2005 Season Summary


In it’s second 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. Wait, if this sounds a lot like year one, it’s because we discovered that running a competitive touring team is different than just a group of friends. People will come and go, the team’s fortunes will rise and fall, but through it all… you’ll make new friends and individually we’ll each improve. Here is how our 2nd year went down.

Year Two: Escaping The Straight Jacket

TUC LogoWe had known since the forming of the team that we wanted this team to be focused on improvement and competition. The harsh reality of that is that often people who are friends don’t have the same goals. We knew that not only would we lose some people because they had other ambitions, but also that we would (ideally) have to make some hard decisions and possibly not invite back people who hadn’t put the time in to be better than others trying out. Once again we posted on the TUC BBS, but we were smarter this time and knew better what to expect. TUC was running an info session and we went and attended and made out pitch. We ended up with more interest in the team this year and we started to make plans to move the team towards a better goal. We wanted to finish in the top 10 at every tournament we went to this year. While a modest goal for some teams, this was a big goal for us. We felt that if we could achieve that, then the following year we would settle for only top 8 and so on.

We ran tryouts indoors on field space we rented at the Waterside Sports Dome (which is long since retired and paved over down on the Lakeshore). We had a good number of people come out and we were optimistic about the new team. Malissa Lundren was promoted from a player to Assistant Coach and we welcomed Bill Boyer on board as a player/coach for the team. This was the start of a long history of coaching with Zen, and was laid the groundwork for the philosophy of having off-field coaching.

We also rebranded ourselves this season. Doing away with the yellow jerseys, and enlisting the help of Hilary Leung to create a new logo for the team.

Before all of this though, there was the off-season…


pictured: Kirk Brown, Mark Williams, Bonnie Lee, Eric Lau, Shawn Lee, Connie Lee and others Snowplate is tournament that happens up north during the middle of the winter. Glorious fun when there is fresh powder, miserable if it’s damp and wet. Regardless of who you are, experience at this tournament matters… and not experience playing ultimate…. experience in surviving the cold!

Many of the people who had played Zen in 2004 wanted to get together to play this tournament, so Connie Lee took up a Zen roster to represent. Much fun and hot chocolate was had by everyone, and they even created their own mascot for the team. Sadly, this well endowed individual was unable to attend tryouts in the spring.

Toronto Ultimate Festival

pictured: Blue McClellan and Donna MoritsuguThe team started it’s official 2005 season at the Toronto Ultimate Festival hosted by the Toronto Sports and Social Club. This tournament was held at Sunnybrook Park. Though we were still making rostering decisions, the team came out firing and we went home with a 5th place finish. This was one of the biggest tournaments for us to date and with a 5th place finish, we were thrilled and looking forward to the rest of the season.

Ultimate Long Weekend

pictured: Norman Lew, Malissa Lundgren, Blue McClellan, Jason Rundell, Shawn Lee, Scott Chin, Kirk Brown, Mark Evans, Sean Evans, Pam Evans, Marc Pawelski This was a tournament held at Camp Olympia up near Huntsville. It hadn’t been on our initial radar to attend this tournament so we only went with a skeleton squad, and we were lucky enough to find some great pickups to help us. The tourney was a drink all you can, camp in cabins, play other sports, sort of weekend. It was amazing. The team finished 9th.

Gender Blender

pictured: Jason Rundell and Scott ChinOnce again, as a somewhat newish team still, a few of our rostered players had other commitments and we were joined by a couple of brave souls to help us out at the tournament. Though we didn’t end up with a top 10 finish, in a field of 40 teams with part of our roster missing, we were happy with the result. Especially in light of Sunday morning hangovers. This is Gender Blender after all. Finished 15th.

Sheep Dip ScotchWe went with a pirate theme and built a pirate ship. Our game required two people to pop a balloon between themselves without using any hands and then use the ‘gold coin’ from inside the balloon to buy their drink. We were awarded the prize for best game by the tourney directors. In retrospect… never let a screaming crowd convince you it is a good idea to down an entire bottle of Sheep Dip scotch.

Northern Flights

pictured top: Rich Chao.  pictured bottom: Scott ChinThis was a great tournament for us. With out actual full roster together for the first time all season, we had an opportunity to finally match up against other touring teams from Ontario and Quebec. During the course of the weekend we would go on to beat both local rivals Monster, as well as Quebec rivals RIP. In the end, we finished 11th but came away having learned a lot about each other (sometimes too much!), and starting to click on the field. We also came away with a number of new friends. Playing spirit games with RIP afterwards cemented them in our eyes as not only a tough playing team, but great spirited players. They were definitely our favourite match-up of the weekend.

Ontario Regionals

pictured: the entire teamThis was our first attempt going to a regionals tournament. There were only 6 teams, and we came in last. Sadly, that was also the only position that wouldn’t advance to Canadian Nationals that year. Our goal going into the tournament had been to gain the experience we needed to build toward the following year. After several tough losses on the Saturday, our last game was against he #1 seed Bodhi. We came out and surprised ourselves matching them point for point and even taking a one point lead briefly during the first half. They took the half by one, and came out in the 2nd half to teach us the true meaning of competitive play and crushed us. It was a humbling experience, but also an uplifting one as we realize that we could push a top team to have to treat us with respect on the field and actually bring their game. We would learn from this and apply it next year.

Catch The Spirit

pictured: Shawn Lee, Mark Williams, Nakita Buenbrazo, Marc Pawelski, Rahil Suleman, Julie Belair, Bill Boyer, Blue McClellan  This tournament was held in Barrie and Zen took home top spot in the competitive division! Tournament Champions!

Okay, so I have a couple of confessions. This tournament was in it’s first year, and as such didn’t attract a huge following. In fact I think there were only about 8 or 9 teams in the competitive division. Also, there were not many high level touring teams present as this took place on the weekend right around other tournaments and most teams were taking a weekend off. But we also took a very small roster to the event. That said, this was the first ‘tournament win’ for many of us. And while rationally we knew that it was a small tourney, with a weaker pool of talent… when it’s your first tournament win, deep down, you are still just a little big excited about it.

Mixed Up Ultimate

This is a big tournament and well attended by tournaments from both Ontario and Quebec. A number of teams have used this tournament over the years as a warm up for nationals. Zen was able to walk away with a 15th place finish, beating Toronto team COOL in the 15/16 game. Camelot won. Gecko 5th. Swingers 10th. BMF 3rd. seVen finished 11th. Monster finished 20th. Waterloo’s new team Liquid was 6th. And Ontario’s top see Bodhi posted a 7th place finish. A much improved RIP squeaked into the championship bracket but lost on Sunday to finish 8th. Zen’s friendly rivals BigFish came in 13th. Waterloo’s 2nd squad Quicksand 18th. MMV 30th (out of 31)

London Calling

Zen went back to this tournament because we’d had such a great time the year before.


pictured: Terra Renton, Mark, Ian Brooks, Marc Pawelski, Melody, Scott, Kirk Brown, Jason Rundell, Cassandra Lennox, Blue McClellan, Shawn Lee, Julie Kramer, Katie Murray Now officially into our off season, we picked up a few friends from our friends on the BMF. We also picked up an aussie with a cannon of an arm, which came in handy in the finals. We won the toss in the finals, and that proved to be the game in crazy wind that didn’t allow any upwind breaks. Even so, we came away tournament champions for the 2nd time that year!


pictured: Rob, Aimee Shen, KarinaSeeded 13th – Saturday results
d1. MAUFO-P (d1, 4-0)
d2. Mango (d3, 3-1)
d3. MUPH (d2, 2-2, +13)
d4. Average Joes (d5, 2-2, +9)
d5. MotherBag (d6, 1-3)
d6. Zen Asylum (d4, 0-4)

Initial seed had MMV here
26. Mars Meets Venus – Warren Tang, Toronto

2005 In Summary

In all, Zen attended 11 tournaments this season. Many of the players additionally had commitments to Open and Women’s teams. What can I say, we’re all crazy!

We didn’t reach our goal of finishing top 10 at every tournament we attended, but we did do that at most of them! What’s more, we had our first tournament win this year!

We didn’t make it to Nationals, we got out feet wet and gave Bodhi a great game on day one. Next year, we know now what we need to do. Watch out Ontario! We’re coming for you in 2006!

See you in next year,