To WFDF and the FPA:
First of all we would like to sincerely thank you for the wonderful experience and opportunity you gave us. We felt honored to take part in such a prestigious and historic event.
We can confidently say we did not let the opportunity pass us by, and we believe the team the FPA selected for the expedition was exactly the right one. Each of the chosen 6 were essential for the success of the mission, as we each brought different skills, strengths, experience and knowledge to the field. Together we proved a harmonious and a powerful team.
Having active top players was very important, and it’s cool that we were all from different countries. For the island locals, we were the international super team of frisbee world champions.
We’ve done our best to document our travels and would like to share as much as possible with WFDF and the FPA to maximize the impact of this and future trips.
A Day-by-Day Recap of Our Expedition:
We spent a total of six full days on the island of Sal, Cape Verde. 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. A different team member wrote the recap each day, which meant a new voice and unique perspective every day. A copy of our daily recaps can be found at this link: http://www.freestyledisc.org/african-beach-games-daily-recaps/
Overall, the African Beach Games was a fantastic platform for spreading the jam. Our presence was widely felt and appreciated, and we introduced freestyle to hundreds (if not thousands) of Africans.
The organizers were very supportive of our efforts and helped us set up demos and workshops throughout the games. As we were saying our goodbyes during our last day at the event site, Gabriel and Mr. Vix expressed their sincere gratitude for our involvement with the local community, volunteers, and youth. They were very impressed with our commitment to bringing freestyle flying disc to Africa. We were also very proud to make two separate school visits, where we directly taught hundreds of local Cape Verdean youth.
The week certainly had its challenges as well, most of all weather. Every day was hot and sunny, but also extremely windy. Even us top players were struggling to play in such strong and swirly winds, so you can imagine how challenging it was for first time players and many people who were throwing a Frisbee for the very first time. Managing such large groups of kids at the schools also proved challenging with the language barrier. We were lucky to utilize the teachers at moments to translate and restore order, but other moments were chaotic and hard to control.
It was interesting to see the ‘Teq’ sports demonstrations and their approach to getting interest in their sports. They clearly had major funding/sponsorship, with big banners marking their territory, pretty women handing out giveaways, lots of online marketing, and even the promise of soccer superstars Ronaldinho and Douglas Costa (neither of whom actually made it, in the end).
Our approach was obviously more grassroots, but I think we learned a lot from them and from ourselves about how we could better prepare and maximize our reach at future events. Although we couldn’t manage to bring any banners with us advertising freestyle frisbee, WFDF, and the FPA for lack of luggage space, our attempt to spread the jam by playing around the city, event site and island and involving the local youth was very successful, with people from all parts of the island recognizing us everyday and asking to play with us. If WFDF and the FPA can continue sponsoring players to showcase and teach our sport in new parts of the world, it will directly and majorly impact membership and growth of the sport. That’s a promise.
All in all, it was an honor for us to be able to be the first ‘spread the jam team’ to make it to the African continent. We saw how much potential there is there and, unlike many other sports, freestyle flying disc is a sport which is accessible even for new players who may be coming from difficult backgrounds. Africa is the only continent where there is not yet a jam community (well…maybe Antarctica too); if we can successfully continue to mentor new players and give them enough incentive to keep improving and help spread the jam, we could see the birth of a new era of freestyle flying disc.
Suggestions for how to “keep watering our seeds” in Africa
- Monitor the Freestyle Disc Africa Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2074704512833964/ , engage the members, and find ways to draw more Africans to join the group. We tried to get people to join while we were there, but it was difficult. Very few have computers, 98% of Facebook traffic in Africa is on mobile. Most of the kids didn’t have their own cell-phones.. Only their parents. This issue is the same but even more so for getting Africans to join the FPA.
- If WFDF is sponsoring players to attend an event next year in Lisbon Portugal, maybe we could offer that the best male and female Cape Verdean players at that time would get sponsored to attend and help spread the jam there. This would get these players international exposure and help start to mold an African Mixed Pairs team for the 2021 World Urban Games.
- Send more players back there! Organize another trip for Freestylers to keep spreading the jam in Africa!
Ideas and suggestions for other future projects
- Facebook groups and open lines of communication for new freestyle communities.
- A codified level-system for achieving new skills in freestyle, similar to ‘belts’ in martial arts.
- Print a ton of flyers and give stacks of them to freestylers at tournaments to give out. Translate the flyers into the native language of the locals when possible
- Crowdsource the jam spreading initiative and empower each and every player to be an active part of growing our sport.
- Give incentives / referral bonuses for players who can get new people to start playing / register to join the FPA. (i.e. get 10 new people to sign up to the FPA and enjoy your next year’s membership free)
Photos & Video
We’ve got TONS of amazing photos and video footage from our travels. We’re currently putting together a video recap from our trip – it’s not quite ready yet but stay tuned!
Here is a link where we’ll post our photos and an initial collection of we’ve put together. We’ll be adding to this substantially:
Thanks again, and we look forward to continuing to spread the jam and push our sport forward alongside WFDF and the FPA!
The jambassadors team,
Mehrdad Hosseinian, Daniel O’Neill, Benedicte Audet,
Ayal Benin, Andrea Festi and Michał Maciołek