When some Hamburg ultimate players tasted life on the beach in 1999 at the Porrón Open in Barcelona they were hooked instantly. Returning with sandy shoes, sun taint and a swirling head caused by the porró wine, the great games, people and party we talked about this experience the whole bloody freezing winter through. Our teammates could not endure the stories of sexy people in hot games and cool parties while in our hometown the stinking indoor season starts. So in the end we were a bunch of about twelve people ready to go a second time in 2000.
2001 Colonia Sant Jordi
Everything was planned. We had taken a week off from work, saved enough passion and money for it, we really were ready. Then, the unexpected happened. At the time, when the online signup was launched, we met at Karstens place and celebrated the ceremony of registering. It started with good German beer, of course, and by the time everybody had showed up and we eventually booted up the computer it was already 15 minutes past the launch. This sounds like nothing, but since basically whole ultimate Europe was trying to register, the 200 spots were taken within this period and we ended up on the waitinglist positions 57 and following.
A desaster. We were ready to go, everything was prepared, and now this! After the following practice we sat together and we would not give up. In a mood between sarcasm and madness we talked about alternatives and looked on the fact: 12 hot players, ready to fly to some beach and play ultimate. And they all had a week off in October. So did approximately 50 other players who also didn’t sign up in time at the Porrón. The solution was simple: we do our own tourney! Just find a place where you have got an airport, good weather and a fine beach. And even if it was just for the fun of us 12, we would have done it as a beach-practice holiday. As we left individually for home, no one really believed it could happen.
But then, approximately 3 weeks before the event, a highly naive and desperate e-mail reached the host of www.mallorca.com, asking for some beach to chase dics on. Ulf, the recipient, thought of a joke but found the time to answer, just for curiosity reasons. We could show him the sport actually does exist by naming some internet resources about other (beach) ultimate events. Never haveing seen each other, we developed a partnership and cooperation, stole all the setup like webpage, contact-emails and tournament format from the Bravas in Barcelona.
This was the birth of the first Copa Pescadisco in the year 2000. Not believing it could really work out, Ulf and we Fischbees just met the airport of Palma de Mallorca, before the actually tournament. Everything had to be improvised, fine-tuned, but in the end 38 participants (from Germany, Holland, France, USA, England, Spain and South Africa!) of the tournament enjoyed all the fun you can imagine on a small beach tournament over three days.
Well, since it was a success, we repeated the whole madness the following year one week before the Porrón, so anybody coud now do the Spanish double! In 2001 we had about 80 participants and were playing on two beaches. The tournament character was still very close, very improvising-style, very we-do-it-together-style. Very nice. Best thing to do for an October weekend.
What can I say, in 2002 we were about 100 international beach ultimate addicts and still could improve the comfort. It’s going on and on. You cannot stop it! Become part of it and experience it for yourself! A beach-HAT-ultimate tournament (you don’t come with a team – the teams will be drawn from your names in a HAT) on the sunny island of Majorca. Cheap to fly to, and alyways the better choice than chasing discs in some gyms in the European autumn.
2010 Puerto de Alcudia
2011 was the first first tournament without Ulf, known as Chi. Due to his disease multiple sclerosis now he lives in Germany Hamburg in a special-care home. This is very sad for him and also for me. We were married 17 years and we know us since 1987 – long time.
He died in 2018.
Come on over and enjoy!
NACHRUF- Epitaph for Ulf –
Sadly, this year one of the founding fathers of the COPA PESCADISCO passed away. He was the missing jigsaw to get the tournament started in the first place back in the summer of 2000. And in a way it was destiny that we got into contact. When we desperate Hamburg Fischbees ultimate players needed a substitute for the totally booked out Porrón Open beach hat in Barcelona and tried to find an alternative beach for our very own tournament, HE was the one who fuelled our hopes and made our wildest dreams come true.
With just four words he answered our request to host a beach ultimate tournament for us on Mallorca: “IS THIS A JOKE?“ – That was all. Just this simple sentence, showing disbelief and a slight shimmer of curiosity, but it totally kept our communication going and made me send him various links of big international beach tournaments, such as PAGANELLO in Rimini. I just needed to prove that we (disc chasing community) really do exist and want to play beach ultimate on Mallorca.
When I asked him later how he chose his words in this reply he said that usually he immediately deleted these kinds of emails. And as the domain owner of mallorca.com at the time he received plenty of these. But something in our request intrigued him, be it the funny team name Fischbees or the fact that we come from Hamburg – a place well known to him, because he had roots in Maschen, only a few miles south of Hamburg.
Anyhow, after a couple of emails and phone calls we decided to make it happen. Me announcing the birth of a new beach hat tournament and spreading the news via EURODISC, the email distribution list at the time, as well as the German email channel WURFPOST. For it was my part of the deal to get as many players as possible to the island each bringing along about 90 Euro players fee. He in return would arrange permission to play, beach, accommodation, food, party for us. It sounded too good to be true.
Eventually we met in person at the airport of Mallorca on the day the first Copa actually began. He was really there. He had organized everything. And he was mesmerized all the same, still not believing that people would really travel from all over Europe to his island just to run after a disc and have fun at the beach. The rest is more or less history. We were basically made for one another.
I am not entirely sure if it was him or his wife Uschi who said that is was the best decision in their life to get in contact with ultimate and host the Copa. But it definitely did something to him. He changed. I fit was us or something else – he always refused to play ultimate himself – he turned from being an overweight chain smoker into a slim heavy smoker so I didn’t recognize him at the beach of the Porón Open 2 years later. Losing half your body weight is a dramatic change and his body didn’t really like that, so he got a severe boost of multiple sclerosis that over the years took him his eyesight and ability to walk but not his grumpy sense of humor. Still he enjoyed every Copa in his wheelchair at the sideline until he moved into a home care facility in Germany that could take care of him adequately, so he missed the last Copas. He didn’t only mess with his body and the unique design of our Copa Pescadisco tournament shirts but also with his love life and split up with Uschi after quite some time (decades) of marriage. He tested new diets, beliefs and another unsuccessful marriage. The illness prevented him from continuing to working online but still he kept being faithful to the Copa. Uschi helped out when he couldn’t and thus became the mother of the tournament. And she still is.
There were times when I felt like being the son that Ulf never had. In his Mercedes, solving some last minute beach problems, at dawn after parties or on the phone. He had become somewhat family for me, even if we only saw each other once a year. I even brought my first born son over and they met.
The last years, especially when I temporarily moved to the Middle East with my family, I lost touch with Ulf and never got back to him. Uschi was the one running the Copa and he was no longer with her. I feel really bad about that but happily look back at the smiling moments we shared. And I thank God or whichever force that brought us together. Because guess what. The number of emails I sent out in the desperate attempt to get my own beach tournament going was exactly: ONE. And to be honest, the email address I chose was picked randomly with the exact research time of ZERO seconds. I didn’t even bother to look up the domain or the admin. It just popped up in my head. Luckily.
So, dear reader of this far too long epitaph, if you managed to read up to this line (probably on the flight back home) grab a drink and shout out a toast to Ulf. Or more. Prost, Ulf!
Ed – Andreas Glindemann 2018