Off-season, the dreaded off-season for Frisbee players. The same bunch of Frisbee players who are so used to seeing each other 3 times a week practicing, heckling, and tearing up the fields in Hong Kong now have nowhere to go and no Frisbee to play. What else are we supposed to live and breathe for the rest of winter? How else do we expend our youth, fire, and hot desire? This might be a confusing time for many, but luckily for Double T we have long found our answer and savior: Tichu. The very card-based partnership game our team is named after, Team Tichu.
At first we never thought of forming a team to compete at tournaments, because at the end of the day we are just a bunch of off-season, ridiculously good-looking Frisbee players playing an old Chinese card game and winning (or losing) some lunch money on the side.
However, at the end of the year, Double T competed in our first major tournament, the 2016 FuJian Open.
For the majority of us this was the last tournament of the year so we really wanted to make it count and proudly display how intense and competitive Hong Kong Ultimate can be. Coming into the tournament as the 4th seed, we were determined to upset everyone above us and conquer their fan base. Having cruised through our first 2 games on Saturday against Pride of Dongguan (POD) and Xiamen, our final matchup and also the one we looked forward to the most was against Puxi Patrol (one of the two split teams of Shanghai Huwa). Hong Kong and Shanghai have had a long and rich history of competing against each other in big and small tournaments all over Asia. Looking across the field there were many familiar faces and styles of play, they were both our friends and foes. It wasn’t an easy start, Shanghai players are athletic, experienced, and have practiced together on Huwa for many months. We on the other hand were still trying to figure our lines and build chemistry with one another, especially with our pickup players. However, after initially trading points, Double T was able to seal a break and win the game 10:9. This win put us over Puxi Patrol as the top seed of our pool and in prime position for the title contention. After the game, we had a hunch that we would meet them again on the biggest stage: The Finals.
Waking up bright and early on Sunday (mainly from my roommate Casey not being able to sleep from her alco-…water overdose), we were motivated. Semifinals was a matchup that we were all too familiar with, Pride of Dongguan. Stopping their biggest receiver, Yuri Melnychuk was our top priority and having succeeded the day before gave us a great confidence boost. 20 points later and Double T was through to the finals.
Finals, in hindsight is such a bitter sweet word. All that we’ve been working for builds up to this stage and we were ready for a rematch with Puxi Patrol. At the very beginning they employed a brilliant girl-poach strategy against our less experienced players, and coupled with our own miscommunications and turns they were able to go up 4-8, with halftime at 9 points. We were stressed and disappointed but we didn’t make it to the finals to go down in this fashion. Led by fantastic defense and slow and steady offense, we broke Puxi not once, not twice, but 5 times in a row and took half at 9-8. With the crowd and momentum on our side we were feeling good, if we had kept this up we could complete the Cinderella story and make the biggest comeback of the year!
But alas, just as your team’s magnificent plays can make you, bad plays can also break you. Every Frisbee player knows that as long as a team can hold on their offensive points, you just need one defensive break to take the game. Coming out from half, although Puxi Patrol’s offense wasn’t running as smooth as before, they were very experienced and calm. When we were able to force a turnover on D, our own string of errors would deny a score and Puxi would hold, making it frustrating for the players both on and off the field. This slow frustration and desire to push for a break eventually ruined our earlier chilly playstyle as we gave up another break chance and Puxi went up 11-12. Time was running out and halfway through the next point we heard what we didn’t want to the most, 3 horns, signaling the hard-cap and the end of game. Whatever we did then wouldn’t change the reality that Puxi Patrol had secured the championship and prize, but although game is over, it didn’t mean we would surrender easily. Putting forth everything we had left in our tank, we successfully held on and the game ended at 12-13.
Everyone had a long and hard reflection after the finals, the finals that we lost to ourselves; the finals that we didn’t prepare for enough mentally. But reality is we enjoyed our time playing and hanging out together and that happiness is immeasurable, nothing in the world can replace it.
Greatness is not measured by how many times you succeed, but by how many times you bounce back after falling, and you can bet that we’ll be coming back better, stronger, and faster.
~We got the juice, we got the fire. We got the juice and the fire and the hot desire! *3-2-1* DOUBLE T!~
Written by: Gigi Law (captain of Double T)