The 2017 season will go down as a historic one in the Chilli archives, following the Chilli Legends’ successful maiden season.
After fielding an expanded squad for the 2016 Nationals campaign, the need became apparent for a second Chilli team to ensure that all club members secured the playing time they wanted.
“Chilli Legends was born out of conversations that started at Worlds in 2016 between a core group of slightly older Chilli players,” Legends co-captain Ant Pascoe told chilliultimate.co.za in an exclusive interview.
“The club has grown to a size where one team was unable to satisfy everyone’s needs, but there were not enough players for two teams. We agreed that if the club was going to grow we needed to create two separate teams, with their own identities and personalities, but which still sat well within the Chilli nest.”
Modelled on UK outfit Brighton Ultimate, who Pascoe enjoyed a foray with back when he still had hair and only hippies played Ultimate, the formation of the Chilli Legends successfully extended the appeal of the club – but advanced age is by no means a requirement for the team.
“One key message that needs to be conveyed about Legends is that we are not a Masters team,” Pascoe continued. “You don’t actually have to be a legend to play with us, and you don’t actually have to have played with Chilli in the past. What we want are people who buy into our ethos.
“We are a team who plays possession-based Ultimate. For us, Ultimate is about fun. We like to use the word ‘funness’ (it’s a thing). We are egalitarian in our approach (mainly because we like to use big words). We play with respect. And we are diligent in our training and our focus.”
The Legends may be a new team, but there is nothing new about their core players; they boast more than 17 Mixed Nationals titles between them.
This experience, mixed with the addition of a few familiar Chilli faces and the energetic presence of newcomers the likes of Kevin Durant, proved a recipe for success, with the Legends finishing third in Summer League, and an incredibly impressive sixth at Mixed Nationals.
The 2017 campaign has laid the foundation for an exciting new era at Chilli, and has ensured that Pascoe can put his Zimmer Frame back in closet for the time being.