This week has me realizing how fragile we are. We recently got word that our friend Protik Mia has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Pro's our age and has two young kids and a happy marriage with another friend of ours, Becky. If you know Pro, and want to follow along and wish him well...he's keeping a blog of his family adventures, as well as his diagnosis and fight at: pro's blog.

Less than a week after hearing this crappy news, we also received a note that another friend of ours, Mike Vitti - the photographer at our wedding - had a sudden heart attack and couldn't be revived. WTF! His NY Times obituary is at: vitti obituary.

Pro/Becky and Mike are all friends from ultimate frisbee...not surprising since so many of our friends came through years of playing the sport. As a small tribute to Mike's life, the following is a picture he took of me and a friend Alex Kaplan "skying" for a disc in Prospect Park years ago. Rest in Peace, Mike!

ultimate teams

Lisa and I met playing ultimate frisbee (just "ultimate" to those of us who play it) and we've devoted a lot of our free time to playing and coaching this intense sport. One great thing about ultimate is the colorful names that teams create for themselves. Here are some teams that we've played with throughout the years.

Mischief - Our most recent team is full of lots of chicanery. The team used to have an official mascot - a chicken named Bundt. On multiple occasions, we were able to come from behind to win a game by unleashing the power of Bundt, our rally chicken. We're now alumni of the team and play rarely with them in fun tournaments like Potlatch in Seattle. The team has won national in recent years, as one of the best co-ed teams in the world. Beware the mischief of the Rally Chicken!

Blue Lotus Sect (aka Chinese National Team) - Lisa and I played at the 2002 WFDF World Ultimate Championships in Hawaii, with the Chinese National Team! Most of our team was based out of Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong...but the team also got special permission to recruit a few Americans as well. (I guess it's hard to get a visa from China to play ultimate frisbee). Here is a picture of Lisa going up strong for the disc, which made the tournament's newsletter.

Feral Cows - A fun co-ed team in the Bay Area called the Feral Cows. Jamal Mohd-Yusof is credited for having named the team, but even he can't seem to explain its meaning.

Special K - A defunct co-ed team whose name stemmed from the fact that half of our names (Kris, Kitt, Katie, Keith, Kenny, Karna, Kim, Kirmse, Klasky, and Kyle) began with a "K." Lisa Timmins talked her way onto the team because she worked for "Klutz" Inc at the time.

Five-Assed Monkey - A defunct competitive team made up of men from coed teams including Rippit, Red Fish Blue Fish, and Special K. The team's mascot stems from a South Park cartoon episode in which a warped scientist named Mephisto genetically engineers the perfect biological species - a five-assed monkey. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out why Mephisto (who lives in seclusion at the top of a mountain overlooking the peaceful town of South Park) thinks this might be the perfect beast.

Sugar Smacks - Sugar Smacks is a co-ed team that came together to play several times at the Hopu Ka Lewa tournament in Waimanalo, Hawaii. Check out the mountain surroundings below - breathtaking! The team name stemmed from the fact that our players normally played for Special K (a cereal), Feral Cows (producers of milk), and Rippit (a team with a frog theme). When we thought of cereal, milk, and frogs...our combined team name became obvious - we played as "Sugar Smacks" with it's cute "Dig-em" frog mascot. Sugar Smacks won the Hopu Ka Lewa (Hawaaiian for "Catch the Sky") tournament our first two years there. Our third and final year there, we lost in semi-finals in a close game to Hawaii-based "Hana Hou."

University of Sussex Mohawks - Based in Brighton UK, this team introduced me to the game, during my junior year abroad in 1989-90.

Tufts E-Men - I played for Tufts my senior year of college (1990-91). Our team was the second best in the Northeast but we didn't go to nationals because by some SNAFU, regionals was scheduled on our graduation day. Alas...

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