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The fastest-growing team sport? It may be "ultimate." (frisbee)

The fastest-growing team sport? It may be "ultimate'

It looks like a game of team "keep away,' but it's actually called "ultimate,' "ultimate Frisbee,' or more affectionately, "ulty.' You can play it at any park or playing field, on a fall picnic or a beach outing.

Ultimate is a great family game--easy to learn, with the bonus of lots of exercise. Best of all, it's a noncontact sport; you may get tired, but you probably won't get bruised.

If you've visited a college campus in the last few years, you may have seen it played--a melee of people zigzagging up and down a field, blending the rules and skills of football, basketball, and soccer.

The game could possibly be the country's fastest-growing team sport. Since 1968, when the first recorded game of ultimate was played on a New Jersey high school field, players have put together hundreds of collegiate and noncollegiate teams.

Where you can watch

College campuses are good places to see ultimate played on a weekly basis; several Western schools have clubs. Like lacrosse and rugby teams, teams are considered sports clubs by athletic departments, but the department office can usually tell you where and when teams play.

Many schools also have intramural ultimate leagues. UC Santa Barbara, for instance, had 72 intramural teams this past spring.

Most teams, collegiate and noncollegiate, belong to the Ultimate Players Association (UPA). Beginning in mid-October, the western region of UPA will hold a series of tournaments leading up to the regional championships at UC Santa Cruz on November 3 and 4. Finalists will go on to play in the national championships, to be held on Thanksgiving weekend --November 22 through 25--at UC Santa Barbara.

For full schedule details, write or call one of the groups listed on page 84.

Rules of the game

Here are the basics of play, which we've adapted from the eighth edition of UPA's Ultimate Official Rules.

The object is to score goals by passing the Frisbee (disk) to players in the end zone. You can only pass it--not run with it-- and hand-offs are not allowed. The game ends when you're either too tired to continue or you reach a predetermined number of goals.

To start, you "throw off': teams line up on their goal line and one player throws the disk to the opponents. If it goes out-of-bounds (OB), the receiving team can start where it went out or ask for another throw. If it goes out beyond the goal line, play starts from the nearest front corner of the end zone. If a receiver touches the disk before it hits the ground, the throwing team takes possession.

After the throw-off, the saucer-tossing march downfield begins. Players can go anywhere on the field at any time--no offsides--and can throw in any direction. When you catch the disk in flight, you have to stop as soon as you can, establish a pivot foot, and not change your pivot until you throw.

Teammates run around, trying to get open for a pass--thus the mad-scramble look of the game. The defense guards the thrower and covers receivers as in basketball or soccer, but defenders can't touch opponents or steal the disk from the thrower's hand.

Any undue physical contact is a foul, and it's up to the two players involved to decide who fouled whom. The fouled player gets the disk where the call was made; if the foul occurs in the end zone, play resumes at the goal line.

Whenever a pass is incomplete, intercepted, knocked down, or flies OB, possession changes. After a goal, teams defend the opposite goal, and the scoring team throws off.

Ultimate book, newsletter, clubs

The best book on the game is Ultimate: Fundamentals of the Sport, by Irv Kalb and Tom Kennedy (Revolutionary Publications, Box 4787, Santa Barbara, Calif. 93103). In California send $9.48 for a copy, $8.48 out-of-state; prices include postage, handling, and tax.

To join UPA and get their rule book and a quarterly newsletter, send $7 to UPA, Box 2600, Mesa, Ariz. 85204.

To find out when teams are playing, call or send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to one of these UPA coordinators: Western region: Ken Foote, 761 Grace Court, Livermore, Calif. 94550; (415) 443-5213. Pacific Northwest: Dennis Clements, 980 Hampden N.E., Salem, Ore. 97301; (305) 585-8001. Rocky Mountains: Matt Westfield, 126 E. McKinley St., Tempe, Ariz. 85281; (602) 946-6378. Northern California: Chris Johnson, 945 Kennard Way, Sunnyvale 94087; (408) 730-8751. Southern California: David Clacomb, 4602 Natalie Dr., San Diego 92115; (619) 282-7418.

Photo: Young beachgoers converge on a pass in a friendly pickup game of ultimate

Photo: Eyes riveted on disk, balletic collegians tune up for Santa Barbara championships

Photo: You can play official ultimate Frisbee with seven players on the size of field shown here, or use a smaller field and fewer players
COPYRIGHT 1984 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Oct 1, 1984
Words:810
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