Missoula's expert ultimate Frisbee team, the Mental Toss Flycoons, might want to learn the phrase "mistri sveta."
That's Czech for "world champion," which is what the Flycoons will be by the end of next week should the team prevail at the World Flying Disc Federation's World Ultimate Club Championships in Prague, Czech Republic.
It's not that far-fetched to think a team from Montana with a name based on a Frank Zappa tune could pull it off. The Flycoons are currently the third-ranked co-ed team in the world, won a national championship in 2008, and nearly repeated last year. It's their first shot at a world championship since the team formed in 2003.
John O'Connor, the Flycoon's de facto coach and manager, says his squad is feeling "very good" about its chances, partly because of the players' intense training regime.
"It's not professional and everybody has other things going on in their lives," O'Connor says. "But they do commit an awful lot of time to training. There's individual training. There's team training. There's team practice. Most people on the team started a workout regimen over the last year that culminated in a lot of sprint workouts and a lot of weights. It's been a lot of personal commitment for everybody."
A total of 28 Flycoons players (only seven are on the field at a time) are headed overseas for the tournament, which runs July 3—10. The team's sponsor, Seattle-based Five Ultimate, is providing snazzy new uniforms emblazoned with a Montana mountain scene.
How will the team celebrate if it wins?
"What's the standard remark? Go to Disneyland? I don't know," O'Connor says. "If the team is fortunate enough to persevere and gets rewarded with a win, I'm sure we'll have a big celebration when we get back to Missoula."
But the entire team won't return to Missoula for a while. Many will spend time after the tournament sight seeing, which has some Flycoons brushing up on their Czech.
"Everybody's at least trying to pronounce the city correctly," O'Connor says.