Keeping the club together

Colony Brothers, or should I say, Colony and Bro-Others,

Although I'm very much out of the loop, I understand some young (and youngish) Colony players are splitting off to form a new team.

I guess that idea has a lot of momentum behind it now, maybe it's a done deal. But I still think it's worth sharing a little history so that your decisions are well informed.

You may think you are blazing a new path - discarding the pompous, self-righteous, entrenched leadership of the old guard and striking off to nationals (and maybe world clubs?) glory in a new, fresh, young, ballsy team.

And I guess you'd be right, except for two things. One is the 'new' bit. You are actually following in the well-trodden footsteps of a fair number of current and past teams in Oz, following where all (with the notable exception of HoS) have eventually succeeded. It's particularly a feature of Sydney ultimate, where Bunch of Schmucks/Feral and Fakulti are the best examples.

This trend fosters fairly good rivalries between the old guard and new, especially when the old guard have it over the new for a couple years (Return of Red Eye over Feral) and (Chilli over HoS).

But ultimately the trend of new talented players establishing new teams rather than building up the existing ones hurts Australian ultimate. At worlds this year, the open and women's teams ended up in the same relative bracket that they have been in for at least a decade - threatening the nth americans but not quite getting there, and then playing out disappointing games for the bronze…or lesser results.

The best north American teams have real continuity. They are the best because they use the best of their olds, youngs and peak age warriors. They've got the legs, the brains, and vicious determination to put games away and come back from the brink. They know how to bring it because they've been doing it together year after year.

Good Australian teams must be based on good Sydney teams. If you can't field a world beating club team in Sydney, Australia has no chance against the north americans, and you youngsters will play out the same heart-breaking 3-8 consolidation games for the next decade and a half.

The other thing about the current picture that doesn't fit the traditional setup is my characterisation of the leadership of the old guard. Colony is without doubt the best, fairest, most constructive, most positive, most cooperative, most welcoming and nurturing of input from young talent of any team I played in. 10-20 years ago things were different. Teams were run by arrogant cakeholes like Garvey, Pottsy and myself. But the days of the older, abusive, throw-away leadership seem to be behind us, perhaps…

In Colony at least, all the youngsters with talent immediately become leaders and pivotal players. Mark Evans and Cupcake - what will you be doing on the field with any team you run unconditionally that you could not do with Colony? I just can't see the upside.

I realise I'm pyssing in the wind; that history will repeat itself; that the yearning to establish a new team is inexorable. And I realise I'm delivering a 'do as I say, not as I did' sermon. But it ain't for my sake. Us oldies are bit-players at best, even in the nationals context, and are of course very unlikely to play a non-masters worlds tourney. It's you guys who have to live with the national team you create, including through the development - or not - of a globally lethal club team.

I'd suggest, at very least, plan to bring the Sydney strength back together in 2014 for a serious tilt at world clubs. The future is your hands.


Sacha Vidler 2012