Monday, May 02, 2005

The Daily Curmudgeon

Thinking about it, I realized that I'm as bad as the media in focusing on what's wrong with ultimate, rather than what's right. So, in a continuing effort to be fair and balanced, I present you with some good news.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, and began playing ultimate there in 1983 as a high school senior. My first tournament ever was as an illegal ringer for Allderdice in some national high school tournament on the Mall in DC. A six-team summer league formed that summer and was the biggest draw that got me hooked into the game.

This year, there are 18 teams in the Pittsburgh High School league (PHUL). And from what I understand, the kids themselves do most of the organizing for it. They recently decided to host a hat tournament even. Say what you will about hat tournaments, but the fact that these kids love ultimate so much that they're willing to play turnover-laden ultimate with a bunch of kids they don't know is awesome.

7 comments:

Alec said...

Pittsburgh ultimate has recently produced one or two of the up and coming juniors (Tommy Hendrickson is most recognizable) and I feel like the junior programs are really begining to take off. The only program i know right now is coached by Matt Weiss, but from what he says, Alderdice is not bad, Fox Chapel is pretty good, I think Plum or something as well, I forget. But the point is, they didnt have this when I was there a few years ago, which sucks, but these kids get a shot now, which is good. I wish I was in high school again.

Anonymous said...

PHUL (Pittsburgh Highschool Ultimate League) was founded in 2001 with Baldwin, Carrick, Central Catholic, Fox Chapel, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, Seneca Valley teams. Where were you?

Henry Thorne

PS And you're right that Shadyside is the only "coached" team. I "facilitate" the North Hills helping them run their own show and teaching where it can help. I'm very into the kids having ownership of their team as opposed to either parents or the school (like every other sport).

Alec said...

Shady Side Academy of course. There was a smaller program there, unorganized and unathletic. I didnt say that SSA was the only coached program, it is the only one that I know, or know of if that makes it more clear. As for letting the sport belong to the kids, I dont think that is always the best idea. As a college student, I find it really tough to keep people motivated and competative...but maybe that isnt what you are looking for. I think that coached and inclusive are not mutally exclusive. But thats just my .02

Henry Thorne said...

As for letting the sport belong to the kids, I dont think that is always the best idea.

commie

parinella said...

Have the kids yet wanted to do something that you think is wrong? Can you envision a situation where they would come up with an idea that you would veto, say, if they wanted to have an elite male only league?

Henry Thorne said...

they vote on everything and I don't have a vote. I drive though, so I could pull the "drive" veto. I don't plan to. I have ideas and try to convince them I'm right so I have influence. But they have control.

Henry Thorne said...

on commie

communism is about central authority having control. Ultimate is the antithesis where control is in the hands of each player (and each organizer, and each captain who makes a team). As a community and a sport we reap huge benefits from that disemination of control. I'm trying to maintain those benefits in this new era where the sport starts at a young age, an age where typically the individual has little authority or control. It would be pretty easy, natural even, to blow that off and run the team and the league, but I'm restraining myself and letting my kids have the same experience I had.