Frisbee Fanatics Possess Ultimate Spirit

By By Wong, Theresa and By Wong, Theresa

By Wong, Theresa

It seems like everything is merging these days: telephone companies, music and sports. Wait a minute, sports?

All those hard-core sports enthusiasts out there should check out a relatively unknown sport that combines football, frisbee, soccer and basketball.

Welcome to the world of ultimate frisbee.

It is a fast-paced, energizing sport where players run, dive, throw, block and basically eat dirt.

Sam Harvey, a geography major, never thought of playing competitive frisbee, but now he’s hooked.

“I’ve been playing recreational for two and a half years now, and competitively for about a year and a half,” Harvey said.

Ultimate frisbee is a fairly new sport, but it is growing in popularity.

The U offers ultimate frisbee classes.

Nick Naylor, a computer science major, took an ultimate frisbee class from the U last year when he was a freshman.

“It’s interesting,” Naylor said. “I liked learning the different ways that they throw the frisbee.”

Each team has seven players on the field. The object of the game is to keep possession of the frisbee until a goal is scored. Players are not allowed to run with the frisbee and only use pivots to throw it to a teammate. Players can’t tackle each other.

Harvey and his ultimate friends usually play on the grass near the golf course when the weather permits. Winter only poses a slight threat to committed players.

“Winter games are tough, but they have been known to happen,” Harvey said. The Field House usually serves as an alternative location on cold days.

The U students who play on a regular basis are more than committed.

Harvey travels to Colorado, Arizona, Massachusetts and Connecticut to compete. Just this past year, he has been to 15 tournaments.

Traveling with a team is optional, so some competitors chose to travel solo. In order to compete, though, solo competitors join with other solo players to form a team.

Participants pay their own way to get to competitions, and that can lead to some hefty fees.

Harvey said people have many misconceptions about the sport, and some people don’t consider it a legitimate sport.

Laura Watanabe, a psychology major, said, “I wouldn’t consider ultimate frisbee a real sport. But if cheerleading is considered a sport, I guess ultimate frisbee can be too.”

But Harvey disagrees.

“People don’t believe that ultimate frisbee exists at the level that it does. It is an organized sport,” he said.

And those who play on a regular basis take it very seriously.

The Ultimate Players Association is a player-based, nonprofit national organization. Its mission is to “promote and support the sport of ultimate frisbee?to increase participation in the sport at all levels?and to organize and conduct games.”

The UPA has more than 100,000 players in more than 30 countries, with 13,000 members in the United States alone.

The organization has an official ultimate disc called the Discraft 175g Ultra-Star.

In 2002, the UPA organized a tournament in Hawaii that was one of the largest tournaments for ultimate frisbee, with more than 2,300 competitors and 120 teams from more than 24 countries.

The Utah Ultimate Mountain Frisbee Organization represents many local players.

On Oct. 26, the UPA is sponsoring a “Halloween Hat” ultimate frisbee game at Glendale Middle School. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., and the game starts shortly after. Halloween costumes are required to participate. All of the proceeds will be donated to a local charity.

Harvey is trying to get a school-sponsored club started, but says it takes a lot of organization.

The Campus Recreation Services requires a team roster with enough people for two teams and alternates, a club president, a constitution, field space and time.

Harvey said that a good way to show your interest and support in playing organized ultimate frisbee is by contacting campus recreation.

“The best thing about this sport is something called the spirit of the game. It basically puts comradery above winning,” Harvey said.

For more information, contact campus recreation at 581-3797.

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