The weather is finally starting to warm up and sunshine and blue skies have us wanting to go outside and play. What could be more fun on a nice spring day than getting out in the yard or going to the park and tossing a frisbee around? How about instead of just tossing a frisbee around turn it into a friendly competition? Or maybe make it a serious competition? Or how about a game of Ultimate?
What the heck is Ultimate? Until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure myself so I asked Kaleb Swanda, a student at Young Harris College and co-founder and Captain of the YHC Ultimate Team, and Deven Siesel, YHC Residence Director and team coach, to write this guest post to teach me a little about the game and to spotlight YHC’s Ultimate team. Here’s what Kaleb and Deven had to say:
What is ultimate?
Ultimate is a way of life. The spirit of the game encourages us to take responsibility of our actions, but also to learn to coexist with others in a mutually respectful manner. It is something that you can do and feel so at peace with oneself and escape the emotions of the day. It is one of the things I most enjoy doing in life. It also has a very different feel than other teams sports in that allows anyone of any talent level to come out and play. All you need is a Frisbee and people.
Why Ultimate at YHC?
It’s always been a dream of Captain Kaleb Swanda to play for a college team. When it was made apparent by God, that YHC was where he belonged, he realized there was no team. His options were to start one up himself or to deny his love for the game. He has always loved it and had some interest from but just not enough to get a full team until this year. This was the right year to start because the overwhelming interest from the student body. The guys really rallied and placed Kaleb at the forefront of the process of creating a club team. Within a month the pegs and pieces were in place and forty people showed up for tryouts. Twenty-five die hard students stuck with it and became the nucleus of this new sport on campus. Now it is just a matter of getting into tournaments and keeping the guys together and improving. The guys are all excited and ready to go and have stepped up to the challenge. The faculty, staff and administrators have also rallied behind us and allowed for the excitement to spread even further on Young Harris’ Campus
The goal for the team is to try and make nationals our first year in existence and have a birth in Ohio. It is a great dream of many of the guys on the team too. Another goal is to see the guys, who come from very diverse cliques of campus, to a unified team that is cohesive in every way. Yet another goal is to prepare the team to try and allow the professional level to be a true option and dream of everyone on our team. Kaleb would personally love to play for Chain Lightning, an Atlanta based professional team, that is the best in the state and one of the best in the country.
Name of team: Dies Irae
Basics of the game:
All you need to play is a Frisbee and people. However, in competitions you need a specific certified Frisbee and 14 guys, enough for 7 on each side. You need a field that is 70 yards long and 40 yards wide with 25 yard deep end zones. You have to abide by the spirit of the game policy, which includes a love of the game and having a mutual respect for those playing it and the game itself. Another rule involves the beginning with a term called a pull, which is compared to a kickoff in football. Teams must stay in their end zones until the disc is in play. In order to maintain possession of the disc you must continuously pass it down field to your teammates without it hitting the ground. If the disc is dropped it is equivalent to an interception and the roles of the teams swap. After a catch you are allowed up to three steps in order to come to stop but may never cross the line to the end zone by walking. Stall counting is also a major part to the game. Typically stall count is set at 10 and is similar to a blitz count in backyard football, but if stall 10 is reached it is a turnover rather than the defense being able to blitz. The first point of contact of a player’s body and the ground is what is used to determine where the play is marked, if something was inbounds or out of bounds, and if it was a score or not. The biggest rule of ultimate is that it is self-officiated and there is no referee other than the players on the field. Fouls can range from unnecessary physical contact to swearing and over excessive taunting. Fouls do not always result in turnovers, but rather typically just restarts the play from the point where the foul was called. In most tournaments when the first team hits 8 points it is halftime and first team to 13-15 is the winner. There is also typically a 90 minute time cap that can end a game before a score limit is reached.