The spread the jam unit formed by international freestyle disc players* spent a total of six full days on the island of Sal, Cape Verde where the African Beach Games were happening. Their mission was clear – to spread the jam in Africa! At the end of each day, one of the 6 team members wrote and sent in a recap of the day’s activities and successes. Here they are:
* Benedicte Audet (Canada), Ayal Benin (Israel), Daniel O’Neill (USA), Michal Maciolek (Poland), Andrea Festi (Italy), Mehrdad Hosseinian (Germany)
Great start to the African Beach Games! Thanks for the update Daniel O’Neill!
Cheers from Cabo Verde! https://www.facebook.com/salbeachgames/
We had an amazing first day. We arrived to our Airbnb about 1:30am, settled in and got some sleep. For 84 American per night- its a great place- balcony overlooking the sea and plenty of space for us all to be comfortable.
We got to the event park around 11:30am, and luckily today we didn’t have to do any formal demos. We got the lay of the land, watched some of the events, and did plenty of teaching sessions with kids and adults alike.
Everyone on the island is friendly, and it was clear that many were seeing frisbee* (not just freestyle) for the very first time.
There was a lot of interest, and we directed people to join us tomorrow for the demos and workshops we’ll be conducting before and after the Freestyle Football competition.
After we left the venue, we went for a swim at the beach and continued engaging and playing with the locals.
We also spoke with one of the organizers and field managers about the possibility of running some workshops in local schools during the week. We thought that was an awesome idea and we hope to have the time to make it happen.
Overall, it was the tip of the iceberg of what will be a historic moment for the growth of freestyle frisbee in Africa.
More to come 🙂
African Beach Games https://www.facebook.com/salbeachgames/ update day 2 from Benedicte Audet!
Today was an extremely productive and successful day! Once we arrived at the event site we set about gauging the best routine to demonstrate freestyle frisbee considering the audience and of course the wind. Before freestyle football started, we introduced ourselves, freestyle frisbee, and our intention and goal here in Africa and proceeded to give a +- 5 min demonstration. We started out with simple, synchronized x-disc demonstration and continued with twirling and simple pairs coops.
During the freestyle football half time, we had another demonstration and x-disc challenge involving the audience with the winner bringing home a full package prize (discs, rings, glue, slick, DVD, etc). After freestyle football, we proceeded to the main stage and conducted workshops for 2 hours. What a great afternoon! Right after taking out our discs we gathered a crowd of at least 40 people and easily 30 participants! We have given away 1/5 of our equipment (keeping in mind that our generosity is focused on the youth that are genuinely interested and fired up) and successfully managed to get people interested in coming back throughout the weeks for more workshops. We have been giving out our Freestyle Disc Africa Facebook group and gathering followers, and already have a few really promising and talented youth! We also got a lot of amazing footage throughout the day.
All in all, we are all really happy with how enthusiastic many of the new possible jammers are. Tomorrow is our big Sport Impact day giving workshops with kids all day long. We will keep you posted but our hopes and expectations are high!
Today we woke up at 6 o’clock to do an early workshop for kids organized together with the Sports For Life – youth development NGO. We met the main organizer Leo around 7 on the field and had a great and promising chat with him about frisbee development in Africa. We’ve talked about values of spirit of the game, the low cost of frisbee sports in general and the uniqueness of freestyle disc workshops and our sport. We are definitely going to connect with him and try to do some projects together in near future. His NGO has a very similar approach and goal to ’10 million discs’ and ‘Ultimate Peace’, so this contact is very promising.
Leo threw a little with us before workshops and got familiar with the disc. Afterwards, Gabriel arrived on the spot with the first group of kids. We got to know each other and started to prepare the field for the workshops. We decided to first show the basic throws and catches and then do short xdisc freestyle. Leo stayed with us and translated for the kids while learning the basic structure of frisbee lessons for beginners. We’ve had about four 25 groups of kids and it was a blast 🙂 Even with the very strong wind we were able to show backhand, forehand and include some freestyle not only with xdiscs. As a bonus, we also connected with the local teachers and scheduled two workshop visits in schools for the next days over the Sal Island.
We kept on playing with interested youth and gave out a couple of discs and DVDs on our way back to the apartment.
After some rest we went for a nice sunset jam next to our Airbnb, accompanied by a local drum circle. Another great day in Cape Verde!
Much love from Africa from the whole crew!
Day 4 African Beach Games recap by Ayal Benin!
We started the day with a short tour in the city and stopped in different places to engage with the locals, promote freestyle and invite everyone to our workshop that was programmed for the afternoon.
We arrived to the event site and watched some of the games’ finals, then we went to the shore and jammed a little bit (we tried to do our best, in spite of the strong wind that has been quite present since we arrived to the island).
In the afternoon we held a workshop, where we met a few newcomers and many of the participants in our activities during the last days.
It might be a good moment to share a little bit of our impression of the island and the locals.
“No Stress” is the slogan of the islands and actual way of living around here.
From what we saw, everyone is happy, the locals are warm and welcoming and at the same time very respectful.
The kids are well educated, and though most of the locals don’t speak English, they get along pretty well with the international language of mime during programmed workships and spontaneous teaching moments.
The athletes that are participating in the event also enjoy our presence and even take part in our activities.
Flying discs can be seen all around the event site and the city, people recognize us and a lot of them come to us and ask for more instructions and game time.
We still have a couple of days here with a lot of activities ahead, as you probably know, our access to internet is quite limited but we will keep you updated until we will get back home and will be able to post some of the many great photos and videos we got.
It is incredibly satisfying to see the look of joy on someone’s face while he throws a disc for the first time.
That is probably the coolest thing here and it has been happening constantly since we arrived.
Keep the flow!
* A cool anecdote – While we were waiting for our dinner a couple of young kids passed by us and stopped to say hello, one of them had in his hands a DVD copy of Pro Freestyle Frisbee by Dave Lewis and Z Weyend, he told us that he couldn’t play it and went to try in another place, but it was too late and he had to go back home and he will try to find another place to watch it tomorrow.
Andrea Festi reviewing Day 5 of the African Beach Games!
Two days before our departure we are not done yet! We must have as strong a finish as possible this beautiful experience and till the last day we will spread the jam!
In the morning we had a briefing for the day then had a strong breakfast. We went out to the event and quickly started a workshop in front of the mainstage that will be the last two days meeting spot for freestyle disc activity.
We started with 20-25 adolescent and post adolescent youths, they looked very interested and could play catch and throw. We organized some groups and in my point of view it was one of the most focused and advantageous workshops in freestyle we had, we were helped by the fact that all of participants were 15 years old or more: they showed to be more focused. Most of them came, during their free time, from the event organization crew. With these guys we had for the first time the real impression that a frisbee freestyle team will rise in the next years here in the island and it is awesome! And maybe I could say in other part of Africa? Some of these guys had already tried several restricted catches and throws, “set to a restricted catch” sessions as a proper freestyle disc training and showed how it should be done! I’ve seen one who was trying to catch a gitis catch and delaying the disc from a high Z throw!
After this big moment, just before lunch, we distributed some “starter packs” to the participants. The ambassador’s team decide to adopt a common way to choose the ones that are qualified to have a pack. Explained better is participants who were more interested in training got more equipmen in their packs, we thought in a meritocratic vision.
Today the wind was a little slower than the past days. We tried to explain if possible to train frisbee in good wind conditions or at the gym is best.
The materials we are distributing are running out so we saved some for these two last workshops using the majority of normal discs because we have to save the remaining xdiscs for the final schools workshop today late afternoon in Santa Maria and tomorrow in Palmera.
In the late afternoon at 3:30PM we moved in the local school in Santa Maria. It happened in the end of the school lessons. Confusing in the beginning because all the children came out of the school to see what was happening. Our group improvised a short game waiting for the teacher, then we move to the gym with around 40 children. They were organised in two groups by age, so the first group consisted of more or less 7 years old children, they played with xdiscs then the other one was composed by 10 years old children which played throws and catchs. We stayed two hours in the school, we shown a successful demonstration followed by the two activities. The children were so good in playing and enthusiast and the sports teacher participated actively doing very good translations of the exercises we explained.
In conclusion some discs and dvds were given to the teacher and the children had a great time!
In the end of the day we came back to the event, we met Gabriel, one of the organizers. We exchange with him thanks and greetings and he kept explanation for us about the competition till this point of the week. So, for today that’s all, thank you for your attention, big hugs, Andrea of the Ambassador Team in Cabo Verde, Sal 2019.
Our last day- wow what a memory!
We rented a bus for the day to spread the jam to other parts of the island. We ran two 90 minute workshops at a school in Palmeira, the fishing capital of Sal. Almost 200 students ages 6-15 attended. One of the students brought his whiz ring to the workshop that he had gotten from us earlier in the week at the Beach Games. Another said he had saw us on local tv!
It was challenging to manage such large groups, especially on a concrete surface and in such strong heat. Between our demos and workshops though, in the end we were able to give a bit of attention and a high five to each and every kid.
We left many discs with the school, and gifted others to Julio our organizer to distribute to another school in Espalargos, the largest city in Sal. Throughout our trip, we have been showered with thanks and praise for the positive impact we’ve had on these communities.
After our workshops we took a small tour of the city and then went straight to the beach to celebrate with a jam. For the first time all week, we found a consistent and playable wind. The jams were hein, and we even continued teaching a few promising locals who introduced themselves at the beach.
Overall, we leave Cabo Verde feeling a strong connection and love for the local people. Everyone here is extremely friendly, beautiful, and warm hearted.
HUGE thank you to all of sponsors and everyone who made this historic event possible:
WFDF (https://www.facebook.com/worldflyingdisc/), FPA (https://www.facebook.com/fpafreestyledisc/) , Daniel Yarnell, Dave Lewis, Z John Weyand, Bill Wright, IFDA (https://www.facebook.com/IsraeliFDA/) , AIF (https://www.facebook.com/PlayingFieldBarona/), Dan Lustiger, XDISC (https://www.facebook.com/xddisc/), Warszawska Liga Ultimate (https://www.facebook.com/WarszawskaLigaUltimate/) , Sportcraft_PL (https://www.facebook.com/SportCraftPL/) , Mlodziezowa Akademia Ultimate (https://www.facebook.com/maufpl/) and African Beach Games (https://www.facebook.com/salbeachgames/)
We’ve got a ton of great pictures and footage from our travels. Stay tuned for a full re-cap to follow soon!
Daniel O’Neill and Mehrdad Hosseinian
Ps. While we were writing this final recap, a local called out to us: “who is Daniel?”
His son, Dylan, had been at one of our workshops, and he showed us pictures of us and Dylan with his new starter pack. He seemed super fired up and very excited about Freestyle Flying Disc!
And while flying home
From Ayal Benin – The last moment of our trip – though we were initially sent to spread the jam in Africa, we took advantage of a short stop we had in Lisboa and used the opportunity to meet Rui Pires, an Ultimate player and one of the leading guys in the Portuguese disc sports community. Rui was given a nice package from our sponsors, which he will use to spread the jam in Portugal! We brainstormed some awesome ideas for future collaborations and we expect a great future for the Portuguese freestyle scene.