THE HISTORY OF THE WARWICK BEARS
by Richard Hicks (April 2007)
I founded the Warwick team on a Wednesday afternoon in October 1976, and it has been in continuous existence ever since. Some school friends and I started playing Ultimate in 1975, forming a "club" called Red Star Hillingdon (Hillingdon is an outer suburb of West London). We played in a very early UK Frisbee Championship and may have played one other competitive game, but there were hardly any other Ultimate teams (let alone clubs) at that time. We all went on to universities in October 1976. I went to Warwick, where I immediately founded Warwick University Frisbee Club (now known as the Warwick Bears). Several of my friends went to Cambridge, where they also started a club. However, that didn't carry on after they left (the current Cambridge club, Strange Blue, was founded independently at a later date - I think that my old school friend Phillip Jones has now provided some material for the Stange Blue website, recalling the early days at Cambridge). I am pretty certain that there were no other university Ultimate teams in the UK at that time (and very few other teams either). Anyway, the Warwick club has a continuous history from 1976 to the present day, making it the longest-established university Ultimate team in the UK. For a long while it was arguably the most dynamic force in the spread of Ultimate in the UK, as so many other teams were founded by ex-Warwick players, or sustained by players who joined them after leaving Warwick.
I think that five of the original members of the club are going to be at the 30th Anniversary Dinner in April 2007, though what the current students will make of a bunch of 50 year-olds remains to be seen.