Seven on Seven – Stu Downs

The man, the myth, the legend…

Stu Downs


1. What was your first Summer League team?  Did you love it or loathe it?
My first summer league team was Goldilocks, and I have only fond memories. I was new to town and anything good I did on the field was considered a bonus – it is nice when people don’t expect anything! The team starred Lizzie and Laird. They were 2 of the more beautiful people in town. Laird was a premier athlete having played baseball at UNC and not discovering ulti until he was almost 30. Still he became a prime Chain threat and a great friend. Lizzie helped put the Ozone we now know on the map with her play & all-reaching leadership. Playing with those two was a hoot along with Lisa Huck and other silly people.

Note: I would have gladly made out with any of the people mentioned above, as would you who are reading this.

Stu Bear @ Paganello

2.  You’re only allowed to make one type of throw for the rest of your life; what is it?
Of course it would be the invert underside thumber, thrown as a pull. Although many have heard me claim to have created a number of tosses, this is indeed the only one I actually invented and it is of no use to anybody. Furthermore, it is impossible to employ in a game situation for it requires excessive grace, dexterity and a decent-sized travel. Hence its single potential “use” is as a pull. I will be glad to demonstrate it, don’t expect much…

The sombrero would be 2nd choice, only on the goal line. Hale Brown can vouch for its excellence and entertainment value.

3.  What’s the most glorious play you ever made?  Exaggeration is encouraged.
I was getting roasted across the field in a game at the Boston Invitational. The disc was swung and I ran just past the thrower trailing by my usual 15 yards. My guy cut up the line and so far away from me that I realized the thrower would absolutely have to throw to him. So without looking I dove backwards across where the thrower had been hoping to block the inevitable pass. Fortunately I had left my man so far open that my prediction came true and the disc hit my arm – a bizarre handstuff. It borders on my most moronic decision, but somehow will live as one of my “brilliant ideas.”

4.  What’s the worst or most embarrassing play you ever made?  Don’t spare the details.
This ought to be the lengthiest portion of this paper, for I have trouble choosing among the times I was awful – should I discuss getting nutmegged in Hawaii then faceplanting while going for the game saver, getting skied by a 5’4″ chap in Miami, or throwing a hammer sideways in Wilmington that hit a car parked nowhere near the sidelines.

But the hugest FAIL would have to be the $1,250 turnover in the semifinals of the Cuervo Invitational in 1991. I was playing with a mostly Boston based squad against South Bay – a precursor to Double Happiness/Jam. We were up 11-8 in a game to 12 and I had just intercepted a pass up the line. My teammate, the legendary Jim Parinella, anticipated my poach and released to the end zone uncovered. A simple 35-yard forehand with a gentle bend would secure our spot in the finals. But why be simple? I reared back and winged a bullet 15 feet above Jim’s head out the back of the end zone. No matter, we’ll get it back, right? Wrong. I got burned for the two-pointer. Still time to recover, but I refused. On our next possession I turfed a dump pass and watched as we let them tie it. Then I said “Time to show them what kind of guy I am!” which was revealed quickly as I got steamrolled for the gamewinner. That team lost its next game and won $1,500 for 2nd place. We took 3rd and earned $250. I have the most expensive turnover I’ve ever heard of.

5.  Who is your favorite Ultimate player and why?
Impossible question: I admire so many skilled players I have played with, and worshipped several who I saw at a distance. Fortunately the sport is loaded with players who give it all while honoring the critical defining item of our sport. SOTG. The list is enormous and I thank all who have played at the highest level of quality and spirit.

6.  If an Ultimate Frisbee heaven exists, what would you like to hear the “Ultimate Deity” say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
You seem kinda fat for a supposed athlete.

7.  What makes the AFDC so darn swell?
I often hear from players in other cities that their disc league is divided between its elite players and its league players. This has not been my experience here. The AFDC is a community that melds all its talents and styles; players of all abilities are commonly found together socially and on the pitch. That helps build a feeling of community that makes all its members proud when one team or individual does well.

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