Frank and Todd

10:45 pm Interviews

In this episode I talk to Frank Huguenard and Todd Leber (Ulticritic). We talk about who they are, why they do what they do, and their views on many different topics.

Todd Leber: I started playing in 79’ in high school in Fairfax va. Moved to wilm in 81’ as a freshman joined local team, cape fear gale force. After 5 years splintered off with a nc combo team called nobody and whored around for a few years then hooked up with the local college kids for a couple years on the college circuit (hosted 89’college nationals, founded college easterns tourney, td’ed dozens others along the way) coached uncweed, started wilm summer league, captained club team to its first nationals appearance in 92 and pretty much fizzled after that competitively. In 95 planed out formation of NUA. Hosted and reffed in 96 club allstar showcase (first official game of ultimate ever to be officiated by a 6 man crew) then hosted a 7 team elite nua tourney (dog won) then nua fizzles out…..only to be reborn and die in 2005 then morph into MLU in 06 which again dissolved. At that point I took off my promoter hat and put on my critic hat and became ulticritic.

Frank Huguenard began playing Frisbee in the late 1960′s and being from a large chaotic family in Indiana, grew up fiercely competitive. By the late seventies, Frank had become fairly proficient with a disc and being athletically inclined, when he heard that there was a Frisbee-centric team sport on the Purdue campus, he immediately took to it and became involved with the sport called Ultimate. Being a square peg stuffed into a round hole (a competitive jock amongst a culture designed specifically to  accommodate neither), Frank has spent decades ostensibly miserable in a environment (ironically created to emphasize fun and inclusion) that he consistently experienced as hostile and unaccepting towards him, his out of the box thinking and his unconventional throws & moves.

Late in 2003, after watching the movie Dog Town and Z-Boys (a documentary highlighting the birth of modern skateboarding), Frank set out to understand why Ultimate Frisbee never realized the same evolutionary growth and explosiveness that the Skateboard community experienced.

In this ground breaking interview, we’ll hear from Frank in his own words just how he’s come to the conclusion that Ultimate Frisbee was developed intentionally to thwart innovation and evolution and how, from a historical point of view, the game was simply never meant to be competitive. In response to his own conclusions regarding Ultimate Frisbee, Frank has developed an alternative new sport called Dischoops that he feels is everything Ultimate should have been but is not.

More information on Frank at www.z-boyz.org.

6 Responses

  1. MGillett Says:

    Before now I knew nothing about ultimate’s connection to new games, but after having read that “New Games Report” it would be silly to deny ultimate as having roots there. If I’m understanding you guys correctly (sorry if I lump you together) your main point is how ultimate needs to either cast off or fully embrace its “New Games” roots and cannot have it both ways. With me having a typical ultimate player attitude, I object to a lot of what you’re saying.

    First of all, refs. I would be happy with purely objective calls (in endzone / out of endzone, in bounds / out of bounds, stall counts, disc up / disc down, travels, etc) being given to observers/refs.
    The problem with refs is the shift in mindset that accompanies them: the players lose all sense of self-accountability and are encouraged to play dirty. If refs were added, ultimate would become just like every other sport in this regard, and going back would be impossible.
    Overall I don’t see why refs are a big deal in terms of viewing ultimate as a competitive sport either – the best team usually wins regardless of any bad calls, and calls in general have way less impact on the game than in other sports (the NFL being the best example).
    By minimizing calls and stoppages, ultimate gets at the heart of the athletic competition that sport was meant to be (there’s a good Howard Cosell quote about that).

    I don’t get what point you’re trying to make with “training wheel” rules. How is making pivoting out of bounds result in a turnover “playing the game properly”? How does a forgiving disc or a large endzone make the game “fair and balanced”? Ultimate is not a fair and balanced game – athletic people are better than non athletic people, people with good disc skills are better than people without good disc skills.
    How will randomly altering the rules to make the game more difficult take it to a higher level? You might as well advocate for the removal of goalies or the stitching on a football.

  2. Josh Says:

    Hey MG — If you haven’t already I recommend you read through this RSD thread.

  3. MGillett Says:

    Nice to see that my thinking is in line with other people (who are far more articulate than me). Too bad we think that way because we’re slaves to false positives…

  4. frank Says:

    MG,

    You (and the rest of the community apparently) seem to be missing the point here.

    For many years, I’ve been making seemingly outrageous claims about the game, the way it is played and the lack of evolution in the game.

    My position is basically that you are a mediocre player. I do not know you but I can make this claim because all ultimate players are mediocre (as far as I can tell). When I watch Jam-Sockeye, I’m bored to tears with their lack of fundamentals and skills.

    People had two choices, accept what I’m saying as the truth or call me insane; there’s not a lot of middle ground (I’m certainly not a provocateur, I’ve got better things to do with my time).

    For many years, the community has ridiculed and attacked me and labeled me as crazy.

    Now as the evidence is pouring in and you can here me speak rationally in the interview, the rumblings of ‘Crazy Frank’ being crazy have all but subsided and yet people want to believe that I’m wrong about my conclusions.

    You go ahead and believe whatever you want to believe.

    I didn’t really think that everyone would all of the sudden agree with me and understand that they suck and that ultimate isn’t a very well thought out sport.

    OF COURSE your thinking (beliefs) is in line with many others. That’s why it’s called a religion.

    Frank

  5. MGillett Says:

    If a Jam and Sockeye’s players don’t have good fundamentals and skills then who does? What are “good fundamentals and skills”?

  6. frank Says:

    As far as I know, nobody (besides yours truly).

    When I speak of skills, it has far more to do with footwork, balance, misdirection, penetration, cadence, etc.

    Of course on top of that, add disc handling skills (elite players may be good at forearm and backhand but that is like playing golf with only two clubs in your bag).

    In my eyes, these teams are horrible to watch. Watching Idris Nolan (Jam), who has mad disc handling skills and should look like Steve Nash on the ultimate field looks rather ordinary in that the offense that they run and he rarely gets the disc (disproportionate to what he should be).

    Imagine watching the Phoenix Suns play with Steve Nash only getting the ball every so often and when he does get the ball, all he does is pass it off without even dribbling. That’s how it is watching Idris for me.

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