A postcard from Moose Johnson of Australia, on his efforts in Harbin, China (near Siberia):
Just thought I’d checkin and let you know how things are going over here in China. It’s a great relief you sent those extra frisbees over as frisbee (and schtick) has become a huge hit with the new first year students. While previously we struggled to number up most weeks last year (at least initially… many more tended to come a little later in the evening!), the start of the new semester here has been amazing.
First game there was about 15-20 people making for an insanely wild running game with nobdy really knowing what was happening.
This exploded the following as numbers doubled to almost 40 people and, whereas we normally have just one game with numerous frisbees and sometimes a second scoring zone, this time there were just too many people. With so many new players, I set up the game and started to explin, only to try and then make one game without realising that there was no way you could know who was and was not on your team with so many people playing.
Quickly it turned into a shambles so instead we split up into three separate games which were all played at a frantic pace for well over an hour and a half each.
Since then, numbers have fluctuated, but we tend to get enough for games of 7-8 a side each with new players coming and going all the time. Unfortunately many of the old players are a little intimidated by this new fearless (and sometimes a little insane) breed of player. In the first few weeks there were a few little accidents with one girl rolling her ankle (it must be noted that she was wearing high heels during the game, but was enjoying it too much to stop. She subsequently promised that broken ankle or not, she was going to play the following week… which she sadly couldn’t courtesy of crutches, but now they’re gone, she’s back with avengance!), a few discs to the head, one guy somehow landing on his shoulder and various other scrapes and bruises (we play on a concrete sqaure because the fields are unlit at night and we don’t have time to play during the day). These have certainly not been enough to deter anyone however, only seems to make them even more enthusiastic.
I should note that Iw as particularly impressed last week when some of the new guys showed an absolutely wonderful mastery of the game after only playing it for a week or two. They constantly ran one player down one side, drew our entire defensive team across and then scored with the other two discs. Then, while our team was standing hands on faces looking distraught, they ran the third one in and scored there too. This probably happened near on a hundred times and our team still didn’t pick it up, but I was so impressed with the running and aggressive nature of these other guys at such an early stage of learning!
Unfortunately many of these guys are down and out with Swine Flu at the moment (or at the very least a similar disease which is sweeping through north eastern China at present) so the game tonight was a little less well patronised, but even so we still got up to 8 a side at one stage which was pretty crazy.
There is a bit of a casualty rate on the frisbees too with one falling down a drain and two getting cracked, but we’ve still got plenty for the numbers we have turning up and, with winter fast approaching, I imagine we’ve only got about a month worth of games left in us before we have to go into hibernation.
All things considered, it is going incredibly well. With many of them super keen, I’m pondering also introducing them to Ultimate some time but will wait and see whether they get a hang on throwing it accurately first!
Thanks again for all your support and assistance though. You can certainly rest assured that the frisbees you have sent over are getting a sound work out and are enormously well appreciated!
Sadly Facebook is blocked here in China so I can’t post any messages of success there, but just wanted to let you know how things are faring. Bring on Spring and I might even see if I can’t get some sort of competition going??
Trust things are going well for you over in the States.
I’ll see how I go with discs. I might actually be moving again at the end of the year, just trying to make some decisions at the moment so probably don’t want any extra baggage, but will let you know. Besides, at the moment we’ve probably got enough to be going on with despite the casualties courtesy of your previous greatly appreciated donations. Perhaps if numbers of players grows more, I might request more sent over as a few students have actually asked to borrow them so they can practice throwing in their own time!
Actually, we’re also playing twice a week at the moment which is cool and I’m considering investigating indoor options again for the winter, although I almost killed some people when I tried to plan this last year, so I’ll see how I go. If we move indoor, I’ll most likely change to ultimate instead… learning to play with smaller numbers without wind on a small court would probably be good for their throwing.
I’ll try and get some photos for you, but it’s a little difficult as playing at night means the light is not very good and therefore action shots don’t work very well. Maybe I’ll just get a group picture taken somewhere along the line.