By KYLE LEHMAN
On Saturday Feb. 3, The University of Mary Washington men and women ultimate frisbee teams competed in the Megabowl, a local tournament in Fredericksburg, held at the Fredericksburg Field House.
“It’s a Megabowl. What’s not to understand?” reads the Staffburg Ultimate website, “This is history in the making. You’re gonna wanna tell your grandkids and their grandkids and their grandkids. And when they look back in the annals of history, they’re gonna be talking about three things: discovery of fire, invention of the submarine and the 4th annual Fred Vegas Megabowl. The trophy is 12 inches high, and it is GLORIOUS.”
The website’s description of the tournament might be vague and hyperbolic, but it underscores that the tournament is unique among ultimate frisbee tournaments. The Megabowl is certainly this unusual tournament. For starters, the Megabowl is played on an indoor field with a controlled environment which is different from the outdoor fields where sudden gusts and weather conditions throw in a number of variables forcing teams to adapt their playstyles.
The tournament is also different from other events the teams normally play in due to the fact the eight teams of fourteen people are randomized and co-ed from a pool of 112 players. UMW students were split up among several teams and had to compete with a team consisting of their teammates and members of the local community. This encourages collaboration and new thinking because not everyone knows the plays and strategies that these teams work on at practice.
The game rules were also different from regular ultimate frisbee. The games were half the time of a standard ultimate frisbee game, twenty minutes instead of forty, with ten minute halves instead of the regular twenty. But the biggest change was the substitution style was changed. In a standard regulation game, substitutions occur upon a team scoring a point. However, in the Megabowl, substitution is simultaneous with game time, similar to that of hockey, which made the time reduction a welcome change for the players.
This change makes playing these intense, fast paced games from 7 p.m. to almost 2 a.m. on a Saturday night a daunting task. Despite this, a number of UMW ultimate frisbee athletes were up to the challenge. The theme of the tournament was the Will Ferrell movie “Semi Pro” which made teams bearing names like “Bee Bee” or “Father Pat” go head to head.
“It was such an amazing experience and this tournament was unlike anything other I’ve competed in,” said Jenna Morgan, a sophomore on the women’s frisbee team, “It was super challenging to play intense games until the middle of the night, but I think I’ve learned a lot, gained some new skills, and made some new friends in the frisbee community.”
Not only were the players excited about the game, but spectators enjoyed the games as well.
“It was really cool to see how many people came out for it,” said Cayley McGuire, a sophomore at UMW who was watching the tournament, “I never really knew ultimate was big until I got to college.”
Ultimately after seven hours of games, the team who won the overall tournament was Team Bee Bee, who’s record in the end of the tournament was an impressive 5-3.