Potlatch 25 in Review

by | July 10, 2014, 8:53am 0

Once a year, ultimate community members from all over the world gather at 60 Acre Park in Redmond, Washington for an ultimate tournament called Potlatch. Potlatch is a living celebration of the Spirit of Game. This was my 9th year in Redmond, but it was the first time I was lucky enough to be involved with the amazing group of people who put Potlatch on. While it was a different experience all together, it was a very rewarding one.

As our sport evolves, the level of play is getting higher, more competitive, and becoming more legitimized. Three years ago when the USAU decided to make the US Open the same weekend of Potlatch, the entire ultimate community feared that Potlatch would never be the same again. Potlatch would never again be a combination of celebrating SOTG intermixing with showcase games featuring some of the best players in the game. It is true, the usual pool of elite players have been absent from recent years. But it is now more important than ever to remember the roots of ultimate and keep the Spirit alive.

Potlatch 25 had over 2200 people in attendance, and I had an opportunity to help enhance the experience for all of them. Now there were many shenanigans that took place at Potlatch this year, but here were some of the specific implementations:

Photo by Tino Tran

Best costume awards at the Silver Party (Photo by Tino Tran)

The Silver Party – Let’s face it, the ultimate community enjoys dressing up. We do it for parties all the time, and we will also enjoy the occasion to do it at tournaments. Some teams go all out for their tournament costumes at Potlatch, but there had never been any reason to dress up for the party. Being the silver anniversary of Potlatch, naturally the theme became silver. Now while the party at Redhook this year wasn’t as “off the chain” due to new regulations from the brewery, it was unbelievable to see hundreds of people dressed in many variations in silver dancing throughout the evening.

The Game Center – Potlatch attendees usually spend the weekend hanging with their teams during the day and while camping at night. There are almost always people playing disc games other than ultimate, such as Kan Jam, Suzie Sticks, Spikeball, and Cricket (there is no glass allowed the fields btdubs). We tried to establish a place at the center of the fields where people could come to play these games during their byes. This would ideally create an opportunity for play games and meet other people from the community during the day. Hopefully this will continue to grow.
Potlatch parade.

Potlatch parade in action.

A Golf Cart For The People – I didn’t really have a specific job during the tournament. However, I did have access to a golf cart and a megaphone for the entirety of the weekend. Naturally I took this opportunity to drive around, check out fun teams and their spirit games, but most importantly give rides to teams and their stuff throughout the weekend. I had one rule for people taking a ride in my golf cart, you had to use the megaphone to heckle friends and strangers. This culminated in what I like to call a Spirit Parade, where I drove around members of Parkland Quality Beats and their mobile speakers. We would drive into the middle of fields in between points calling a spirit timeout and encouraging teams to join together in a dance parade.

These ideas for the most part were well received by the participants of Potlatch, but as always there were some push back. There were times I came across people who would be angry with me and what I was doing. I saw many players getting into arguments with other players, or intentionally colliding with players to prevent a catch. To me, those actions didn’t reflect what Potlatch is all about. Other than those few incidents, there were an abundance of great time and people at Potlatch who proved that the ultimate community is strong and that the Spirit is still alive.

potlatchcrewPotlatch 25 was an unbelievable success and I am proud of the hard working group of people that make it happen. Thank you for a great weekend Potlatch, I look forward to seeing you all again there next year. I’d also like to present some awards from the weekend. Most are my personal preference, others are actual awards from the weekend.

Grandmaster of Potlatch: Bill Penrose
Winner of Potlatch Finals: Lords of the Latch
Favorite team at Potlatch: Shut Up, We’re Wizards
Best dressed team at Potlatch: Amazing Spidermen, The
Best Spirit Game at Potlatch: Skysharks Plinko game
Song of Potlatch: Rage by Hyper Crush (Honorable Mention: Spanish Flea)
Best Silver Costume Male: Denny from Less Talk More ROK
Best Silver Costume Female: Mel from Pants Off Dance Off
Worst Team at Potlatch (not actually): Delta House
Best New Addition to Potlatch: Dangerously Talented Friday Talent Show

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