Now played in more than thirty-five countries, Ultimate is being recognized as the
sport of the future. The fast-paced disc sports combines the constant running of
soccer, the defensive positioning of basketball, and the passing patterns of football
to form a sport like no other. If you have never seen Ultimate played, you are
missing out...picture this:
Two teams of seven line up across from one another on a football-size field.
Constant and explosive running gives the impression of chaos, but carefully timed
"cuts" by each player have a particular goal in mind. The flying disc is thrown
and the pass completed, but not without a diving block attempt by the defender.
A teammate is making a dash for the end-zone and the thrower sends the disc over
sixty yards down the field. It looks like an impossible catch, but at the last
moment, the receiver "lays out" and, for a moment, an airborne body and outstretched
arm fly parallel to the disc. The fingertips glide under the disc's rim, the
catch is made, and a point scored!
Who monitors the on-field action of this game? The answer is a refreshing way to
look at competitive sport. The players themselves officiate all competitive play
- from local level pick-up to world championship tournaments, and are honor-bound
by what is called the Spirit of the Game to call fouls and settle disputes
as they occur. Intensely competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense
of mutual respect between players. This recipe of cooperation and maximum personal
achievement has yielded unprecedented growth for Ultimate since it's birth in 1968.
The Ultimate Players
Association (UPA), the organization and sanctioning body of the sport,
currently lists over 8,000 members. Colorado alone boasts a league database of
over 1,200 participants; Ultimate players thrive on their sports addictive
combination of a formidable cardiovascular workout, great stress release, and
an avenue for competitive and social interaction.
How do you play Ultimate?
Spirit of the game is what makes ultimate different.
7 players on a side, throw the disc to a team-mate, no running with the disc, catch the disc in the
endzone for a goal. UPA (Ultimate Players Association) 10th Edition Rules came up with
Ultimate in Ten Simple Rules,
a summary of the game that is much better than anything I could make up. For a more comprehensive version of
the rules click here.
One of the most important concepts in Ultimate Frisbee is Spirit of the Game. At the most basic level,
this means call your own fouls. However, the overall concept is that the game is fun! Players are
expected to know the rules and play within them. Deliberatly fouling an opponent to gain advantage or prevent
a score is just not done. Ultimate Frisbee has never used referees, and players pride themselves on playing
within the rules.
How does this work?
Players realize that you can't get away with fouling because your opponent is the referee. When fouls do occur, play
is momentarily stopped, and the disc is put back into play approximately where it would have been had the foul not
taken place. If a foul call is disputed, the play reverts to the point (the thrower) prior to the foul to resume
play. (the grade-school "do over" rule) So, there is always a way to resolve the dispute without arguements!
We are all responsible for our own actions, and our opponents will be the referees to make sure we play within
the rules. What an ULTIMATE concept!
Who can play?
Anybody that likes to run or throw a frisbee. Ultimate is a co-ed sport. The Puget Sound Ultimate Spring League
requires at least 3 of each gender on the field at all times. Since Ultimate is a non-contact sport,
men have less physical advantage (speed being a possible exception) over women. In fact, in co-ed play, the
team that incorporates their women players into the game most effectivly usually wins. It's really hard to run
an offense with only four active players.
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