They don’t play for fame. They’re not in it for the glory. And they sure as hell aren’t in it for the money.
Missoula’s elite ultimate Frisbee club team, the Mental Toss Flycoons, are in it for the love of the game.
“Everybody has a silly little game that they play. Some people love curling or golf…this just happens to be our silly game,” says Flycoon co-captain Mark Aagenes.
On Oct. 15 the coed ultimate Frisbee team placed fourth in the Northwest Regional Championships, in Burlington, Wash., qualifying them for one of only 16 spots at the Ultimate Players Association 2006 National Championships in Sarasota, Fla. This month’s tournament appearance will mark the first time a Montana team has qualified for the national competition.
The Mental Toss Flycoons (the team name is a bastardization of lyrics from Frank Zappa’s classic 1973 song “Montana”) has been around since the mid-1980s and has produced a handful of world-class ultimate players over the years. The current team includes five players who have played on national and world stages with other teams, including the Northwest regional all-star team Trigger Hippies, which won the national championship in 2001 and took home third at the world competition in 2002.
Last weekend the 25-member Mental Toss Flycoons competed against teams from San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, including 2005 national champion team Brass Monkey, to grab the final qualifying spot in the Northwest Region.
“This is a sign of how Ultimate has grown in Missoula,” Aagenes said. “Other teams overlooked Missoula because it’s a small community in Montana. That helped us beat teams from much larger cities, who thought they could dominate us easily.”
Aagenes figures it will cost about $700 per team member to get the Mental Toss Flycoons to Florida, which they’ll pay out of their own pockets. To help defray the cost the team is hosting a send-off party on Friday, Oct. 20. See the Calendar for more details.