The 20th annual Hats, Hops, Hucks Ultimate Frisbee Tournament was a spectacle to behold over the weekend at Highlands Park in Ben Lomond.
More than 250 ultimate Frisbee players from all over the globe gathered for the two-day tournament, July 16 and 17, that throws an interesting twist into the rapidly growing sport of Ultimate Frisbee.
Where most tournaments invite players to enter together as teams, Hats, Hops, Hucks uses a computer program designed to create teams. A pool of all the athletes is divided up based on fitness, stamina, age and gender, and then the software pulls the teams out of a hat, so to speak. Teams then meet for the first time at the softball fields at Highlands Park to compete against other computer-generated teams.
“This competition has grown exponentially for decades now, without any real good reason, except how fun it is,” said event founder Mo Moscoe. “We have people from Scotland, Arizona, Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as a healthy crew from the Bay Area.”
Fifteen teams battled in three pools named to correspond with the theme of the year — this year, food: the Pool Breakfast, Pool Lunch and Pool Dinner.
Throughout each game, players were required to don the silliest hats possible. If a hat fell off, it had to be put back before anything else could be done.
In the finals, team FLICK’n’CATCHaSCORIE defeated PrimeBID, 17-12.
Though many folks traveled together to play in the tournament, there is never a guarantee that they will even know any of their teammates.
The playing field was a spectacle as colorful hats on sweaty bodies hurled themselves at dervish speeds in pursuit of the flying Frisbee. Figuring out who was who was possible only because of colored team T-shirts that separated the spectrum of colors adorning each head.
“Lots of these guys know each other from past games,” Moscoe said. “Nobody knows what the teams will look like.”
The hungry hundreds were fed each evening by Moscoe and his crew. On Saturday, sixteen volunteers from the SLV Senior Center served pancakes, eggs and hash browns to the participants.
Carol Childers, who sits on the center’s board of directors, said they served 213 plates in about an hour.
“It’s so much fun,” Childers said of the annual tradition. “It’s insane. We really enjoy doing it.”
Many of the players camped together at the Santa Madre Center on Glen Gary Road in Felton and carpooled to the park each day for the competition.