Wednesday, May 10, 2006

PlayUltimate Contributors - Nick Ligatti

Name: Nick Ligatti

High school team: I played on the Monacan Ultimate Club in the early 90's and currently coach LC Bird High School from Chesterfield, VA.

College team: I didn't play in college, the school I went to didn't have a team and made us jump through a lot of hoops to get it started so we gave up.

Current residence: Chesterfield, VA

Where you first heard of ultimate: A few of my friends would play after school every Friday and I joined them. After about a year it became an official club, our sponsor was the principal. Sadly the team dissolved a couple of years after my class graduated. Many of my teammates went on to play at UVa, William and Mary and Virginia Tech.

Notable accomplishments while playing: I was an average player at best. My favorite memory was during summer league a few years ago my team (purple) was playing against the top team (white) and we went savage through the first half, our captain showed up at halftime, we finished with 8 players and beat the number one team. At least that's the way I remember it.

Why you have expertise on the region you are reporting on: I have been coaching LC Bird for 5 years, and we have been competing at a high level for the past four years. I am the UPA State Youth Coordinator for VA and we host a tournament every December to raise money for the leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Any high school or college accomplishments in regards to writing/journalism: No. I was a History of Math major so I wrote some long papers on David Hilbert and Francois Viete, but nothing journalistic.


LittleOrphanAnnie44 said...

Does the UPA have any statistics on the number of high schools that formed teams but later disappeared?

Seems all too common for new teams to emerge then fade away after a few short years.

A few reasons for this:

1) A good number of teams are initially comprised of friends who get together and decide to take up Ultimate. And in a lot of cases, these tight-knit groups don't make strong efforts to recruit new classes.

2) Like Nick pointed above, bureaucratic hurdles are sometimes hard to overcome. Some teams might give up if their schools aren't coming through with support.

Other possible reasons:

3) The nature of the team. Some teams are content with just playing amongst themselves and not traveling to compete inter-scholastically. Teams cannot expect to continue if they don't aim for higher goals.

Can anyone think of other possible reasons? Reasons why high school Ultimate teams often appear then disappear.


1) Recruit, recruit and recruit. When the numbers become too much to handle for the team captains, then seek out a local club player to maintain order.

2) When the school isn't offering support, keep pressuring them anyway. But at the same time, come up with your own grassroot ways of sustaining your team. I think Tiina Booth said it once, "It takes a village to run an Ultimate team." (Or maybe she said 'tournament." Either way, it's still true.)

Other solutions?

Anyway, back to my question. Are there any records showing how many teams have been formed only to disappear a few years later?

(This was long! But to end on a bright note: high school Ultimate is still growing at a fast pace! Now just imagine how much more growth there could be if we can keep some of those teams from fading away).

Fantusta said...

I know that LM had a team 4-5 years ago that died immediately when its founding members left... which is why when I started my campaign, one of my _major_ goals was to ensure there would be a team after I left. I feel this dream has been realized, with underclassmen all over, and an organization more beauracratic than most.
The people who start the team have to WANT it to continue... not only care about their own successes.

Anonymous said...

LM = Lower Merion (PA)

Just in case anyone is wondering.

Here's something to consider. More and more high school teams are being initiated by adults rather than the students themselves.

There's definitely a strong correlation between longevity and adult-run/supported teams.

If a kid starts a high school team, s/he'll will have to find a way to keep it going after s/he graduates.

But if an adult coach starts a high school program, that concern is not as strong nor imminent, since the adult can expect to be involved longer than the four-year span of a high school student.

Fantusta said...

Thanks for catching that... sometimes I just write a little quickly.

I agree that adults are a great help. We lucked into having one of PADA's (Philadelphia Area Disc Alliance) most involved organizers on our faculty -- once I got into contact with her, and showed her LM could field a team, and one that loved Ultimate, she was the most helpful resource I could ever have hoped for, and I'm sure she'll keep the kids in line and playing Ultimate for years to come.

Jake said...

hey nick - could you tell me more about the school name "LC Bird"?

it just sounds like an odd name. was the Bird a senator or something? public? private? is ultimate a school recognized sport or a club team?


Nick L said...

LC Bird stands for Lloyd Cambell Bird, he was a state senator around Chesterfield for the longest time. When the school opened in 1979 they named it after him.

Our team is recognized as a club, not an officially sanctioned sport.

One of the main reasons Bird has stuck around for 5 years is because I have been a stablizing factor. I have gone through 2 sets of seniors and I thought there wouldn't be a team the next year, and we keep fielding teams.

Jake said...

yeah, we had that problem in the past too. the first year ('03) we graduated 12 of 16.

we learned that you gotta get them while they're young. we played in the Granite City classic last weekend, and while we had 7 strong seniors (of 11) at the tourney, we focused on playing our _varsity_ 8th, 9th, and 10th graders. the juniors helped captain our b team.

the desire the young'uns have is equal to the desire the seniors have, and if it stays... those boys will be incredible by the time we send them to college.