MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There’s an Ultimate Frisbee tournament this weekend just west of the Twin Cities that may be huge in size, but not in importance for one of the teams playing in it, according to team captain John Chandler.
“This is just kind of a practice tournament for us,” Chandler said.
Team Surly – named after, sponsored, and supplied by the brewery – is gearing up for its sixth-straight trip to the national championship, held next weekend in Denver.
“We pride ourselves on, sort of, being from Minnesota,” he said.
They’ve won four championships, including the last three in a row. They’re pretty much the Yankees of the Ultimate Frisbee Masters Division.
“We don’t have the payroll for it, (laughs), I would say that,” he said.
Masters Division means each of these guys is 33 or older, but they play the younger guys at tournaments like these because it’s good preparation before nationals.
“You know, you can make up a lot of ground by just being smarter,” Chandler said.
But before that…
“Really extensive warm-ups. I mean, we do probably 10 minutes of back loosening up in the morning, you know,” he said. “Thank goodness the weather broke yesterday or you’d see masters players dropping like flies probably (laughs).”
They’re not only known for their skills, but their sportsmanship.
“But certainly giving someone a delicious craft 16-ounce can of beer at the end of the game helps smooth over any, like, hard feelings during the game,” he said. “We’ve won the Spirit Award a couple of times. We’d like to think it has nothing to do with the beer.”
And yet, most Minnesotans don’t know that the top Masters Division team in the nation is right in their own backyard.
“I don’t think anybody knows. We have a bunch of trophies over at the brewery and occasionally I think people will ask about them. But yeah, it’s a well-kept secret,” Chandler said.
The winner of this year’s national title gets a trip to the World Championships, which, this year, is in Italy.
In the past, they’ve also been to Japan and Prague to compete.