2004 Season Summary


In it’s first year, Zen Asylum was no different than most other teams.  We held tryouts.  We attracted some new faces and some old.  We made our cuts and took our newly minted team to a tourney… and got promptly thrashed.  Well, thrashed would be an over-exaggeration.  We actually performed well and played solid games against teams like 626 and lost a heartbreaker in the last 5 minutes to Lunchbox who had just come in 2nd at Gender Blender, a few weeks earlier.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Year One: Entering the Asylum

pictured: Julie Ducharme, Scott Belair, Jason RundellWe started the year with a posting on the TUC BBS, as well as sending the message out through our own mailing list to the members of The Ultimate Experience.  After the success of our open roster team, Mars Meet Venus, we were going to start a higher level, more competitive team with the goal of holding regular practices, playing hard, and going to a lot of tourneys.  Incidentally, the team was also designed to allow for players to play on single gender teams as well during the core touring months of July and August.

We received a decent level of interest, however we had been slow to get started, preferring to hold off until after the single gender teams held their tryouts. We didn’t expect that there would be almost a dozen touring teams either fold, or start up in 2004.

In the end, our tryout numbers were below what we’d been hoping for. However, what we lacked in numbers we made up for in spirit and style. The people we met who came out to our second tryouts were talented and fun-loving. We couldn’t have asked to meet nicer people than those we lucked into meeting there.

The tryouts went ahead, and with relatively few cuts, we had our core roster of 14 players plus an additional set of players on our practice roster.

With a couple of short weeks of practice we were off to our first tourney, this one in North Bay, the infamous and fun, Northern Flights.

Northern Flights

Northern Flights 2004For those who haven’t been, Northern Flights offers one special rule. In the spirit of “when in Rome, do as the Romans”, when playing in a tourney in North Bay, you follow their own unique twist on the rules. That is, a disc caught fully behind the back in the end zone counts for two points instead of just one. It sounds easy and anyone given enough time can learn to catch behind their back when standing still. Jason alone must have spent close to an hour trying to perfect this delicate move.

Catching behind your back while going at a full out run is another story though!

pictured: Jason Rundell, Scott Chin, Scott BelairThe team did well for it’s first time out, and thanks to a few extra bodies who bravely came along to help us out, we managed to put up a good fight against the teams we played against. We had a great time playing against Big Fish, 626, BUC Wild, Lunchbox (just to name a few) and they seemed to have fun with us both on and off the field. As always the party was legendary, though it got started long before the bar. Stephanie’s last minute purchase of a blender and my own bartending experience from Gender Blender a few weeks earlier with Mars Meet Venus helped ensure a smooth start to the night too.

In the end, I think it is safe to say everyone had a great time and Zen was off to a good start.

TUC Mid-season

Monster UltimateThe team entered a last minute bid for the TUC Midseason tourney. A few of us were up late the night before making up little fabric drawstring bags to hold the spirit prizes we had got. We also didn’t get our core roster out for this and instead ended up picking up with Karen’s League team. So there our roster was, half in Zen, and half sane. We played surprisingly well for a group that wasn’t familiar with each other and even managed to put on a good enough game to beat our friends in Monster.

Co-ed Jamboree

Co-ed Jamboree 2004At the beginning of August, the team was off again… to Ottawa this time.  Once again, the core roster was scattered, this time due to the date for the RUB tournament in Rochester falling on the same date.  Several of our players, in keeping with the goal of the team we put out in the spring, were committed to playing with their single gender teams.  That meant they were off to the states to one of the more last competitive warm ups before nationals, thus leaving Zen looking for subs yet again.

pictured top: Donna Moritsugu, Cyn Ho, Connie Lee. pictured bottom: Shawn Lee, Kirk Brown, Jason RundellHowever, our luck held and we found a couple of great people to join us. The weekend was spent suffering through the rainy weather (though it made laying out a real treat!) and making friends with the crazy ultimate players they breed in Quebec! If you haven’t visited the gallery, you should go there to see the videos of the spirit game they introduced us to.

Fun times and slip-n-slide grass was not enough however, and Zen came home from the tourney without a single win.

London Calling

London Calling 2004The next tourney up was London Calling, and, for the first time since it formed, Zen would have almost it’s entire core roster out… except the women that is, but I’m skipping ahead again.  After the string of losses at Co-ed Jamboree, Zen was ready to come out and play hard!

The weather was amazing for the tourney, the field food superb (I mean, how often do you see peaches next to the oranges, bananas, apples and bagels?), and the competition fun-tastic! We played against Toronto based rivals Rotterdam and Hot-D, as well as several other fun teams.

On the second day, we had one of our more memorable games of the season. The team found itself with only 3 women, which meant they’d be playing without subs in the 26 degree heat! Our first match up was against a team out of Peterborough who had picked up a couple of top notch ringers. We played a solid game, trading point for point until we were able to pull ahead right at the end and win the game by a two point margin. It was a fantastic game and one we owe largely to our women.

We beat our seed at the tourney and looked ahead to the fall series.  We were finally starting to show some of the promise we knew we had had all along.

Unknown Legends

Unknown Legends 2004The team went through a bit of a shuffle as people went off to school and new recruits were added to fill out the fall roster for the team. However, the team pulled together and recommitted themselves to upholding the principles of good spirit and good hard playing on the field.

pictured: Julie Decharme, Kirk Brown, Donna Moritsugu, Karen Clark, Malissa Lundgren, Mark Williams, Scott Chin, Shawn Lee and othersThe team’s performance was somewhat sporadic at this tournament with some of our best games against the top teams, and some of our worst playing against weaker teams. All told though, we had a good time and managed to work on a couple of new plays and run drills during the byes. We still managed to make sure that we had time to compose some spirited cheers for every team we played. Overall, I think the teams appreciated our sense of humour.

Jaggermeister spirit prizeOne other important thing happened at Unknown Legends. Zen Asylum took home the prize for Spirit! It is our first tourney spirit prize as a team and we were thrilled to receive it. Well, some were thrilled more than others, but I hear that depends on if you think Jaggermeister is a real drink or not.  Thanks to all the amazing teams we played!


Oktoberfest 2004The team woke on the Saturday morning of Oktoberfest weekend to be greeted by a surprisingly sunny morning. Surprising because the day had called for high winds, bitter cold and driving rain. Little did we realize at the time that all of that and more was in store for us… just later in the day.

After a slow start, Zen managed to move out of the spirit pool and into the top 16 after the first two games. Some hard fought games in the afternoon, under miserable conditions, found us placed in the Consolation pool for Sunday play.

Sunday brought even higher winds, and even more bitter cold. In spite of that, Zen played out all three games on Sunday and managed to exceed our ranking coming into the tourney by 6 spots! Our sister team, Mars Meet Venus, also managed to beat it’s ranking and went on to win the spirit pool.


Goosebowl 2004Zen Asylum cruised into its final tourney with a small roster and a face full of wind. We had thought that Oktoberfest was bad for wind, but Goosebowl proved to us that the skies of November are worse when they turn gloomy.

We started off in a good pool facing a team of vicious pirates. After a narrow win, we went on to lose our next game quite resoundingly. Disheartened by the bad loss, we were unable to take the lead in our third game of the day and lost by a heartbreaking single point.

pictured: Malissa Lundgren, Ted Hepner, Mark Williams, Shawn Lee, Lisa Breton, Eric Lau, Cyn HoThat brought us to the toughest match of the day against Guanxi. Ranked 6th overall, we knew that Guanxi was looking to go home with the top spot. We lost the toss and were faced with the headwind and going uphill. Hard as it may be to believe but the field had a severe downward slope. The heads of the people at one end were about level with the feet of the people at the other. Facing into the wind we prepared for our toughest match of the day.

The game went as one might expect with the two teams trading points back and forth. Were we intimidated that they had the captains from two of Toronto’s top Open teams playing for them? No. Were we intimidated that they had the MVP from the gold medal winning Women’s team playing for them? No. Were we intimidated by the nun outfit running around? You bet.

Even so, we managed to score the first upwind of the game, putting us into the lead. It was a thrilling moment. However, in true championship style, Guanxi came back on the very next pull to battle uphill and claim their own upwind point.

Going into the half it was a close game, however in the end, time defeated us. Having lost the pull, Guanxi had the upper hand and was able to claim the one point victory.

Astoundingly, our pool of 5 teams, ended with three teams having a 1-3 record. Due to our great point differential, we topped the lower two teams and made our way into the second bracket of 8 for playoffs on Sunday.

The party… oh what a party what a night. Everyone looking good dressed in costume and the place was packed.

More hard play, with a reduced roster thanks to injuries bringing our active player count down to eight, saw us take our first game of the day. In the end, it came down to us versus MAUPHO for 9th and 10th place. It was a hard fought game for the last game of the season on a cold and rainy day. And, while we were not able to claim victory in the game, we claimed a team victory for the season with our first top 10 finish as a team.

Way to go team!

2004 In Summary

The year was a great first year for the team.

We started as a group of strangers and finished as a team of friends.  We started as a bunch of players looking to improve and finished as top ten athletes looking for the next challenge.

And though the team had its ups and downs, and though there were times I thought it would drive me crazy I can say this….

I was proud to meet and play with each of you and know I will never forget the summer of 2004 and the team I played with named Zen Asylum.

See you in 2005,