ANTIGONISH, N.S. - The Rad Classic Ultimate Frisbee tournament returned to Antigonish over the weekend of May 26-27 and, as tournament director David Archibald described, was never “bigger” and the competition never “better.”
“It was a major success,” Archibald said. “Logistically, everything ran very smoothly.”
Now in its sixth year, the tournament was played at Oland Stadium on the campus of St. F.X., after a couple of years of being held at Acadia University. Archibald, an Antigonish native who has been involved with the tournament since its start, noted the locations are about trying to expand interest in, and exposure for, the sport beyond Halifax.
“In 2011, I was tasked with organizing an early season tune-up tournament for the men's club team Red Circus,” he said, noting he had moved to go to school in Halifax and became heavily involved in the sport.
“I chose Antigonish as the location because I wanted to increase the visibility of the sport outside of Halifax, and I wanted to provide a playing opportunity for the group of friends I had started playing with, who were still playing that casual ‘pickup’ style of ultimate,” Archibald said, referencing the difference of what he did home in Antigonish versus the more organized version he found in Halifax.
“That first tournament was a success and the following year it evolved into what the Rad Classic has now become. We held it at St. FX for two or three years before heading to Acadia for two, due to scheduling difficulties. This was our first year back at X.”
Players came from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland to form teams or as already established clubs. There were 15 teams in total with, for the first time, a women’s division, comprised of six teams.
In the end, Halifax’s prominence in the sport came to the forefront as split teams from men’s club Red Circus and women’s club Salty Ultimate played off in the Sunday afternoon finals.
“Salty 1 triumphed over Salty 2 in the women's division, and Red Circus 1 beat Red Circus 2 in the men's division,” Archibald noted.
“At this early point in the season, both Salty and Red Circus opted to split their respective teams into two smaller, equal strength squads in order to increase the playing time available for all their players, and to encourage participation from teams from other regions who, typically, have smaller rosters. Again, this was the first time the tournament had a women's division, junior teams and Pictou County teams,” Archibald said, reiterating the tournament’s and sport’s growth.
He talked more about encouraging the growth, focusing on the provincial organization – DiscNS – which is tasked with that objective.
“[They] oversee the development of disc sports - ultimate and disc golf - in the province,” he said.
“One of their primary mandates is to support any communities interested in establishing or bolstering existing programs in their communities. This could be things like helping organize a league or running clinics, offering insurance for those or teaching how to handle the logistics.”
He talked about DiscNS providing custom websites to help in this regard.
“A league website ready to roll out to any community or organization that would like to make use of it,” he said. “The website would help league organizers handle registrations, league scheduling and score reporting.
“Basically, if there is an interested person or group anywhere in the province, DiscNS is ready and willing to offer the resources and know-how to help things get a little more structured and organized.”
Archibald talked about ultimate and disc-golf starting at the grassroots.
“One passionate champion formalizes a pick-up game to be a regular weekly event and the numbers grow, week-to-week, until there are enough players for a number of teams, eventually turning into a small league,” he said. “DiscNS is there to help that process along.
“In addition, last year DiscNS established a provincial junior program called the New Scotland Blues for under boys and girls under the age of 19. Tryouts were held in HRM and in Pictou County. The New Scotland Blues competed at the nationals in Ottawa in 2017, and will participating at nationals again this year, in Brampton. There has been an effort to increase programming for all kids in the province, and this work is likely to continue.”
The website for DiscNS is discns.ca and their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
“That website can put you in touch with the organizers of established leagues in HRM and Pictou County, or get you in touch with the right people to help you establish some programming in your own community,” Archibald said.