(extra videos courtesy of Kolja Hanneman)
For old time’s sake (and by request), here’s a video of the winning routine from the 1997 FPA Worlds in Honolulu. This was the first of three wins in a row for Dave Murphy/Dave Lewis/Arthur Coddington and the first of five wins a row for Dave and Arthur’s co-op teams. It was the second dropless FPA Worlds in a row for Arthur and Dave.
The story behind this routine is that Bill Wright, Larry Imperiale and Randy Silvey kicked our asses twice in 1996 – once at the US Open, then a month later at FPA Worlds in New York. We went back to the drawing board and decided to not only try to up the ante with our technical skills but to also play around with the presentation element of keeping possession of both discs for the entire five minutes.
We worked our butts off to put the routine together and perfect it. When we got to Honolulu and tried to run through the routine the day before the tournament, we couldn’t complete anything. We felt like beginners. Glancing across the field, it was also clear that Bill, Larry and Randy had also been playing with multiple discs. Our rivalry would definitely continue, and we would face off against a lot of other formidable teams. We would be in trouble if we didn’t figure out a way to pull off our moves.
Our ineptness was only temporary. We remembered how to freestyle and whipped our routine back into shape. A strange thing happened in the semis, though. For whatever reason, Bill, Larry and Randy placed third in their pool, giving them the big strategic disadvantage of playing early in the finals. We won our semi and would play last.
The finals, as you can see from the flags and trees behind the action in the video, were blustery. It wasn’t about just performing the routine but also overcoming unpredictable elements. When we performed, we didn’t know how Bill, Larry and Randy played. We just focused on being a team and putting on a show. The routine is dropless but of course not without mistakes and many saves. A lot of things went our way that day – lucky breaks, mistakes that turned into exciting moments, etc.
Looking back at the video, I’m proud of three things. First, our team moved and communicated well. When things didn’t go right, we found solutions. When the wind moved one player around, the others adjusted. Second, this title was Dave Murphy’s first FPA title, and I’m proud to have been on his team and helped him in some way get the much-deserved hardware to go with his amazing game. Third, it’s a little known fact that Dave Lewis almost didn’t play the worlds that year because of a neck injury. The happy ending of a win at worlds is extra special after sticking together through injuries like that.