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Ultimate Frisbee Fever is Thriving in the Sports World

Ultimate Frisbee is catching on fast in local communities, college campuses and around the world. Most Ultimate Frisbee athletes look at the game as a way of life and not just a hobby but a real sport.

In a recent conversation with a captain of a local team he said when they are not practicing together or going to tournaments we just hangout with each other.

Welcome to the vast but mostly invisible sport of Ultimate  Frisbee, a sport that in some ways resembles football or soccer, only without the contact, expensive equipment or trash talking.

While Ultimate Frisbee seldom appears in the media, it’s quickly gaining recognition across the country. The sport has become more athletic and in recent years there has been a push to add the sport to the Olympic line-up.

In 2012 there were 5.1 million Ultimate players in the USA. Ultimate is be played across the world in pickup games and by recreational, school, club, and national teams at various age levels

Ultimate Frisbee game action from an Ultimate freebee tournament in North Carolina/Photo from Wikiped.com
Ultimate Frisbee game action from an Ultimate freebee tournament in North Carolina/Photo from Wikiped.com

and with open, women’s, and mixed tournaments. In 2013 two professional leagues were operating in North America. The 13th biannual national team World Championships were held in Sakai, Japan in July, 2012. USA won the open division, Japan won the women’s tournament, Canada took the mixed and masters’ titles, and the women masters’ event  captured by the USA .

Ultimate{ Frisbee] is every bit as competitive and exciting as any

other sport. Athletes are some times turned off by it because they do not think it’s a ligament sport, but it’s not a hobby at all.

In the Summer of 2011, the sport gained some major exposure in the Evergreen state and popularity when 80 teams came together to play in what was the largest coed tournament at the time at a 60 Acre  Park near Redmond, Washington for what would be called the world’s largest coed Ultimate Frisbee Tournament.

The annual Potlatch Tournament, hosted by the Northwest Ultimate Association, commonly referred to as Disc Northwest, included teams for the United States and Canada. Tournament organizers said that if the world championship weren’t scheduled at the same time in Hawaii teams from all over the globe would have been in attendance at the tournament that year.

Most tournaments on the national level of competition consist of 10 to 30 teams that make up a tournament event. The Potlatch tournament is an exception to the general rule and 30 of the 80 teams come from within Washington  for that tournament. The Northwest Ultimate Association has  3000 players, with 10 last leagues that make up 195 teams, said Mike Karen, Disc Northwest executive director.

Regardless of the level of competition a majority of ultimate Frisbee players point to the “spirit of the game” as common ground that draws them to the sport. Since there are no referees in Ultimate Frisbee, players must keep up their own level of fairness proper play along with calling their own fouls when contact occurs.

Ultimate players find that the sport is a good way to meet people–such as a pickup game at a local park  on a sunny day. Ultimate teams  from as people meet one another and can even be formed in the workplace. A perk of playing ultimate Frisbee is how cheap it is to get involved. All that you needed is a Frisbee and something to mark the field boundaries. Some players wear cheats but it is not required to take part in a game.

Playing ultimate Frisbee even for the most serious athletes is not a very lucrative activity. There is typically no prize money and teams have to pay their own way to and from tournaments and tournament fees. However, that does not matter to the hundreds of thousands of people who play in ultimate Frisbee leagues throughout the country. It’s the love and spirit of the game that they fancy the most.