Maybe you’ve seen or played disc golf, or tossed a Frisbee to your dog at the beach, but have you ever watched the furious action that goes down at an ultimate game?
For the uninitiated, ultimate Frisbee - now known simply as ultimate - has been around and thriving since the mid-1960s when a group of players evolved a team Frisbee game based on concepts borrowed from American football, basketball and soccer.
In the ‘70s and early ‘80s, the sport began to rise to an entirely new level when organized leagues developed and tournaments were established. By the year 2012, more than 5.1 million Americans were on ultimate teams, and today the sport has a loyal following in almost every major American city.
The mixed team sport also received some long overdue attention when the International Olympic Committee recognized ultimate, which allows it the potential to become a team sport in the Olympics. With 58 countries participating in the sport, the future looks bright.
San Diego is perfect for so many sports, and it’s an ultimate haven, with many thriving teams and an organized nonprofit organization called Diego Ultimate Disc Experience (DUDE). Their goal is to provide San Diegans with opportunities to network and play the sport, and connect players to leagues and teams throughout the city. If you ever wanted a place to start, this is your group.
DiscoverSD recently spoke with avid ultimate player and San Diego craft beer aficionado Kelly Tidwell about her involvement with the sport.
“It’s the most fun game I’ve ever played,” she said. “The exercise is killer, but before anything else, it’s super fun and competitive.”
Where to play
Check these sites for information on ultimate pickup games and organized matches.
dudeultimate.com; sandiegodisc.org; pickupultimate.com; sdgrowlers.com
It seems that’s the common denominator for the players: They love competition, but maybe not the type that came with regular ball and bat sports. While sports like skateboarding and surfing are counterculture, ultimate blurs that line of group sport and individual accomplishment.
One of the things that make the sport so attractive to players is its relaxed vibe. Don’t get me wrong, the players are very competitive, but there are also fun tailgate parties and social meetups that make ultimate a pleasure.
When I spoke with Tidwell, she and her team were in the process of taking over the Ballast Point tasting room for a postgame victory beverage. The mixed team was full of smiles, laughing and sharing stories of the day’s events. Right then and there I knew I wanted into this league.
As a lifelong San Diegan, Ken Lewis has surfing and ocean life in his DNA. A 30-year surfer himself, Lewis has worked in the surf and skate industry for most of his career. Send him thoughts about the surfing and fitness worlds to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Instagram @hanger18.