We’ve played Ultimate Frisbee every Thursday and Sunday for the two years we’ve been here, on The Savannah, across from the US embassy. The Queen’s Park Savannah is a huge green park in the middle of the city—the Central Park or Green Lake of Port of Spain. People run around it and play soccer, rugby, and cricket on it at all hours of every day. According to my students, it’s the world’s largest roundabout.
Last year, we were lucky to get a game with three on each side, but this year, the crowd has blossomed to 2 games of eight on each side. This enthusiasm for the sport encouraged my competitive husband to plan Trinidad’s First Annual Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. He had jerseys made and named each team after his favorite T&T birds. He taught everyone the rules, plays, and throws necessary in the game. He created an organization, TUFF (Trinidad Ultimate Frisbee Federation), and hired a Public Relations Manager, a DJ, and a catering service. He advertised and made fliers. He encouraged international players to come for the event, upping the level of the game. He organized the players according to skill so that each team had a fair chance of winning.
Then on June 12th, 40 people arrived to attend Trinidad and Tobago’s first annual Ultimate Frisbee Tournament, just outside the national stadium. In the first round, each team played each other. Because of the heat and the sun, each person drank Gatorade and water constantly during small breaks in the games.
Red Bull, a sponsor, showing up midway through the second game, helped.
At lunch, we relaxed in the shade for the Trini style lunch (potato salad, BBQ chicken, green salad, and fruit).
And then the competition escalated as the two top teams met in the finals (my team and Aaron’s team).
We were tied at the first half, but, in the second half, Aaron’s team started to pull ahead. As the score reached 7-3, and six different players had collapsed, screaming and grabbing one of the major muscle groups in their leg, it became clear that it was not humanly possible for players to hydrate enough to ward off cramps.
After that, the game was called and the Scarlet Ibis, prior to this, known just as T&T’s national bird, became the national ultimate Frisbee champs as well.