Written by Lee Shao Xun
Edited by Cheryl Tan
Frantic eyes sweep across the field, looking for a shirt that matches yours. With every passing second, your mark whittles down the stall count – a staccato of urgency that mirrors the pounding in your chest. A teammate feints, pivots, and dashes off in an explosion of speed, breaking free from his mark, leaving him disarmed and ineffectual.
Your eyes meet his, and in that instance, an intuitive understanding forms between the two of you. You fake right, then left, then lean out past your mark and flick a forehand throw downfield. The disc departs your hand. It arcs past midfield, bleeding off velocity and slowing down as it floats towards the end zone. Your teammate gallops towards it, craning his neck up in search of his target. You see his gaze lock upon the disc, and hope swells up in you.
Time slows to a crawl as he leaps for the disc. That moment felt like forever, him poised in midair – an ephemeral snapshot of a ballet of sinew and sweat. Then his fingers close in on the disc, and that hope in you explodes into a euphoric starburst of triumph.
Last Thursday, this drama was played out on the greens countless times over as Keviians descended in hordes of bright colours upon UTown for IBG Ultimate Frisbee.
The evening began with a brief on the rules of Ultimate Frisbee by KE Ultimate captain Yi Jun. Ultimate is played five-a-side with handlers making passes and dictating game play while mids dash out to receive said passes. Get the disc to a teammate in the opposing end zone, be it by a string of short passes or a single long-ranged huck, and the team scores a point. With all the players on the same page rules-wise, the games kicked off with AB vs CD and E vs F!
Kah Wai and Nigel were raring to go right from the start and took advantage of a sleepy CD defence that not quite yet established chemistry. They led AB to a confident trouncing of CD 5 – 1.
On field 2, E vs F got off to a slow start. Static mids caused handlers to swing the disc amongst themselves multiple times, making slow progress and causing frequent turnovers. Eventually, the players warmed up and gameplay opened up, and each team getting 2 hard-fought points apiece. With seconds left before the whistle, Shih Yao let fly a huck that sailed over the heads of the E players, and met Hayden easily in the end zone.
F edged out E 3 – 2.
The next round of matches were AB v GH and CD v E.
AB hits their stride with 2 quickfire points right off the bat. GH responded with valiantly, netting 2 for themselves, but eventually succumbed to the favourites with a score of 4 – 2 against their favour.
E’s morale was bolstered by the timely arrival of devilishly handsome ladies’ man Jason Yuen. Their high spirits and tight man-marking led to a pacy 3 – 1 victory over CD.
All eyes then turned to F v GH while the other teams took a break, some of them taking the opportunity to wolf down a bowl of ‘la mian’.
Shih Yao was once again a linchpin in F’s end zone defence. His height and aerial prowess made it particularly difficult for GH to accomplish anything via hucks. F converted 2 points and scored one of their own before GH adapted to a play style with quicker, shorter passes. With that, they began to claw back into the game with 2 points. However, the collective experience of the players on F was too much of an advantage, and F came out on top with a final score of 5 – 2.
4 teams took to the field once again in the round that can only be described as lopsided. AB continued to be in top form, with near-flawless passes that split E’s zone defence wide apart time after time. The 4 – 0 on the scoreboard reflected how E never truly did manage to get a foothold onto the game.
Over on the other field, a similar story was playing out, but with a twist. CD, who was beginning to look like the underdog of the evening, showed both bite and bark as they systematically dismantled F’s gameplan. Quick on the draw and seamlessly executing continuation passes, they seemed to be an entirely different team from the one that put up lacklustre performances in the earlier two rounds. F was crushed under the heel of a CD team that had something to prove, and the game ended 5 – 0.
CD’s momentum carried forth into the next game with an unreserved assault on GH. Backhands, forehands, and even the occasional hammer rained down upon GH’s end zone, each into the grasp of a CD player. Yi Jun took to the field and proved her credentials as team captain with a hardworking and impactful performance – constantly offering the handlers options and sticking to her mark with dogged tenacity. GH was vanquished by CD in a 0 – 7 rout.
The last round saw minnows E and GH face off while a titanic battle of heavyweights raged on the adjacent field. With the title of champion on the line and a defeat possibly knocking the team down to 3rd, AB and F had everything to lose and to play for. A highly-strung match of skill, speed and teamwork played out in front of supporters as each player stuck to their mark like glue and handlers were loath to fumble a throw. Like ragged boxers trading hooks blow-for-blow in the ring, AB and F held nothing back when making cuts, feinting throws, and going for intercepts. The game went to match-point with a spirited equaliser courtesy of Kah Wai, and the tournament seemed to hinge on that final point.
But then the whistle was blown.
And with that, Block AB emerged champions! With a stellar record of 3 (convincing) wins and a fiercely contested draw, they were indubitably the best team on the field that evening.
By then, dusk had blanketed UTown in deep midnight blue. Players and their fellow blockers headed back to KE with brows stained with sweat, but faces lit up with the exultation of an evening well spent.