Vision Staff Writer
While many people still don’t know about this sport called Ultimate, is is becoming harder and harder to ignore. It’s been around for many years, since 1968. Not as long as other sports, but long enough for millions of people to pick up this fun game.
It is estimated that it is played in more than 80 countries by over 7 million people right now. And it is the fastest growing team sport in the world. The playing field is 70 yards long, each end zone is an additional 25 yards long, and the whole field is 40 yards wide.
At the Holliston High School turf, the red lines indicate the boundaries, but during games, the team typically still use cones to mark end zones and important lines. The rules are not long at all, and can be found on usaultimate.org or in a rulebook. There are only 10 simple rules. The game is very fair, because of the crowd of people who play and honor the spirit of the game, which is written in the rulebook.
As stated on usaultimate.org:
10. Spirit of the Game: Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect between players, adherence to the rules, and the basic joy of play.”
Players use a nice disc called Discraft, because it moves the best and flies well if thrown well. The Discraft Ultra-Star is the official disc of USA Ultimate. Ultimate Frisbee isn’t the official name, although many people call it that, the official name is just Ultimate. Players also don’t call the disc a “frisbee.” Just like the name Kleenex®, which is just a brand and not the name of the tissue product, Frisbee® comes from one of the first brands of the disc made by the company Wham-O in the early 60s. And that name stuck for a lot of people, but it is still not the name of the sport.
So Ultimate is similarly played to sports like American football, because of the field, the fact that it has to be caught within the endzone to become a point for the team who scored, and that they both involve a kickoff or pull to the other team after each point is scored. But it is one of the most unique sports, too. No padding is worn, the disc has to be thrown and received by your own team member in order to prevent a turnover, and of course, you cannot move in possession of the disc. Once you catch the disc thrown by your teammate, you then hold onto it and have to make a complete pass to a teammate before you can run around again to go catch it.
The play is very quick and dropping it or a bad pass or a block is very common, and is what most of the game involves. And the best part is that the disc doesn’t travel like any other sport ball or puck, it goes with the wind outside, and glides through the air so majestically. Even a light throw with just the flick of your wrist can make it soar through the air, because the spin plays a big part in the movement of the disc. Also stated on usaultimate.org,There is hardly ever bad tension between two teams, because “each player is morally bound to treating their teammates and their competition kindly, because of Spirit of the Game.”
Learning to play Ultimate was and is a unique experience for me, and lots of other people. I enjoyed learning the sport and the throws and techniques. And I really can’t do the overhead hammer-throw too well, but it is a less common throw in a real game, but not rare. Our High School team is large, with 36 people that signed up. There is no JV or Varsity, but one huge team most of the time. The coaches are Coach Levasseur and Coach Wood. There are 5 seniors who will be playing their last set of games this season at HHS.
Some of our home games will be on these days: Tuesday, May 13 against Natick; Tuesday, May 20 against Abington; and Thursday, May 22 against Sharon.
Players on both sides are encouraging and just enjoy playing the game, and it is not all about winning. Ultimate is about fun, commitment, staying healthy, building character, making new friends and meeting new people, and learning how to work together with one another. Winning always feels good, but losing never feels all that bad in Ultimate. And as it states in Spirit of the Game, competition is encouraged, but should never be at the expense of respect for another player, the rules, or basic joy of play.
The season is almost over, and we all wish the seniors a good luck in their years ahead.
Seniors (Last season for them)
Rusty Varrell (Captain)
Carl Berg (Captain)