Vietnam Hat 2014: A Personal Account

Posted by: on Feb 27, 2015 | No Comments

Vietnam Hat 2014. Hanoi, Vietnam.Деревянное крыльцо



December 20-21, 2014


Hanoi, Vietnam






Two ultimate tournaments one week apart in Vietnam. When Zone Cup announced that it was moving its tourney date later, to the weekend before Vietnam Hat in Hanoi, ultimate fans throughout the region were shocked. Was this possible? Could two tournaments so spatially and temporally close together both thrive?

Yup. Zone Cup only had 6 teams but put on a good show nonetheless. This write up is about the bigger tourney in the smaller market, though, Vietnam Hat.

Here’s my account of the tournament. It will be short on results and heavy on reflections and whatever else I can scrape from my memory. Because that’s how I roll.



The tournament festivities started friday night at Puku Cafe & Bar on Tong Duy Tan. Tong Duy Tan. Tong Duy Tan is known as food street because there are a bunch of restaurants there that stay open late. “Food Street.” Chelsea, there’s a place called food street.

Our entry fee got us a free beer, which was nice, and a rarity for registration parties. Beer was cheap enough that buying more after the free one was no sweat. Teammates found each other, as did old friends and sexy people. A rotation of volunteer DJ ranging from awesome (me) to not awesome (them) kept music kicking through the night. By around midnight the bar had pretty much cleared out except for some of the organizers sorting out some last minute details. Santa Boggs and I hit food street for some fried pho and some discussions about how to find accessories for his saturday night costume.

Sunday began earlier for some than for others. Hangzhou’s Tim Flanders complained that no one showed up at the correct meeting place and so had to take a taxi to the fields. The rest of us showed up at the bus stop at the correct time, an hour later. The weather was cold. At somewhere around 9-10c, this was the coldest many of us had experienced in years. Waiting for the bus kinda sucked, but it did come and we were off to the Hoa Phat Hanoi Soccer Club.

It was a long ride. Luckily I had Stephen Wolff sitting next to me telling me tales of medieval kings and his adventures in galaxies far away. Actually I have no clue what he was talking about. Wasn’t listening.

Hoa Phat Hanoi Soccer Club sat in a distant part of the city where new apartment buildings sat among older communist era (the architectural style, not the historical period in which Vietnam still sits) blocks. Kinda like Putrajaya if the Malayan National Liberation Army had won perhaps.

We arrived. The weather was cold and grey, but some of us had more important concerns that the weather. Three. Only three. Yup. Only three closed door toilets for all the men and women playing in the tournament. The men’s bathroom had some urinals and two open door “social” toilets, but there were only three thinking rooms. Luckily I got in early in the rush.

Game time. I assembled my team and noticed a couple things right off the bat. Our captain was a no show. Not making any friends, Etienne. Second, we had two women total. We would have three eventually once Emily decided to stop puking. Finally, the good thing, we had a bunch of 18-year-old Singaporean players. That’ll help. And eventually Vu Tattoo showed up. And brought his lady. She helped. Lacking in creativity due to my shortened toilet time, I couldn’t think of a team name, so we went with “Team TBD (To be determined)” until we could think of something better. We didn’t.

So in our first game we played against the pink team. They were tall. Hannah was there. And curly-haired Australian “On the Radar” guy. And other tall people. And Brian Nguyen. Hate that guy. We won 10-9. Good for us!

Second game was against the handler team. They had Vu and Tri, Bags and Boggs. And a big young guy named Simo or something. They beat us bad. Second in our three team pool. Made me feel very indifferent.

I guess there was a lunch break after. I hate long lunch breaks at tournaments. You shouldn’t eat big meals when you play. It was probably good. I just had a couple pieces of chicken. The cool thing is that by midday the weather had warmed up and we had gone from cold ultimate weather to perfect ultimate weather. Slightly cool, but not. Beautiful. Beer was available early in the day. Bam.

We were reseeded into a new three team pool. First we played light blue. Don’t remember much of the game. Pairow, Nikki and Tuan-of-the-Provinces were on that team. Somehow we won. Then we played purple. Somehow they had lost all their games. With Dan “Action” Axon and Chelsea “My Hotel Room? Not a Clue” Gower? Not sure how that happened. Purple gets their first win in a big way, even though I felt we played quite well. We ended up not winning our pool and therefore not getting a bye on sunday. Whether we ended up second or third in our new pool, dunno.

That ended our day with one more drinking round to go. Many of us went over to watch the Aqua team, which included a couple of my teammates’ “lovers.” They were playing against pink, I think. Most important moment of this game was when pink had worked it towards the endzone, I called for Brian Nguyen to execute a spin cut, a very high degree of difficulty maneuver. He spun, cut and got the disc, eventually. It could have been a couple points later, but whatever, it was because of the spin cut. Remember that moment.

So one of those teams won. Don’t remember which. Then we made our way to the busses. My sweet-ass Helinox chair and bag full of beer turned a sober, standing trip into the city into a sloppy, comfortable one.

After a shower and some vegitative time we were off to a TBD team dinner. We went to an old haunt of mine from the early 2000’s where my photo still brightens up the decor.

Me on Minh's Bia Hoi Wall


Yes, I really was that young once.

(One month break from writing this article. Two tourneys in between. Memory failing)

It was off to Hanoi Rock City for the tourney party.

Important note: One of my favorite karaoke songs is “We Built this City” by Starship. At some point in singing the song I would always mention the name of the city I was singing in and that, in fact, that city was built on rock and roll. The fans love it when you mention the name of their hometown when you’re on stage. At some point in my life I am sure I have told listeners that Hanoi is the most rockin’-est city in the world. It must have happened at some point.

Anyway, Hanoi Rock City. Tourney party.

Good times. Outside there were people hanging out drinking around a fire (it was quite nippy). Inside, there was eventually a band playing. It was an energetic cover band of some type. They weren’t bad, though not many players hung around and listened. Most socialized outside. My kind of party. With the fire it seemed very old school. Good times.

In some places in the world, it’s important for the tournament organizers to set you up with some free drinks at the party because of crazy drink prices. Hanoi is not one of those places. I think we got only one free drink. But drinks were cheap enough that it didn’t matter.

Eventually it was bed time.

Then morning. Busses took us out to the fields and pre-quarters began. We played against the white team, “Chris,” I believe they were called. The team featured Robin and Ryan. We played zone and Robin loved laughing at me as she threw around my mark and made me run. We eventually won though. Then we played a “spirit game.” I usually don’t play spirit games. Because I hate fun. But this time I did. I have my reasons. Re-aggravated my elbow. Never again.

On to quarterfinals. Our opponents were neon, led by Stephen “Kiddie Mittens” Wolff. They were undefeated, I think. We hung with them early, even taking a small lead. It was a battle. Then came the turning point in the game. Matched up with Tim “Oh-face” O’Rourke, I decided to try to take him deep. Vu Tattoo hadn’t been spending enough time in the gym and so didn’t put enough distance on the throw. Tim D’s it. Our next possession I knew I had to do something extreme to get open. Being egged on for the “spin cut” from the sideline by Brian “Jerkface” Nguyen, I decided a double was what I needed. During my second spin I felt a golf ball hit my achilles. There was no golf ball. But there was an Achilles. Now a messed up one.

Eventually I was rolled off the field and play continued. Without my superskills though, Team TBD couldn’t hang with Neon and went down. My achilles hurt. And actually still hurts two months later.

There was a lunch served which I washed down with a number of angry beers. I don’t remember if my team played again. I don’t think so, because we had some other players leave after our Neon game as well.

So semis were played at some point and it was on to the final. I didn’t remember much of it until I saw the video. If I had remembered it, I would have remembered…



Great job whoever made this video…



that there were a lot of calls. And that Neon went out fast against Blue. Blue’s offense started playing reasonably late but they never really figured out Neon’s junk D. And defensively they were tired. They fought hard and made the game reasonable late but could never overcome Neon’s early lead. Whatever, it’s a hat final. Who cares. I was awesome on the mic though. That is clear.

Post party. Awesome.

We went to a Bia Hoi very close to the fields. Bia Hoi, in Vietnamese, means “really cheap beer that you chug often and food that you eat occasionally between chugs.” And we did that. There was a great turnout and everyone was in good spirits, even if they were pretty tired from a full weekend of play.

Then I went to my hotel room and iced.

It was a great weekend and I’m psyched to head back to Hanoi for another tourney sometime soon…



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