Ultimate Frisbee: A sport for the ages

August 22nd, 2012 | By Jamie Brittain No Comments

Dogs and playing catch- they go together. But no longer is Fido the only one who can fetch a Frisbee. Ultimate Frisbee, or just “Ultimate,” as the players call it, is more than casually tossing a disc with your pooch (although we think that’s fun, too!). The game is all about staying in shape while also having fun, meeting new friends, and learning a sport that you can play for a lifetime.

Ultimate as a sport generally consists of two teams of seven people playing against each other. The object is to score in the end zone, and the basic rule is that once you catch the disc, you can’t move again until you throw it. It is obviously great exercise- it involves running, sprinting, jumping, and hand-eye coordination skills. In addition, it teaches character-building and teamwork; it is an honor sport, which means that players call their own fouls. Another thing that makes Ultimate a great activity is the fact that injury rates are low because it is a non-contact sport. It’s also inexpensive, and is a great way to spend time with friends and family, no matter what your skill level.

But perhaps the greatest aspect of Ultimate is its broad appeal to many different people. Because it is easy to learn and can be played anywhere, it’s a fun and effective way for families, kids, grandparents, teens, young adults, and anyone else to get out of the house and do something active.

Chase McCallum, a recent UGA graduate, can attest. He has been playing for Athens Ultimate, a local Frisbee league, for six years. In that time has played with people of all ages, from 12-year-olds to 60-year-olds. “Everyone can find a niche on a team; People of all walks of life play,” McCallum said.

Sherrie Hines, a lawyer, is one of those people. She played for Athens Ultimate during college and all through law school, and hasn’t stopped yet. She is proof of the fact that adults can play, too! Once you get started, “you’ll find that you can’t wait to get out and play, something too few adults remember to do,” Hines says.

So where can you play Ultimate Frisbee, and how do you get started? Well, it could be as simple as calling up a few friends, loading up the kids, and going outside! You can always play in your own backyard, a local high school football field, at your church, or at a park. In Athens, there are fields at Bishop Park, Sandy Creek Park, and Southeast Clarke Park. You can also contact your local leisure services department to find more places to play.

If you’re looking to join a league, Athens Ultimate is always looking for new players. If you’re interested in joining, email chsmccallum@gmail.com for more information. If you are looking for something a little more competitive and serious, USA Ultimate is the organization that oversees most formal leagues. You can find information about tournaments and leagues for college, club, youth, women’s, and “Grand-Masters” (people over the age of 40) divisions on www.usaultimate.org. This website isn’t only for formal competitors; USA Ultimate also provides a list of game rules and resources for people interested in starting their own league. Sometimes there is a fee to cover materials such as field rentals, jerseys, and insurance.

And of course, you can’t play Ultimate without a disc! Athens Ultimate recommends the Discraft Ultra-Star 175 gram, which runs as low as $6. You can usually find this model or something similar at one of your local sports or outdoors stores. Now it’s time to start playing … see you on the field!

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