Frisbee + friends = fun

2013-11-02 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S ultimate frisbee team, the Long Donkeys, recently came back from the Rocktober Championships in Johannesburg with the main prize.

The team, made up of students and professionals from around Maritzburg, won all the matches they played and beat UCT Tigers 14-8 in the final.

Team member Ryan Mcfie told Weekend Witness that the team had always done well and this year was the third time they had won the competition.

Mcfie said the sport, which has been in South Africa for 15 years, was growing worldwide, and had a huge following in the United States where it originated in the 1960s.

“It’s a seven-a-side sport where teams play on a field roughly the same size as a rugby field,” Mcfie said.

“It’s built around ‘spirit of the game’ and there are no referees. The players themselves referee themselves, so that removes the element of cheating,” he said.

The teams that participated at Rocktober were from all over the country. The other KwaZulu-Natal team that competed were the Prawn Bunnies from Durban, who the Long Donkeys regularly play against.

According to Mcfie, the sport is a combination of basketball and American football, just without the contact, and teams can have both males (four) and females (three) on the field.

“The objective of the game is to pass the disc from one end to the other. We traditionally play to 15 points with half time at seven points, or we play until 75 minutes,” he said.

“It’s a very easy game to pick up, and it’s for all ages. The oldest member at our club is 43, and the youngest is 12. It’s cheap to play. All you need is a frisbee,” he said, adding that those who took part became a bit of a community.

“You become friends with your competitors. There’s no belittling and sledging during games, and we’re always encouraging each other.”

The 33-year-old Mcfie, a former national basketball player, said that although the sport was social, it was also very competitive.

“I’m very competitive. I still run very hard, and it is tough. The skill levels are just as important as your mainstream sports.”

The Long Donkeys hold their practice sessions at Scottsville Primary School on Wednesdays and Fridays between 5 pm and 7 pm, Mcfie said, adding that people who wanted to join were welcome.

Top tips on how to throw and catch a frisbee

Throwing: Ryan Mcfie says there are two main ways to throw a Frisbee. “The first and most common way is the backhand throw that you mainly see people using on the beach. If you are right handed, you throw the Frisbee from your left.

“The second way is the forehand throw. It is different in that it allows you to throw to the other side of the field. You make a gun shape with your hand with your palm facing up. You place the Frisbee so that the thumb is on the top. This throw is known as the flick. What you have to do is maximise your revolutions to fly the Frisbee smoothly and consistently.”

Catching: “The best way to catch is the crocodile catch. You put your one hand on top of the other to form what looks like the mouth of a crocodile. When the Frisbee reaches you, you snap you hands closed like a crocodile would snap its mouth. What you also have to do is watch the Frisbee at all times.”

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