Ultimate Frisbee: An Emerging Ultra Sport?

Ultimate or Ultimate Frisbee is an exhilarating, non-contact team sport played by hundreds of thousands of teams across Canada and the rest of the world. The game demands its players to be incredibly fit and to develop a variety of throwing techniques. Ultimate is becoming increasingly popular because of its affinity for being newcomer friendly. This welcoming atmosphere has led to many comparing their ultimate teams to family.

The game of Ultimate can be explained simply as a cross between European handball and American football. To kick off the match, a kickoff of sorts called a “pull” is launched from one end zone to another. The goal of the game is to score on your opponent’s end zone similar to American football. The European handball comes into play though as you are not allowed to move once you have caught the disc. The only way to move up the field is to advance the disc to a teammate running around without the disc. The field can be seen below:

Screen Shot 2017-05-10 at 8.55.04 PM

Global Ultimate is governed by the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF); which continues to push Ultimate into the spotlight with more and more coverage appearing on the major networks. Ultimate has become so popular that there are two professional leagues in the U.S., the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) and Major League Ultimate (MLU). There are 24 teams in the AUDL with four of those being Canadian teams. The Vancouver Riptide, Ottawa Outlaws, Montreal Royal, and the Toronto Rush are all very competitive teams in this league.

What makes Ultimate so unique is that it is the only sport recognized by the International Olympic Committee to exist without referees and to be promoting SOTG (Spirit of The Game); meaning that every player should be extremely familiar with the rules and that playing fairly is a priority.

Some interesting facts about Ultimate:

  • Ultimate was invented by a student by the name of Joel Silver while attending Columbia High School in New Jersey
  • In 1970, a student attending Lafayette College started the first college team
  • The average person who runs the entirety of an Ultimate game runs several miles
  • The word “Frisbee” is actually trademarked by Wham-O Toys so the more appropriate name of the sport is “Ultimate.”
  • The number of discs sold during a year is known to be more than footballs, basketballs, and baseballs combined

Despite Ultimate being considered a professional sport, players aren’t paid the wages that they are in other professional sports. It can be argued that Ultimate truly is not only a sport, but it is the Ultimate sport, combining speed, power, and stamina. In the future, keep an eye out for the game of Ultimate on your television set as Ultimate is seen as an extremely viable candidate to be included in the 2024 summer games.

Even if you’re not an incredible athlete, go join your local ultimate team or come out to support your local professional team!


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