Record-Breaking, Kiwis and Giant Beams: The 2011 Season

What a super-strange season. The 2011 national championships were brought forward in the calendar year by three weeks, an act that led to a bizarre season of terrifying lows, dizzying highs and creamy middles.

Either way, the Newcastle frisbee community was already buzzing in November and couldn’t wait to crack open I-Beam’s title defence. That was until the entire squad got obsessed with the giant beam.


Chapter 1 – The Giant Beam

In the vein of GWS, I-Beam opened its website poll by asking their fans to tell them which guernsey was their favourite for a new alternate kit. Included in the options was a tremendous misprint created from a horrible misunderstanding by the suppliers’ design department. What a can of worms.

The giant beam instantly gathered a cult of supporters. Differing opinions turned into a fervid debate. The beamheads enlisted public affairs and lobbying tactics to sway the uniform committee to reconsider the viability of their icon. Rallies were had, goons were hired, effigies burned. In nine days 70 votes were submitted; almost triple the number of squad members.

Eventually the giant beam was put to bed, but surely it will only be a matter of time before the kraken wakes.


Chapter 2 – Looking Sharp

I-Beam’s failed bid at hosting regionals meant the team was exposed to Canberra twice; well over the maximum advised annual dosage. The two visits to the national capital made for an interesting series of events.

Eastern Regional Qualifiers (Feb 19-20) came with huge anticipation from I-Beam’s squad. Finally after debate, kerfuffles and broken promises I-Beam were set to demonstrate their awesome uniform ability for the second time since establishment. Release of the “Big-V” saw I-Beam follow up the best ever club uniforms in Australian frisbee with the second-best ever club uniforms in Australian frisbee.

By lunchtime on Saturday the team had not just qualified for the Australian Ultimate Championships (AUC), but secured a top four seed. Spirits were high. Suggestions were offered that, job now done, the team could make an early escape from the doldrums of Canberra. Instead we stuck around and beat the hometown chumps (Fyshwick Utd) that afternoon. 


Chapter 3 – Hot Streak

From there I-Beam fell fast. The Newcastle boys lost three games from three on Sunday, crashing like a kamikaze into the AUC fourth seed. The first three seeds were won by Colony 1 (Sydney), Colony 2 and the Canberra chumps. All three teams defeated I-Beam on Sunday.

Two weekends later the team returned to the ACT. At the Canberra Invitational (Mar 12-13) I-Beam continued their inglorious form. On Saturday they lost their fourth, fifth and sixth consecutive games to Heads of State (Melbourne), Colony 2 and a merger team representing the westernmost states’ open clubs. The six games describe a new record for the worst losing streak ever by a Newcastle open team (competing since 2002).


Chapter 4 – Champ Champion v2.0

The opening game on Sunday against Chilly (Melbourne) delivered a change in fortune. The long-awaited win relieved plenty of pressure but more importantly gave Kiwi Mike Connolly his first I-Beam victory. Mike’s inclusion on the roster is the second instalment of the Champ Champion strategy that was successfully implemented in 2010.

Despite descending from Australia's fiercest sporting rival, the new version functions well. The only noticeable effect of his origins occurred when, after being encouraged to take the field to replace Tim Lavis, he replied, "I cin't. His thu ciptun." Mike must have been nervous after his first three games with the current national champions produced three unflattering losses. As said, it was a relief to show this was only a coincidence.


That game didn’t start a complete reverse of form. I-Beam lost again to Brisbane before winning the spoon playoff (but not the spoon). The low finish raised questions about I-Beam in 2011. The upcoming AUC would without doubt show a depth of top teams never before seen. With so many contenders, there was going to be some big outfits squeezed out the back and left wanting on the final two days.

Of course there is only one commentary on Australian Ultimate and they were reluctant to discount I-Beam’s chances at AUC. Their motivation was clear. Throughout the history of the site they had a strong tradition of underestimating Newcastle teams. In 2010 they suffered multiple, harsh reactions and have since become unequivocal believers in Novocastrian talent.

That may be too cynical. Whatever, they rated I-Beam’s odds for AUC11 based on unrealised potential and not-so-much lead-in form. So it seemed.


Chapter 5 – AUC 2011, Brisbane

Apparently two wins from the last nine games described an ideal lead up. I-Beam flew into Brisbane and cleaned up their pool on day one. After two gimmes before lunch the team made a contest against Colony A and beat them (by one point, starting on offence) to reclaim the path for the number one seed. This reporter will forever remember the game for a rising Chrisboy Lavis collecting a tall pack grab and jogging away, parading the disc. The celebration allowed him to travel at least five metres before realising he was outside the endzone and had not scored.

Day two, power pools, two more wins. Much debate has come about the cusp-pool draw used for open division at AUC. The result was that I-Beam now faced clubs that were fierce to prove they deserved better than the dogfight they’d been tossed for day one. Clearly they were wrong. I-Beam weren't pressed by Chilly at all in the first game. They were pressed by Sublime (Perth) in the second game but still won.

The last power pool game, against Fyshwick Utd had become a dead rubber. The Canberra chumps, who had suffered the day before for planning to arrive too early at the venue, and then not retroactively fixing the error, won. Placing top of the power pool was bittersweet after losing to losers.

I-Beam’s performance was rewarded with a bye in the quarterfinals. In their semi-final they met Colony B (seed number 2). The game seesawed a lot. The difference in the end seemed to be when and where each team made their mistakes. Colony carried-on to win the tournament.

On the morning of Monday, April 4, I-Beam captain Tim Lavis entered the “Frisbee Central” clubhouse, dumped the Mark Parilla Cup in lost property then left unnoticed.


Chapter 6 – End-of-Season Awards

Many clubs from all sports reward a team’s campaign with an end-of-season celebration and presentation of awards. traditional awards are Rookie of the Year and Best and Fairest. I-Beam recognises the efforts and the end of a campaign with a celebration in nubsery.

Visit the voting poll this site for background information but the outcome was that photographic evidence is a powerful factor. For the first time in its history the trophy was awarded to a previous winner, Jonathan Tats Tatham.

Then it’s over. Just, like, that.

2011 rookies:

SuperFast Pete Munday

Lefty Chris Stoddard

Nathan Gallagher

I-Beam debut made by Kiwi Mike Connolly

Many thanks to captain Tim Lavis. He is back in the war room, chowing-down Focusyn