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December 13, 2007 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Ultimate: The Greatest Sport Ever Invented By Man is coming soon to a bookstore near you.
posted by silby (63 comments total)

 
Oh boy, I miss ultimate.

My knees don't but everything else does.
posted by parki at 3:21 PM on December 13, 2007


Why are Ultimate players invariably spiral-eyed zealots for the game? That's what I want to know.

My sample size is about 5.
posted by everichon at 3:22 PM on December 13, 2007


Is this something you'd have to have a prodigious collection of birkenstocks to understand?
posted by shmegegge at 3:25 PM on December 13, 2007


That book looks pretty funny ("Some say that Ultimate is the most misunderstood team flying disc field running sport on the planet..."), but the thing about Ultimate is that it's no disc golf.
posted by dersins at 3:27 PM on December 13, 2007


I've had the same experience, everichon.

But they were laughing at me for playing disc golf at the time.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:28 PM on December 13, 2007


Oooo, swirly.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:28 PM on December 13, 2007


I thought the greatest sport evers was hacky sack?
posted by Camofrog at 3:30 PM on December 13, 2007


Disc Golf? We called it "Frolf".
posted by JBennett at 3:36 PM on December 13, 2007


*checks silby's Location field, giggles*

I played a lot of inept but enthusiastic frisbee/ultimate my freshman year of college. We'd go out to the astroturf football field late—they'd leave the lights on, often enough—and just run around like loons for a couple hours. It was a damned good time, friction burns and all, but I never got interested in the really competitive games.
posted by cortex at 3:36 PM on December 13, 2007


Also, watch the bookstore near you for the upcoming sequels, Pizza: The Greatest Food Invented By Man and Pot: The Greatest Thing Grown By Man And Smoked.
posted by koeselitz at 3:40 PM on December 13, 2007 [11 favorites]


So what is the deal with Ultimate and trashed knees? There's no more running or collisions than in soccer, right? I know people who've played either sport, and I only know one person who played soccer and has knee problems (and that was an evil indoor injury). Half the people I know who play Ultimate can barely walk.
posted by peep at 3:51 PM on December 13, 2007


Ultimate requires a lot more full speed changing of direction than soccer does. In ultimate, you're frequently running at close to top speed in one direction and then turning around and running in the other as fast as you can. Soccer contains a lot more jogging (not that there isn't running as well). Ultimate is full speed running and stopping, not too much jogging.
posted by christonabike at 3:55 PM on December 13, 2007


Also, soccer is often played by actual athletes who do things like stretch, and take care of their bodies.

Ultimate, on the other hand, is often played by naked, stoned hippies.
posted by dersins at 4:01 PM on December 13, 2007 [9 favorites]


Disc Golf is best played at 2am, with forties, on your college campus while avoiding the public safety officers.

Hole 5 is over the new freshman dorms.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:06 PM on December 13, 2007


Having played both ultimate and soccer at a fairly competitive (ie training everyday, traveling to and winning some tournaments) level, I can fairly say that ultimate is way way harder on your body. You are either at full sprint, stopped, or changing direction at full speed.

This is really not good for the knees (and in my case, talus, shoulder, ankle, elbow, hip and lower back as well).

As for the obsessive part, it's like everything else. When you spend all of your free time doing something, the people you share that thing with become your closest friends. The fact that you tend to play with different people at different times (co-ed, regionals, local tourneys, league) also can foster more of a sense of community than other sports.

I still love it, but can't really play anymore at the level that I'd like, due to injury after injury.
posted by sauril at 4:10 PM on December 13, 2007


Ultimate, on the other hand, is often played by naked, stoned hippies.

It used to be. Now it's played by people who train and stretch and take athletics seriously. Of course any sport has it's weekend warriors.
posted by sauril at 4:11 PM on December 13, 2007


Ultimate, on the other hand, is often played by naked, stoned hippies.

Hunting human prey is actually the ultimate sport. If that prey happens to be naked, stoned hippies, well, so be it. The trophy heads clean up nice with a little work.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:19 PM on December 13, 2007


can foster more of a sense of community

Aha! This nails what I found so annoying about it: I've had acquaintances get pulled into Ultimate, and then either never be seen again, or talk of nothing but Ultimate. The closest other thing I've experienced is the exclusivity of the cast/crew on a stage production.

Obviously, I am not begrudging people their karasses. I really just enjoy expressing annoyance.
posted by everichon at 4:21 PM on December 13, 2007


Ultimate: The Greatest Sport Ever Invented By Man

Bull. It's not a real sport until there's a steroid scandal.
posted by eriko at 4:22 PM on December 13, 2007


MeFi Ultimate Intrammural league anyone?

*twirls his 'bee*
posted by Parannoyed at 4:25 PM on December 13, 2007


I played in an Ultimate league for four years until my ankles threatened never to let me walk again. I sucked but it was a ton of fun. I don't know about it being full of hippies though, most of the players that I know are geeky computer scientists/engineers and the rest seem to be lawyers.
posted by octothorpe at 4:27 PM on December 13, 2007


Beach Ultimate is easier on the knees, more taxing on the lungs, and more fun to dive for the disc in.
posted by Manjusri at 4:40 PM on December 13, 2007


It's not really a hippie sport anymore. What's great though, is that even at a competitive level, the sort where people spend all year training and are in great shape and totally obsessed, there's still this huge culture of sportsmanship and fair play. Players are responsible for making the calls themselves and in my whole first season I only witnessed one call that either team got bitter about. Everyone is just way more concerned with having a good time than winning first prize and the way to have a good time is to play by the rules.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 4:54 PM on December 13, 2007


Beach Ultimate is easier on the knees, more taxing on the lungs, and more fun to dive for the disc in.

Plus, the girls are often in bikinis. You left out that part.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:54 PM on December 13, 2007


Besides, everyone knows the ultimate sport is buzkashi. What's not to love about a sport where the "ball" is a headless goat?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:57 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I used to make fun of the hippies that played ultimate. In the early eighties I thought it was just another pot-smoking incarnation of hacky-sack.

Then a few years ago I played it. What a fucking riot that was. SOOOO much better than soccer. Much more strategy. Better exercise.

Yeah. And what's with the frigg'n injuries? Not a sport for old men.

Funny story. One weekendI was playing with my nephews and their friends when they were teenagers. It was embarrassing for and old guy like me to be stumbling around. Then the inevitable mid air crash when three of us all went up and the same time. One of these kids did like a crazy somersault over the top of me and this other kid and snagged the disc and landed on his feet running. While I came down bouncing off the two of them at a 45 degree angle to the ground and the other kid came down...with one foot landing right on my ankle, the other Jackie Chan-ing my balls and his elbow squarely in my eye socket. And he was on my team.

Triple threat: I got nutted. A black eye. And a sprained ankle. Those little shits just scuttled off leaving me groaning face down in the turf.

I semi-lied at my boxing gym the next week and said I got "jumped by a gang."
posted by tkchrist at 4:57 PM on December 13, 2007


I have two close friends who play ultimate in Austin. Anytime I call them up to hang out I'm shot down because they're either out of town for an ultimate tournament, they have ultimate practice, or the have a post-game/practice party that they're already attending.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:01 PM on December 13, 2007


You're all wrong about "the ultimate sport."

It's Calvinball, of course.
posted by BeerFilter at 5:35 PM on December 13, 2007


What's with the "ultimate player = hippie" meme? If you go to any competitive national tournament (either club-level or collegiate-level), you'll see at least three very distinct archetypes.

1.) Hippie/surfer types
2.) Elite northeastern Ivy League/professional types
3.) Deep-fried Southern hicks

I remember watching the finals at Nationals in Boulder, CO in '99, with UC Santa Barbara facing off against North Carolina State and it was like watching US vs. USSR in terms of cultural differences between the two teams.
posted by alidarbac at 5:49 PM on December 13, 2007


That's hugely funny alidarbac, because BOTH of the hardcore Ultimate players I've known best were:

1)taking a year off to follow Phish
2)Before going back to law school at Northwestern/Yale
3)With plans to come home to Alabama and partner at daddy's firm(s).

Three for three.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 6:06 PM on December 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


I used to play squash 4 days a week. I was pretty good at it and could play a long time. Then I tried Ultimate and almost died. It is easily the hardest sport I've ever played in which it is very difficult to be great at. I once watched the world championships. Good Christ could they play. It's the only sport I've ever watched which had me on the edge of my seat pretty much constantly.
posted by dobbs at 6:11 PM on December 13, 2007


Dobbs-

Ultimate and Irish Hurling are the two sports that are serious kick your ass events. Just to watch. I've played ultimate quite a bit before and during college, but Hurling was that + with sticks + they can hit you, so I never tried it.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:23 PM on December 13, 2007


No tackling?
posted by Smedleyman at 6:37 PM on December 13, 2007


It's just a frisbee.
posted by furtive at 7:07 PM on December 13, 2007


Too many people taking this seriously in here.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 7:32 PM on December 13, 2007


You either think Ultimate is ridiculous or you buy the wall calendar; there is nothing in between.

Personally, the only team sport worth playing is flip cup. And possibly Beirut. But probably just flip cup.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:54 PM on December 13, 2007


ultimate players = dirty hippies = ron paul supporters = closet republicans
posted by luriete at 7:58 PM on December 13, 2007


dirty hippies = ron paul supporters

That's a bit shaky.
posted by silby at 8:01 PM on December 13, 2007


I was fortunate to learn to play Ultimate in Eugene, Oregon. I knew that Eugene had a lot of Ultimate history, but I didn't know how good the people I was playing with/against were because I had no frame of reference. When I started to understand things like "Callahan winner" and "World team". The great thing is that I didn't know any better because there wasn't a bunch of huge egos. People were just out having fun. Competitive, yes. But happy to help you learn, provide advice and cheer you on. And I don't think Eugene is alone in that.

I started playing Ultimate as a way to get back in shape for soccer after a few years off. Wow, I had no idea. Ultimate has a lot more sprinting than soccer does and a lot more turns at speed. I was floored. Its like doing 2 hours of interval sprints.

Lots of fun though. I've been slacking off the last couple months, I need to get back out on the field. Winter is great for that. Lots of good sloppy fun in the cold cold rain. Thanks for reminding me.
posted by afflatus at 8:02 PM on December 13, 2007


Meh. This isn't the best sporting game invented, though it looks similar to the best sporting game invented
posted by mattoxic at 9:02 PM on December 13, 2007


dang, forgot to link "sporting"
posted by mattoxic at 9:04 PM on December 13, 2007


Many a good time had, as soon as the Hickory Farms kiosks opened every fall, playing Ultimate beef stick. And yeah, Frolf—in the woods!
posted by carsonb at 9:23 PM on December 13, 2007


Let's go play a mean game of beer pong and listen to Dave Matthews, brah.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:03 PM on December 13, 2007


Ultimate is the most tragically misunderstood game ever invented by man.

If you're getting injuries, you're not playing it right.

If you're getting injuries know which team you're on, you're not playing it right.

Or am I thinking of Calvin Ball?
posted by flotson at 10:17 PM on December 13, 2007


The easiest way to see why ultimate players sustain many injuries is to watch this short trailer of last year's national championships. It's worth watching too if you're just curious about what the sport is really like.

Injuries don't have to do with a lack of stretching or training (both of which all high level ultimate players do extensively). It has to do primarily with two factors: (1) lots of cutting (as mentioned above) and (2) one of the sport's defining rules is that a turnover is caused if the disc touches the ground, and at a high enough level you'll put your body on the line repeatedly to ensure that ground contact does or does not happen.
posted by ajshankar at 10:57 PM on December 13, 2007


This is probably a double post.
posted by bigmusic at 12:00 AM on December 14, 2007


I kinda prefer sex to Ultimate, but that's just me.
posted by LordSludge at 7:10 AM on December 14, 2007


Ultimate is the only sport which I am willing to run for. I don't get above a brisk walk in any other aspect of my life, but put me on your Ultimate team, and I will haul my carcass up and down the field for hours.
I agree that the quick reverses lead to injuries- I nearly broke my ankle when I attempted a quick reversal on dewy grass- one foot went out from under me while the other stayed planted...WRENCH!
And then there was the time an opponent tried to swat a airborne disc away as I was about the catch it- he punched me in the hand! Thankfully it wasn't my throwing hand and I could continue...
posted by Lord Kinbote at 8:41 AM on December 14, 2007


I understand the trademark limitations, but I've only ever heard this game referred to as "Ultimate Frisbee". At what point was the Frisbee dropped, why did I miss that memo, and what idiot thought that just calling it "Ultimate" was a solution?
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 11:37 AM on December 14, 2007


One of the things I liked about being at student at Beloit College was the intramural Ultimate league. The students tended to take it more seriously than the football or basketball programs, and the league finals were held at midnight on the last day of exams, in the stadium. The finals were always better attended than any football game. There were legacy teams, with histories that spanned a decade or more, and a team of professors with surprising finesse.

They even organized a world record attempt for the longest straight Ultimate game, at over 72 hours (crappy self-linked photos).
posted by gc at 12:09 PM on December 14, 2007


SEVEN ON THE LINE!
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:03 PM on December 14, 2007


ARE YOU, OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN, A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY?!?!?!

/Hampshire memories
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:04 PM on December 14, 2007


At what point was the Frisbee dropped, why did I miss that memo, and what idiot thought that just calling it "Ultimate" was a solution?

Probably when Discraft—rather than trademark-holding Wham-o—became the standard.
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:32 PM on December 14, 2007


@: On the advice of council, I plead the Fifth Amendment!
posted by silby at 1:32 PM on December 14, 2007


I don't understand you kids and your Ultimate Frisbee.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:42 PM on December 14, 2007


ARE YOU, OR HAVE YOU EVER BEEN, A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY?!?!?!
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:54 PM on December 14, 2007


wemayfreeze: Probably when Discraft became the standard.

So I guess we can start calling the previous version "Penultimate Frisbee" now?
posted by whir at 5:10 PM on December 14, 2007


In my experience, Ulitmate players are mostly geeks who are way too impressed with themselves. Okay, we get it, you play a sport now. Welcome to a well-rounded existence.
posted by autodidact at 7:02 PM on December 14, 2007


Wouldn't it be better if they changed the rules somehow so the game flowed differently and it wasn't so hard on the body? Because this highly commendable 'spirit of the game' thing seems to frown on not calling yourself out or whatever, but be totally fine with people doing themselves a mischief in a permanent way.
posted by Ritchie at 7:05 PM on December 14, 2007


Every time a topic comes up on mefi that I'm expert on, I find a disturbing marriage of smugness and ignorance in most of the comments. As I internalize that feeling, and learn to keep it in mind as I read other posts, I find this place less and less worthwhile.

Ultimate is an elegant, beautiful thing.
posted by Dr. Boom at 10:37 PM on December 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


At what point was the Frisbee dropped, why did I miss that memo, and what idiot thought that just calling it "Ultimate" was a solution?

Ever since I started playing (1994), we'd usually call it "Ultimate", and generally accepted it as short for "Ultimate Disc". Players refer to the disc, not a "Frisbee". If you're trying to explain it to someone else, though, "Frisbee" works better. :)

The most common severe injury I've seen in Ultimate is the broken collarbone. All that diving, sometimes you hit someone (or the ground) the wrong way.

It's funny about the perception of the sport: I've played in plenty of pickup games (Pickup! Not competitive!) in various spots in the US and abroad (travelling for work), and I can't really say I've ever seen the stereotypical hippie player. From my experience, I'd say the stereotypical player is college-to-grad-school aged, and in fact is often a student (or teacher). Can't say there's a massive ton of geeks in the sport--not more than the normal distribution. Married people seem to play less, and those with children even less, but of course that's not a statement on Ultimate as much as on the time it takes to raise a family. Plenty of folks still playing in their 40's and 50's though.

The ultimate (sorry) Ultimate book is Ultimate Techniques and Tactics, written by a long-time, respected player. As the title suggests, it's less an introduction and more geared to the player.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 11:02 PM on December 14, 2007


flotson: Or am I thinking of Calvin Ball?

Or perhaps Brockian Ultra-Cricket.
posted by XMLicious at 11:10 PM on December 14, 2007


Rikitiki -
Agreed. Parinella can play, knows how to run a tournement, and a section, if I remember correctly. I was very stoked to see that book on the shelves at a large chain bookstore in nyc this past fall while looking for something completely different.
posted by Dr. Boom at 11:12 PM on December 14, 2007


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