Asheville’s own Cahoots will compete at nationals

Cahoots is a nationally ranked, coed, Asheville-based team. They are about to travel to Texas to play against the best competition from across the country. But you’ve probably never heard of them. They are some of the hardest working athletes in Western North Carolina, and they’re about to change the face of Ultimate Frisbee in Asheville forever.

According to USA Ultimate, the governing body of ultimate Frisbee, there were over 8,000 registered adult players in 2011 and over 16,000 registered college players the same year. Over the weekend of Sept. 28-29, Cahoots finished first in a region spanning eight states in the southeast to win the honor of competing in the national championship tournament, an accomplishment that no team from Asheville has achieved before.

Chances are, you’ve heard of the sport. You may have read the recent Time magazine article titled “Spin Doctors: Ultimate Frisbee Chucks Its Hippie Past to Go Pro.” Chances are, you know an Ultimate Frisbee player: there are over 150 of them in the Asheville fall league. You’ve seen Cahoots around. They are the crazy men and women running sprints in the rain, doing burpees and plyometrics in the midsummer heat, and running drills for two to three hours at a time at Memorial Stadium, at the UNCA track, at some of our local schools and on our trails. But you know them better than that.

These people teach and coach your children, they sell you beer and wine, they sell you produce and meat, they provide you with healthcare and design your houses. They are your social workers, your Internet specialists, your college professors, your farm inspectors. They do their full-time jobs and then find the time to build the skill that it takes to place in the top sixteen teams in America.

This article is not being written to extoll the virtues of the character of Cahoots. They yell at one another and at their opponents, loudly and unnecessarily at times. They are graceless losers and occasionally graceless winners. The cheers that they shout from the sidelines before they storm the field make me want to cover the ears of children watching from the stands because of bawdy language not atypical to the sport, but they play with heart.

They play a thankless sport that is rising in visibility. Highlights from not one but two professional Ultimate Frisbee leagues, Major League Ultimate and American Ultimate Disc League, have been popping up on the highlight reels on ESPN and ESPN2. It seems that the nation is beginning to care. Cahoots is going to Texas on October 17 to represent not just the members of the Asheville Ultimate Club but all 84,000 residents of Asheville, all 9.7 million of us in North Carolina. They’ve worked hard for it for a long time.  This is just the beginning for them. And now you know who they are, and hopefully now you care, too.

Click here for more photos taken at regionals.

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