Tech, Ultimate Frisbee

Reuben Godfrey, Johnny Chimpo cofounder, rugby convert

By @SimonCocking images thanks to John Redmond 


Delighted to get the uncompromising opinions and points of view from our own Reuben Godfrey. As we look at where to recruit more adult, non college players to the sport, Reuben was a successful recruit from the world of rugby. In many ways Ultimate offered all the things to him that rugby hadn’t. This is an important thing to consider as Irish ultimate looks to build out from it’s existing niche and become a more widely played sport in Ireland.

Reuben, being Reuben, has some uncompromising views on the sport. On the pitch however he embraced the concept of the spirit of the game, and ensured that opponents were treated respectfully, even while relishing the pantomime villain role he played for a while as part of the all conquering orange army of JC.

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What did you play before ultimate?

I played rugby to a decent level, kicked-about with football..

Why did you start playing?

I had finished my rugby career. I had one-too-many concussions (before it was cool) and was at the age where bulk was beginning to matter. Isaac had returned to Ireland and we were hanging out.. he had mentioned before about this exotic game with a terrible name and asked me along to training. I never looked back

What appealed to you

The non-contact element was big for me, as was the ‘self-governing’ aspect.. all very right-on after the testosterone fuelled world of rugger

Your pal Isaac says it’s not really a sport, discuss ….

Uhm.. I will next time I see him. I take the point, though, to a degree.. it’s a bit of a sport-lite, no?

Rostock – how was it for you, you were pretty raw going into it, but played very well, as in did what you could do, and didn’t push it trying to do things beyond your range …

That was my best (on pitch) performance at a tournament. I won a few mvps and had virtually no turnovers.. It was a great bunch of people to travel with and the only disappointment was how poorly we gelled. (hot penis wash)

Mixed, how much did you enjoy it compared to open?

Enjoyed the spirit, disliked the losing. One of the Belgian guys got in trouble when he nailed it during a tense mixed-moment.. to diffuse the flaring tempers he pleaded; ‘C’mon guys.. it’s only mixed’

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JC, as a founder member, tell us about

i) starting it

uhm.. I/we felt that it was important for Irish ultimate to have rivalries to improve. I wanted to play with other non-affiliated friends and see if we could be part of a rivalry.

ii) the vibe?

We had fun being the ‘bad-guys’. It was all a bit of a laugh from our side.. a bit of panto

iii) what you think other people thought about JC?

I think they thought we were serious. I know they wanted to beat us, which was the whole point.. others wanted to join us, which was also cool (we don’t bite!)

iv) the legacy left by JC

An aversion to the colour orange..? A strange compulsion to sing the wrong lyrics to Rock Around the Clock when it comes on the radio..?

You’re a big ideas person, what would your vision be for ultimate in Ireland, how would you remedy the bits that aren’t quite optimal?

I’m pretty amazed with how far the game has come since I stopped being active.. I love seeing it in schools.. there have been amazing performances by some teams in big tournies. Ranelagh seem like a great outfit.. The best ideas will come from those that have the most energy to give – for me to offer anything after such a long time away would be arrogant.. (arrogant beyond my abnormally high arrogance-resting-rate)

Why did you stop playing?

I moved to Slovakia.. those guys were too loose, not structured enough.. liked ‘having fun’ at tournaments.. all ‘oh, let’s throw a low % thumber into the ground, for the craic’.. wasn’t what I was used to.. also, they hated me.. I played one  tournament in Hungary with them – I had missed my flight back to play with Chimpo in Cork.. I was having a horrible time on the field, being looked-off on good cuts, not throwing ‘wacky flare’. Long story short, I got messy drunk and smashed my face in a carpark on the first night, spent the next day on the sideline looking like a bag of mince. That was my ignominious retirement from competition.

Favourite players to play with / watched playing

D-man, Isaac, WeeMac, Si, Stokesie, Fuzzy, DeccyB

Favourite games played in /watched?

All the finals we played with JC. Don’t remember watching too many with much interest, tbh.

nb – I remember you sitting out quite a few finals, with sore knees, what was that like / about

Quite a few..?! Hang-on old bean, maybe one or two.. My knees were, and still are, gash.

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Tech, you’re in that place now, any ultimate players found, any future crossovers?

It’s actually a little embarrassing these days to work in a tech company and have an ‘Ulti’ past. Like having a beard and working in a coffee shop.

What should I have asked you?

Is a comeback out of the question..!?

Anything to add?

‘The clock strikes one…’ etc. (Jeez guys.. I’m joking)


3 thoughts on “Reuben Godfrey, Johnny Chimpo cofounder, rugby convert

  1. Pingback: Reuben too, the story that just keeps giving | Sarah Paddle Swim

  2. Pingback: 7 latest Ultimate interviews February 2015 | Sarah Paddle Swim

  3. Pingback: The iceman speaks, Ultimate from Graz to Ireland and China, Isaac Lawless, | Sarah Paddle Swim

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