DT10: Fuji dreaming
One of the key values of a shared experience seems to be the tendency of that moment to expand and grow in significance beyond the initial details of the experience.
Over time individuals who share in a trial or success, a joy or period of adversity collectively reflect on their experience and create meaning, solidarity and motivation in light of the joint activity.
Every person interacts with the world with their own perspective, and everyone carries their own bias. This means that the same event can deliver a different impact and sensation for each individual. It is through the communicating of these individualised interactions that a shared experience builds and grows into something rich, influential and special.
The Dingoes recently spent a week in Japan being impacted by the bizarre, spectacular and enjoyable details of a massive shared experience. In this Dingo Tracks Lachlan McDonald, Alex Shepherd and Eshan Wicrème come together to help us explain the magic and joy we found out in the world together.
The 2016 Dream Cup was a brilliant journey for our team to experience, in many ways we have returned home forged and invigorated.
What thoughts flow into your mind when you think of the adventure to Japan with the Dingoes?
The laughter and shared experiences with the Pack. The focus which the boys brought to the big moments, and the complete confidence in each person associated with the team to play their role. The amazing level of camaraderie that is present in this team.
I think about the bus trips with the Firetails and getting to know them better. It was special to be bonding with another Australian team, it seems to normally only come from a Worlds experience. It is great that bonding is happening months before we all begin that tournament.
What I really feel though is how amazing it was to have this opportunity to play a tournament with the team before Worlds, and experience playing with the team in meaningful games.
For me the first thought is that of progression. Progression on and off the playing field. From the first warm up the team starting to connect and become this singularity with the ultimate goal to represent ourselves and each other to the best of our abilities. Regarding the off field, the entire team continued to develop our own branding of ‘bant’ to keep the on and off times separate.
While all these are positives, I’m certain over the next few months the team is going to think back to the Dream Cup and the adventures around it and reflect and project ways to improve our performance.
The first thing that comes to mind for me is the almost alternate universe that is Japanese culture and Japanese Ultimate. This was a brand new culture for me to experience, and I must say, I was blown away. Fundamentally, we share a lot of similarities. They have their large cities, they commute to work, they eat out at restaurants and they play Frisbee. But it was how the Japanese approach these aspects of their lives that seemed to be so fascinatingly different to what we are accustomed to. It is such a technology-driven country, from their multi-functional toilets to the ridiculously fast Shinkansen bullet train. There was no shortage of amazing food options that we could explore which really give you that authentic Japanese feel that would be unattainable anywhere else in the world.
But it was the brand of Ultimate that the Japanese bring to the game that really stands out to me. The sheer size of their community was astonishing. The abundance of colour on the uniforms. How differently they prepare for games. The development stages they must go through in learning to throw and cut. Most of all I loved the different tactical and structural looks they had in their game, from handler iso’s to their half-court defences. It is amazing to think that such a different style of play can be just as competitive and effective against what we are so familiar with.
How has the team benefited from attending the Dream Cup?
I feel the team has learnt how and what it means to be a team for ourselves and for the Ultimate community. There was lots of discussions during the trip about being involved within the Ultimate community and I personally am a big supporter of this. Being somewhat of a younger player on the team, and playing with some guys who I looked up to as amazing players when I first started playing was a true inspiration to take what was said to heart.
The team bonded through the pre-game huddles where everyone was so close both physically and mentally, being psyched up by one of Mike’s many well planned and powerful speeches. When the pull came up, everyone knew exactly what the goal of the game was; to win like a Dingo should.
We have definitely found the perfect balance of seriousness/focus and #bant throughout the team. When we need to lock in and concentrate on the goals at hand, it occurs almost instantaneously across the team. On the other hand, we are still fine with ripping into a mate to alleviate any tension if needed #canberrabant. As a result, everyone is happier and enjoying the game that we are playing. The atmosphere itself is the ultimate tank filler, which just overflows across the team, helping us perform at our peak.
The opportunity to experience the up and downs of a tournament together before Worlds has been an invaluable experience. As a team we faced games that were ‘should win’, games when we were behind, and a big final with lots of spectators. In my previous Dingo campaign I did not have this opportunity and I feel this experience will help us tremendously as we head towards Worlds. I am very grateful that we have had a chance to play as the Dingoes at a tournament before the World Championships.
I loved the little things that come from playing at a tournament with the team. Such as establishing a set routine for our warm ups, understanding what my role will be when I am on the field and having the chance to play with some of the boys that I have not had the chance to play with in meaningful games before.
What did you learn about the team, or a teammate during the tournament in Fuji?
That we are capable of taking on the entire world, no matter how fast, creative, or different their Ultimate may be. We have the skill, the talent, the athleticism and depth (my god the depth in our team!). It is so comforting knowing that we can look to literally anyone on the team to get the job done when need be.
That when we are focused the Dingoes are a powerful team. When things are not going our way we can adapt and move forward. The more time that we spend together as a team the more outrageous the banter becomes. The love that Mark Evans has for the song Semi-Charmed Life. The tendency that Peley has for losing his girlfriend. AJ’s varied supply of chocolate snacks that never, ever runs out. I could go on.
Aside from the general things that everyone knows like Brendo being really fast, and Isherwood being a Guru. I learnt that this team can pull together to be the greatest team in the world. An example of this is in the semi-final where we were down 2 breaks in a 50 minute game and pulled together after a time out to take out the game 12-9. The guys rallied together and searched deep inside for the spirit to take back what we knew was our game.
How do you feel about the journey going forward after the experience of some world class frisbee?
It is a truly exciting time. I feel so grateful that I have another chance to build with this team at TEP Medillin and go up against the level of teams that will be present at that tournament. My bank account might not be very happy with me but I feel like this next experience provides the Dingoes with another chance to play world class frisbee which is something that Australian representative teams do not get to do all that often. I am still thinking about how much I have gained from this experience a week later. I have an understanding on a team level of what it feels like to be a part of this team playing Dingoes style ultimate.
On a personal level I feel like this tournament has helped me begin to discover mentally what state of mind I need to be in order to play world class defence for this team. I cannot wait to expand on this and experience it all again in May in South America with the pack.
I am really excited for the potential of the Dingoes. We played some amazing Ultimate during the Dream Cup, but post tournament most guys were already thinking ahead of how they can increase or alter their training to get more out of what they do. This forward thinking and passion to perfect our craft is what has really driven myself to expand and grow as a player and a person.
I am certain that by the time of the World Championships the Dingoes will be ready to take on the world and make Australia proud.
I just want more of it! I can’t wait to see the Colombian style of play at TEP. Also the opportunity to have practice against the US team, outside of Worlds will be so valuable. I am looking forward to seeing what happens when the pack is pushed to its limits. There will be no shortage of world-class opponents in our next tournament, which I think will be the best possible preparation going into Worlds. We also have so much more to give with a couple more big names returning to our line up, it can only get better from here on in.
Thank you very much Lachlan, Alex and Esh, some great thoughts and descriptions. The Dingoes travelled to Japan, played a renowned tournament and returned home very aware of the fortunate position we are in. We are all proud and grateful of the opportunity to spend our time sharing experiences and building something that feels very special.
This Dingoes team is determined to continue creating a group of people committed to excellence, passion and community. Our trip to Japan offered a wonderful opportunity to do just that.
Thank you for joining us for Dingo Tracks 10, we’ll continue to share the stories and experiences that emanate from this unique team.