[Dream Team] Michelle “Mish” Phillips, Bauhaus, Australia

Mish Phillips has played with Bauhaus Ultimate for the entire ten years of both her playing career and the club’s existence, and captained or coached the team for the last six. She represented Australia five times and her club four times at international level since 2008.

How did you come to play ultimate?

A friend of mine, Hui Ying Ang, asked if I would come and play a tournament with the University mixed team because they were short on girls. I had never even thrown a disc before, and had no understanding of how intense a tournament schedule is, but had a great time.

And how did you stick to the sport?

I was also playing soccer at a high level at the time, but I disliked that other players would elbow you and be aggressive while the referee wasn’t watching. I am not afraid of playing at a highly competitive and physical level, but I believe you can do this without losing the respect for your opponents. It is the Spirit of the Game and the amazing global community that makes Ultimate frisbee such a worthwhile sport to play. This is why I have stuck to the sport.

I stopped playing soccer. 😉

What’s your best memory about ultimate?

My best memory is probably both the greatest and the most embarrassing thing I’ve done onfield, in the same moment!

It is 2010, and the Australian women’s U23s team is playing in the final of the first WU23 championships against Team Japan. The score is 15-15, game to 16, and there have been multiple turns already in the point. My sister catches the disc, yells at me to run, and throws a huge throw towards the endzone. I am exhausted and as I start to run, I trip over my own feet and fall over. The only thing in my head is “my sister is going to be so mad at me!” so I get up, keep running to the endzone, and in a mad panic leap of desperation catch the disc over some other players.

We won the game, but I sure copped a lot of teasing from the team about tripping over first!

What’s your vision about the future of ultimate?

There are expectations in the sporting world about how sport is played, and there’s a fair amount of pressure on us to fit in with these expectations. Yet ‘an expectation’ has nothing to do with what’s best, or what’s fulfilling, or what’s right. It’s just what people are used to.

My vision for the sport is that we take the fact that we play a self-refereed sport, we take the fact that women and men can share the field equally at the highest levels, and we leverage the hell out of it. These are the exact reasons why our sport is marketable.

I strongly believe that our Spirit of the Game is intrinsically linked to the accountability and responsibility that comes from self-refereeing, and that we should be stubborn about our refusal to move away from this.

I strongly believe that we have the potential to be the most gender equitable sport in the world, and that we should be stubborn in our insistence to move towards this.

What’s you thoughts about ultimate frisbee cleats?

I want my cleats as light and fast as possible! I worked in an athletic shoes store for many years, so I had excellent access to try some of the best brands. However, I’ve always had a problem that the lightest cleats don’t provide enough cushioning for my feet. I run a lot, so the ball of my foot was always getting sore. My solution was to always have a thick pair of gel innersoles inside my cleats to relieve this pressure. I would absolutely love to find a pair of cleats that can be light while also providing me with enough cushioning.

Mish’s timeline

  • 2007 – Australian nationals silver medal, Kaimana klassik
  • 2008 – WUGC in Vancouver, women’s team
  • 2009 – World Games reserve, Kaimana Klassik
  • 2010 – WU23 in Lecco, women’s team, vice captain, gold medal. WUCC in Prague with Kaboom mixed division. Australian nationals gold medal.
  • 2011 – I guess I had a rest this year 😉
  • 2012 – WUGC in Sakai, women’s team
  • 2013 – World Games in Cali, Japanese nationals with HUCK silver medal
  • 2014 – WUCC with STBAU women’s division, Kaimana Klassik 1st place, Australian nationals gold medal.
  • 2015 – Dream Cup, US Open mixed division
  • 2016 – WUGC in London, women’s team, captain. Dream Cup 1st place.