Keene High senior Shaun Henderson couldn’t come up with the words to describe the enthusiasm he and others are feeling about the fifth annual Robbie Felder Memorial Ultimate Frisbee Tournament.
The event will be held Saturday at the Keene High athletic fields.
“Wow,” said Henderson, after stewing silently for a couple moments. “What does the Frisbee tournament mean to me? I just … how do you say something like that? It’s everything — the culmination of a life riddled with athletic pursuits.
“Nothing matters more.”
The entry fee is $60. First prize could be worth $350 or more, depending on the number of teams that enter.
The “RF V” — named by recent Keene High graduate Robbie Felder, who wanted to have an event named for him after he’s gone but today is very much alive and well and living in Colorado — apparently has captured the hearts and minds of Keene High students and others.
Keene High physics teacher David Lybarger, a Frisbee enthusiast, said this year’s RF V tournament “trumps virtually every other school event in terms of anticipation. The excitement for this is unparalleled, asymptotic.”
Keene High senior Tor Aanstad Stensrud said RF V officials have revved up the anticipation for the Frisbee fix with an all-out marketing and advertising blitz.
“They make movie trailers, put up posters that could be mistaken for military propaganda,” he said. “They take it seriously, warning competitors to ‘Prepare for battle.’ This isn’t a joke to them, it’s not a joke to us.”
The RF V is a 7-on-7 game in which a winner is determined based on a first to 15 basis, or until a time cap is enforced.
Keene High students and Interact members John Whippie, Tim Heneghan and John Szot have helped the tournament grow, with attendance already doubled from the first few years. They hope to set a new record for entries; the tournament drew a record 14 teams last season.
Recent RF V tournaments have included teams from various origins and skill levels. Last year’s field included teams from upstate New York and Massachusetts. Some of the competitors are elite Ultimate players who compete on a college level. Others arrive having never played.
“The Frisbee tournament has always been about inclusion and offering new opportunities. That was Robbie’s wish,” Heneghan, the tournament chair, said.
Felder, who organized the first tournament in 2007, said he was “flabbergasted” at how massive the tournament has become since its humble beginnings.
“That first year, we had maybe four, five teams show up,” he said, “all comprised of my friends. I never thought it would get like this.”
Teams and players have been practicing at Keene High and at open fields around town.
One of the teams slated to play Saturday is the Pandas.
“Our full team name is ‘A Great Panda Adventure,’ ” said Rick Day, who broke an arm in the second game and was sidelined for the rest of the tournament last year — and is ready to go all out again this weekend. “I’ll do it again if it means a better shot at victory.
“You can bet we’re gonna be ready. Glory awaits.”
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