Ultimate GT: Episode 7 | Catchup Graz
by | February 1, 2018, 9:29am 0
It was at Windmill that I first met Catchup’s Valentin Vogl while running a two-day clinic with RISE UP. He asked me about boxing out taller opponents in the air. We quickly found camaraderie as short guys with hops. Later my team of coaches would face-off against Catchup in a windy, but very friendly game. I remember it distinctly because I threw a couple passes that the wind carried off, one of which that I may have passed to myself in skying a pile of players, thinking that someone had touched the disc.
It was 2013, my second time at Windmill. If there was an experience worthy of an episode of UGT, that one easily fits the bill. Luckily there’s some video evidence of what went down when a group of Americans flew to Amsterdam to coach, win the parties (at least in our own heads) and win a championship.
I kept in touch with Valen and would follow Catchup on social media from time to time, taking note of their blossoming youth scene and competitive development. As UGT started taking off, I’d ping Valentine about the possibility of filming in Austria. Then in 2016, Skyd and Windmill partnered (much thanks to Nan Derosa and Hilco Beukema) and with WUGC’s production shortly after, everything aligned to travel to Europe and film with Catchup.
As usual, the volunteers and organizers at Windmill were amazingly accommodating and put on a tremendous carnival. There’s truly nothing like it in this sport. But something about producing this episode was different. For starters, we were filming it backwards.
Typical episodes of UGT push towards a competition where the protagonists (me and the featured teams) fight for some important goal. But this time, we’d be starting at Windmill, and winning the tournament wasn’t as important as experiencing the phenomenal event. I thought, maybe I can flip things around and play with the timeline. But I had already finished UGT6 with Furious by the time I started editing this one, and the notion of building towards some big game seemed a bit stale.
I was perplexed, which, in conjunction with many life changes, meant I didn’t quite know how to start editing this episode, hence the awful delay. Eventually, in logging footage, the story and focal point began to emerge. This was a story about a city and exploration. About community and history. Graz itself was the story and the family of Catchup, the highlight. This episode would be different, but it would be special in its own way.
My time in Graz was unforgettable. I really had no idea what I was getting into when I was going to visit. I expected some random, European city with perhaps not much to write home about. But what I found was truly something special. For me, Graz ended up feeling like one of those rare places I could call home. I could envision myself spending summers in the city park, hiking the nearby mountains, writing in a cafe, and strolling Graz’s stone streets in the twilight. I couldn’t have imagined that this city in Austria would become one of my favorite places in my travels, but it did. Now I can’t imagine a trip to Europe without stopping by and enjoying the laid back Styrian way of life.
Catchup too could not have been warmer, and as you’ll see in this episode (make sure you watch the end), they’ve done something that’s simply wonderful.