A recent request by Skydmagazine.com spurred an email conversation with Dick Eskew and Ward Silver about the formation of the AFDC. Check. It. Out.
Dick: Ward, you are somewhat of a historian. Can you give a factual recollection of how the AFDC came about? KP & Ross (if that is still your email), weigh in as well, please.
In 1977 there was a group, coed but mostly men with about 3 or 4 women, that started playing Ultimate at the Emory fields. Ross Snyder and Kim Pisor were two of the main players that pulled in other friends. I ran into them in the fall of 1977 while playing flag football. Since a few of us footballers had been playing Frisbee golf for a few years, we liked the looks of the game and actually challenged them to a game one Sunday. After getting smoked probably 7-1 (I think my brother hucked one long to me for our only score) they split us up and we continued to play. We were asked to join them the next week. I think about 5 of us came back, myself, my brother, my brother-in-law, Bob Bowman and maybe one more that I can’t remember. We continued with Sunday pick-up games through the fall and into the Spring of ’78.
In Spring 1978 a group traveled to Oxford, Mississippi for a tournament that was really a golf and freestyle tournament with Ultimate as a side event.
Ward: We also went to Florence, AL in ’77 or ’78 for a similar tournament where Ultimate was played at the end
Dick: I remember that in fall of ’78 we had a team play in what I came to learn was the regionals and we lost to a Gainesville FL (I think) team in the finals
Ward: I believe we might have lost instead to a Miami team in the semis.
Dick: Little did I know that if we won we would have been in the National Championships (Am I right here??)
Ward: I believe that is correct. If we had beat the Miami team we would have been one of two teams that went to Nationals.
Dick: Players on the team that I remember were: Me, Ward, Ross, Kim, Wayne, Mark Stephens, Dirga Darshi, Bob Bowman, probably Michael Oresti, and a few others I can’t remember. We had the butterfly man shirts and we were simply Atlanta Ultimate (or I guess Big Peach).
Ward: see attached photo, not sure if it was from that Regional though. Back row: Bob Bouwman, Moi, Vince Edwards, KP, Wayne, Mark, Yourself, Mortie; Front: Al, Kathy Pisor-DNP, Brochstein, Ed Jensen? , Livtar Singh Khalsa, Richard Sears, Bob Brent, Anne Blocker; Greg Roberts has wandered off from the group, as per usual and is seen in back to far right.
Dick: The weekend pick-up games were now stronger and there was a collection of at least 30 people who played occasionally. We got an influx of players who had graduated from colleges (Clemson & UGA) or were still in college (UGA and GT) that swelled the ranks.
I think we formally created the AFDC in the Spring of ’79. There was an AFDC official Ultimate team named “On Air” (after spirited debate).
Kim was the first president of the AFDC, and the position was called the Great Kimbee. Not sure who the treasurer was, maybe Bob Bowman. We surely had a membership director who kept the names and addresses of everybody. I think I might have been the social director, or maybe that was Wayne or Anne Blocker. There was an oath that Michael Henderson, Clemson grad, (I think) came up with. Something along the lines of “To Bee is to Do, (To Do is to Bee,)Do Bee Do Bee Do.” Very silly. (I think someone in AFDC today still has the original bylaws and the oath.) The goal of the club was to promote disc sports of all kinds, not just ultimate, and to have fun doing it. We would have good parties.
Fall of ’79 I left for a year of study abroad and when I got back there was an additional influx of players, Fred Perivier chief among them and several guys from GT, Ricky Martz in particular. There were now multiple Ultimate teams playing out of the AFDC.
Ultimate was always the primary focus of the AFDC but there were also tournaments organized by the club where freestyle was the main event. I remember one in Piedmont Park and one at GT where we actually played on Grant Field.
In Fall 1980 we hosted the National Championships. The finals were played at GT Intramural Fields. We sold t-shirts and discs and made a little cash, all of which went to the social fund.
Ward: Think I have the poster somewhere.
Dick: A few years in a row we held the Hacky Sack/ Frisbee festival, where we sold hacky sacks, discs and put on displays of disc games (freestyle, double disc court, guts, golf and Ultimate). This was a fund raising event and it was held inPiedmont Park and once at Six Flags.
I think Summer League was started in 1982, but it might have been ’81. We had 6 teams the first year (I think) and played at Piedmont Park, Bass HS field in Little 5 Points and the other field at a school on Irwin Ave. In February we would hold the Frostbite tournament on one weekend. Summer League and Frostbite teams were simply collections of friends put together with a few leaders and they morphed around depending on who was sleeping with who (only slightly kidding).
Summer League became the main focus of the AFDC, with the competitive Ultimate teams pretty much running on their own. After Chain was formed the AFDC didn’t really have a role in sponsoring any one team.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Got more stories on the old days? Lets hear them below.