Get Involved! Ultimate (Frisbee)
After doing some odd jobs at the Fisheries Museum, Michael’s trying out something a bit more energetic. On occasion, it comes up in conversation that I play Ultimate Frisbee, which […]
After doing some odd jobs at the Fisheries Museum, Michael’s trying out something a bit more energetic.
On occasion, it comes up in conversation that I play Ultimate Frisbee, which usually provokes the hyper-witty riposte, ‘What makes a regular frisbee Ultimate? Hyuk hyuk.’
So…what DOES make it Ultimate (Frisbee)?
Ultimate (Frisbee is a trademark and therefore not part of the official name) is an non-contact team sport played with a plastic disc. The rules are a mixture of football and American football with some other bits thrown in. Ultimate in the UK is a BUCS and SSS sport, and uni clubs play both the indoor 5-a-side variety, and the (normal) outdoor 7-a-side version. A game of ultimate is played by two teams on a rectangular pitch with an ‘endzone’ at each end. Players cannot run with the disc, incomplete passes result in a turnover, and points are scored by catching the disc in your team’s end-zone. The game features lots of running about, throwing Frisbees, people counting to ten, and skinny white boys trying to fly.
Then what’s Flatball?
Flatball is the absurdly witty name for the University of St Andrews Ultimate Club. Flatball competes in mens, womens, and mixed tournaments, with practices and socials mixed. The club currently maintains 2-3 club trainings a week, which consist of a predictable mix of throwing, drills, and scrimmage. There are occasional fitness sessions, but they are by no means mandatory.
The club social scene is fairly vibrant, provoking the standard joke that Flatball is a ‘drinking team with a frisbee problem.’ But the overall level of drinking is pretty normal for a sports club, with the usual mix of borderline alcoholics and people who actually practice moderation. The club maintains a variable and engaging mix of pub socials, house parties, the expected sinners debauchery, and more civilized affairs such as a Thanksgiving potluck meal. The club has a formal meal at the end of each semester but does not participate in any of the multi-sport balls (adrenaline, aqua, etc).
The athletic culture of the team is a bit harder to pin down. There was formerly a really heavy emphasis on fitness and the average week would see sprint trainings, gym sessions, or a practice basically every day. This has fallen by the wayside in the last year or two, and while there are still some pretty serious athletes in the club, the collective mentality is more that of a recreational sports team.
Verdict and Sentencing?
Throwing a Frisbee around on a sunny day is glorious, ultimate is pretty fantastic cardio, and the sport has the added benefit of cheap club fees and no expensive gear. Hardly anyone plays Ultimate before coming to university, so there are many beginners and Flatball truly is a club open to everyone and all skill levels. The club encompasses both high-level athletes who have been playing for many years, and complete beginners interested in bit of healthy exercise. Unlike many of the clubs and societies which have a pretty strong social monoculture (nerds, yahs, alcoholics, eco-terrorists, etc); ultimate has always contained a fairly eclectic mix of individuals, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. On the whole, there aren’t any obvious negatives. Whether or not you find the clubs social mix appealing is fairly subjective. But the sport itself is fun and inclusive.
image © The ultimate team