The Ultimate game in the park

The Ultimate game in the park

Okay, now that America paid attention to the World Cup, I’m hoping one of my favorite sports gets some attention.

Well, not too much attention, I guess.  It works partly because of a sort of code of chivalrous behavior…that’s not likely to keep going if it gets too big…you know, if the money gets big.  🙂

When I played it in high school, we called it Ultimate Frisbee.  Now, it’s just called Ultimate…not because of some Madonna/Cher revisionist type thing.  There was a concern about copyright issues…and “Ultimate  Flying Disc” just doesn’t have the same ring.  🙂

There are also more formal rules, but the basics are simple.

It’s like soccer, sort of, played with a Frisbee.  Two teams (it’s usually seven to a side, but it doesn’t really matter).  One team throws off to the other, and then it starts.

You can only advance the frisbee by throwing it.  When you catch it, you can take a step or two to stop your momentum, but you aren’t supposed to run with it.

When you catch it, you have ten seconds to throw it to somebody else.  Somebody on the other team counts it off out loud (seconds…you know, like “1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi”…you don’t have to rush).

If the throw is incomplete, you run out of time, or it goes out of bounds, the other team gets it.

On the ten second thing, you just drop it where you are.

You score when you get it into the other team’s end-zone. 

That’s pretty much it.

It’s a non-contact sport.  You are supposed to stay out of reach of the player with the frisbee, so they can possibly throw it.  You can jump up and down and wave your arms, that sort of thing.

So, you can teach it to a bunch of people in just a couple of minutes.

You can set the winning rules how you want, really.  You could play for a certain amount of time, or to 15 points (but you have to win by two, usually, in that set-up…kind of like tennis).

Physical abilities can help, no question.  It can be tiring, with a lot of running around.

The ability to throw the frisbee can help.  🙂

There are a couple of throws that particularly help.  I could catch the frisbee as you would expect, and then continue it towards me, rotating my hand into a “thumb flip”.  It’s hard to throw it very far that way, but it makes for a very fast turnaround.

The other really cool throw we called “The Elevator”.   It would look like it was going to go far away, but part way through, it would drop like a rock…like an elevator going down the shaft.

That was great, because it would really fool the athletes who were used to, say, a football. 

I am not a runner, but I loved being able to judge the frisbee.  I’d saunter over to where the frisbee was  going to be.  Some athlete would run out thirty yards, realize it wasn’t going to be there, turn around, and run back.  I just had to hope like crazy the frisbee dropped quickly enough that I could catch it before the other person got there (I’m not a jumper, either).

Next time you are in the park, and want to get a little exercise, this is a fun way.  It’s simple and cheap, like soccer.  It’s easy to learn, and because it isn’t part of the sports mainstream, it tends to be able to stay more fun, in my opinion.  Oh, if you have a choice, a heavier frisbee tends to be better, but don’t worry about it.

Just remember…”Flat Flip Flies Straight”.  🙂

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the The Measured Circle blog.


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