Bonzo Goes to Bitburg

Just got notification that Sadie’s volleyball uniform includes black socks. I don’t fully understand how or why hearing that took me immediately to the early 80’s when UGA Ultimate went to Auburn for the Southern Regionals as Bitburg Ultimate. Reagan was president and the Ramones captured the spirit of the day (at least my day) perfectly. My friend and teammate Jim Veal created the perfect stencil for our spray-painted uniform shirts and we kicked ass in Auburn to qualify for College Nationals. I wore black socks (it’s so funny how strongly I felt the tie-in to today’s uniform announcement – hence this post).

We won the tournament but didn’t make it to Nationals. We had agreed as a team to allow a longtime teammate to play even though he wasn’t a student and therefore was ineligible. Any games Gene played in would be considered a forfeit. It was pretty cool that we collectively chose to stick with our friend rather than travel to Nationals (that we couldn’t afford the trip also played a small part). We qualified the next year too, and were the first team to play college nationals with a mixed squad – Juliet! – one of many firsts for Ultimate emanating from UGA Ultimate. I’m proud of the part I’ve played in that history (and will never forget that trip home from Auburn – so many laughs).

Speaking of playing a part in a rich history:

“Ultimate has given me community, lifelong friendships, joy…and lots of opportunity for growth. I fell in love with the way the disc flies the first time I played at UGA. There wasn’t a women’s team at the time, but Coach Tony Ubanks [sic] gave me the chance to be on the dude’s team. I wore the cotton Georgia tank with pride, sang Amazing Grace on Sundays, and learned to throw on North Campus- hucking through the vortex in the trees for hours with teammates. The college team was my world…” Tina McDowell, Ultimate Hall of Fame induction bio.

It’s been a great week – school’s back in session and being back in the classroom is like heaven. Though it was sad to hear of my friend Lisa’s brother having a heart attack and being kept on life support. You just never know when that shoe’s gonna drop.

P.S. The Ramones also inspired the name of the first UGA Women’s team – AirWaves


Every person you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind.(and live like today’s your last day, because you never know….)

5 thoughts on “Bonzo Goes to Bitburg

    1. Tony says:

      We should’ve beaten two other teams but my Crash and Burn (TM) sidearm killed us.
      On a brighter note, our last game in St Louis, against UCSB Black Tide, was Ultimate HoF nominee Aaron Switzer’s first time playing in a tournament.

  1. Stephanie Hubbard Meisel says:

    So many ultimate memories! I remember driving to Austin, TX for Nationals and hot chili for Thanksgiving with the Airwaves. Hank Bass was in the back seat asleep on the drive there. When he woke up, he asked where we were. We had passed into another timezone which Hank (aka yankem Hankem) said he felt and which ultimately woke him up.
    So many spray painted tees and incredible names! I always feel blessed that Stevo and I ran into Byron having lunch at the College Union. I had learned to play while at school in Boulder my freshman year, and we jumped at the opportunity to play at UGA.
    Hope you’re feeling great Tony!

  2. Susan Fisher says:

    Tony, it was great to run into you today. I’ve just read your entire blog and can identify with much of it. It makes me happy that you are responding so well to therapy and gives me hope that I will too. Thanks for the great music and for sharing your journey. ❤️

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