Speed Flow

In the beginning there was the Throw. Long before nail delays, before body rolls, before turnovers, there was the simple launching of the plastic disc through the air to a desired target. Or perhaps there was no target at all. How many of us were first introduced to disc play by merely watching it fly for the first time on the street by our house, or at a nearby park, or at the school  yards, at the beach, or outside our dorm room window? Watching the effortless flight enticed us all to get “out there” and let it fly ourselves. And, if you did not master this basic skill – the throw – then your disc playing days were probably numbered.

Ultimate Frisbee has long been the acknowledged “gateway drug to this wonderful addiction”. In recent years, the clang of chains on a disc golf course heard by innocent bystanders have had no less effect than the wayward intentions of those “Sirens baiting Jason’s Argonauts” – that is to say the allure is too much to rebuff.

So in an effort to rekindle our collective long lost primeval fascination with throwing, we bring back “Speed Flow”.

Many years ago at an IFA North American Series meet in Austin Texas, Speed Flow was included as a “side event” in addition to Freestyle, Distance, DDC, etc. The format and rules were fairly simple. Teams of two players stood about 15 meters apart and throwing back and forth had 60 seconds to complete as many catches as possible. Teams received 1 point for every catch, 2 points for a trick catch (behind the back, between the legs, etc). Extra points were not awarded for trick throws – this contest was one of speed, accuracy and execution.

This contest created one other remarkable consequence. Many people who descended upon Auditorium Shores that day in Austin were initially disguised as “spectators”. A few minutes into the Speed Flow event – witnessing the “experts” executing the simple task of throwing back and forth proved too tempting to pass up and an “I can do that” realization gradually swept through the audience. “New” Frisbee players began emerging from the crowd and entered as contestants. There were even some guys who just happened to be passing through but having been stopped in their tracks by the cheering and thunderous oohs and ahs, also decided – “Yeah, I can do that”.

Fast forward to April 13, 2012….

The 36th edition of the Virginia State Frisbee Tournament included Speed Flow! There will be one round with the highest team point total determining the victors. Practice makes perfect. Daily doses of Speed Flow will improve the following: a) you throwing, b) your catching, c) your accuracy, d) overall execution, e) your relationship. So get out there and throw….and catch.

For the record, the winners of the Speed Flow event at the 36th VA State Frisbee Tournament were Robert McLeod and Sam Kaye, beating two members of the Coloradicals by 1 point.

It has occurred to me that maybe “in the end a throw is just a throw”, but really no explanation is necessary, except perhaps this Latin doctrine pointed out to me by our very own Tournament Director & Constable Eric Olsen: Res ispa loquitur – “The thing speaks for itself.”

Authors note: One additional fact I would like to add is that the powers that be – I don’t remember who (although Chris Baker was tourney director and President of the Lone Star Frisbee Club) – set an entry fee of $1 for all Speed Flow contestants with all proceeds going to the 1st, 2nd & 3rd places. Two guys from New Jersey had their car break down in Texas and surely welcomed the 1st place booty that March weekend in 1980… 😉

Jens Velasquez

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