun.
So, what is your hope or vision for the Nebraska Lottery in the future?
BR: We have been very fortunate to have eight consecutive years of sales growth. Not every lottery has been able to do that; there are 44 lotteries in the United States now, and we want to be able to continue to do that. The obvious reason is that our mission is to raise money for the beneficiary programs, so the more we sell, the more we can generally raise. In order to grow sales, we need to diversify our offerings, look at new promotions, expand our retail network, reach out to new audiences, and broadening the audiences we've got. Relating it back to LUDA, the fact that the organization is growing is a good thing because that gives us more people we can associate with and maybe develop an affinity for. The Lottery is certainly not for everyone, but even if somebody doesn't play, the fact that they maybe know that we provide money for the environment is a good thing. And if nothing else, they may remember that and say: "Oh I know there's money out there for environmental projects; I'm involved with a group that needs money for an environmental project." So, anything that we can do to build awareness is a good thing. It's a gain all across the board. We'll just continue to try to grow our offerings and services as best we can.
LUDA: Great! Thanks a lot for taking the time to share with us, and for your continued support of LUDA!
BR: Yeah, thank you!
This past weekend saw the Nebraska Youth Club disc it up at the Youth Club Championships (YCC) in Blaine, MN, an event that pitted our kids against the best young ultimate players in the country. This event marked the first time that Nebraska ultimate has ever been represented at the national level, and I believe that our team did the Cornhusker State proud.
Although we went 0-6 on the weekend and finished in last place, a few things became clear to me. Compared to the other teams we played, we were on par with the best of the best in terms of intensity, athleticism, raw talent, conditioning, and spirit. In fact, I daresay that in some categories, the Nebraskans were superior. (Just ask any of the teams that faced the cup comprised our three state cross-country champions.) The only thing that our players lacked was experience.
I was chatting with one of the Idaho coaches (the other new team at the tournament this year), and she stated how proud and impressed she was with their kids, some of whom “have only been playing
LUDA has a lot on tap for the fall season and beyond, and a lot of people have been asking about Fall League. The official announcement is that there will be no Fall League this year. However, in keeping with our mission to promote the sport of Ultimate at the local level, you will still have many opportunities to play and be involved in Ultimate. Instead of Fall League, we plan on hosting more free pick-up games (multiple times per week) as long as the weather allows (which will include our popular Night Ultimate games on Sundays). Our community is rooted and grown from pick-up play, and we would like to get back to those roots this fall to reach further into the community. We are looking for a number of people willing to help us organize these games throughout the week.
In addition, the Youth scene is blowing up. After Seth Colaner takes the Nebraska Youth Club up to Minnesota for the Youth Club Championships this weekend, we will continue to consult with local high schools to infuse the sport at the youth level, which will immensely benefit our community at all levels, even beyond LUDA’s grasp. We have also been contacted by a number of elementary schools expressing interest in starting Ultimate clubs at the 5th-6th grade level! For this we need capable volunteers and coaches willing to help out once or twice per week after school at these schools.
Finally, our annual LollapaLUDA Hat Tournament this fall will be run as a benefit for cancer research. This is going to be the biggest thing LUDA has ever done! More info will be coming soon.
LUDA has a grand vision, but we desperately need more volunteers and helpers to keep things running so we can continue to provide more leagues, events, and opportunities to play. We cannot fulfill our mission without your help. The LUDA staff is looking to grow, so that we can do more things for the community. Please contact us if you can help!
As a healthy guy who had never previously spent the night in the hospital other than to attend the birth of my son, I was pretty darn surprised to wake up last Monday in the Intensive Care Unit after a long, hot Saturday of Ultimate. Apparently I had gone into a seizure shortly after coming home and had been on life support for the following 48 hours. My nephrologist diagnosed my condition as Exercise-Associated Hyponatremia, otherwise described as a severe case of overhydration in which other factors were also at play. The condition is somewhat rare, but can most often be seen in super-endurance athletes and military recruits. It can also be fatal.
Basically, I had prepared for the ridiculous 105 degree heat index of the first day of the Cornhusker State Games as I knew I should, with plenty of water and sports drink. I drank a ton. Over the course of four long games, I drank four 32 oz bottles of sports drink and probably an equal amount of water. Turns out that was a bit too much, and the ibuprofen I took after the second game didn't help things. I actually felt great while we played, but after finishing, my body wouldn't calm down. Once at home, I could not stop breathing heavy, I became light-headed, and my muscles began cramping. Mistaking my symptoms as heat exhaustion and/or dehydration, I drank more water. Then I vomited uncontrollably, seized, and passed out.
The doctors later told me that the amount of water I drank (despite the amount of sports drink), in combination with the sweating and the very little amount of food I had that day, caused my sodium levels to drop. The ibuprofen had apparently prevented what electrolytes I had from being properly absorbed and processed into my body as well. I spent the next week confined to a hospital bed being flushed by multiple IVs to make sure my kidneys were functioning and my muscle enzymes, which were continuing to destroy my muscle fibers all week, were going down to an acceptable level. That sucked, man.
Now, many of us Ultimate players have been aware of recent articles such as this
which state that ibuprofen does not necessarily help as a preventative measure, but this situation takes it a step further. I know this is a very common practice in the Ultimate community. Further, while it is obviously important on long sweaty days such as an Ultimate tournament to stay hydrated, take care to replace what you are losing, with an adequate level of electrolytes, without going to excess on the water. Not everyone's body will react the same way, and I certainly wasn't in my finest condition prior to that hot day, but I've also always paid attention to my body and tried to stay educated on health issues. This was new to me, and quite frightening. My wife appreciated it none too much, either. Be careful out there, everyone.
More info on Hyponatremia here and here
We'll post more history and links soon, but in conjunction with our recent post on sportsmanship, and the beginning of summer league, the upcoming youth league, and the Cornhusker State Games, here is what the rules have to say about Spirit of the Game and Etiquette:
"Spirit of the Game" is one of the overriding concepts of the entire sport. Now, all sports value sportsmanship, and most sports have various traditions and practices that rely on etiquette, but many people claim that Spirit of the Game is what makes Ultimate unique. This is actually controversial in some circles, and the concept of SOTG is easily abused and often correlated directly to the fact that Ultimate is self-officiated. I personally think that SOTG is simply level of sportsmanship that we should all strive for, especially with the history of the sport in mind (the grass-roots growth, the hippy connection, etc.). Whatever your opinion of SOTG is, it is an important concept, and even as Ultimate struggles to gain legitimacy as a sport, we should still remember where it came from and where it currently is. Yes, competition and intensity are good, but so is peace and love, baby! This is how SOTG and etiquette is spelled out in the rules:
RULES OF THE WEEK:
I.B. Spirit of the Game: Ultimate relies upon a spirit of sportsmanship that places the responsibility for fair play on the player. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of mutual respect among competitors, adherence to the agreed upon rules, or the basic joy of play. Protection of these vital elements serves to eliminate unsportsmanlike conduct from the Ultimate field. Such actions as taunting opposing players, dangerous aggression, belligerent intimidation, intentional infractions, or other win-at-all-costs behavior are contrary to the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all players.
A. If an infraction is committed and not called, the player committing the infraction should inform the infracted player or team of the infraction.
B. It is the responsibility of all players to avoid any delay when starting, restarting, or continuing play. This includes standing over the disc or taking more time than reasonably necessary to put the disc into play.
C. On a stoppage of play, if it is ever unclear which of a team’s members are the current players or where they are on or off the field, they should identify themselves when the opposing team requests.
D. If a dispute arises on the field, play stops and is restarted with a check when the matter is resolved.
E. If a novice player commits an infraction out of sincere ignorance of the rules, it should be common practice to stop play and explain the infraction.
F. When a call is made, throwers must stop play by visibly or audibly communicating the stoppage as soon as they are aware of the call and all players should echo calls on the field.
G. In addition to the assumption that players will not intentionally violate the rules, players are similarly expected to make every effort to avoid violating them.
When it comes to developing the Ultimate community in Nebraska, and playing the sport in general, I often speak about sportsmanship and unifying the entire community into a big happy family. Few people preach as much about good mojo and sportsmanship as I do. However, I have come to realize that I also need to set a better example, not because I’m a jerk (well, maybe, I don’t know), but because my sense of humor may often be questionable. I’m the kind of guy who quickly becomes comfortable joking around with others, often before others feel the same comfort with me, especially on the Ultimate field. Sometimes I crack jokes that are more strange than funny to some, or I am sarcastic, or I spike a disc, or I say or do something that I don’t really mean, albeit in a joking manner. When I do these things, I assume that my opponents and teammates will know that I am joking, but in reality, it doesn’t always come off that way.
The other night during league play, an amazing player whom I have had the privilege of playing pickup games and tournaments with on past occasions made a phenomenal play against my team. This player also happens to be one of the nicest, coolest guys you will ever meet. After the play, I gave him what I thought was a good-natured shove in the chest, but apparently I didn’t look as friendly as I intended to. I tried to make a joke instead of simply congratulating him on his amazing efforts, and he was surprised at my actions. Rightly so, I shouldn't have done it, even in jest. I apologized and heaped praise on him, but I also now realize that if I truly want to achieve the goal of good sportsmanship and unity, I need to practice the part every moment, joking or not.
Especially as we strive to bring in new players to the community and grow our youth division, even jokingly spiking a disc, making a sarcastic comment, or worse, is inappropriate. I wouldn’t want our youth players, the future of the Ultimate community, to do those things, and I especially wouldn’t want my own young son, who I like to bring to my Ultimate games, to act that way.
From now on, I will curtail the silly cracks, digs, and spikes and congratulate all of my opponents and teammates for their efforts. LUDA wants to make sure that all players, regardless of skill or experience, feel welcome at our events and come to love the sport and the community as much as we do. I also invite everyone else to show great spirit and sportsmanship on and off the field as the community continues to grow. And play Ultimate!
Our Summer League is set to begin on Thursday June 10 with our regular welcome/pick-up night and will continue throughout the summer on Thursday evenings. Included with your $20 registration fee will be a free official game disc, champion shwag, and a league party. In addition, LUDA will be creating special jerseys that you have the option of purchasing (at a great price!) to further enhance your Ultimate experience.
Most exciting to many of us is that we will be playing in a new location on East Campus of the University of Nebraska. Folks, the fields here are smooth, even, soft, green, plush, and beautiful. They are some of the best fields in town, and now you get to lay out across them for Summer Ultimate!
Sign up now! Tell your friends! There is a ton of Ultimate action cooking in the summer sun this year, don’t miss it!
We got away from including these entries to our blog for a few months, but in advance of the Cornhusker State Games, we'll include some more entries into the "Fantastic Enlightenment" series so some of you newbies and nerds can learn more about the game. You can read our previous Nuggets here.
HISTORY LESSON OF THE WEEK:
Most of the history lessons until now have revolved around men taking the sport of Ultimate and running with it, but the women have more than carved out their place as well. In the early days (even before Title IX revolutionized women’s sports in 1972), the ladies played with the guys, because there were no other opportunities. Among the list of founders of some of the early teams were Andrea Cummis and Sandy Stillman, who founded college teams at Carnegie Mellon and SUNY Binghamton, respectively in 1975. Both were graduates of Columbia High in Maplewood, NJ where the sport originated. For several years, most Ultimate teams and competitions were co-ed, even if women were not present at all on many rosters. However women soon became prevalent enough to form their own teams and organizations. Again, Santa Barbara led the way when the Lady Condors were formed in 1978. The following winter, the Flyingdisc League of Women (FLOW) was created with the purpose of spreading the word even further. Other all-women teams began to sprout across the nation. Cornell’s women’s team (later called the Wild Roses) was founded in 1979. Tiina Booth joined the team in 1980. Booth is still one of the most influential women in Ultimate today, co-authoring the recent “Essential Ultimate” coaching book and being the annual leader of the National Ultimate Training Camp. The first Women’s National Championship (at the club level) is recorded as Boston Ladies Ultimate defeating Synergy (out of the Northwest) in 1981. Some of the earliest women’s clubs to dominate the scene were the Fisheads (East Lansing, MI) and the Lady Condors. The most dominant team to date has been Lady Godiva out of Boston, winning 9 Championships between 1988 and 2002. The reigning Women’s Club Champion is San Francisco’s Fury, winning their fourth straight Championship in 2009. At the college level, the women were given their own division in 1984, with a Stanford victory. Stanford remains one of the elite women’s programs. Similar to the club level, UC Santa Barbara (the Burning Skirts) collected several championships through the late 80s and 90s and picked up another in 2009. The rise of women led to a separate Women’s division and paved the way for the current separate styles of play we see today, with a Mixed Division (co-ed), Women’s Division, and Open Division. The Open Division (instead of an all-men’s division), still allows women to participate.
LINK OF THE WEEK:
“Ultitraining” is a relatively new website which includes good information on how to train for our sport, often from a perspective of real exercise science. Look for regular updates and tips on this site.
With Ultimate still being a young and relatively obscure sport, we have yet to really see anything specialized for us in terms of athletic training, but with sites like this and the Ultimate Fitness video that came out a couple years ago (http://www.upa.org/shop/addl/fitnessdvd), the sport is slowly advancing. These are things we all definitely need because of the physical demands of Ultimate!
RULE OF THE WEEK:
"Best Perspective": Since Ultimate is self-officiated, it is important to know who is correctly supposed to make the calls in certain situations. In previous rules of the week, you may recall that fouls (non-incidental contact) can only be called by the person being fouled. Picks can only be called by the obstructed player. Travels and other violations can be called by anyone on the infracted team who recognizes the infraction. Up/Down calls and Out of Bounds calls are determined by “Best Perspective,” which is a term used several times in the rules and are listed below. Please note that it is a common misperception that if you have the disc and there is a dispute, it is “your call.” That is not true. If someone else had a better view of where your feet were when you caught the disc or if it touched the ground before you caught it, “best perspective” is the rule:
II.A. (Definition) - Best perspective: The most complete view available by a player that includes the relative positions of the disc, ground, players, and line markers involved in a play. On an unlined field, this may require sighting from one field marker to another.
XI.C. (Scoring) - If a player scores according to XI.A (catching a legal pass in the end zone and retaining possession through ground contact), but then unknowingly throws another pass, a goal is awarded to that player, regardless of the outcome of the pass. However, if it is unclear if the player [is actually in the end zone] (i.e., there is no agreement on the player who had best perspective, and there are opposing view points on the play), the result of the pass stands.
XV.C. (Receiving) - If it is unclear whether a catch was made before the disc contacted the ground (grass is considered part of the ground), or whether a player’s first point of ground contact after catching the disc was in- or out-of-bounds or in or out of the end zone, the player with the best perspective makes the call. XVI.D. - If a dispute arises concerning an infraction or the outcome of a play (e.g., a catch where no one had a good perspective), and the teams cannot come to a satisfactory resolution, play stops, and the disc is returned to the thrower and put into play with a check, with the count reached plus one or at six if over five.
Many people may not realize the magnitude of Saturday, May 15, 2010 in the history of Nebraska Ultimate. Please allow me to wax optimistic about this day, as I believe it is one of the most important days our fledgling sport has seen so far in the state. May 15 was “Nebraskionals,” the first ever official Ultimate championship tournament for high school teams, held at Omaha’s venerable Memorial Park. I’ll preface my thoughts on the event itself by explaining that one of the goals that was mentioned when the Lincoln Ultimate Disc Association first formed and began talking about our ambitions for the local Ultimate community was the eventual development of the high school level, otherwise known as the Youth Division.
Youth Ultimate has since become a major priority, and we now see the growth of this level as critical to the future of the sport. Some of the many advantages to having a strong Youth Division in our Ultimate community include exposing future generations to the sport even before they reach college and beyond, improving the (already rising) talent level of our Ultimate community, ensuring a legacy of growth and development for the local clubs and leagues, and improving the prospects of parents, school administrations, and sponsors getting involved in the sport at the administrative level.
Prior to Nebraskionals, countless hours of hard work was put in, mostly by LUDA Commissioner Seth Colaner, to get the ball rolling for the Youth Division. Contacts were made with local high school teachers, administrators, and students to determine the possible level of interest at certain schools. Lengthy discussions were held with representatives of the UPA to help Nebraska jump into the pool with many other states who have thriving high school programs. Seth took on the role of State Youth Coordinator for Nebraska, as recognized by the UPA. Seth brought in an official instructor from the UPA to help over a dozen of our local Ultimate leaders to become certified coaches. And finally, Seth put together Nebraskionals, which included Tim Hoarty as tournament director. Nebraskionals was necessary not just for the local spectacle of a youth tournament, but was also a prerequisite for having a high school team from Nebraska to be eligible for a national/regional High School Championship tournament beginning in 2011. Furthermore, the UPA was so encouraged and excited to see the work Seth was putting into the Youth Division that they allowed Nebraska youth players to be eligible to put together a team for the Youth Club Championships tournament this year.
The other major development at the youth level was the formation of “Sweet Justice,” an actual team from Westside High School in Omaha. The pick-up scene in Omaha, and at Westside in particular has been active for several years and has spawned some of the great talent that we now see among Rigor Mortis (Omaha’s premier club team) as well as the college teams from UNL (Cornfed) and UNO. With the encouragement of the local community, the support and experience of their older friends (and siblings), and last but not least, the initiative of Sweet Justice’s current leadership base (especially the mature-beyond-his-years Sean Rock), an actual team was formed with visions of traveling to real tournaments for competition.
Many of us first saw Sweet Justice up close and personal at Cornfed’s Children of the Corn tournament in October 2009. SJ came out and competed with established club and college teams, and even beat a couple of visiting college teams. SJ has since traveled to a few other tournaments and won their fair share of games. At one point, the UPA’s ranking algorithm had SJ ranked in the top 10 of all high school teams in the country based on the strength of their victories and competition. In January 2010, over 50 people showed up to support Sweet Justice in a fundraising hat tournament in the snow and ice. SJ was the subject of quality media coverage and secured an invite from the UPA to the previously mentioned Youth Club Championships. Unfortunately, SJ was unable to make the trip. But at that point, we all knew that something special was brewing within the Youth Division, Nebraska had a model team to base other high school programs on, and the entire community was showing support to Sweet Justice for what they were doing and showing.
For the first Nebraskionals, simply getting an official high school tournament off the ground and into the books was the most important hurdle, and it turned into a fantastic day. In addition to Sweet Justice, teams representing Omaha Central High School (the Barefoot Bandits) and Lincoln’s Pius X High School also took the field. These schools have enjoyed pick-up activities for a few years also, and several alums from Central and Pius are among some of the more talented club, college, and league players in Omaha and Lincoln to this day. A large, supportive crowd from the local community turned out to see the action and be part of this historic event, and the players did not disappoint. From the first pull to the last point, the competition at Nebraskionals was more intense and more exciting than any of us could have imagined.
The format for only three teams meant that one game could be played at a time, and the drama was drawn out until the end. Sweet Justice took the field against Pius, taking an early lead, until Pius came back late in the first half. The game was neck and neck throughout, with Pius taking a surprising victory at the end. In the second game, the Barefoot Bandits debuted against Pius with another back-and-forth game. The Bandits pulled away at the end for the victory. Sweet Justice came back on against the Barefoot Bandits with the championship still up in the air. In the case of all three teams ending with a 1-1 record, the tiebreaker would have been the total point differential, and the games had been very close so far. As it turned out, the Barefoot Bandits took the game from SJ, in another barn-burner. The Bandits were Nebraska’s first State High School Champions!
Now, as a visionary for the development of Nebraska Ultimate, I personally did not look at the games with a rooting interest other than to hope that a lot of young talent would shine from all teams. And boy, oh boy did that talent shine. The brand of Ultimate on the field at Nebraskionals was among the most exciting I have ever seen, at any level. Watching these kids fly through the air, lay out early and often, and blaze across the field was a sight to behold. These kids did things that some of us older players can barely fathom anymore, and it made me smile thinking about the amazing talent on the field and the bright future they represented for the sport.
At the end of the day, while many of us had seen Sweet Justice play before, most of us had never seen Pius or Central put an organized team on the field. Everyone was pleasantly surprised to see such performances, and seeing that action on the field made the LUDA Commissioners downright giddy for the potential at the high school level, now knowing how much talent is actually available that has not even been developed yet.
This is just the beginning, folks!
I know the Sweet Justice is disappointed with the results of the day. However, these guys have nothing to be sorry for. Make no mistake, SJ is a legitimate, Nationals-level team, and they remain the model for what we want to see out of high school programs in Nebraska not only in terms of talent, but also in terms of organization, leadership, and commitment. Seeing what Omaha Central and Lincoln Pius brought to the table only means that there is that much more potential in the community. In the coming year, we will continue to grow the Youth Division in Nebraska, to include youth leagues, coaching clinics, and more tournament opportunities. At Nebraskionals 2011, we fully expect to have several more high school programs available to play. And the top team in 2011 will have an opportunity to play at the next level against other state champions in a UPA Tournament.
To the seniors of Sweet Justice, Barefoot Bandits, and Pius, I encourage you to stay involved with the local Ultimate community. Like it or not, these teams you have been a part of are now part of your legacy. The existing community provides a tight support structure which will allow you to continue your development as a player and as a leader. There are leagues, clubs, and college teams readily available. Furthermore, any leadership role is yours for the taking. The community has a great need for more leaders and volunteers. You can continue to play a vital role in the overall Ultimate community and further support/teach your former teams. If, for some reason, your post-HS plans include leaving the state, keep playing and learning wherever you go!
To the players who will return to their high school teams next year, keep it going, baby. Develop your skills, network with the existing community, and become a leader. At Nebraskionals 2010, you were part of history. A bright future exists for local Ultimate, please continue to be a part of it!
For anyone else who is reading this who is excited at what the future holds for Nebraska Ultimate, please continue to encourage the growth of the Youth Division. There are players and pick-up groups from other high schools in the area who haven’t formed an actual team yet, maybe even your former high school needs help. Let’s get parents, teachers, and current community leaders to take action. Become a leader yourself and volunteer your efforts. Let’s keep growing this thing and build not only our current Ultimate community into something bigger and better, but also our legacy for the good of the sport in years to come!
Congratulations to the teams who played brilliantly in the first Nebraskionals, and many kudos to Seth Colaner, Tim Hoarty, and the high school captains for putting this together!
Rigor Mortis is Omaha's premier club team. Now in their fourth season, Rigor is preparing to bring the noise to club sectionals and regionals this year. Rigor captain and all-around Nebraska ultimate Man About Town, Tim Hoarty, gave us the scoop on Rigor, past, present, and future along with co-captains Tim Hopp and Ryan Mullen.
LUDA: Give us a brief history of Rigor Mortis. Who founded the team, and how long have you been together?
RM: We are entering our fourth season. After an unsuccessful attempt to start a unified Omaha club team in 2006, we tried again in 2007 with much more success and better turnouts at practice. SOUL starting up was definitely instrumental in that, but we drew the core of our team from pickup games around Memorial Park in Omaha. Our first tournament together was Mayfest 2007 under the name Omaha Bin Laden. The name was, of course, super-offensive and temporary; Summer Solstice in Tulsa, OK (June 2007) was the first time Rigor Mortis took the field. Among the 20ish original founding members of the team, there are about seven who remain, including captains Tim Hoarty, Ryan Mullen, and Tim Hopp. The core of our team has played together in pickup, SOUL, collegiate and club ultimate for almost 5 years, and this stability has allowed us to build every year to become a regional threat.
LUDA: How did you come up with the name "Rigor Mortis", and what does it mean (aside from the obvious)?
RM: The name pays homage to the Nebraska club ultimate tradition. In the 1970s and 80s, the first club team in the state was Death Frisbee, which practiced at Norris Junior High and competed around the region with success. The next iteration was Post Mortem (after death), which included both Lincoln and Omaha players who met halfway in Ashland for practices. We consider ourselves the third generation of Death Frisbee and thusly we rock the vintage black Death replica jerseys.
LUDA: What are your team goals for the year?